The links between Chelmsford Cathedral and North America go back to the days of the Pilgrim Fathers. Thomas Hooker, who in around 1626 became a preacher at what was then St Mary’s Parish Church (now the Cathedral), was forced to retire to Little Baddow in 1629 because of his Puritan tendencies. After fleeing for a time to Holland, he emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was very influential in founding the State of Connecticut.
In recognition of this, on the wall of the narrow alleyway just outside the grounds near the Cathedral there is a blue plaque fixed high on the wall of the narrow alleyway, opposite the south porch, that reads: "Thomas Hooker, 1586 - 1647, Curate at St. Mary’s Church and Chelmsford Town Lecturer 1626-29. Founder of the State of Connecticut, Father of American Democracy.”
More recently, during the Second World War many airmen from the USA were based in Essex. In recognition of this and of other American links, the South Porch of the Cathedral was enhanced and beautified after the war.
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