Robert Tutchin – One of Newport’s Greatest Men of Faith
(Supplied by Rev Mark Evans)
Robert Tutchin was elected the Minister of Newport Parish Church (Now St Thomas – The Minster) on 6th March 1654. He preached regularly and gave Wednesday lectures in the Church, visiting the sick and caring for the poor of whom there were many. He was much loved by the people of Newport.
On St Bartholomew’s Day 24th August 1662, about 2,000 Ministers were ejected from the Church of England because they did not want to conform to and use the new 1662 prayer book. Robert Tutchin was among Church leaders who dissented and wanted greater freedom within Church services. Tutchin stayed in Newport and continued to minister to his flock. He was so loved by the inhabitants of Newport that when he was turned out of the church by the powers that be, the Newport congregation allowed him the same stipend as when he was their official Minister. At this time he probably held services in private houses.
In 1664 the Conventicle Act prohibited five or more people from meeting for worship (except in the parish church and they had to use the Book of Common Prayer).The Five Mile Act 1665 forbade any ejected minister or schoolmaster from coming within five miles of the town where they had held office. Tradition has it that Tutchin over came this problem on many occasions as he met his flock in a field near Godshill, each Sunday they would walk there for Services. Such was the love for the first Minister of the Puritan Congregation, whose tradition’s still live on today at Newport Congregational Church. Tutchin died in 1671 and was buried in Newport Parish Church – 1st September; the funerals sermon was delivered by the then Vicar of St Thomas’s Matthew Goldsmith; this clearly shows they were now one in Christ in Spirit and action.