George Downing, Knight 1660, Baronet 1663; Ambass.
to Netherlands from Cromwell to Charles II; M. P.
Here we have the honors acquired by the sons added to those which they had inherited.
In the meeting house, when the town was established in an orderly way, a proper regard was had to the position of the families and individuals.
Often the house was finished by degrees.
At first benches would be put in. Then some one who wished a place of his own would procure the deed of a space on the floor, some six feet square, and on this he would erect a pit or pew. He was required to keep this in repair and also “all the glass against it.”
When there was no such private arrangement a committee assigned the seats after their own discretion and according to the rank of the family, or their age or property.
This was called “dignifying” the house.
There is the record in 1658, “That the elders, deacons and selectmen for the time being shall be a constant and settled power for regulating the sitting of persons in the meeting house from time to tine as need shall require.”
In 1662 we come upon the work of the committee in such directions as these:--
Bro. Ri. Jackson's wife to sit there where sister Kempster was wont to sit.
Mrs. Ulpham with her mother, Ester Sparlawke, in the place where Mrs. Upham is removed from.
Joanna Winship in the place where Ester Sparhawke was wont to si
--and so on.
The people had great respect for the meeting house and its services, and gave to these their best thought.
The first buildings were rude, but so were the houses of the people: Though the buildings