They Sought a Place of Refuge
Jailed for refusing to pay a bond
William Screven emigrated to Boston from Somerton, England, about the year 1668. He moved to Kittery in the Province of Maine. After Massachusetts acquired the area of Main, the authorities began to watch Screven closely because of his Baptist views.
Ultimately, Screven was charged first with not attending meetings on the Lord’s Day. Later he was charged with making blasphemous speeches against the “holy order of pedobaptism,” after spending some time in jail for refusing to pay a bond of £100.
On April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows:
“This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord’s days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord’s days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises.”
Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: Baptist History Homepage , ( Rev. William Screven and the Baptists at Kittery , By Henry S. Burrage,
1904 ) pp. 18-19