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Church in New Hampshire


Church in New Hampshire
New Hampshire

The earliest settlements on the Piscataqua River were prompted by commercial motives. Religion was not an issue, as it was in the Puritan settlements of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. Most of the earliest arrivals probably professed some form of attachment to the Church of England; the earliest designation of church lands in Portsmouth was based on that assumption, though little evidence exists that Anglicanism was actively practiced. However, the original settlers were soon outnumbered by new arrivals from Massachusetts, almost all of them Puritans of some type.

Some of these newcomers were exiles from the Bay Colony, because they did not conform to its narrow theological and moral standards. Both Exeter and Hampton, for example, were founded by Puritan ministers who for different reasons were not welcome in Puritan Massachusetts. New Hampshire’s religious laws during its provincial period were modeled after those of Massachusetts but tended to be somewhat less restrictive and not as actively enforced. The one religious group that did face severe persecution in New Hampshire was the Quakers, who had formed a congregation, or meeting, in Dover. Influential Portsmouth residents established an Anglican church in 1732, in an attempt to win royal favor. Queen’s Chapel was served by a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, an organization affiliated with the Anglican church.

This church offered a fashionable alternative to the prevailing Puritan Congregationalism and a place of refuge for those alienated by the religious controversies of the Great Awakening, the revival of evangelical religion that swept the colonies in the 1740s. Two more Anglican congregations were established in the 1760s, one in Claremont and one in Holderness. In most towns, the established, tax-supported church was Congregational or, in the case of a few Scots-Irish towns, Presbyterian. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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