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CURWEN, THOMAS (fl. 1665), quaker, was a useful and influential minister in the Society of Friends. In 1659 he is known to have been imprisoned, and suffered the distraint of his goods for non-payment of tithes, and also to have been imprisoned at Lancaster both in 1660 and 1663, probably for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. In 1665 he was again imprisoned at Lancaster for having created a disturbance in a church. In 1676 he and his wife Alice, also a well-known minister, visited America, and endeavoured to propagate quakerism in the New England States, when they were imprisoned and exposed at the whipping-post at Boston two years later. In 1679 his wife died, and he wrote a testimony to her memory (see A Relation of the Labours, Travails, and Sufferings of Alice Curwen, 1680). In 1683 he was committed to the house of correction in Whitechapel, charged, with several other Friends, with creating a riot and disturbance in the streets—that is, with attempting to preach. On trial he was fined five shillings and sent to Newgate, presumably in default of payment, which, as his name does not appear in Besse's list of those ‘who died under sufferings,’ he appears to have survived. When he died is unknown. He wrote ‘This is an answer to John Wiggan's Book spread up and down in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Wales, who is a Baptist and a Monarchy man,’ &c., London, 1665, a curious work of about 160 pages.

[Smith's Catalogue of Friends' Books, vol. i.; Besse's Sufferings of the People called Quakers, i. 303, &c., ii. 259, Curwen; A Relation of the Labours, Travails, &c., 1680.]

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