Ralph Partridge, M.A. (1579 - 1655) MP

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Nicknames: "Rodolphus"
Birthplace: Sutton-Valence, Kent, England
Death: Died in Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Occupation: 1st minister of Duxbury
Managed by: Kyle Dane
Last Updated:

About Ralph Partridge, M.A.

Ralph PARTRIDGE

  • Baptized: As "Rodolphus Partridge" Apr. 12, 1579 at St. Mary the Virgin church at Sutton-Valence [aka the Town of Sutton], in county Kent, England.
  • son of Rev. Thomas Partridge & Joan, his 1st wife
  • married 1) Priscilla 2) Patience Batherst
  • Death: died testate at Duxbury, Mass. between Sept. 29, 1655 (date of will) and Apr. 25, 1658 (date of estate inventory).

From Find A Grave Memorial# 47965629

Per the Alumni record of Cambridge University, Ralph was admitted a sizer of Trinity College in circa 1595. He received his B.A. 1599-1600 and M.A. 1603.

Ralph was twice married. His first wife 1) Priscilla was buried at Sutton-by-Dover Apr. 1, 1608, the same day their daughter Elizabeth was baptized, latter buried May 2, 1608.

On Jan. 14, 1608/9 at the small parish of Chillenden 5-miles northwest of Sutton-by-Dover, Ralph Partridge, minister of Sutton, m. Patience Batherst (q.v. Bathurst). Whether she was nee Bathurst or the widow Bathurst cannot be readily determined.

By wife Patience Batherst:

• ii. "Antonie Partrich, s. of Ralph Partrich," bp. Nov. 4, 1610; buried there Nov. 5, 1610.

• iii. "Mary Patrich, d. of Ralph Patrich," bp. Aug. 2, 1612; m. John Marshall, Nov 24, 1631 at Sutton-by-Dover, who d. testate at Lenham, Kent between Oct. 8, 1656 (date of will) and Nov. 20, 1656 (date proved by wife Mary) [Perogative Court of Canterbury, Berkeley, 401]. Children baptized at Lenham: Robert, John, Mary, Ralph and Thomas, the eldest two named in their grand-uncle Gervase Partridge's will of June 1647, and again in their grandfather Rev. Ralph Partridge's will of 1655 at Duxbury. First born Robert Marshall would immigrate to New England and m. in 1660 at Plymouth, MA, Mary Barnes, daughter of John Barnes and Mary Plummer. Three known children b. at Plymouth and Boston, Mass.[*2]

• iv. "John Partrich, s. of Ralph Partrich," bp. Oct. 2, 1614; buried there Apr. 26, 1615.

• v. "Elisabeth Partrich, d. of Ralph Patrich," bp. May 9, 1619, d. June 2, 1664 at Weymouth, Mass.; m. 1) William Kemp of Duxbury, Mass., who d. intestate before Sep. 23, 1641 when Elizabeth filed the estate inventory; m. 2) May 11, 1643, Rev. Thomas Thacher, who d. Oct. 5, 1678 at Boston, Mass. One child by William Kemp and four children by Thomas Thacher.

From http://capecodgenes.com/web%20cards/ps29/ps29_246.html

[No connection between George and Ralph Partridge other than the favt that they arrived at about the same time. It does seem reasonable to assume that the two were connected in some manner.]

The Rev. Ralph Partridge had been a minister of the Established Church in Sutton-near-Dover, in the County of Kent in England, but had been driven out through the severity of Bishop Laud and had come to America after a stormy passage of eighteen weeks, arriving in Boston in 1635 or 1636 in the company of the Rev. Nathaniel Morton. The following description of Mr. Partridge is taken from Cotton Mather's "Magnalia," Vol. 1, page 404.

THE LIFE OF MR. RALPH PARTRIDGE

"When David was driven from his friends into the wilderness, he made this pathetic representation of his condition, Twas as when one doth hunt a Partridge in the mountains.' Among the many worthy persons who were persecuted into an American wilderness for their fidelity to the ecclesiastical kingdom of our true David, there was one that bore the name, as well as the state, of an 'hunted partridge.' What befel him was, as Bede saith of what was done by F‘lix, 'Juxta nominis sui Sacramentum.'

"This was Mr. Ralph Partridge, who for no fault but the delicacy of his spirit, being distressed by the ecclesiastical setters, had no defense, neither of beak nor claw, but a flight over the ocean.

"The place where he took covert was the colony of Plymouth and the town of Duxbury in that colony.

"This partridge had not only the innocency of the dove conspicuous in his blameless and pious life, which made him very acceptable in his conversation, but also the loftiness of an eagle, in the great soar of his intellectual ability. There are some interpreters, who understanding 'church officers' by the 'living creatures' in the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse, will have the 'teacher' to be intended by the 'eagle' there for his quick insight into remote and hidden things. The church of Duxbury had such an 'eagle' for their partridge when they enjoyed such a teacher.

"By the same token, when the Platform of Church-Discipline was to be composed, the Synod at Cambridge appointed three persons to draw up each of the, a Model of Church-Government according to the word of God, unto the end, that out of those the Synod might form what should be found most agreeable, which three persons were Mr. John Cotton, and Mr. Increase Mather and Mr. Ralph Partridge. So that in the opinion of the reverend assembly this person did not come far behind the first three for some of his accomplishments. "After he had been forty years a faithful and painful preacher of the gospel, rarely, if ever, in all that while interrupted in his work by any bodily sickness, he died at a good old age, about the year 1658.

"There was one singular instance of a weaned spirit, whereby he signalized himself unto the churches of God. That was this: There was a time when most of the ministers in the colony of Plymouth left the colony, upon the discouragement which the want of a competent maintenance among the needy and froward inhabitants gave unto them. Nevertheless, Mr. Partridge was, notwithstanding the paucity and the poverty of his congregation, so afraid of being any thing that looked like a 'bird wandering from his nest' that he remained with his poor people till he 'took wing to become a bird of Paradise' along with the winged seraphim of Heaven." 40

From A Brief History of First Parish Church

In the early days of this Duxbury settlement, the center of the community was in The Nook, a fertile, spring-fed area between Captain's Hill and Bay Road, directly accessible by boat from Plymouth. Meetings probably were held in houses, primitive buildings similar to those seen today at Plimoth Plantation. The requirements that the town's proprietors had to fulfill before receiving title from the colonial authorities were to attract a minimum number of settlers, hire a minister and erect a meeting house within a specified number of years. Such "parishes" as they were called, were also required to have a school teacher often the minister — and sometimes a public burying ground.

The Reverend Ralph Partridge was the first ordained minister. He assisted the aging Elder Brewster and officially became their leader in 1638. It was probably then that the First Meeting House was built on Chestnut Street, beside the present Old Burying Ground. The larger Second Meeting House replaced it in 1708.

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-------------------- Rev. Ralph Partridge, s. of Rev. Thomas Partridge, the perpetutal vicar (for life) of the parishes of Sutton-Valence, Lenham and Wiching (q.v. Witching) southeast and east of Maidstone, in Kent, and Thomas' apparent 1st wife Joan [NOT Joanne Burford, who was Ralph's step-mother]. He was baptized as "Rodolphus Partridge" Apr. 12, 1579 at St. Mary the Virgin church at Sutton-Valence [aka the Town of Sutton], in county Kent, England.

Per the Alumni record of Cambridge University, Ralph was admitted a sizer of Trinity College in circa 1595. He received his B.A. 1599-1600 and M.A. 1603. Although he was not formally licenced to preach until 1607, from prior to Dec. 1604 [first baptism under his name] to after Feb. 1633/4 [last baptism under his name] Ralph was curate of the small rural parish of Sutton-by-Dover (Sts. Peter & Paul Anglican Church). This parish is 3-miles southwest of Deal and just under 5-miles northeast of Dover in southeast Kent. At this parish five children appear of baptism record.

Ralph was twice married. His first wife 1) Priscilla was buried at Sutton-by-Dover Apr. 1, 1608, the same day their daughter Elizabeth was baptized, latter buried May 2, 1608. During his curacy only one period of possible importance in the parish register is missing (1606-7); whether or not that missing year included his first marriage will require further study.

On Jan. 14, 1608/9 at the small parish of Chillenden 5-miles northwest of Sutton-by-Dover, Ralph Partridge, minister of Sutton, m. Patience Batherst (q.v. Bathurst). Whether she was nee Bathurst or the widow Bathurst cannot be readily determined.[*1] The 1800 description of irregular-shaped Chillenden says this parish consisted of only 160 acres, or in U.S. land standards only 1/4 of a section of land.

That there are no children of record after 1619, and no burial entry recorded for Patience prior to early 1634, where the family was until Ralph left England in 1636 cannot be readily found. However, his younger half-brother Randolph had been a resident of near-by Dover since 1612 where he was an apothecary with a large family.

Ralph arrived at Salem, Mass. in Nov. 1636 after a voyage of 26 weeks [John Winthrop's Journal] and was soon installed as the first settled pastor of Duxbury, Mass. At Duxbury Ralph was involved in numerous land transactions. He was also involved in the ecclesiastic conference that lead to the Cambridge Platform, that formed the basis of the Congregational Church government in New England.

Per the Tyler transcription of parish register of Sutton-by-Dover:

By wife Priscilla:

• i. "Elizabeth Partrich, d. of Ralph Partrich," bp. Apr. 1, 1608 (the same day her mother was buried); buried there May 2, 1610.

By wife Patience Batherst:

• ii. "Antonie Partrich, s. of Ralph Partrich," bp. Nov. 4, 1610; buried there Nov. 5, 1610.

• iii. "Mary Patrich, d. of Ralph Patrich," bp. Aug. 2, 1612; m. John Marshall, Nov 24, 1631 at Sutton-by-Dover, who d. testate at Lenham, Kent between Oct. 8, 1656 (date of will) and Nov. 20, 1656 (date proved by wife Mary) [Perogative Court of Canterbury, Berkeley, 401]. Children baptized at Lenham: Robert, John, Mary, Ralph and Thomas, the eldest two named in their grand-uncle Gervase Partridge's will of June 1647, and again in their grandfather Rev. Ralph Partridge's will of 1655 at Duxbury. First born Robert Marshall would immigrate to New England and m. in 1660 at Plymouth, MA, Mary Barnes, daughter of John Barnes and Mary Plummer. Three known children b. at Plymouth and Boston, Mass.[*2]

• iv. "John Partrich, s. of Ralph Partrich," bp. Oct. 2, 1614; buried there Apr. 26, 1615.

• v. "Elisabeth Partrich, d. of Ralph Patrich," bp. May 9, 1619, d. June 2, 1664 at Weymouth, Mass.; m. 1) William Kemp of Duxbury, Mass., who d. intestate before Sep. 23, 1641 when Elizabeth filed the estate inventory; m. 2) May 11, 1643, Rev. Thomas Thacher, who d. Oct. 5, 1678 at Boston, Mass. One child by William Kemp and four children by Thomas Thacher.

Ralph died testate at Duxbury, Mass. between Sept. 29, 1655 (date of will) and Apr. 25, 1658 (date of estate inventory). Only two of Ralph's children, daughters Mary and Elizabeth, are named as heirs in Ralph's older brother Gervase's 1647 will at London and the same two daughters are included as the only named direct heirs in Ralph's 1655 will at Duxbury. Whether wife Patience died prior to the family arriving in New England or at Duxbury prior to 1655 cannot be determined.[*3]

The preceding adds further support to the following of genealogical importance to the descendants of Rev. Ralph Partridge.

Although Rev. Ralph Partridge and a George Partridge were living at Duxbury at the same time, and are separate ancestors of the memorialist, there is no proof, coincidental or otherwise, that they were related to one another. Specifically, there is no record that Rev. Partridge and George Partridge were mutually involved in any transaction recorded in the Plymouth Colony records or witnessed a transaction of the other, and no person named George Partridge is included in any manner in Rev. Ralph Partridge's 1655 will at Duxbury.

Nor is George Partridge of Duxbury included in the 1647 will of Ralph's brother Gervase at London, England, proved at London Aug. 20, 1647 [Genealogical Gleanings in England, Vol 1:720-22.] Had Ralph otherwise had an unrecorded son George, said George would have been Ralph's primary legal heir and presumed eldest nephew of Gervase. To the contrary, after the death of Gervase's wife Katherine multiple parcels of Gervase's extensive real estate holdings were to "come and be unto my brother Ralph Partrich, clerk, for life, and after his decease I give, will and appoint the same unto and amongst the two daughters of my said brother Ralph, vizt Mary the wife of John Marshall of Leneham [Lenham], Kent, mercer, and Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Thatcher, clerk, equally to be parted and divided between them."

By any reasonable intepretation of actual records, George Partridge of Duxbury was neither Ralph's son nor known kin.

[*1] On Oct. 19, 1579 at Chillenden, an Edward Batherst m. Elizabeth Besbeche [sic], but no baptisms of children from this marriage, or with the surname Batherst (q.v. Bathurst), appear in the Chillenden parish register. [*2] Savage's Dictionary of the Early Settlers of New England claims that John Marshall, Rev. Ralph Partridge's son-in-law, was "of Duxbury, had been of Lenhorn, in county Kent" when said John never ventured to New England. This error is the result of Savage misunderstanding why on Jan. 4, 1660/1 John's son Robert at Boston filed details regarding the 1631 marriage indenture between John Marshall's mother Sybil and Rev. Ralph Partridge. In all likelihood Robert Marshall had the subsequent document recorded following the death of his mother Mary, whose death cannot be readily found, in order to prove he was the legal heir of his father's estate. [*3] Included in Ralph's will is "to Anna Reiner my maid servant my 2cond Cow Calfe of this yeare." Anna was the dau. of Rev. John Reyner by his 1st wife Anna Boyes, formerly the 2nd pastor of the Plymouth, Mass. church (1636-1654). In 1654 Rev. Reyner relocated to Dover, NH where he died in 1669. Anna later married Job Lane of Billerica and Malden, Mass.

Revised 7/3/2013



      
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Rev. Ralph Partridge's Timeline

1579
April 12, 1579
Sutton-Valence, Kent, England
April 12, 1579
Sutton-Valence, Kent, England
April 12, 1579
Sutton Vallance, Kent, England
April 12, 1579
Sutton Vallance,Kent,England
April 12, 1579
Sutton Vallance, Kent, England
1608
April 1, 1608
Age 28
Sutton-by-Dover, Kent , England
1608
Age 28
1612
August 2, 1612
Age 33
Kent, England
1615
1615
Age 35
England
1619
May 9, 1619
Age 40
Sutton, Kent , England