Rev. Peter Bulkeley

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Rev. Peter Bulkeley's Geni Profile

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About Rev. Peter Bulkeley

Peter Bulkley, son English clergyman Rev. Edward Bulkley, was a dissident preacher who sought religious freedom and helped found Concord, Massachusetts. Peter was born 31 January 1582 at Odell, Bedfordshire, England; he died at Concord, Massachusetts on 9 March 1658/9. He married (1) on 12 April 1613 in Goldington, Bedfordshire, England to Jane Allenn (baptised 17 January 1587 Goldington - died 8 December 1626 Odell), daughter of Thomas Allenn, gentleman and Mary Hassilden; and (2) Grace Chetwode (1602 - 1669) on April 1635 at Bedford, Bedfordshire, Engalnd

Marriages and Children

  1. Jane Allen (1587 - 1626) married 12 April 1613 Goldington, Bedfordshire, England
    1. Edward Bulkeley (christened 12 June 1614 Odell, Bedfordshire, England)
    2. Mary Bulkeley (1615 - 1616)
    3. Thomas Bulkeley (1617 - 1658)
    4. Nathaniel Bulkeley (1618 - 1628)
    5. John Bulkeley (1619 - 1689)
    6. Edward Bulkeley (born 1620 Odell, Bedfordshire, England) [questionable]
    7. Mary Bulkeley (christened 1 November 1621 Odell, Bedfordshire, England)
    8. Joseph Bulkeley (1623 - 1659)
    9. George Bulkeley (1623 - 1658) [questionable]
    10. Benjamin Bulkeley (1624 - 1659)
    11. Daniel Bulkeley (1625 - 1648)
    12. Jabez Bulkeley (1626 - 1629)
    13. Richard Bulkley 26 October 1629 Odell, Bedfordshire, England [questionable; appears to have been born after the death of Jane Allen on 8 December 1626]
    14. David Bulkeley 1632 Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts [questionable; appears to have been born after the death of Jane Allen on 8 December 1626 - and three years prior to the Bulkeley emigration to Massachusetts]
  2. Grace Chetwode (1602 - 1669) married April 1635 Bedford, Bedfordshire, England
    1. Gershom Bulkeley (1636 - 1713)
    2. Eleazur Bulkeley (born 1638 Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony)
    3. Dorothy Bulkeley (born 2 June 1640 Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony)
    4. Peter Bulkley (born 12 June 1643 Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony)

Biographical Sketch

At age 16, Peter Bulkley entered St. John’s College at Cambridge, then succeeded his non-conformist father as rector of Odell. He was married 12 April 1613 in Goldington, Bedfordshire, England to Jane Allenn [1]. Jane was baptised 17 January 1587 in Goldington [2]; died 8 December 1626 in Odell. Jane's parents were Thomas Allenn, gentleman and Mary Hassilden[3].

By the early 1630s, Bulkley’s preaching and refusal to wear the prescribed vestments and make the sign of the cross had gotten him in trouble with Archbishop William Laud. Desiring freedom from religious restrictions, he decided to practice his brand of Puritanism across the Atlantic in New England.

Accompanying Rev. Bulkley to Massachusetts was his second wife, Grace Chetwode, and his sons, John, Benjamin and Daniel. His younger son, Thomas, may have come at a later date. His son Peter was probably born in Massachusetts. The Bulkley entourage included several of his followers, and arrived in America aboard the Susan and Ellen in 1635. They were founders of Concord, Massachusetts

Rev. Peter Bulkley was known for his knowledge of Latin and his poetry. He wrote one of the first books published in New England and died at Concord, Massachusetts on 9 March 1658/9. His will was dated 14 April 1658 with codicils added 13 January and 17 February 1658/9, was presented at court 21 June 1659 [4]. Some of his descendants spell the surname as Bulkeley.


[1] Confirmed by the Goldington Parish Register

[2]Cited as Jane d Tho Allenn, gent.

[3] In the parish record for Goldington, the author comments that there are 14 different ways to spell Haselden, which means Mary's spelling is just one way.

[4] Register copy: Middlesex Probate Records 1:204-210 but probate file does not contain original documents. The will is published in "Middlesex County in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Records of Probate and Administration October 1649 - December 1660, by Robert H. Rodgers; NEHGS, 1999.

Cambridge University Alumni: B.A. from ST JOHN'S, 1604-5. S. of Edward, D.D. (1555). B. at Odell, Beds., Jan. 31, 1582-3. M.A. 1608. Fellow, 1605. Incorp. at Oxford, 1610, as Buckley. Ord. deacon and priest (Ely) June, 1608. Canon of Lichfield, 1609. University preacher, 1610. R. of Odell, Beds., 1610-35. Emigrated to New England, 1635; leader of the party which founded the town of Concord. Pastor of Concord till his death, Mar. 9, 1658-9, aged 73. Author, religious. Father of Edward (1629), brother of Paul, above. (D.N.B.; Vis. of Beds., 1634; J. G. Bartlett.)


"He arrived in Cambridge in 1634 or 1635 and was the leader of those resolute men and self-denying Christians who soon after "went further up into the woods and settled on the plantation at Musketaquid Concord." Here he expended most of his estate for the benefit of his people; and after a laborious and useful life died March 9th, 1659, in his 77th year. Mr. Bulkeley was remarkable for his benevolence. He had many servants, on whom, after they had lived with him several years, he bestowed farms, and then received others to be treated in a like benevolent manner. By great familiarity of manners he drew around him persons of all ages; and his easy address, great learning, and eminent piety, rendered his society pleasing and profitable to all. Persons seldom separated from his company, without having heard some remark calculated to impress the mind with the importance of religion. Though sometimes suffering under bodily infirmities, he was distinguished for the holiness of his life, and a most scrupulous observance of the duties of the Christian ministry. He avoided all novelties in dress and wore his hair short. Being strict in his own virtues, he was occasionally severe in censuring the follies of others. He was considered as the father of his peo- ple, and addressed as father, prophet, or counsellor by them, and all the ministers of the country. Had the scene of Mr. Bulkeley's labors been in Boston, or its immediate vicinity, and not, as he expresses it, "shut up" in this remote spot, then difficult of access, his name would have appeared more conspicuously in the published annals of the country. He was a thorough scholar; an elevated devotional Christian; laborious in his profession; and, as a preacher, evangelical, faithful, and of remarkably energetic and persuasive 1 elocpience. He often wrote a series of sermons on a particular book or passage of Scripture. One of these series on Zachariah !»: 11, was published as "The first born of New England," and passed through several editions. The latest edition bears the following title, "The Gospel Covenant, or The Covenant of Grace Opened."

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Rev. Peter Bulkeley's Timeline

January 31, 1582
Odell, Bedfordshire, England, (Present UK)
April 12, 1613
Age 31
Goldington, Bedfordshire, England, (Present UK)
June 12, 1614
Age 32
Odell, Northamptonshire, England, (Present UK)
June 12, 1614
Age 32
Odell, Bedford, UK
August 24, 1615
Age 33
Odell, Bedfordshire, England
April 13, 1617
Age 35
Odell, Bedfordshire, England, (Present UK)
November 29, 1618
Age 36
Odell, Bedfordshire, , England
February 6, 1619
Age 37
Odell, Bedford, England
Age 37
Odel, Bedfordshire, , England
May 4, 1623
Age 41
Odell, Bedfordshire, England