Alice Stuckey

Nathaniel Stuckey


From OUR UNITARIAN HERITAGE, 1925 by Earl Morse Wilbur

Two years after Bidle's death this work [i.e. A Twofold Catechism] was translated into Latin for circulation on the Continent by Nathaniel Stuckey, a lad of fifteen who had been a member of his congregation and was warmly attached to him. The boy died at sixteen, and the next year his mother undertook charge of the education of two of the children of Christopher Crellius, a distinguished Polish Socinian in exile. This indicates close relations between Bidle's followers and the Socinians on the continent. (Etc.)

Boston : Beacon Press 1925, Note on p. 304.




London Socinians
Of the three Socinian groups reported to be meeting in London in 1676, according to a Government informer, one met 'at the house of Mrs. Stutsky, a Polander's wife'. She is said to be entertaining 'young Crellius and his wife and other Socinians, and has meetings there upon set dayes'.1 The regular meeting fourteen years after the death of John Bidle is a fact to be noted, even though the report, typical of its kind, is garbled and unreliable in regard to detail. Mrs. 'Stutsky' was indeed no 'Polander's wife' but an Englishwoman and, not improbably, the widow of Hugh Stuckey, a merchant-tailor of St. Sepulchre, London, whose will was proved in 1665.2 Her only connexion with Poland was her friendship with Christopher Crell, son of the famous Socinian theologian, John Crell, whose [i.e. Christopher's] eldest son and daughter she adopted in 1668.3

A letter of Henry Hedworth, 5 June 1662, to which reference has already been made,4 shows that Christopher Crell, senior, visited England in that year. (Etc.)

In 1666 Christopher Crell was again in England. This time, if not before, he made the acquaintance in London of Mrs. Alice Stuckey, an influential member of John Bidle's old congregation, who only shortly before had lost her son, Nathaniel, a promising youth who had been a pupil of her old pastor. Luckily, an account of his father's travels written years after by Samuel Crell,[7] the second son of Christopher, senior, has been preserved. From this we learn that Mrs. Stuckey persuaded her Polish co-religionist, an exile and in poverty, to bring over two of his four children to England where she undertook to act as their foster-parent. Two years later (in 1668) their father made the journey with his eldest son, also named Christopher, and his daughter, and left them in Mrs. Stuckey's care. It is this brother and sister who are meant by the reference to 'young Crellius and his wife' in the report already quoted. The two young people were evidently educated at the good lady's expense, not perhaps without experiencing the bounty also of that generous-hearted philanthropist, Thomas Firmin.

Christopher Crell, junior, later studied medicine at Leyden, graduating M.D. on 6 July 1682,[] and being admitted Licentiate of the College of Physicians on 2 April 1683.[]    ...    He had dedicated his thesis in 1682, amongst others, 'to Mrs. Alice Stuckey, who brought him up ; Mr. Henry Hedworth; and Mr. Thomas Firmin'. (Etc.)     (pp. 288-90)


Of the active Socinian circle in London Mrs. Stuckey was evidently a prominent member. In one of Hedworth's letters to Knowles written in the autumn of 1662, shortly after the death of Bidle,[] occur some veiled allusions to contemporaries. Hedworth writes of the departure for Holland of his friend 'Mr. Spinoste' (i.e. Christopher Crell, senior, who evidently adopted the name Spinowski, though his son dropped it, as appears from the roll of the Royal College of Physicians).[]     ...     Hedworth and the Stuckeys must have been on terms of intimacy, and we may assume that Hedworth, the foreign traveller, first introduced Christopher Crell, senior, to Mrs. Stuckey in 1666. Behind this introduction and its consequences, the adoption of Christopher junior and his sister by Mrs. Stuckey, may lie the tragic circumstance of a double bereavement, for she appears to have lost both husband and only son in the previous year, the year of the Plague. Possibly both were victims of the same malady.

Nathaniel Stuckey died on 27 September 1665, at the early age of sixteen.[] According to Wood's information, he had been a pupil of Bidle in grammar and logic. He must also have been a very accomplished Latin scholar, since the year before he died he translated his master's Twofold Catechism into Latin, possibly with Thomas Firmin's encouragement, in order to give it wider currency abroad.[] The longer Catechism is dated 1664, the shorter has its own title page and is dated 1665. To these were added a sixteen-page essay on the passion and death of Christ and a Latin letter from Jeremiah Felbinger to Bidle, to which reference has already been made.[]

Oxford 1951, pp. 288-292


Bibliographic ( University of California )

Author Biddle, John, 1615-1662. Title Duae catecheses [microform] : quarum prior simpliciter vocari potest catechesis scripturalis posterior, brevis catechesis scripturalis pro parvulis ... / primum quidem a' Johanne Biddello ... ; in Latinam linguam translatŠ per Nathanaelem Stuckey, 1664. Publisher [London : s.n.], 1664. Description 214, [1] p. Series Early English books, 1641-1700 ;808:16. Note Reproduction of original in Cambridge University Library. Errata p. [1] Language Latin


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Last updated 17 November 2003


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