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Sarah Glover: An Extraordinary Woman

Sarah Glover is the second of the Extraordinary Women in our story.

Sarah was born in 1598.  Her father was Roger Owfield (also spelled Oldfield), who was a Fishmonger, of Billiter Lane, London and her mother was Thomasine, a daughter of John More a merchant, of Ipswich.  Her father was a citizen of London and a member of the Fishmongers' Guild.  At his death in 1608 he left an estate of more than £15,000, so Sarah must have been quite an heiress.   

Sarah was about 26 when she married Jose Glover.  Jose Glover was the son of Roger Glover of Bowcott, Berkshire, and his wife Susan, daughter of Robert Goodwin, a rich citizen and Salter of London.   Jose Glover was a graduate of Cambridge University and was appointed Rector of Sutton in 1624.

Jose Glover's father Roger was a West Indian merchant and owned ships; at the time of his death, he possessed a large estate. One of his residences was the Manor of Ratcliffe, on the Thames River opposite the Pool, in the parish of Stepney.   Both Jose Glover and his new wife came from considerable money.

Marriage statistics indicate that the mean marriage age for the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras was higher than many people realize. Data taken from birthdates of women and marriage certificates reveals mean marriage ages to have been as follows:

1566-1619 27.0 years
1647-1719 29.6 years
1719-1779 26.8 years
1770-1837 25.1 years

The marriage age of men was probably the same or a bit older than that of women. (In 1619, it was about 23 for women, 26 for men.) The age of consent was 12 for a girl, 14 for a boy, but for most children, puberty came two or three years later than it does today.

Both the Glover and Owfield family were Puritans.  The Puritans were English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to "purify" the Church of England from its "Catholic" practices, maintaining that the Church of England was only partially reformed.    

Sarah's brother was Sir Samuel Owfield, one of Oliver Cromwell's officers during the Civil War. The Owfields had interests in Surrey and Sir Samuel Owfield was MP for Gatton near Reigate.

Her cousin Katherine Owfield was married to Col. George Fleetwood, one of the regicides (one of the 59 people who signed King Charles I's death sentence in 1649).

Sarah and Jose had three children; Roger, born at Sutton in 1623, Elizabeth, and Sarah.

Death and afterwards

Sarah died in 1628 aged 30.  Everything points to Jose loving his wife very much but Jose nevertheless remarried pretty swiftly after Sarah's death.  His second wife was Elizabeth Harris the daughter of a Surrey Vicar who was to give him 2 further children.

The Owfield family and Glover family had been finding life in England becoming increasingly intolerable because of the religious policies of the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury that they felt promoted church practices that resembled Roman Catholic ritual.

Both Jose Glover and Sarah's brother, Joseph Owfield, had invested in the Massachusetts Bay Colony when it was founded after 1629 and decided to emigrate to the new colony.  When Rev Jose Glover finally took his second wife and 5 children to New England in 1638 they sailed with a printing press.  He was to die on the voyage but his wife Elizabeth took over the printing press that was the first in America.

Monument and inscription

The monument to Sarah Glover in St Nicholas Church is now concealed behind the screen beneath the west gallery.

The inscription is as follows:

Death to mee is gayne; Here under lyeth interred the corps of that vertuous & religious gentlewoman and servant of god Mrs Sarah Glover one of the daughters of Mr Roger Oldfeld (Citizen & Fishmonger of London) late wife of Mr. Jos : Glover & Rector of Sutton by whome she had 3 children viz. Roger Eliz. Sarah she died the 10th of July 1628 at her age of 30 yeares in memory of whome her said Husband hath caused this monument to be erected 24 May An° Doni 1629.

This Monument presents unto your Viewe
A woman rare, in whome all grace divine,
Faith, Love, zeale, piety, in splendid hue
With sacred knowledge, perfectly did shine.
Since then examples teach, learne you by this
To mount the stepps of everlastinge blisse.

Above the inscription Sarah Glover is represented in bas-relief kneeling in prayer with her three children. Above the monument is a shield, the tinctures of which can now be with difficulty recognized. The charge is as follows: A battled fesse ermine between three crescents, with a molet for difference, impaling Quarterly (1) and (4) a pile engrailed, (2) and (3) a fesse between three molets. 

The best epitaph for Jose Glover is provided by his successor.  The new Rector of Sutton wrote in the register:

"Sutton. Henry Wyche, being a non Regent Maister of Arts in the University of Cambridge, was inducted by Thomas Pope into the Rectorie of Sutton, 10 Jun An. Dom. 1636 , after a Resignation made of the same Rectorie by Jose Glover, who was much beloved of the most (if not of All), & his departure much lamented of the most, if not of All. "