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Jesus College Tag

Joshua Kellard introduces John Eliot, the Cambridge graduate whose work as a translator and missionary visionary in 17th century New England was well ahead of his time.  Jesus College, Cambridge, with its 12th Century chapel, cloistered courts and sleepy wooded surroundings, does not seem a likely springboard for a globe-trotting missionary pioneer; certainly not one who would find it necessary, just 10 years after leaving his college, to abandon the Church of England and seek a new life in a young colony perched on the edge of the world then known to his people. But appearances can be deceptive, for this is the path that John Eliot was to take.  Born in Widford, Hertfordshire, in 1604, John was the third child of Bennett Eliot and Letesse Agar. Being a yeoman and possessed of some lands, Bennett Eliot was able to send his son to Cambridge as a pensioner (fee-paying student), and he graduated BA in 1622. He narrowly missed being contemporary with Oliver Cromwell (who left in 1617) and John Milton (who arrived in 1625), but would have been aware of the poet George Herbert, who held the chair of University Orator from 1620 to 1627.  While little is known about the years...