Anne Hutchinson Biography

(Puritan Religious Reformer, Spiritual Advisor and One of the Most Infamous English Women in Colonial American History)

Birthday: 1591 (Cancer)

Born In: Alford, United Kingdom

A New England religious liberal and Puritan spiritual advisor, Anne Hutchinson (born Anne Marbury) was one of the most prominent participants in the Antinomian Controversy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was a follower of John Cotton and followed his spirit centred theology. She believed that salvation was granted to God’s elects and could not be achieved through human efforts and penitence. In the weekly discussions and meetings held at her home, she freely talked about these matters and soon the number of her followers grew. She put more emphasis on the efficacy of faith as a way to attain redemption. Hutchinson criticized the New England Puritan ministers for their narrow concepts of morality. Her principles were at odds with those of the recognized Puritan clergy of Boston. The civil authorities of Boston felt threatened by her theological beliefs as well. So she was tried by the General Court for alleged defaming of ministers. After her trial before the Boston Church, she was officially excommunicated. Following this, she and other dissenters established a settlement on the island of Aquidneck. Later in her life, she lived in the Long Island Sound. In 1643, she, her other family members and servants were killed in an attack.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Anne Marbury

Died At Age: 52


Spouse/Ex-: William Hutchinson

father: Francis Marbury

children: Edward Hutchinson, John Sanford, Susanna Cole, Thomas Savage

Born Country: England

Preachers American Women

Died on: August 20, 1643

place of death: New Netherland

Cause of Death: Killed

  • 1

    What was Anne Hutchinson's role in the Antinomian Controversy?

    Anne Hutchinson played a key role in the Antinomian Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, advocating for individual interpretation of religious beliefs without the need for guidance from ministers.
  • 2

    How did Anne Hutchinson challenge gender norms in colonial America?

    Anne Hutchinson defied traditional gender roles by publicly discussing and debating religious matters, a sphere typically dominated by men in colonial America.
  • 3

    What led to Anne Hutchinson's banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

    Anne Hutchinson's outspoken views and criticisms of the Puritan clergy led to her trial and subsequent banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637.
  • 4

    What impact did Anne Hutchinson's teachings have on religious freedom in early America?

    Anne Hutchinson's teachings and defiance of religious authorities contributed to the discussion of religious freedom and individual liberty in early America, shaping the development of religious tolerance in the future.
  • 5

    How did Anne Hutchinson's legacy influence future feminist movements?

    Anne Hutchinson's courage in challenging authority and advocating for her beliefs set a precedent for future feminist movements, inspiring women to speak out and fight for their rights.
Childhood & Early Life
Anne Hutchinson was born at Alfred in Linconshire, England, in the family of Francis Marbury and Bridget Dryden. She was baptised on 20th July, 1591.
She was born of her father’s second marriage and was the third of her parents’ fifteen children.
Anne Hutchison’s family stayed at her birthplace for the first 15 years of her life. She received education at home, from her father.
On 9th August, 1612, at the age of 21,she married William Hutchinson, a fabric merchant. The ceremony took place at St Mary Woolnoth Church in London.
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Later Life
Anne Hutchinson became deeply influenced by the preachings of John Cotton, a minister at Boston whose doctrine emphasized on ‘absolute grace’. Her husband’s brother-in-law John wheelwright too preached similarly. Inspired by their beliefs, Hutchinson began holding biweekly meetings at her place, where she talked about her own radical interpretations of the Bible.
In 1633, when John Cotton had to flee to New England, Hutchinson and her family followed him, a year later.
At Boston, they started staying at the Shawmut peninsula where Anne took up the role of a midwife. While assisting women in their childbirth, she also gave them spiritual advice.
Very soon, she started hosting meetings for conventicles at home and every week, over 60 people, both male and female, came in her place to discuss Cotton’s preachings. In these meetings, Hutchinson putforth her own viewpoint that through ‘an intuition of the spirit’ can one hope for salvation. Governor Vane was a frequent participant in these meetings too.
Her unorthodox sermons and preaching stirred the Puritan church and they accused her and her followers of Antinomianism which means practicing something which is opposed to the law of grace.
In 1637, when Henry Vane was replaced by Governor John Winthrop, the orthodox party decided to deal with the rivals. On 7th November 1637, Hutchison was put on trial on the charge of maligning the Puritan ministers and endorsing disturbing opinions. Winthrop presided over the trial.
Hutchinson was banished by the court and condemned as a ‘a woman not fit for our society’. At the end of the trial, Hutchison was put under house arrest. She stayed at the house of Joseph Weld, in Roxbury.
On 15th March 1638, Hutchinson went through the church trial, in the home church in Boston. The chief prosecutor for this trial was Reverend John Davenport.
After a gruesome investigation, which lasted for a week, on 22nd March, she read out her recantation to the parishioners where she admitted to being wrong in her beliefs and behavior towards the Puritan orthodox religion.
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In spite of her recantation, Anne Hutchison was banished from the colony and excommunicated from the church along with her supporters.
She settled with her family and followers on the Aquidneck Island (now known as Rhode island).
However, because of the threats posed by the Masachusetts Bay colony, Hutchison and the settlers had to move to Connecticut and then in 1642, they settled down at Split Rock, New Netherland.
But the settlers soon became the victims of the local turbulence. During the Kieft’s war, the natives of the place attacked the New Netherland colony. The exact date of the massacre is unknown, though it must have been in August 1643.
The Siwanoy chief Wampage killed Hutchinson along with her children and servants. Only one of her daughters survived. This incident was viewed by some people of the Massachussets as divine judgment.
Personal Life & Legacy
She got married to William Hutchinson, a fabric merchant, in 1612. The ceremony took place at St Mary Woolnoth Church in London.
Anne bore 15 children. Eleven of them survived to sail to New England and only the youngest daughter, Susanna survived the attack of the Indians.
Facts About Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson was a pioneering woman who challenged traditional gender roles in 17th-century Puritan society by speaking out and leading discussions on religious matters, despite being a woman in a male-dominated society.
Hutchinson's ability to articulate complex theological concepts and engage in spirited debates earned her a reputation as a formidable intellect, even among her detractors.
Anne Hutchinson's unconventional beliefs and outspoken nature led to her being labeled as a dissenter, but she remained steadfast in her convictions and continued to advocate for her religious views.
Hutchinson's trial and eventual banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony showcased her courage and resilience in the face of intense scrutiny and opposition from the religious and political authorities of the time.
Despite her ultimate exile from the colony, Anne Hutchinson's legacy as a trailblazer for religious freedom and women's rights continues to be celebrated and studied today as a symbol of resistance against oppressive societal norms.

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