Anne Hutchinson was born in 1591 in Alford
, the daughter of Reverend
and Bridget Dryden
. Her father was imprisoned twice for preaching against
English ministers. Despite this he also was the rector of St. Martin's Vintry
, London, rector of St.
, Soper Lane
, and finally rector of St. Margaret
's, New Fish Street
On August 9, 1612 she married a merchant, William Hutchinson and the two of them came over to
Boston on the "Griffin" in 1634. In Boston she started a discussion group for women to discuss
after sermons as was common among the men. While these discussions originally focused just on the
previous weeks sermon Anne eventually started sharing her own opinions which varied from the
established voice of the Boston ministers. She argued that true godliness came from inner
experience of the Holy Spirit not from true conformity with the religious laws.
Because of her teachings and her reputation as a midwife Anne attracted a big following. One of
her followers Sir Henry Vane become governor of the colony, and with his help she attempted to
have her brother-in-law, John Wheelwright installed as minister of the Boston church. Needless to
say the current church leadership. The church leaders, men like John Winthrop and John Wilson
were not happy about this, they saw questioning the church as questioning the State and branded
Anne and her followers as the heresy of "Antinomianism", (a belief that Christians are not bound by
In 1637 John Winthrop became governor, ousting Henry Vane. Winthrop imposed restrictions
immigrants in order to keep out people sympathetic to Anne's views. He then banned private
meetings of Anne's followers whom had been branded the Antinomians. Since Anne continued to
hold her meetings charges were filed against her and Wheelwright, who were put on trial for heresy
before a meeting of the General Court. While originally they were going to dismiss the charges, she mentioned several revelations she had recieved that condemed the State. The court voted to banish her from the colony, "as being a woman not fit for our society" and a false prophet.
Anne was put under house arrest till the spring when she was brought to trial before the elders of
the church of Boston on March 15, 1638. Reverend Wilson delivered her excommunication.:
"I doe cast you out and in the name of Christ I doe deliver you up to Satan, that you may learne
no more to blaspheme, to seduce, and to lye."
To which Anne replied:
"The Lord judgeth not as man judgeth, better to be cast out of the
church than to deny Christ."
They were unhappy not just for religious differences, but
because she was acting inappropriately for a woman. She was accused of
"being a husband rather
than a wife, a preacher rather than a hearer, and a magistrate rather than a subject".
Anne Hutchinson with her husband, children and 60 followers settled in the land of the
Narragansetts. They they purchased the island of Aquidneck (Peaceable Island), now part of
Rhode Island and founded the town of Pocasset, later Portsmouth.
When her husband died in 1642 Anne and her family moved to the Dutch colony in New York.
There Anne was killed when the Mohegans raided the Hutchinson house and slaughtered Anne and
five of her youngest children.