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Rowley

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Memorial Window in St. Peter’s Church, Rowley, England. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

On our recent trip to Scotland and England, my wife and I visited the church in the village of Rowley that was the start of my Carlton family odyssey.

We knew that the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers was dismissed from the Anglican Church at Rowley for his non-conformist views. We also knew that Edward Carleton, his wife Ellen and son John were one of 60 Yorkshire, England, farm families, led by Ezekiel Rogers, who landed at Salem, Mass., in 1639 and settled at what they initially called Roger’s Plantation.

After the first season the name was changed to Rowley.

What we didn’t know was that on July 4, 1994, “Descendants, Friends, and Citizens of Rowley, Massachusetts,” dedicated a memorial window in the church in Rowley, England, “In memory of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and company who planted the seed of a new church and community in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1639 A.D.”

We discovered this when we were listening to a BBC television show called “Who Do You Think You Are?”

In one episode, broadcast in 2008, Jodie Kidd, an English fashion model and television personality, discovered that she descended from one of the families that came to America with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers in 1639.

The program showed the memorial window in Rowley, England, and we vowed to go to Rowley on our next visit to England.

In 2007, we had visited Beeford, the village where Edward Carleton was born. This year, traveling southeast from Glasgow, Scotland, we stopped in Rowley on the morning of June 24.

We had contacted the Rev. Canon Angela Bailey, rector of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Rowley, and she arranged to have a church historian meet us at the church. We met historian Mervyn Cross and had a tour of the 14th century church.

The church is attractive both inside and out, and we were thrilled to see the stained glass window featuring Pastor Ezekiel Rogers, the ship that carried them to America, a representation of a few of the people who came with him, the Rowley Church in Yorkshire, England, and the present First Congregational Church in Rowley, Mass.

We were moved by the renewed and enthusiastic relationship between the two churches and the two Rowley communities that came together to heal the division that had separated them almost four centuries earlier.

My Carlton ancestors, one of whom dropped the “e” in the family name, eventually moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and then to Maine where they remained until my maternal grandfather, Guy Carlton, after marrying Margaret King, moved from Maine to Port Jefferson in 1909 to work as a carpenter building the Belle Terre Club. My mother, Blanche Carlton, is the second of their four children born in Port Jefferson.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.