1618 – after 1671
Thomasine Newcomen was born in Dartmouth, Devon, in 1618 into a pious and affluent family. In or before 1647, she married John Pendarves, who became vicar of St Helen’s in Abingdon and afterwards was minister of a Baptist congregation. Although formally a Baptist like her husband, her religion was of a more mystical nature than he could approve of, and she caused him embarrassment on several occasions. The most serious instances centred on her relationships with Elizabeth Poole, the political prophetess, whom she defended when Baptist policy was to disown her; and with a disreputable itinerant preacher and writer, Abiezer Coppe, with whom she exchanged passionate letters which could be read either as profoundly spiritual or deeply erotic, and which he unfeelingly published.
Thomasine Pendarves had six children, but it does not seem that any of them survived into adulthood. After her husband’s death, she remained in Abingdon, paying occasional fines for attendance at illegal religious services, but disappears from the records after 1671.
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