The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Mrs. Haddington, "a woman of fine parts.".

Richard Farnham and John Bull of Colchester were two weavers from Colchester who, in 1636, managed to persuade a small band of followers that they were 'prophets not ordinary but the two prophets who should come at the end of the world' and that, because "England is full of abominations, idolatries and whoredoms" the end of time would soon arrive. Only their followers would be saved because "they have the power to shut heaven... and power over water to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues"

Farnham developed a passion for a sailors' wife, Mrs. Haddington, one of his female devotees, "a woman of fine parts.". Her husband was at sea in the Far East. He therefore claimed that "God hath moved Richard Farnham the weaver as he did Hosea the prophet, to take himself another man's wife, viz., a wife of whoredoms". Hosea was, according to the bible, to degrade himself by marrying a whore. Farnham "..deluded and persuaded her that he was a prophet [and] she, in obedience to him as a prophet (so she sayeth) was married to him not withstanding her husband was alive at sea" The Local authorities were to prove less easily peruaded than Mrs Harrington that Farnham was a new Hosea, although they were able to agree that Mrs. Haddington was a whore, and arrested them both.

Mr. Haddington, the sailor, returned home from the far east to find his wife was in jail. "He laid his wife in Newgate, where she was arraigned and condemned for having two husbands" The authorities decided "that the seaman should have his wife again, who, accordingly, took her and lay with her in prison." Mrs. Haddington was released from prison into her husband's custody.
All went well until Mr. Haddington went back to sea. Mrs. Haddington then "returned to Farnham in Newbrideswell, where he was a prisoner". She then had sex with the captive Farnham and thereby "..was content to lose the glory of being esteemed an honest woman and to be accounted a wife of whoredoms that she might occasion, as she did conceive, the fulfilling of the prophecy". Farnham and his associate Bull, who had also been imprisoned, then caught the plague and were released from prison to die soon afterwards

Farnham's handful of followers were convinced that, like Christ, he would rise from the grave.They felt sure that Farnham had already died once earlier, "which accordingly he did upon January 8,1641". Farnham and Bull would, surely, rise after three days, and their followers "drank to these dead friends Farnham and Bull, saying that they be certain they are alive and shall return to rule this kingdom with a rod of iron." They were puzzled when he did not rise on the third day and return to the sect, and they therefore reasoned "that Farnham and Bull are gone to covert the ten tribes." Having done so and returned to their flock, "Richard Farnham should be king upon David's throne and John Bull should be priest in Aaron's seat and they should reign forever". At that time, "then Scripture was fulfilled and not before."

The court was moved to remark "how fearfully these poor souls were deluded"

False Prophets Diecovered 1642


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