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The First Russian Students in England
This extraordinary story was brought to my attention by an intriguing footnote. It told me only that four young Russian men had been sent to England by Tsar Boris to learn English, but that the Time of Troubles had prevented their return.
What initially intrigued me about this remarkable early foreign-exchange project were the individual stories. If the young men had not returned to Russia, then what had become of them? I decided to try to find out. The quest has led to some surprising places.
Three of the four have obligingly revealed their life histories, all instructive in their own way. Two led adventurous lives which might have come straight from the pages of an historical novel. Both fought and died for the interests of their adopted country. A third disclosed some strikingly modern issues in international relations. Meanwhile, the fourth as yet remains vague and obscure - though I have far from given up looking for him.
Please feel free to copy and distribute any of this material. I would also be very grateful for any response - comments, corrections, criticism, pointers to new leads? - to this account of three-and-a-half lives.
Cathi Szulinski email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the same subject an article of Kuznetsov, 2000, in Russian___
Part One: The Four Young Russians
In England in the year 1668, an elderly clergyman made his will and died. Since his wife had long predeceased him, he left the bulk of his possessions to his eldest son, whilst small amounts went to his other remaining children. The will was short, to the point, and unremarkable. Nothing about this very ordinary document indicated that this man, the Anglican rector of a rural Huntingdonshire parish, had an extraordinary life story to tell.
The man who on his deathbed called himself Mekepher Alphery had started life thousands of miles from the gently-rolling countryside of England's Eastern Midlands. Mekepher Alpheriev syn Grigoriev was born into a Russian lesser gentry family, and the story of how he came to end his life an Anglican clergyman has intrigued the historically curious for over three centuries.
Mekepher was one of four young men sent to England by Tsar Boris in the year 1602. His early life is a blank to history, but it is possible his family included Tsar Ivan Grozny's 'pechatnik' or official printer (1). Of the other three young men - Sofon Mikhailov syn Kozhukhov, Kazarin Davydov, and Fyodor Semyonov syn Kostomarov - even less is known. Perhaps the most we can say is that all four belonged to the 'deti boyarski', that class of service gentry who provided the Russian state's military leaders and administrators, and could have looked forward to lives spent in battle or in official service. In fact, life had something quite other in store for these young men. The only other thing we know for certain is that all were between 18 and 20 years old when they were selected by the Tsar to make a journey to England. Mekepher seems to have been the youngest of the four.
To understand the outcome of Tsar Boris' bold experiment, it will help to look back still further, to the year 1553. In that year, three ships had set sail from London in search of the fabled North-East Passage to China and the Indies. It was to be an epic voyage of trade and exploration, carrying English cloth to be bartered for the spices and silks of Cathay, but it was destined never to reach the mystic east. The North-East Passage was to resist discovery for a further three centuries. Instead, the ships became separated in a storm off the Northern cape of Norway. Two of them stumbled upon Novaya Zemlya before veering wildly back towards Lapland, where they were trapped off Arzina by the ice. No-one saw them - alive - again. They were discovered by Russian fishermen in the Spring, each man frozen solid. The Russians, it seems, preserved their goods until they could be reclaimed.
The third ship, meanwhile, had avoided the treacherous weather and sailed into the comparative calm of the White Sea. Her Captain, Richard Chancellor, was astonished to learn that all this vast land belonged to the Great Lord Ivan Vasilyevich, and once in Moscow, he was even more overwhelmed by the magnificence of this unknown sovereign's court. He presented his letters of introduction from Queen Mary I, which, fortunately enough, included a Greek translation. When he returned to England, Chancellor had to admit that although he hadn't found the North-East Passage, he did have a document signed by the hand of Tsar Ivan 'the Terrible' granting generous trade privileges to English merchants throughout the whole of Russia. It was the start of the English Muscovy Company, the first of the great trading companies that were - with somewhat mixed results - to help shape British history over the next four centuries.
By the time of Tsar Boris, English trade was a well-established fact in Russia. Each year, a number of English ships would arrive at the mouth of the Dvina, close to what would soon become the thriving port of Archangel. There, they unloaded their goods for distribution and loaded up with Russian cargo for the return voyage. The single most important item of Anglo-Russian trade was naval cordage. Russian cable and rope supplied the ships that defeated the Armada, and the great voyages of the East India Company - of which, much more later - couldn't have taken place without them.
In the fifty years since the trade began, there had grown up in Moscow, Archangel, Vologda and other places a generation of Russified Englishmen, sons of the Company's agents, bred to follow their fathers into trade. These men spoke good Russian, had a deeper understanding of the society and its customs, and were able to avoid many of the cultural misunderstandings that had dogged their fathers' generation.
One such man was John Merrick. Merrick is ubiquitous in the literature; it is impossible to read anything about Anglo-Russian trade and diplomatic relations in the early seventeenth century without tripping over his name. In Russian documents he appears, thinly disguised, as Ivan Ulyanov, the name and patronymic he himself used in Russia. William Merrick had been a well-known Company Agent in Russia for many years, but his son now eclipsed even his reputation. John Merrick not only enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Tsar - some of his letters even betray an unsuspected degree of intimacy - but everyone who has left written record of him seems to have liked him.
Besides acting as Senior Agent of the Muscovy Company, the personable and intelligent Merrick wore many other hats: he translated for Queen Elizabeth and acted as her ambassador; he escorted home to Europe two foreign youths who had been studying Russian in Moscow, and once even signed himself Tsar Boris' 'hollope' - kholop, or bonded man. In 1617 he reached the pinnacle of his diplomatic career when, as Sir John Merrick, Knight, he helped to negotiate the Treaty of Stolbovo between 'the two proud princes' Tsar Mikhail Romanov and King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Meanwhile, he made his personal fortune in trade, not only in Russia, but also in the Levant and in the East Indies.
It is often said in the West that Tsar Boris wished to found a University in Moscow. That much is far from certain, but what is certain is that in the early years of the seventeenth century he sent a number of young men abroad to learn foreign languages. Even the number is obscure - there may have been eighteen in total. Some may have gone to France, although nothing more seems to be known about them. Certainly five went to the Hanseatic town of Lubeck, where they annoyed the Burgomeister by behaving badly and refusing to learn. They had been somewhat reluctantly taken on board at the last minute by the Hanse ambassador, who reports that since his embassy to Moscow had gone well, he didn't feel he could 'properly' refuse. Perhaps this goes some way to account for their apparent ill-demeanour abroad. But despite the efforts of the Lubeck Burgomeister and Councillors to repatriate them, none of these young men ever returned to their homes.
About the four young men in England, more is known. They were the first to leave Russia, departing from Archangel on 30 July, 1602 in the English ships. The object of their visit was to learn English and Latin, and although we don't know how long the Tsar imagined their education would take, it is clear they are expected to return within some reasonable period.
Given the omnipresence of Merrick, it seems almost natural to find him in charge of the youths' education and welfare in England. The whole project was to be conducted at the expense of the Muscovy Company, which was already accustomed to pay the costs of the Queen's embassies to Moscow and to find the living expenses of Russian ambassadors in London. Yet there is no note of reluctance about Merrick's acceptance of the task, and in fact, he seems to have taken the long view about English influence in Moscow.
The youths arrived off Tilbury in early September and came upriver with Merrick to London. By the end of September they had been presented to Queen Elizabeth at Oatlands, her Surrey palace, where they caused enough of a stir to merit mention in a newsgatherer's letter. Russians were something of an exotic, and slightly scary, novelty to the English, as the plays of Shakespeare and Thomas Lodge reveal. Londoners had been in awe of them since the first Muscovite Ambassador, Osep Napea, arrived in their city in 1557, with a dramatic tale to tell of shipwreck and loss of life off the Aberdeenshire coast. Even the London apprentices, notorious for their ill-treatment of the hapless foreigner, might have hesitated to hurl their clods of London clay at such daunting 'strangers'.
At their audience with the Queen, it appears she promised the youths that she would attend personally to finding schools for them. All the same, it wasn't long before John Merrick was writing to her Secretary, Robert Cecil, and tactfully enquiring whether he shouldn't go ahead and make some arrangement himself.
There, unfortunately, the trail goes cold for a while. There is one reference to their being dispersed to Eton, Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge, but, with the exception of Mekepher, I have found no record of their being enrolled in any of the schools there. However, school admission records for the period are scant, where they exist at all. Some of them, in those class-conscious times, list only pupils of a particular social class. Some have been put together piecemeal - and with painstaking effort - from a dizzying medley of bursars' accounts, punishment books, donation lists, matriculation records and the entrance lists of university colleges to which the schools were attached. Some have even been supplemented by collecting the names traditionally carved into the fabric of the building by pupils about to leave school! Given all this, it is by no means necessary to conclude that three of our four youths were not there.
It isn't until 1609 that the next trace of the Russian students appears in English records, and then, it comes from a very unexpected source. In the next part of this essay, we shall be following Sofon Kozhukhov, and his fellow Kazarin Davydov, to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.
(1) A Huntingdonshire local historian and his Russian wife, Ian and Marina Burrell, are currently looking into this possibility. I have regularly compared notes and exchanged information about Alphery with Mr & Mrs Burrell, and should like to acknowledge their contribution to my knowledge and understanding of his story.
Part Two: Sofony Cozucke and Cassarian David
In the record books of the English East India Company of March 1609 there appears the curious note that one 'Sophony, the Russe,' has been given the sum of ?20. On further examination, this proves to be none other than Sofon Mikhailov syn Kozhukhov, who has been taken on as part of the Company's Fifth Voyage. To the Company, he is Sofony Cozucke, hired as Purser's Mate on board the great ship The Expedition bound for Bantam in Java. Once there, he is contracted to stay in the Indies for a further seven years, acting as a Company 'factor'.
It was seven years since the first ships of the East India Company had anchored off Bantam, and though business had at first been a little shaky, it was now booming. There was no shortage of applicants for the job Sofon had been given, for the very words 'East Indies' conjured up in the minds of ambitious young men a heady blend of adventure, exploration and untold riches. To the timeless lure of diamonds and gold were added the scented charms of nutmeg and cloves, the exotic luxury items of the day. If the reality of a job in the Indies often proved to mean near-death from scurvy after eight months at sea or malarial fever in the pestilential swamps of Indonesia, the prospect of vast fortunes to be made continued to attract the enterprising. The intense competition for places enabled the Company to choose its employees with care: they had to be able to demonstrate a relevant aptitude and be 'of blameless character'. Most had previous experience with one of the other trading companies or the Merchant Adventurers. Above all else, it was almost impossible to gain employment without being recommended by a patron connected with the Company.
So how had Sofon Kozhukhov come to be there? To answer this question, we shall have to return from the East Indies and turn direct our attention once more to Russia.
While Sofon and the three other young men pored over Cicero and baffled themselves with English grammar, their homeland was entering upon the undisputed darkest period of its history. Scholars disagree about the exact point at which the Time of Troubles began, but by 1609, it was certainly well under way. I don't propose here to outline the chaotic catalogue of pretenders, revolts, dynastic strife and foreign invasion that dogged these dark years, although it contains some fascinating history. It is enough for our purposes to say that the death of Tsar Boris in 1605 had left the four young men he had sent abroad in an invidious position. Boris had continued the policy of his predecessors in encouraging contact with the West, but many in Russia had found this policy hard to stomach. His tolerance towards Protestant ideas had shocked some; for others, there were commercial motives for wanting the much-favoured foreigners gone from the Kitaigorod. Now, with the country engaged in a struggle for its very survival, the return of four young men from hundreds of miles away in a foreign land must have been very far from the forefront of anyone's mind.
Anyone, that was, except for John Merrick, who we must remember had been charged with the welfare of the young men. Unlike most of his compatriots, Merrick had remained in Russia long enough to write an account of Bolotnikov's revolt, which reached its height in 1606. He negotiated trade charters with both the first False Dmitri and Tsar Vasily Shuisky who replaced him. He was well-aware of the situation in Russia. When he returned to England shortly afterwards, he must have been wondering what to do with his four young charges until they could return in safety to their country.
For two of them, it seems he found his answer in the East India Company. Mercantile London was a small world in the early seventeenth century, even more than it is today. A complex network of kinship, marriage-ties, common interests and friendship held together a small band of elite merchants, like Merrick, mostly living in and around the Leadenhall Street area of the City - the Square Mile, as it is now known. They - or their fathers - had banded together to invest in ventures, forming overlapping networks of investors in the various trading companies: the Muscovy, East India, Levant and Turkey Companies to name only the most famous. These were the fantastically-wealthy men who ran English overseas trade.
Like many other Muscovy Company investors, Merrick was also a member of the East India Company. He was certainly in England in 1609. There is no direct evidence, so far as I know, that he was the patron who introduced Sofon Kozhukhov to the Company, but as we shall see, the hypothesis does receive some confirmation a little later in our story.
However it had come about, 'Sofony' was on his way to Java. Bantam was the hub of East India trade, standing as it did at the nexus of many local trade routes. It had three miles of bustling waterfront, teeming with junks, prahus and other local craft, and no less than three long-established markets. Long before the Europeans - the English and the Dutch - arrived in their great ships, Indian, Javanese and Chinese merchants were meeting there to exchange goods: silks, indigo and diamonds, spices, sandalwood and opium. It also had a climate which Europeans found intolerable, and a mortality rate that made overcrowded London look like a health spa. Within six months, of three young men left in Bantam as factors by the Expedition, only Sofony remained alive.
This scale of mortality meant one thing: if you survived, promotion prospects were good. After three years in Bantam, Sofony was not only surviving, but embarking upon an illustrious career. It had been decided to send him out to Sukudan in Borneo, where a plentiful supply of diamonds had been found, to open up a new 'factory' (trading house) there. Before he could leave, however, there was a ripple of fresh excitement in Bantam: the ships of the Company's Eighth Voyage had been sighted off the coast. Among the newcomers was a man known by the name of Cassarian David.
It was Sofony's Russian countryman, Kazarin. When had they last set eyes upon each other? Was it when they parted for their separate schools a decade before? Or had there been contact between them since? We don't know, but there are strong hints that John Merrick was behind at least this arrival. In the first of his letters home, 'Cassarian' acknowledges Merrick's favours to him and promises his best endeavours for the Company. Clearly, Merrick has done something akin to providing him with a reference. Just as we suspected in the case of Sofony, he is the patron who has found Kazarin a job.
Unfortunately, this account would blossom into a full-scale book, were I to recount all that is known about Sofony and Cassarian's time in Indonesia. At times, we have almost a day-to-day account of their movements in the letters of the East India factors to their employers in London. The story, therefore, has had to be greatly condensed - at the expense of some lively detail, which I greatly regret. Someday, I hope perhaps to be able to cover the subject more fully.
We had better content ourselves with saying that both had eventful lives. Sofony, in Sukudan, found himself navigating the creeks and rapids of Borneo in search of trading partners, and coming to blows with the head-hunting Dyak people of the uncharted interior. Faced with hundreds of these fearsome warriors armed with deadly poison blowpipes and long knives, he seems to have kept his head long enough to seize up, prime and fire a musket - no split-second process. Sofony Cozucke seems to have been a dynamic, energetic man whose name was known all over the Indies - in a variety of creative spellings. Kazarin, or Cassarian, on the other hand, is more contemplative - if his letters are anything to go by. Where Sofony seems to crave adventure, Cassarian seeks peace. Unfortunately for him, the East Indies was the last place on earth he should have chosen for that.
Before the joint-stock voyages which came later, each Company voyage was treated as a separate investment. What this meant was that between the men of the various Voyages, there was often intense rivalry. Instead of trading in concert as agents of a single company, factors from different voyages bid against each other, lowering profits instead of maximising them. By 1614, this rivalry had become personal - and bitter.
The English factories in Bantam were in a parlous state. Various rival contenders squabbled over the title of Chief Factor, a distinction which in any case no longer carried any authority. Half mad with fever, they attacked each other with drawn swords. Instead of working, they spent their time in drinking- dens downing arrack, a local rice spirit of fearsome strength, and consorting with native prostitutes. Amid all this chaos, Cassarian stood aloof. He ploughed a lonely furrow in a factory of his own and denounced the chief culprits to the Company by letter.
Cassarian's letters are interesting. They are florid, over-written, and wordy - even for the seventeenth century. His images are often Biblical, and in an age when men routinely speak of God, real religious conviction comes across in them. It is interesting to note that one of the things of which he accuses his quarrelsome colleagues is vanity - not, at that time, a mere unfortunate character defect, but a sin. He is pious, in the best sense of the word. It seems that Cassarian, at least, has made a serious religious conversion. He is no longer Orthodox, but Protestant. Returning to Russia, if it ever becomes a possibility, may present problems for him.
Meanwhile, there was adventure in store for him, too. Finding himself at Sukudan at around the same time as Sofony was becoming embroiled with the Dyak, he assembled a native crew and went exploring along the southern coast of Borneo in search of new markets. At first, all went well at Sambas, but as time went on, he became convinced that the local King was trying to poison him. After having turned down no less than three dinner invitations, he had all his goods packed up in the dead of night and fled with the first light. After a hair- raising voyage he returned to Sukudan, collected six English colleagues and set out once more to do business. His next port of call was Banjarmassin, where he at last found something of that peace he craved.
Banjarmassin is built on water. It is picturesque in the extreme even today, with its houses on stilts and its floating markets. It is easy to see why Cassarian might have found it so utterly charming. Waxing lyrical, he declares it 'as like as may be' to the Land of Canaan, flowing with milk and honey. Food is plentiful and cheap, the people are hospitable, and there are trade goods in abundance. Cassarian sent away his six colleagues for supplies and stayed there alone, making arrangements. As was the case in all of coastal Borneo, the goods Englishmen desired were diamonds - plucked from the river beds when the water was at its lowest, in much the same perilous way as in other parts of the world men dived for pearls - alluvial gold, and perhaps the weirdest commodity ever to be traded between peoples: bezoar stones. Bezoar stones are concretions found in the entrails of goats, much prized in Europe as an antidote to various poisons.
Modern Indonesia consists of 13,677 islands, of which around 6000 are inhabited. The ones which are going to concern us now are tiny. Around one thousand miles east of Banjarmassin lie the South Mollucas: Ceram, and its smaller neighbour, Ambon. A hundred miles to the south of these are the Banda Islands. Lonthor, the largest of the six main Bandas, is barely eight miles long, and Pulo Run ('Run Island'
, one of the smallest, only two. Nevertheless, in the early seventeenth century, these pocket-handkerchief scraps of islands exercised an influence way out of proportion to their size. Vast fortunes were to be made there, and a great many lives were lost in pursuit of its riches. For nowhere else in the world did the nutmeg tree flourish so abundantly as in the Bandas, and more to the point, nutmegs and mace - the dried membrane surrounding the fruit - could be bought cheaply, shipped back to London in vast quantities, and traded at a staggering profit running into thousands per cent.
The Banda nutmeg trade was at that time almost exclusively in the hands of the Dutch. This was nothing new; English merchants had been beaten to Bantam by their great trade rivals, whose own East India Company, the VOC, had a five year head start on them. All the same, competition up until this point had been reasonably friendly. The men drank together in Bantam, occasionally getting into drunken brawls in the streets, but generally sticking together as Europeans a long way from home. Indeed, the Javans found it hard to distinguish between them. Any serious rivalry in the Indies had always fallen out along religious lines, between the two Protestant nations and the Catholic Spaniards and Portuguese. The English traded where they chose, and so did the Dutch, competing much as they did in other parts of the world - in Russia, for one example.
All that was about to change, and in part, the change was fuelled by the animosity between two men: John Jourdain, Chief Factor for the English in Bantam, and Jan Pieterzoon Coen, the future Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Even Dutch historians agree that Coen was no teddy-bear, and he shocked the more moderate of his colleagues at the time. His philosophy of commerce was simple: there could be, he said, no trade without war, nor war without trade. As for Jourdain, he was stubborn and a good hater. The two had first met in the Moluccas, when Coen had refused Jourdain permission to land at Ambon, and from there, things had gone from bad to worse. From then on, Jourdain hated Dutchmen. When the Company's factor on Butung, a staging post on the way to the Moluccas, reported back to him that the Bandanese were finding Dutch war-and- trade policy unpalatable, Jourdain had personal reasons for listening to his suggestions. No Dutchman was going to tell John Jourdain where he could and couldn't trade.
Jourdain looked around for a man with a cool head to be the English presence in the Bandas. His eye fell upon the adventurous Sofony Cozucke. It was the start of 'a hellish life' for the young Russian and the few men who went with him to the Banda Islands. They helped the islanders of Pulo Ay, one of the westernmost of the Banda islands, to repel a Dutch invasion force which outnumbered them by two to one. Their little stockaded factory on Ay was continually harrassed by the Dutchmen, who drew their swords in the house and repeatedly ordered them to leave the island.
Towards the end of the year, Sofony returned to Bantam with six of the 'Oran Kayas' or chief citizens of Ay Island. They knew only too well that their amazing victory against the Dutchmen was merely a temporary reprieve, and had come up with a plan they hoped would save their island from conquest. Sofony had translated into English a letter written by the Oran Kayas to John Jourdain. They now wished to go to Bantam in person to discuss it.
The letter offered the English merchants a monopoly of trade with Ay Island, in return for munitions and military aid against their enemies. But Jourdain, much as he might have loved to, could not by himself declare war on the Dutch. He agreed to provide ships and men to defend the English factory, and sent Sofony and the chiefs back again to Ay. It was a predictable response, from a European point of view, but all the same, the Oran Kayas must have been disappointed. Still worse was yet to come.
Just as the little fleet was about to sail, two more English ships appeared in Bantam road. Jourdain happily added them to the expedition, but as things turned out, it was a fateful addition. Samuel Castleton, who commanded the two newly-arrived ships, was put in charge of the fleet over Sofony while it was at sea - on land, Sofony was back in charge. Castleton's past was about to alter the history of the Banda Islands.
When the little fleet reached the Bandas, almost the first things they saw in Neira harbour were nine Dutch galleys and a very warlike sloop. In any engagement there might be, the English were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Castleton prepared to go aboard and parley with the Dutch commander. Hostages were arranged, and a ship's boat brought him to the Dutch flagship. But when the two men came face to face, something astonishing happened. Admiral Jan Dirckszoon van Lam was as surprised to see Sam Castleton as Castleton was to see him.
Some four years earlier, Castleton had been watering at St Helena when he was attacked by two Portuguese ships. He was forced to cut his cables and put to sea, leaving half his men on the little rocky island. They must have thought he had abandoned them - but Castleton knew that two Dutch vessels had just left port, and he had gone to enlist their aid. Sure enough, the Dutch captain turned back and came to Castleton's rescue, saving his life and those of his stranded men. The Dutchman, of course, was Jan Dirckszoon van Lam.
These two old friends now sat down and settled the matter of Ay Island like gentlemen. Van Lam called off the invasion for the time being, while Castleton promised not to interfere with any future invasion plan. The English factory was to be left alone so long as its men remained neutral. It was a sell-out for the Ay Islanders. Sofony went ashore to communicate the agreement to his assistant Richard Hunt, who all this time had been bravely remaining on Ay. Both he and Hunt must have known exactly how the islanders would react. Sofony then left, as he had been directed, with the ships for Bantam.
To his credit, Richard Hunt broke this charming gentlemen's agreement almost as soon as the ink was dry. Within days, he had met the Oran Kayas of Ay and of neighbouring Pulo Run. When the Dutch invaded, he fled to Bantam bearing a remarkable document. The Oran Kayas of Ay and Run had voluntarily granted sovereignty over their land to King James I of England. These pocket- handkerchief islands were some of the first far-flung corners of the globe to call themselves 'English soil', and it had been done to prevent, rather than as a result of, bloodshed.
Unfortunately, the Bandanese surrender counted for little with van Lam. He went ahead and invaded all the same. The vanquished Ay islanders fled to Run, to which the Dutch, as yet, had paid little attention.
At this point, a man named Nathaniel Courthope must enter our story. Courthope was the man charged with the defence of Run from the Dutch, and there was no possibility whatsoever of his entering into a gentlemen's agreement with Admiral van Lam. His incredible story reads like a Boys' Own adventure - and it is also the story of Sofon Kozhukhov and Kazarin Davydov.
Sofony Cozucke was among the men who sailed with Courthope for Pulo Run. He was Chief Factor, in charge of trade matters, while Courthope commanded the two ships - the mighty Swan, and a smaller vessel, the Defence.
Pulo Run is a small, rocky island some two miles long and three quarters of a mile across at its widest point. Midway between its two precipitous extremities lies a small natural harbour, but apart from this, its steep cliffs and dangerous reefs make it an easy place to defend. Its great demerit, however, was that there was no fresh water and no food grown on the island - apart, that is, from seven hundred acres of nutmeg. Without supplies, no defence would be possible. The island, with its sole safe landing-spot, was extremely ill- equipped to withstand a blockade.
The Oran Kayas of Run and Ay came out in small boats to meet the English ships. Sitting down with Courthope, Sofony, and a third man, they repeated their former surrender. On board the Swan, they once more presented a letter stating that they freely gave their land, its people, and their produce to the English king. "And as it hath beene done heeretofore," read the closing lines of the translation, "so at this time we doe renew it with Nathaniel Courthop, Sophon Cozocke, and Thomas Spurway." For the Russian youth sent abroad to learn his Latin, it is quite a leap to be named in one of the earliest colonial documents of his adopted country.
Meanwhile, there was work to be done on Pulo Run. The men dug in, fortifying their positions and building look-out posts. They hauled some of the heavy guns from the ships and mounted them on the cliffs overlooking the harbour. Barely had they finished when right on cue, the Dutch arrived to see what they were doing. After a hasty Council of War consisting of five men, including Sofony, they met the commander, Cornelius Dedel. Courthope showed him the islanders' surrender and gave him a midnight deadline to remove his three ships from Run's tiny harbour. Dedel chose to concede the point, for the time being.
Some three weeks later, water supplies were running low. Courthope and the Swan's master, John Davis, argued about how more was to be brought in. Courthope favoured asking the islanders to bring it from Lonthor, but Davis disagreed. He said they would bring collected rainwater, which would make them all sick. Instead, he proposed taking the Swan to a watering-place on Lonthor. Davis, despite a fondness for drink and a querulous nature, was a formidable veteran seaman whose sailors respected him. Fifty-two of them volunteered to go with him. Courthope, who was sick and in no mood to argue, relented.
Just as the Swan was about to sail, word reached Run that the inhabitants of Rosengin, the remotest of the Banda Islands, had also given their surrender. Now it was arranged that the Swan should first call at Rosengin, taking Sofony to receive the necessary documents.
Why this plan wasn't carried out is a mystery. No explanation appears in the records. Davis sailed as arranged for Rosengin, and Sofony even conducted some trade there. But instead of then setting a course for Lonthor to water, he steered the Swan instead towards Ceram, a day's sail away from the Bandas. It was a fatal error. Leaving Gulagula on Ceram on February 2, 1617, the Swan encountered the warlike Morgensterre, under the command of Cornelius Dedel. In little over an hour and a half, she and her crew had been taken. Five men had been killed, three were maimed and unlikely to survive, and eight less seriously hurt.
The stout-hearted Sofony Cozucke was on deck when the action began. Of the first three shots fired by the Dutch cannon, one came straight at the Russian. He was the first man to die in defence of English territory in the East Indies, 'torne in pieces by a great shot'.
Word of Sofony's death spread through the Indies like a shock wave. For months after that day in February 1617, the letters of factors dotted all over the region repeat again and again the news. The same two facts recur and recur: the mighty Swan captured by the Dutchmen, and Sofony Cozucke 'slain with a great shot'. Four other men died that day, but always it is 'Sophonie', 'Mr Suffone', and even 'your servant signor Shophie Cossicke' who is mentioned in tones of outrage and horror. This last came from a factor who spent his days in the distant factory at Yedo, in Japan. Evidently the Russian was extremely well- known and liked among his colleagues.
We are not, however, done yet with the extraordinary story of Pulo Run. The next disaster to hit Courthope and his men was the loss of their remaining ship, the Defence. Nine disaffected sailors cut her loose in the night and turned themselves over to the Dutch. The men on Run were now entirely dependent on small native craft and on supplies from Bantam, which were due to arrive any day.
But the supplies from Bantam never arrived. John Jourdain had gone home at the end of his contract, and the new Chief Factor, George Ball, cared more for lining his own pockets than for the defence of Run. He neglected to send any ships for the Bandas until it was too late. The monsoon turned, and another six months would have to elapse before any ships could sail - for half the year, the prevailing winds blew in the wrong direction for the journey. Meanwhile the stubborn Courthope continued to hold the island with his company of thirty-nine men, despite being offered terms by the new Dutch Governor-General. For food, they survived on credit extended to them by the islanders, and sold their own personal possessions.
By mid-March 1618, they must have been close to desperation. Another year had drifted by, the monsoon had turned, and soon it would turn once again. Mere days of westerly wind remained to bring their much-needed supplies. It wasn't until the morning of March 25 that the lookout raised the alarm: two English ships, flying in their maintops the cross of St George, had appeared with the very last of the westerly monsoon. Courthope and his men lined the cliffs and cheered for joy.
The vessels were the Solomon and the Attendance, and the man in command of them was none other than Cassarian David. They were not having an easy journey. Already, they had lost contact with the third vessel of their fleet, the Thomas, in a storm. Both were heavily-laden with rice and other essentials, and the Solomon rode so low in the water that the lower tier of her ordnance couldn't be used. Cassarian and his sailors must have been as pleased to see the cliffs of Run as the men lining them were to see them.
But there was still some way to go to reach harbour. Five leagues off, they waited for the wind to bring them in. One more day of favourable weather would be enough. Both the men on the cliff and those on board would have seen the four great Dutch vessels to the east of them. They were some distance off, and posed no danger while the winds remained from the west.
The winds, however, didn't remain from the west. The monsoon chose that very day to change its direction. That afternoon, a good strong gale arose, delaying the English ships and bringing the Dutch bearing down upon them with alarming speed. Three leagues off Run, in full view of Courthope and his men, they came within range of Cassarian's two ships. This time, the battle lasted for some seven hours.
Outgunned and surrounded by enemy ships, with three men dead and fourteen wounded, Cassarian saw little point in continuing the fight. When the Dutch ship the Trow came alongside, he agreed to strike his flags and go aboard for a parley. He never returned. By nightfall, the men of the Solomon and the Attendance were stripped of their clothes and valuables, dispersed in irons between the four Dutch vessels. Cassarian, with one English boy to serve him, had been taken to the grim Castle Revenge - as the Dutch had named their newly-built fort - on Ay. Though a prisoner, he was well-treated - for Laurens Reaal, the Dutch Governor-General, had high hopes of his captured commander. He was to be used to persuade that mulish Englishman on Run to abandon his stubborn resistance.
The same could not be said for the other prisoners. Graphic complaints emerge about their treatment: they were kept in a dank, dark dungeon under Castle Revenge with nothing to eat but dirty rice and stinking water. The only light came from a grating, which if it let in the sun's rays, also let in much worse things. Down through it, the Dutch soldiers - said one Bartholomew Churchman in rather riper language - defecated on them 'until we were broken out like lepers'.
But Reaal had misjudged the mulish Englishman completely. Cassarian wrote to him often from his honourable prison, urging him to come to terms. Courthope merely commented mildly that his words showed what hard imprisonment and fair words could do to impatient men. He hadn't always been so tolerant, for on first hearing how Cassarian had struck his flags, he had reacted furiously. He himself, he declared, would have sunk before he surrendered. This was harsh, considering that the Solomon and the Attendance - which was, in fact, a mere pinnace - had held out for some seven hours against a greatly superior force. The difference of temperament between the two men is evident. Men like Courthope are rare, and his sailors judged him when they ran away with the Defence. Cassarian, a practical man, saved the lives of his men when he surrendered his ships. They may have lain in a stinking hole in the ground, but at least some of them were to live long enough to see their homes and families again.
Incredibly, the deadlock on Run was destined to persist for a further two and a half years - until, in fact, the death of Courthope. His death was certainly in character. He was shot by the Dutch while rowing back to Run in a small boat, but rather than surrender, leapt into the sea and swam for it. He never reached land.
After Courthope's death, the Bandaneses' surrender of their land to King James was a dead letter. Run remained, in theory, English territory until in 1674, it was ceded in exchange for Manhattan, under the terms of the Treaty of Breda.
Laurens Reaal's successor, meanwhile, was the bellicose Jan Pieterzoon Coen, who at the ripe old age of 31 had finally arrived at the top job at he'd been aiming. At what point he realised that Cassarian's letters would have no effect on Courthope isn't clear, but at some time before March 1619, the Russian was removed from his relatively comfortable position. The last we hear of him is in a heart-rending complaint from Monawoka, one of three tiny islands comprising the Gorong Islands, east of Ceram. There, say he and two other captives, they have been kept starving and chained up, in the open air, receiving worse treatment than Coen's pigs. Their complaint did them little good.
What became of Cassarian after that, we do not know. Eighteen months later, his fellow-captives were released as a result of the peace signed in London. Both ultimately came home to tell their story - and to claim their arrears of pay. But of Cassarian David, there is no further mention in the records of the East India Company.
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Part Three: Mekepher Alphery
What, meanwhile, has become of Mekepher Alpheriev syn Grigori? We last saw him departing for one of the four top schools of seventeenth-century England, and it was said then that he was the only one of the four young men whose whereabouts were known during those years.
Historically speaking, more has been known about Mekepher Alphery than about any of his three compatriots. He achieved a degree of posthumous fame when his story appeared in a book, snappily entitled 'An Attempt towards Recovering an Account of the Numbers and Sufferings of the Clergy of the Church of England who were Sequester'd, Harass'd, &c in the Great Rebellion' - Walker's 'Sufferings of the Clergy', for short - published in 1710. It is from this book that all other accounts, down to the nineteenth century, derive, and we shall have to examine its claims in some detail.
Mekepher's story, as told by John Walker half a century after his death, has fired a surprising number of imaginations. He appears in the eighteenth-century Biographica Britannia, in the Biographical Dictionary compiled by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and again in the Dictionary of National Biography. In Craik's 'The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties', he is somewhat tenuously compared with Marcus Aurelius. References to and questions about him abound in nineteenth-century periodicals, English and Russian - the Russians have been no less fascinated than the English. One exchange from 'Notes and Queries' is worth quoting. In response to a query in the preceding issue, a scornful correspondent writes, 'How could this young Russian, sent... to England for his education, hold a living in Cambridgeshire?... Is he supposed to have changed his name and religion and to have remained in England, or what?' Amazingly, that is exactly what did happen. Meanwhile a few avid parish-record searchers of the same period were busy attempting to trace his story through their local registers.
Mekepher even appears in a 1930s novel set in Wellingborough, Northants - miles from his Huntingdonshire parish and in the neighbouring county. Nor is it over yet. I have already acknowledged a debt to Ian and Marina Burrell, who as I write are engaged in drawing up a comprehensive family tree of his descendents, not to mention searching for his ancestors.(1) In looking for Mekepher Alphery, I feel I have uncovered a hive of Mekepher Alphery industry.
One of Walker's details has particularly fascinated people. That is his claim that Mekepher was the descendant of (an unspecified) Russian royal dynasty. Unfortunately, nothing about this romantic claim adds up, whether we imagine him to be of the dynasty of Rurik, of Godunov, or even of Romanov. Even the form in which the four youths' names are given in the Russian documents argues against it. A member of the royal house would surely have been given the patronymic 'Grigorievich' rather than 'syn Grigori'. Quite where the story originated is not clear, but it seems to have had currency as a local legend. As late as 1764 - almost a century after the death of Mekepher - a cutler's wife from Huntingdon was being treated with special respect by her neighbours, on account of her supposed descent from the Tsars of Russia.
So much for romance. It is the records of St John's College, Cambridge which provide our first trace of Mekepher - not those of Oxford, as Walker leads us to expect. In 1609 he matriculated from St John's and transferred to Clare College to study for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. It isn't clear where the money for all this expensive education is coming from - surely, not still from the Muscovy Company - but there are some clues. As we shall see, Mekepher is connected with a man by the name of John Bedell - the younger son of a Huntingdonshire squire and, at least by the time of his death, himself a wealthy Muscovy merchant.
The exact details of their connection are obscure. They are near- contemporaries, Bedell being slightly the elder. The two young men may well have been friends. At the time that the young Russians were being brought to England, Bedell would have been of about the right age to be finishing his apprenticeship, which he would have spent under the supervision of John Merrick in Moscow. It may be that they were acquainted in Russia, or even that they met on the voyage. On the other hand, they may only have been introduced in London - nothing about this question is certain.
In most accounts of Mekepher's life, derived from Walker, John Bedell plays a prominent role. He is credited with having brought Mekepher to England, together with his two brothers, with the aim of preserving his life from a powerful faction at the Russian court. The brothers, according to the story, later died in a smallpox epidemic while all three were at Oxford.
This is another nail in the coffin of royal dynasty theory, for we know the true nature and reason for his appearance in England. In the two brothers, it is easy to see the distorted shadow of Sofon and Kazarin, dead in the East Indies. Many of Walker's details, whilst not being entirely accurate, do ultimately prove to bear a certain relationship to what can be established. He may yet be correct in asserting that it was John Bedell who 'sent' him to the University - if by 'sent' we understand 'supported him whilst he was there'.
Early in 1612, Mekepher graduated from Clare. At what point he decided that his future lay in the Anglican church is hard to determine, but certainly he must have formed the idea by this time, for he now went on to study for the degree of Master of Arts. At the time, this was a more or less cast-iron statement of the intention to become a clergyman - the MA was almost a professional qualification for the church. It seems highly unlikely that he was merely filling in time, awaiting an opportunity to return to his homeland. Very clearly, Mekepher was already at this date an English Protestant.
The opportunity to return, however, was looming. In Russia, the darkest hour had proved to be the one before the dawn. A remarkable national recovery, under the able direction of the Patriarch, Hermogen, was drawing the country slowly back from the very brink of disaster. As part of that recovery, a new young Tsar was soon elected. There were high hopes of Tsar Mikhail, the son of Fyodor Romanov. No-one then knew how durable the Romanov dynasty was to prove, but at least an end to the Troubles seemed in sight.
What brought the four young men to the attention of Tsar Mikhail is unknown to me. It may merely have been the recovery of old records as Russian society gradually returned to normality. John Merrick certainly returned to Moscow at around that time, but it seems unlikely that he would have raised the issue - knowing, as he must have, that two of the young men were then contracted for seven years' employment with the East India Company.
In October, 1613, the first Russian ambassador for over a decade set foot on English soil at Gravesend. He was Aleksei Ivanovich Zyuzin, described as a young man, accompanied by his secretary, Aleksei Vitovtov. Their main task was formally to introduce the new Tsar to King James, but somewhere low down their agenda came a friendly request for the return of four young men sent over to England eleven years previously. It appears that, with what must by then have been a very broad knowledge of English, they were wanted as interpreters in Mikhail's 'Foreign Office' (Posolski Prikaz).
The English Privy Council considered the ambassador's request. He had spoken movingly of the youths' parents, who had parted from their sons with great reluctance and now feared that, staying away so long, they would lose their religion. No doubt the Lords of the Privy Council were moved, as devout men and as fathers, but they had bad news for the ambassador. They informed him that three of the four young men had since left the country, two for the East Indies, and one for Ireland. One, however, remained, and would be brought to London to speak to him. John Merrick undertook to 'seek him out', and seems also to have agreed to bring Fyodor Kostomarov from Ireland before the ambassador left. For the other two, they were eight months' journey away on the other side of the globe; Merrick told the ambassador that even if a message could be got to them, Zyuzin would have long returned to Russia before any word of them could reach England.
Some time in early 1614, Zyuzin interviewed Mekepher Alphery. The young man clearly had no intention of going home. For three days they argued about the matter. Zyuzin wasn't prepared for this. His instructions were to assure the young men that their plight had not gone unnoticed in Moscow, and that all possible efforts were being made to secure their release. Clearly, the Russians suspected the English of detaining the Tsar's subjects against their will.
We have, in this encounter, our first clue as to the character of Mekepher Alphery. It must have taken courage to appear before the representative of the Tsar and to refuse to go back with him - courage, and an outstanding ability to argue. Evidently he was a self-assured young man - no shrinking violet. A Cambridgeshire proverb of the time runs: 'A Royston horse and a Cambridge MA give way to no man'. The horse referred to was one of the heavy-set working type that drew the malt wagons for which Royston was known. Rather like juggernauts on our modern roads, they commanded respect from other road-users. Mekepher, it seems, though not quite yet a Master of Arts, would have illustrated the second part of the saying admirably. After three days' argument with him, Aleksei Zyuzin threw in the towel. Mekepher was free to return to his studies.
He returned to a Cambridge in ferment. It is hard to imagine, in secular Britain, just how much importance the men of the seventeenth century attached to religious questions. The nearest modern equivalent is perhaps, the radical political position adopted by some students in Europe and North America during the 1960's. But instead of free love, Marxism and nuclear disarmament, the students of early seventeenth-century Cambridge were discussing Calvinism and Arminianism in the English church. Instead of political rallies and marches, they were attending rival sermons and Sunday lectures and discussing them avidly afterwards. Controversies were raging over such issues as Predestination, the status and duties of the clergy, transsubstantiation, and the use of images in church. There were even isolated outbreaks of violence - Puritan students in 1609, for instance, had attacked the hall in which a play was being performed, using crossbows and muskets - but leaving aside these extreme responses, the level of debate was intense. It was keener in the Universities than anywhere, even twenty-five years before the rival factions came to blows in the Civil War. It is worth remembering that within a very few years of Mekepher's time at Clare College, the young Oliver Cromwell would be lodging a few streets away at Sidney Sussex - a college specifically founded to provide a Puritan education.
Mekepher, an Anglican cleric in the making, could not have stood aloof from all this. We cannot look inside his soul, especially at a four-hundred year distance, and know exactly where his sympathies lay on all the controversial issues, but we will be able to make some surmises from the events of his later life.
In 1615, he obtained his Master's degree. Shortly afterwards, he was ordained deacon, then priest. What became of him after that isn't clear. Employment prospects for newly-ordained men were fairly grim, in the short-term. In the long-term the horizon was brighter, and for the most part they found beneficed livings. Meanwhile, most either found a curacy or taught school while they waited for an opportunity to arise.
Neither curates nor teachers then made much impression on official records, and thus far, I have been unable to find trace of Mekepher. We don't, then, know where he was or what he was doing when Ivan Gryazev came to England early in the following year. Gryazev wasn't dignified with the title of ambassador, and had come merely to bring a message regarding the peace talks between Russia and Sweden. He made no request to the Privy Council about the four young men, but he did speak to members of the Muscovy Company about them. The newly-knighted Sir John Merrick was back in Russia at the time - taking part, in fact, in the peace talks - but in his absence the matter was dealt with by Sir William Russell, Merrick's brother-in-law and fellow-investor in the Company.
But Gryazev fared no better than Aleksei Zyuzin. Russell merely repeated the same story: two of the young men were in the East Indies, one was in Ireland acting as the King's Secretary, and the last, Mekepher Alphery, would be brought to meet the envoy. In Gryazev's opinion, the English were 'hiding the State's men'.
The interview with Mekepher did not go well. Both men lost their tempers. Gryazev doesn't seem to have been a man to mince his words; he may have blustered or threatened. In an extraordinary outburst of petulance, the newly- ordained cleric declared that he prayed to God for the Englishmen who traded with Russia, in gratitude for their having brought him here. He wished they would bring all Russians out of their darkness and into the light of true faith. As Mekepher went on in this vein, Gryazev could hardly believe his ears. He was shocked to hear his religion called 'backward' and described as a prison. He quickly brought the interview to a halt, more in bafflement than in anger, wondering whatever could have caused a young man from a respectable family to make such wicked remarks. Sending his interpreter to speak to Mekepher privately, he discovered that the situation was even worse than he had imagined. Not only had he abandoned his Orthodox faith, he admitted to hiding from the envoy. He was most unwilling to return to Russia, and quite determined that none of the others should be forced to go either.
This was all too much for Ivan Gryazev. Clearly, the young man had been coerced into changing his religion. On his next meeting with Russell, the envoy taxed him with this suspicion. Russell, not surprisingly, denied it, saying that all four young men had voluntarily become Protestants. He ended by reminding Gryazev that Mekepher had gone so far as to take Holy Orders.
Gryazev remained unconvinced. He might accept that no-one had forcibly converted the four Russian youths. All the same, it was dishonourable of the English to entice to their religion young people - half-formed children, as he called them - sent to them in good faith for an education. Young Englishmen, he pointed out, had gone to Moscow to learn Russian and had returned with their religious convictions undisturbed. Finally, he asserted that it would profit the English little to be in disfavour with the Russian government. Sadly, it was starting to look as though Tsar Boris' bold experiment in international co-operation was about to result in a major diplomatic row.
Fortunately, the affair didn't live up to Gryazev's bluster. The next Russian embassy to reach London was that of Stepan Ivanovich Volinsky and Mark Ivanovich Posdeyev, late in 1617. They had come chiefly to seek a loan towards the reconstruction of Russia, a matter of much greater importance than the retrieval of four young apostates. They were instructed to deal with the matter, but their approach was to be very different from that of the previous year's envoy. The four men, once the ambassadors had managed too find them, were to be treated 'kindly', not to be coerced or constrained in any way, and every attempt was to be made to please them. Unfortunately for Volinsky and Posdeyev, nothing very much had changed. The Privy Council once again repeated its earlier statement: two of the youths remained in the East Indies, one was in Ireland (and, moreover, had taken a wife there) while the fourth, still in England, simply didn't want to return. Their Lordships added, however, that they had now had time to consider his case, and had decided that Mekepher was at liberty to dispose of himself. He would be brought before the ambassadors, who might attempt to persuade him to return, but to send him away by force would be, in their words 'against the law of nations'.
The Russians show every sign of having been baffled by this decision. They were left wondering why their Lordships were so keen to hold onto these four young men. Truly, it was a riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma. To them, the issues were clear. The Tsar's subjects were the Tsar's subjects. They had been sent away from home temporarily, and now their temporary period of absence was over. It would have been over much sooner, had not the Time of Troubles intervened. Moreover, the reason for their absence was to study, for the benefit of the state on their return - not to go off and make new lives for themselves. The young men had to return home, whether they wished to or not; their wishes barely entered into the question.
This was simply not the European way. To their Lordships of the English Privy Council, forcible repatriation might be permissable for felons and wrongdoers, but for honourable men - and gentlemen at that - the demand appeared utterly unreasonable. What had started as a minor diplomatic wrangle over four young Russian students had now brought two whole cultures into collision.
It was far, far too late for Volinsky and Posdeyev to persuade Mekepher of anything, and he was far too self-assured a young man to be 'pleased' into going back to Russia. Not surprisingly, they too utterly failed to achieve this part of their mission.
At about the same time that Mekepher was meeting with the ambassadors, something happened which made it even less likely that he would ever return to Russia. Evidently he was still in touch with his old friend John Bedell, for in the March of 1618, Bedell was at last able to offer him a living in the Church of England.
It may at first sight seem strange that a merchant - a layman - should be responsible for appointing clergymen. The explanation is largely historical. When Henry VIII had ordered the Dissolution of the monasteries in the preceeding century, the land belonging to religious foundations was sold off into private hands. Whole manors were bought and resold at profit. Attached to the land, however, were various rights - the rights to hold local manor courts, for example - which were sold along with it. Another of these rights was that of advowson - loosely speaking, the right to choose the next incumbent of the church. Advowsons, like all the other rights, were treated as property by the litigious folk of Tudor England, to be bought, sold, or even leased 'for the next turn'. Some patrons, of course, were responsible and even devout men, their candidates, excellent churchmen, and there were quite complex restrictions on who might be chosen. But by the early seventeenth-century so many advowsons had fallen into lay hands that the matter had become something of a national scandal - it was, in fact, one of the Puritan reformers' major grievances.
John Bedell had acquired the manor of Woolley in Huntingdonshire, along with the advowson of its rectory, in a very ordinary manner. He had inherited it from his father. It wasn't a particularly rich manor - his elder brother had inherited that - but it did now provide a very useful opening for John Bedell's ordained friend, Mekepher Alphery. When in March 1618 the aged incumbent of St Mary's, Woolley died, Mekepher was on hand to take his place.
There is barely a village at all today at Woolley, just a few scattered houses spread out along a narrow, single-track road. Most sadly of all, the tiny church has been demolished. Parts of the fabric, including a bell cast and installed during Mekepher's tenure, have turned up in neighbouring village churches, but St Mary's eighty-foot octagonal spire has been reduced to stumps of broken masonry, its churchyard to a muddy patch of grass and trees studded by a few tall gravestones. A church had stood on this site since the twelfth century, and had continued to stand until it was demolished in 1962.
St Mary's Woolley stood at the lowest point of a shallow valley enclosed by low, rolling hills. Opposite, by a slow, meandering brook, stood its parsonage- house, long vanished, but probably little more than a Tudor cottage with a stamped-earth floor and a small patch of vegetable garden. Like all of East Anglia, the village was liable to flood in the winter, when with virtually no provocation Woolley Brook would overrun its banks and turn the surrounding land into a quagmire. It was a remote and sleepy little place - yet within five miles from Mekepher's new parsonage-house there ran one of the major arteries of English trade. Ermine Street, the march road of the Roman legions, still did duty as the main road from London to Scotland and the North, and carried the varied goods brought in from the sea along the River Ouse. Six miles away was the county town of Huntingdon - a fact that was later to have dark significance in the life of Mekepher Alphery.
Woolley was not a particularly valuable living, but it was at least a Rectory, rather than a Vicarage - a distinction with financial implications. Sofon and Kazarin in the East Indies probably earned slightly more in wages than Mekepher drew from his tithes. But clearly it was enough to support a wife, for within months, Mekepher had married one.
Joanna Betts was a native of Pidley, a hamlet some miles away on the edge of the Great Fen. She was the daughter of a local farmer. Most probably, it was a love-match. We often suppose that all marriages at that time were arranged by parents with finance very much in mind, but in fact, this only tended to apply in aristocratic circles. Young people of other classes did have quite a high degree of freedom to choose their own marriage partners. How the two met, however, is a mystery. Pidley is some twelve miles away from Woolley, and there is no obvious connection between the two villages. No direct road links or has linked them in the past, and in any event, if they met after Mekepher arrived at St Mary's, it must have been a lightning courtship. These facts about his marriage make me suspect that during the 'missing years' between graduation and obtaining his benefice, Mekepher had found some employment in the area from which his wife hailed, perhaps as a curate or schoolteacher.
Children soon followed their marriage. Mekepher himself performed the baptism of his eldest son, proudly recording the fact in his parish register: 'Mikepher Alphery, ye son of Mikepher Alphery, was baptised October ye 7th by me, Mikepher Alphery'. A second son, Robert, was born the following year. If ever there had been any doubt about it, the matter must have seemed well-and-truly settled. Mekepher Alphery would not be returning to Russia.
But in early 1622, while Joanna was pregnant with their third child, her husband received a sudden summons to London. A new Russian ambassador was in the country, and he was intending to pursue the matter of the four Russian students to the best of his ability.
The summons itself must have aroused local curiosity. In all probability, the inhabitants of Woolley would have noticed a well-mounted rider arriving in the village and making his way to the parsonage-house. And in the depths of January, through the mud and the sleet - clearly it was a matter of some importance. It is easy to see how wild rumours might have arisen about the true identity of their exotic foreign clergyman.
The message had come from Sir John Merrick, who had accompanied the ambassador from Moscow. He was becoming exasperated with requests for the four young men, and had already received something of a dressing-down from the Russian Boyar Council on the subject. In vain had he protested that he too wished to return the young men. The Boyars accused him, with some justification, of dragging his feet and doing nothing. By this time, word had reached England of the deaths of Sofon and Kazarin, which news Merrick passed on to the Boyars. We know, of course, that he is telling the truth - but the Boyar Council knew no such thing. What it did know was that these two untimely deaths were highly convenient, and that it would be no trivial matter for them to verify Merrick's statement. At this, the Englishman's patience finally snapped, and he brought the matter to a close saying that he had no commission to deal with the subject and was not sufficiently briefed.
So the matter had rested, until Isaac Samoilovich Pogozhev, Tsar Mikhail's Stolnik (Cupbearer), took up the baton. The Tsar sent him as ambassador to London, together with his secretary, Ulyan Vlassev(2), and a letter from the Tsar. The letter asserted that the four young men were 'deteyned and kept in England against their wills'. Clearly, the Tsar had been dissatisfied with the answers Merrick had given.
Pogozhev once more asked the Privy Council about the four young men. They didn't give him an immediate answer, but Merrick went through the whole story once more and agreed to send for Mekepher, the only one of the four still remaining in England. In February, the two came face to face.
Like his predecessors, Pogozhev had been told to handle Mekepher with kid gloves, and he seems to have stuck to his brief. He assured him that the Tsar would show him mercy if he returned, and would not punish him. Mekepher insisted that he was a true believer in the Anglican faith. In Russia, he would be unable to follow his religion. Taking the pulpit must have become something of a habit to him, for the ambassador reports that he 'went on and on, and not in a humble manner'.
When his ears had ceased ringing, Pogozhev admitted defeat - for the time being. He waited upon the reply of the Privy Council to his request. When this finally came, in May, it wasn't the answer he wanted to hear. Mekepher, he was told, was free to leave whenever he wanted. But to send him away by force, to a country where he would be unable to practice his religion, was out of the question. His Majesty had said as much on many occasions and now expected that the matter would be dropped.
Refusing to take the hint, the dogged Pogozhev appealed directly to the King. He went through the arguments all over again, trying to cast doubt upon both Mekepher's faith and his fears. These were, he said, excuses so that he could remain abroad. He also added a final argument, one which he considered quite compelling. Mekepher Alphery's wishes were irrelevant. He was the Tsar's subject, and as such, could be commanded back to Russia against his will.
King James, to his credit, didn't agree. At this point, the Russian state admitted defeat. It was the last time the matter of the four men's return was ever to be raised in diplomatic circles.
Mekepher took himself back off to Huntingdonshire in triumph, just in time to perform the baptism of his elder daughter, Joanna. His next years were to be those of a peaceful family man: in that time, five more children were born to the Alpherys. They were Stephen in 1624, Mary in 1625, John in 1628, James in 1630 and Gregory in 1635.
Meanwhile, the religious controversies that had been so hotly disputed at Cambridge had not gone away. In fact, they were fuelled by the accession of the new King, Charles I, in 1625. James had been skillful at playing off the two factions against each other, but his son Charles, a man of an altogher different stamp, had come down firmly on one side of the debate. Religion, for Charles, was a matter of ritual, of visual beauty, and of sacramental mystery. He naturally gravitated towards those churchmen who favoured images, who wished to keep the Communion table decently railed off, and who favoured keeping preaching to the priesthood, rather than allowing laymen to deliver sermons and lectures. To make matters worse, in Queen Henrietta-Maria he had married a Catholic wife, who worshipped openly among her attendants despite its being strictly illegal to do so.
In all this, Charles' Puritan opponents saw crypto-Catholicism, and that frightened them. No-one had quite forgotten the Gunpowder Plot, and the Thirty Years War, now raging across Europe, had come to be seen as a kind of millennial showdown between Protestant and Catholic forces. Meanwhile, the runaway bestseller of the day was - and had been since its first publication - Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which kept alive memories of the persecution of Protestants under Mary I. For the majority of English Protestants, Catholicism was the major bogeyman of the age, and anything that smacked of it was something to worry about.
Of course, the English Civil War was not solely a religious conflict. There were important political and economic dimensions to it. But these strands were in any case hopelessly intertwined, and since it was chiefly the religious conflict which affected Mekepher Alphery, it is this I shall choose to highlight.
We have already noted that remote Woolley was only six miles from the town of Huntingdon - birthplace and home of a young man named Oliver Cromwell, who was soon to make something of a name for himself. In fact, the whole of East Anglia was to gain a reputation as a hotbed of Puritanism, and indeed, it had already seen more than its share of unorthodox Protestant sects springing up, or drifting across from the Low Countries. But a mere five miles from Woolley, there was a religious foundation of quite a different temper. Little Gidding achieved both fame and notoriety in its day, and the revived community there in more recent times was immortalised by T S Eliot in one of his 'Four Quartets'.
The driving force behind the family community at Little Gidding was Nicholas Ferrar, the son of a London merchant, who turned his back on a number of possible careers in favour of an ascetic withdrawal from the world. Ferrar's life demands more attention than we can possibly give it here, and a precis will have to content us for now. He had been a precocious learner, entering Clare College in 1606 at the age of thirteen, where after graduating, he remained on a Medicine Fellowship until 1613. There, he and Mekepher would certainly have crossed paths, at the very least. After Clare, Ferrar spent five years travelling in Europe, soaking up a kaleidoscope of knowledge about the lands through which he passed. As a result, he came home with several European languages, trunkloads of books, and a variety of religious traditions to draw upon.
1625 was a Plague year in London, and with his whole family - his aged but still agile mother, his brother and sister and their spouses, fourteen children, two grandchildren and the household servants - Nicholas packed up and moved to Little Gidding. He had persuaded them to sell everything they had in London to buy and restore this depopulated village, its crumbling manor house and its semi-derelict church - then being used as a pigsty, much to the horror of devout old Mrs Ferrar. He visited London one final time, to be ordained deacon, though he declined to take the next step and be ordained priest. Then he returned to Gidding to start his family community.
But Little Gidding was much more than a retreat from the world. There was asceticism, prayer, and piety, but there were good works, too. Thirty to forty people lived there at its height, including three schoolmasters and a number of widows, there as almswomen. A Sunday school taught the children of the local poor - and provided them with a midday meal - while the sons of the local gentry came to learn Latin and arithmetic. The Ferrars ran an infirmary and dispensary for those who couldn't afford a doctor, and in times of hardship, bought in flax to provide work for the unemployed. In many ways, it functioned like one of the monastic foundations lost to the country at the Dissolution.
Like many hermits over the centuries, Ferrar soon found himself besieged by the curious, who wanted to see for themselves what being secluded involved. These he began, gently, to discourage, but genuine visitors were still welcome. The Bishop of Lincoln, John Williams, in whose diocese Gidding lay, was a friend and a frequent visitor, and neighbouring clergymen came to hear services or to take part in discussions on the issues of the day. It is surely not so unlikely to suppose that Mekepher Alphery, living five miles away at Woolley and an alumnus of the same Cambridge college, might have been among them.
There was one other thing the inhabitants of Little Gidding did, and did supremely well. They produced books: fine hand-bound New Testaments and concordances to the Bible, which were admired at the time and remain objects of great beauty today. Some found their way into the hands of the King and Prince Charles (later Charles II), and are preserved at the British Library in London.
Nicholas Ferrar never married and had no children, but his young nephew, also Nicholas, seemed set to follow in his uncle's footsteps. He had evidently inherited the propensity for learning foreign tongues, for by the time young Nicholas was eighteen, he had already produced a Polyglot Gospel of St John in several languages. One of those languages was 'Moscovite'.
So far as I know, no-one seems to have enquired where young Nicholas Ferrar learned his 'Moscovite'. His uncle certainly never claimed to it as one of his many tongues. So did Mekepher Alphery play some small part in producing this work of beauty and scholarship? Sadly, I do not believe we will ever know for certain, but with a mere five miles of gently rolling countryside separating him from the Ferrar household, there is surely room for speculation.
Little Gidding was not to fare well in the Civil War. The music, the objects of beauty and the ritual of its services made it a target for the soldiers' reforming zeal. Pamphleteers attacked it, calling it 'the Arminian nunnery' because some of the female inhabitants had apparently taken vows of virginity. Its roof also sheltered the fugitive King Charles, on one of the last nights of freedom he was to enjoy before giving himself up to the Scots army at Newark. None of this was likely to go down very well on Oliver Cromwell's own doorstep.
Mekepher Alphery and his family also fared badly in the cataclysm. When the Parliamentarians took it upon themselves to remedy the ill of 'scandalous ministers', he was one of the first clergymen in Huntingdonshire to be ejected from his living. It is difficult to say exactly why. So many reasons were given for the removal of ministers - 'lewd living', drunkenness, encouraging the playing of games after Church on Sunday, bowing to the cross or keeping images of the Virgin Mary were just some of a vast range of offences they were alleged to have committed. Later, 'disaffection towards the Parliament' and supporting the King became valid reasons for sequestration. The feeling one has is that in many cases, if a minister kept quiet about his personal convictions, he might well sit out the war in his parish, but if he insisted too strongly upon his rights and annoyed some vociferous opponent, he was likely to find himself sequestered or otherwise ejected from his living. Another strong impression one gets from looking over the evidence of sequestrations is that there was massive scope for revenge-taking by very small numbers of parishioners with grudges.
In Mekepher's case, there does not even seem to have been an official sequestration, with deponents giving evidence against him, until long after his ejection. I will let John Walker tell the story:
"On a Lord's Day, as he was Preaching, a File of Musqueteers came and Pull'd him out of his Pulpit, Turn'd him out of the Church, and his Wife and Children, with their Goods, out of the Parsonage-House. The poor Man thus Ejected out of his House, built an Hutt, or Booth, over against the Parsonage-House, in the Street, under the trees growing in the Verge of the Church yard, and there liv'd for a Week with his Family. He had procured Three Eggs, and gathered a bundle of rotten Sticks (in that time) and was about to make a Fire in the Church Porch, to boyl his Eggs, but some of his Adversaries (whose Names are known) coming thither, broke his Eggs, and kicked away the Fire."
This is a poignant picture - an elderly rector deprived of his livelihood, hustled from his church at musket-point by a troop of soldiers, his wife and children driven from their home. And could anything be less charitable, less Christian, than to deprive them, after all this, of a meagre supper?
But how far can we rely upon it? We have already seen that some of Walker's details have proved only approximations to the truth. It is now time to look at 'Sufferings of the Clergy' in a little more depth.
For one thing, it is a highly partisan work. Walker is replying to a work of Edmund Calamy, which deals with the ejection of Puritan ministers at the Restoration of Charles II. He is attempting to defend his High Church party by saying, effectively, 'tu quoque'.
Perhaps worse, much of Walker's research rests on what amounts to a survey, conducted by means of a postal questionnaire. It was perhaps the first ever targeted mailshot. He solicited personal accounts and sent out circular letters to hundreds of clergymen, enquiring about their predecessors. Sixty years had elapsed since the events of which he was inquiring, and in most cases, there would have been very few eyewitnesses remaining.
There were two replies concerning Mekepher, on which Walker based his account. Both are from Peter Phelips, the then Minister of Woolley St Mary. Two further incumbents separated him from Mekepher, and he could not possibly have had personal knowledge of the events he described.
Walker, however, did make attempts to check his facts wherever possible. He had access to some of the official papers of the plethora of Committees that had dealt with sequestrations, and did manage to confirm the bare bones of his story.
Not only this, it is a plausible story. There are many reported cases of similar ejections by troops of soldiers in other parts of the country. War is very rarely civil, and soldiers are soldiers. Mekepher's response, too, is credible. It is of a piece with the young man who stood his ground and argued with ambassador after ambassador. He was exactly the sort of man who, rather than meekly walk away, would remain on the spot and build a shelter for his wife and children. Very probably, he was exactly the sort of man who would refuse to take down his holy pictures or to remove the rails around the Communion table, and very probably it was this, in many ways admirable, character trait which had got him into trouble in the first place.
Naturally, we cannot know what Mekepher's exact religious convictions were, but it seems most likely that he was no Puritan. For one thing, his native religious tradition would have predisposed him to the more sacramental brand of religion favoured by the King and his Archbishop, William Laud. To leap from Russian Orthodoxy to radical Low Church Protestantism would have been, not an impossible journey, but an extreme one. For another, his college, Clare, had no Puritan tradition - rather the contrary. His involvement, if we are correct, with the Ferrars of Little Gidding would seem to argue against it. Finally, his patron John Bedell appears to have taken the Royalist side - which, while it doesn't necessarily indicate his religious feelings, is a strong clue. And since in that climate it would be a remarkably broad-minded patron indeed who appointed a cleric with whom he radically disagreed, we can assume that Mekepher broadly shared his convictions.
The largest single shred of confirmation, though, comes from a pair of newspapers of the day. On 20 April, 1643, the 'Perfect Diurnall' reported that Colonel Cromwell had 'done very good service in Huntingdonshire' disarming 'malignants' and others disaffected towards the Parliament. 'Mercurius Aulicus' on 7 May saw it differently. Cromwell, it reported, had been through the county 'robbing and spoiling' at will. In particular, it went on, he had made 'great havock' there among the clergy. There are journalistic exaggerations in both reports, but both sides agree that Cromwell and his soldiers have marched through Huntingdonshire doing something at exactly the time when it is claimed that Mekepher was being ejected. It looks as though the musketeers referred to are real enough, and they would seem to have been men of Oliver Cromwell's own troop. We do not know exactly who were the family members who, according to Walker, lived a week in this hut in the church yard. The younger Mekepher had married and was probably living in London at this time. His brother Robert had also married, but still lived with his wife and infant son in Woolley. Sadly, Joanna had died three years previously, not long before her eighteenth birthday. Stephen we know survived and was probably living at home, as were his brothers John and James, youths of fifteen and thirteen. It isn't clear whether Mary and the youngest child, Gregory, were still alive at this point.
However, this was still a large family to feed on no income. Under the new regime there was, in theory, provision for the wives and children of ejected ministers. They were entitled to one-fifth of the tithe income from their husbands' former parishes. Unfortunately, this depended on the new incumbent being willing to pay it to them - a requirement not all replacement ministers were keen on fulfilling. In fairness, sometimes this was not entirely the new incumbent's fault, for in many parishes, the parishioners withheld their tithes where they didn't approve of the change. The results were chaotic. Over the next few years, Joanna Alphery appeared time and time again before the Committee for Plundered Ministers to try to obtain her fifth. Mr Beale, the new minister, seems to have been most reluctant to pay up.
The great trading companies sometimes had openings for clergymen. Their ships and their men stationed in foreign ports required chaplains. What was more, some of the companies were defiantly employing men ejected from their benefices. But when approached, the Muscovy Company regretted that they were unable to offer Mekepher a living, and referred him to a charitable foundation for merchants. What came of this is unknown, but it seems unlikely that very much did. The call on charitable funds must have been great at this time, with the wholesale loss of property, plunder and destruction that the Civil War brought with it. Hardship was everywhere.
Somehow or another the Alpherys had found enough money to buy some land in Warboys, close to Joanna's home village on the edge of the Fens. There, they built a house. The land had to be kept in Joanna's name - as a sequestered minister, any property owned by Mekepher could have been taken from him to finance the war against King Charles. We know very little of how they lived there, although in 1650, Mekepher was able to earn a small amount of money by preaching at Easton, not far from Woolley, for two shillings and sixpence a sermon.
Joanna died in 1654. It may have been at this time that Mekepher went to live with his son in what was then a dormitory suburb of London. Mekepher the younger seems to have made, or married, money in the years he has been away from Huntingdonshire. Certainly he is describing himself as a gentleman, and he has amassed some property in London and its suburbs. Walker says he is living at Hammersmith, although I have found no trace of him there. At various later dates, he is certainly nearby in Ealing, and owns a tenement at Charing Cross, then a highly desirable inner suburb of the city.
Wherever in present-day West London Mekepher the elder found himself, he seems to have taken his son Stephen with him, for three years later, we find Stephen getting married in Wandsworth, where he settled and became a smith. Robert, the second son, continued to farm at Warboys with his wife and family. Both branches of the family continue into another generation.
At the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, like many ejected clergymen, Mekepher returned to his living. By this time he was in his late seventies. He remained at Woolley for a further six years before settling a curate in his living and retiring.
Two years later, in April 1668, he made his will and shortly after died. He left behind the land in which he had fought to be allowed to remain and have freedom of conscience. Sadly, it was a land which, even then, was not yet ready for religious toleration.
(1) Ian Burrell gives talks on Mekepher Alphery to local history societies in the Huntingdon area, at which he has been known to have descendents of Alphery planted among the audience. At the end of his lecture, he will then ask them to stand up - much to the delight of his hearers.
(2) Incidentally, this is the earliest instance I have found in Russia of the name Ulyan (William). I take it to have been an English import brought by traders like William Merrick. Since the Merricks, father and son, and the Vlassevs were acquainted, the connection may even be direct. It is interesting to note, in passing, that there has of course been at least one Russian of international reputation bearing the name Ulyanov.
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Part Four: Fyodor Kostomarov
Fyodor has proved the most difficult to track down of the four Russian youths. So far, he is a shadowy figure, of whom there is still no positive evidence. It appears, as we have seen in the last part of this account, that we must look for him in Ireland, where he is described as 'the King his secretary'.
It might be supposed that a man named Fyodor Semyonov syn Kostomarov would stick out in the records like a sore thumb among the O'Dalys and O'Connors of Ireland. In fact, there are a great number of difficulties with this.
The first and most obvious is that before 1641 the records themselves are scant. The rebellion of that date, apart from swallowing up the English settlers themselves, appears to have swallowed up much of the paperwork, where it existed at all. Secondly, the non-Celtic population of Ireland at that time was highly mobile. It is more than possible that Fyodor was there in order to hide. Then, as now, it was a good place to disappear. And if he couldn't be found in 1622 when Isaac Pogozhev wished to speak to him, it seems unlikely that four centuries later, it will be an easy task.
All we really know about Fyodor Kostomarov at this point is that he went to Ireland as 'the King's Secretary'. What might this mean? Two things. In the early years of the seventeenth century, English settlement in Ireland was really only established in Dublin and its environs - the famous 'Pale' beyond which the outrageous might occur.(1) The reigns of Elizabeth and James were a period of English plantation in Ireland, and though for the most part these schemes were not particlarly successful, their legacy is still with us today. Indeed, the plantation scheme most pregnant with consequence - that of Englishmen and Scots in Ulster - was just beginning at the time that Fyodor seems to have gone there. But though English rule nominally covered all the island of Ireland, in practice, it was only able to be enforced within the Pale. So if Fyodor was acting as the King's Secretary - one, presumably, of many - the chances are that at least at first, he was in or around the Dublin area.
The strongest possibility to have emerged to date is that he might be found in the office of the Irish Master of the Rolls. For the question once again arises as to how he obtained his employment, and once again, the answer may lie with a man employed by the Muscovy Company.
Edward Cherry was another of the ubiquitous John Merrick's brothers-in-law. John was married to the daughter of Francis Cherry, a prominent member of the Company with whom he had a long-standing working partnership both in Russia and in England. Edward was Francis Cherry's son.
We know that Francis had had some involvement with the four Russian youths, because he seems to have paid either some expenses or some school fees for them during the early part of their stay in England. This we know, because the Muscovy Company refunded him the sum of ?43 6s 10d paid out on their behalf. We also know that Edward Cherry spent time in Russia working for the Company. Unfortunately for Edward, he seems to have won the disapproval of some other important Company member, and after his father was asked to reimburse the Company to the tune of ?100 to cover his 'lascivious expenses', he may have decided that some other career was for him.
Young Edward can't have been such a wild-child as all that, since he went on to make a very good marriage. He married the daughter of his Surrey neighbour, Francis Aungier, the Master of the Rolls in Ireland. Edward was soon to describe himself as 'of Dublin', so clearly this was where he made his home. Did he introduce Fyodor to his father-in-law as a man worthy of employment? It's a large leap, but it is the best we have to go on.
The only other details we have of Fyodor come from the embassies sent from Moscow to retrieve the young Russians. It seems that he was interviewed at least once, by Aleksei Zyuzin in 1614. By May 1618, the Privy Council was able to tell ambassadors Volinsky and Posdeyev that he had married in Ireland. And in 1622, John Merrick told Pogozhev that he had moved to another country. His whereabouts were unknown, and he hadn't been in England for around three years. Since so far, what the ambassadors have been told seems to have proved correct, we might be inclined to believe what they are told about Fyodor.
Merrick's assertion is interesting. He doesn't, on this occasion, mention Ireland, but merely 'another country'. By 1622, this would have been a very circuitous way to refer to an island nominally under English government. Could it mean that Fyodor has emigrated a third time, perhaps following the drift from Ireland to the colonies of North America?
It may be that we shall never run Fyodor Kostomarov to ground in Ireland. If so, we can only say that his attempt to hide has been more successful than he could ever have imagined.
(1) For readers unfamiliar with the English idiom 'beyond the Pale': a pale is a fence, and anything which is beyond it, an outrage. For example, "His behaviour has always been bad, but this is beyond the Pale." The expression is said to originate from this Dublin Pale beyond which English law was unenforceable.
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2 августа 2017 23:48
2 августа 2017 23:52
Велецкие ); знатный товарищ войсковой (1711–1716); наказной полковник Гадячский в походе 1705 г.; "послан был от гетмана Мазепы по указу Царского всепресветлейшаго величества в посельстве до Кримского хана два рази в поважних и потребних делах всему государству Российскому: первий раз был в Кримском ханстве року 1692 послом, а оттоль повернулся 1695 року; другий раз року 1699 в Кримском ханстве был же и того ж року оттудова и повернулся"; 10 дек. 1688 г. гетман Мазепа, "з певных респектов заховуючи на далший час до услуг войскових пана Василия Велецкаго", взял его под "реймевтарскую оборону, абы он яко до войска и где поход военный окажется – при боку гетманском под бунчуком найдовался, так и до суда войскового, а не до полкового, належал в прилучающихся росправах"; в сент. 1711 г. послан гетманом Скоропадским в нужном деле к ближнему боярину и воеводе князю Михаилу Григорьевичу Ромодановскому; 21 нояб. 1711 г. взят гетманом Скоропадским в его протекцию "зо всеми кревними его, в Гадячу мешкаючими, докладаючи, яко он п. Велецкий когда случай военный позовет, меет при боку гетманском завше под бунчуком найдоватися и в той час даби волно ему было в свой курень козаков из села Сениовки брати, так аби из своими кревними не до полкового, лечь до
1. Иосиф Велецкий, о нем в компуте Гадячского полка за 1731-й год оказано: "Служовал в войску полском королевскому величеству полскому в чину полковничества и забит на баталии в войску Хмелницкого року 1651".
2. \ 1. Василий Иосифович, "пришедши с польских краев", в службе с 1672 г.; войсковой канцелярист (1689–1690); Гадячский полковой судья (1697–1709, был Гадячским полковым судьей еще в апр. 1711 г.
нашого Суду Войскового Енералного в прилучаючихся росправах належал". – 13 июля 1689 г получил гетманский универсал, коим "войтове и всем мужам с. Юсковец, в уезде Лохвицком зостаючого", приказывалось, чтобы они "пану Василю Велецкому, канцеляристе войсковому, в селе их мешкаючому, в кошеню сена, в зниманю збожа и в воженю из поля того всего чинили помощ и послушними были во всем, тепер и впред до ласки нашой, а то з тех мер, же оний как тепер, в Кримском походе будучи, при боку нашом в Канцелярии справ войскових помогал охочо отправовати, так и впред готов бути мает до тих же дел помощник"; 21 мая 1690 г. ("славетный пан, канцелярист войсковой, житель значный Гадяцкий") купил у Мардария Павловича, жителя Кролевецкого, под с. Броварками на р. Псле, "юж на стеранной гребле, млин, чтире ставидла, каменей три, а четвертое ставидло ступное, с колесами, валами и инними там в млине знайдуючимися речами, гулячии а нерабочии", за 200 золотых; 28 апр. 1699 г. получил гетманский универсал на с. Сениовку (Гадячской полковой сотни) с млинком об одном коле, прозываемым Говорушиным; 14 марта 1704 г. получил универсал гетмана на мельницу на р. Псле в с. Броварках; 10 июля 1709 г. получил гетманский подтвердительный универсал на с. Сениовку с млинами-вешняками, прозываемыми Яцковым, Красныковым, Друковым и Говорушиным, около того же села и млин на р. Псле на гребле Броварковской о шести колах; 21 нояб. 1711 г. получил подтвердительный гетманский универсал (см. выше) на с. Сениовку, хутора, фольварки, млины, солодовни, бровары и другие его грунта; 30 янв. 1713 г. получил подтвердительный гетманский универсал на с. Юсковцы (Лохвицкой сотни); 4 окт. 1716 г. получил гетманский универсал на с. Броварки (Гадячской полковой сотни); жил в Гадяче (1690); † 1721.
Ж. – Стефанида Михайловна ___; 23 апр. 1693 г., по жалобе своей, получила гетманский лист к Лохвицкому сотнику с урядом, коим приказывалось, чтобы они людей села Юсковец, наданного ее мужу п. Василию Велецкому, в "посланничестве от нас в Криму будучому и вже чрез два рока там в задержаню знайдуючомуся", – "до своих меских тяглостей не потягали и жадних поборов из него на свой меский росход не брали, якобы она могла мети из тих людей собе послушенство;" в 1726 г. – вдова, владела селами Сенявкою (161 двор) и Броварками (61 двор); в 1730 г. – вдова, владела, по
конфирмации гетманской, одним только с. Сенявкою (180 дворов) с двумя младшими сыновьями, а Броварки принадлежали в это время ее старшему сыну Василию (№ 3)
3. \ 2. Василий Васильевич, в службе с 1702 г. в Гадячском полку, когда ходили под Быхов; в 1705 г. – в числе значкового товариства в Польском походе под Замостье при отце; в 1706 г. – в том же походе к венгерской границе; в 1706 г. – во втором походе на том боку Днепра под Погребищами и когда делали Киево-Печерскую крепость; в 1707 г. – на работе Киево-Печерской крепости; в 1708 г. – в походе под Борщаговкой, на страже в крепости Киево-Печерской и в Польше под м. Песками; в 1709 г. – на баталии под Полтавой уже был обретающимся при гетмане под бунчуком; в 1711 г. – при гетмане под бунчуком в зимнем походе, в Лубнах и других местах, и летом – под фортецами Каменным Затоном и Самарью на страже; в окт. 1712 г. послан "от боку гетманскаго" в Лубны на розыск о млинах Мацковских; в 1713 г. – в походе при гетмане под бунчуком в Киеве; в 1718 г. – за избранием согласным от всей старшини полковой и товариства сотенного пожалован гетманом чином сотничества во вторую полковую сотню полку Гадячского; 27 янв 1719 г. "за сполним товариства сел второй сотни Гадячской согласием и з ведома пана полковника своего состоявшимся, избран и поставлен сотником тамошним", на что и получил универсал гетманский; в 1719 г. – с сотней своей в походе на линейной работе между Паншиною (?) и Царицыном и был здесь при наказном гетмане Милорадовиче за генерального есаула, ибо настоящий полковой есаул Мартин Стишевский правил в том походе за обозного генерального; в 1722 г. – был на канальной работе между Дубном и Кубанью; в 1723 г. – в походе у Буцкого брода на Коломаке, на страже два месяца; в 1723 г. – подписал Коломацкие челобитные; в 1723 и 1724 г.г. правил за полковника Гадячского, в дому будучи, под небытность в дому настоящего полковника господина Милорадовича; в 1724 г. – в Низовом Сулацком и Терковском походе при крепости св. Креста на работе, где был за генерального комиссара и откуда прибыл домой в 1726 г.; в 1731 г. – в походе при Бузовом плесе у р. Береки (?) на линейной работе с 20 мая по 20 окт., где был и за полковника;
был Гадячским сотником второй полковой сотни еще в 1737 г.; на него показывал "вор Антон Щербиненко, якобы он пойманного в Гадячах шпиона изо взятков отпустил и убил драгуна"; донос этот оказался несправедливым и Щербиненко по указу Кабинета Министров от 21 июня 1737 г. был казнен; в 1730 г. владел с. Броварками, Гадячской полковой сотни, в 73 двора.
6. \ 3. Иван Васильевич, в 1727 г. ученик грамматики Киевской Академии; в службе с 1737 г. войсковым канцеляристом в Генеральной Войсковой Канцелярии; 22 дек. 1741 г. за службы деда и отца – бунчуковый товарищ; 13 июля 1751 г. ему с бунчуковыми товарищами Петром Лащинским, Григорием Богдановичем, Романом Затиркевичем и Петром Андреяшевичем приказано было присутствовать при церемонии чтения грамоты на гетманство Разумовскому и выносе гетманских клейнотов в церковь "в добром убранстве на конях верхами", при чем они должны ехать рядом с "паратной лошадью его ясневельможности з серебрянними литаврами" † 1763.
Ж. – Анастасия Павловна ___, род. 1716; в 1786 г. – вдова живет в с. Сениовке.
Максим Иванович, род. в 1746 г. в с. Сениовке; в службе с 1767 г. коллежским канцеляристом; 25 окт. 1771 г. – Гадячский полковой хорунжий на место уволенного от службы хорунжего Кондискалова; в 1772 г. содержал форпосты на линии; из полковых Гадячских хорунжих 7 мая 1781 г, – бунчуковый товарищ; Гадячский уездный предводитель дворянства (1782–1784); в 1782 г. послан был в числе прочих дворян в Петербург "для принесения Ея Импер. Величеству должной благодарности за матерния Ея Величества в подании спасительных учреждений щедроты"; коллежский асессор (1786–1798); в 1798 г. был в отставке; в 1782 г. за ним Гадячского уезда: в Синевке – муж. пола 417, жен. пола 416, в Броварках – подсоседков муж. пола 75, жен. пола 92, в с. Книшовке – муж. пола 9, жен. пола 2, хут. Краснокутском – муж. пола 4, жен. пола 6 душ; в 1786 г. он владел в Гадячском уезде тремя селами и двумя хуторами, в коих было 1011 душ; в 1795 г. за ним в Броварках – муж. пола 75, жен. пола 100, с. Книшовке – мужск. пола 9, жен. пола 7, и с. Синевке – муж. пола 456, жен. пола 519 душ; за ним наследственных: в с. Сениовке – муж. пола 348, жен. пола 386, купленных – муж. пола 108, жен. пола 118; в с. Броварках – муж. пола 75, жен. пола 85, с. Книшовке – мужск. пола 9, жен. пола 7, всего муж. пола 540, жен. пола 596 душ, обоего пола 1136 душ (1798); жил в с. Сениовке (1791–1798); † до 1811.
Ж. – Елена Алексеевна Евреинова, род. 1758, дочь полковника.
16. \ 9. Иван Максимович, род. 24 июня 1791 г. в с. Сениовке; восприемник житель города Гадяча Николай Космин Савич; по окончании курса наук в Петербургском Иезуитском Институте, где обучался немецкому, французскому и латинскому языкам, 6 июня 1812 г. в службе в канцелярии Гадячского поветового маршала губернским канцеляристом; 31 дек. 1815 г. – коллежский регистратор; 31 авг. 1817 г. – в канцелярию Малорооссийского губернатора; 31 дек. 1818 г. – губернский секретарь; там же служил и в 1820 г.; губернский секретарь (1845); за ним в 1811 г. в с. Синевке – дворовых 9, крестьян 630, с. Броварках – 88, с. Книшовке – 13, х. Дрюковском – 22, хуторе дач Краснокутских – дворовых 3 души; в 1816 г. за ним в хут. Дрюковском – муж. пола 18, жен. пола 15, хуторе дачи Красная Лука – муж. пола 1, жен. пола 3, с. Броварках – муж. пола 56, жен. пола 63, с. Книшовке – муж. пола 2, жен. пола 2, с. Синевке – муж. пола 449, жен. пола 441, х. Дахновском – муж. пола 24 души; в 1820 г. за ним в Гадячском повете – муж. пола 526 душ; помещик Гадячского уезда (1845).
Ж. – Варвара ___, за нею в с. Синевке в 1811 г. – муж. пола 8 д., в 1816 г. – муж. пола 6, женск. пола 5 душ.
27. \ 16. Михаил Иванович, род. 1814 г.
28. \ 16. Николай Иванович, род. 9 мая 1815 г. в с. Синевке, Гадячского уез.; восприемник поручик Василий Васильевич Велецкий (№ 15) и коллежская советница Розета Андреевна Бугаевская; 1834 г. – определен в военную службу.
29. \ 16. Иван Иванович, род. 1816, † 1822 г.
30. \ 16. Исаак Иванович, род. 1817 г.
31. \ 16. Флор Иванович, род. 16 мая 1822 г. в с. Синиовке; восприемник помещик Михаил Митлош (?), житель г. Полтавы (1850 г.).
– \ 16. Анастасия Ивановна, род. 1811 г.
– \ 16. Анна Ивановна *), род. 1816 г.
Регистрация: 24 мая 2006
5 сентября 2017 11:24
5 сентября 2017 11:26
у Кривошеи написано - Алексей Евреинов - флигель адъютант генерал фельдмаршала, полковник
из всех генерал-фельмаршалов пока удалось найти что-то похожее - Алексей Евреинов - камердинер Разумовского в 1746 году
Алексей Евреинов, камердинер графа А. Г. Разумовского, на которого пало подозрение в обмене корреспонденцией с А. Чернышевым.
Разумовский становится генерал-фельдмаршалом в 1756 году. Возможно его камердинер Алексей Евреинов служит ему все эти годы с 1746-по 1756.
Может ли так быть - что он же фигурирует в 1762 при екатерининском перевороте как кассир конного Гвардейского полка - Алексей Евреинов.
У Петра 3 и у Екатерины - тоже были камердинеры Евреиновы (Петр и Тимофей Герасимовичи - при чем камердинер Екатерины Тимофей был приятелем Андрея Чернышева в инцеденте с которым упоминается и камердинер Разумовского Алексей Евреинов).
Регистрация: 24 мая 2006
5 сентября 2017 13:01
5 сентября 2017 15:29
Интересное собрание Евреиновых вокруг Петра Третьего и Екатерины Второй.
Петр Герасимович Евреинов - камердинер Петра Федоровича с 1754 года,
Тимофей Герасимович Евреинов - камердинер Екатерины Алексеевны. В 1751 году под влиянием интриг камердинер Тимофей Евреинов получил отставку и был сослан в Казань
Петр Герасимович Евреинов, камер-лакей, с 20.09.1754 – камердинер Голштинской службы, бригадир, гардеробмейстер, возведен в потомственное дворянское достоинство Всероссийской Империи Высочайшим Указом Петра III от 20.01.1762.
Петр Евреинов, служил с 1739 г. лакеем, с 1750 г. камер-лакеем, с 20.09.1754 – камердинером Голштинской службы.
Евреинов Петр Герасимович (1721--1787.12.03,†с.Трясово Новгород, у., в церкви, им построенной) бригадир и камергер, 67 л. 11 мес. и 7 дней. Пох. с внуками Петром (7 дней) и Павлом (30 дней) Воронцовыми [Шереметевский В. Русск.провинц.некрополь. Т.1. М.,1914]
и еще Алексей Евреинов - камердинер А.Г.Разумовского
Алексей Евреинов - человек, кредитирующий Екатерину Алексеевну и братьев Орловых.
Екатерина Алексеевна передавала Петру Федоровичу по цепочке камердинеров деньги, ссуженные у вельмож.
на место уволенного Тимофея Евреинова - Екатерине назначили Василия Шкурина в камердинеры. Его в 1762 наградили дворянством после переворота, наряду с Алексеем Евреиновым - кассиром Банковской Конторы.
Регистрация: 24 мая 2006
Петр Герасимович Евреинов, имевший чин бригадира, был мужем Настасьи Ивановны, урожд. Набоковой. Служил в Пскове
Регистрация: 24 мая 2006
Узкий, вытянутый ввысь фасад дома №8 кажется стиснутым соседними зданиями. Строгость рисунка, огромные окна нижнего яруса, сочетание гранитной облицовки и мозаичной отделки характерны для нового, современного стиля начала 20 столетия – модерна.
На его месте в 1740-х годах располагался двор купца Алексея Васильевича Хлебосолова, перешедший по наследству к его дочери Марье Алексеевне, жене купца Ивана Васильевича Третьякова, некоторое время владевшего соседним домом.
В 1749 году она закладывает дом за три тысячи рублей петербургскому купцу Емельяну Корниловичу Климушкину и, так же как муж, не смогла его выкупить.
В 1756 году в «Санкт-Петербургских ведомостях» сообщалось, что у снимавшего здесь квартиру медного дела мастера Карла Фосмана через окно «покрадена пара платья серонемецкого сукна с томпаковыми пуговицами, в которой был в кармане вексель на 500 рублей».
От Климушкина дом, достался его сыну, тоже купцу, Емельяну Емельяновичу, а тот в 1759 году продал его Его Императорского Высочества Великого Князя Петра Федоровича камердинеру Петру Герасимовичу Евреинову . Камердинеры в то время быстро делали карьеру, и уже бригадир П. Евреинов оставил дом в наследство своей дочери Екатерине Петровне, супруге статского советника Ивана Алексеевича Воронцова, который был троюродным братом Екатерины Романовны Воронцовой-Дашковой, её сестры Елизаветы (фаворитки Великого Князя Петра Федоровича ), и их известных своей деятельностью братьев Александра и Семена Романовичей Воронцовых.
Е.П. Воронцова владела домом до конца 18 века. В то время в доме было 28 покоев.
Регистрация: 24 мая 2006
очевидно идет речь об этом банке - когда упоминается Алексей Евреинов - кассир банковской конторы.
Управления банком доверили дяде Алексея - Якову Матвеевичу Евреинову
Регистрация: 25 июля 2007
3 декабря 2017 20:39
3 декабря 2017 20:41
alexander gupalov написал:
из всех генерал-фельмаршалов пока удалось найти что-то похожее - Алексей Евреинов - камердинер Разумовского в 1746 году
Алексей Евреинов, камердинер графа А. Г. Разумовского, на которого пало подозрение в обмене корреспонденцией с А. Чернышевым.
Разумовский становится генерал-фельдмаршалом в 1756 году. Возможно его камердинер Алексей Евреинов служит ему все эти годы с 1746-по 1756.
Может ли так быть - что он же фигурирует в 1762 при екатерининском перевороте как кассир конного Гвардейского полка - Алексей Евреинов.
У Петра 3 и у Екатерины - тоже были камердинеры Евреиновы (Петр и Тимофей Герасимовичи - при чем камердинер Екатерины Тимофей был приятелем Андрея Чернышева в инцеденте с которым упоминается и камердинер Разумовского Алексей Евреинов).
у Кривошеи написано - Алексей Евреинов - флигель адъютант генерал фельдмаршала, полковник
Добрый день. В исповедной росписи с.Андреевки Лубенского полка (село Разумовского) 1759 года и до 1770 значится:
Двор Его Сиятельства генералъ фельдмаршала рейхъ графа Алексея Григорьевича господина Разумовского в нем живетъ смотритель конского завода Алексей Павловичъ Евреинов 33, Жена его Анна Андреева 28, Дочь ихъ Елена 1мес.
Так же в других годах он значится главным смотрителем м Лубенских и Полтавских вотчин Разумовского в чине порутчика