Roger Williams’ Early Life in London, England

Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, grew up in Smithfiled, London, in the early 1600s before moving to America in 1631. During that time, he witnessed dozens of people being burned at the stake in West Smithfield for their religious beliefts. He knew Captain John Smith, who settled Jamestown in 1609, as he would often return to London’s St. Sepulcher-without-Newgate Church where Williams was christened in 1603, Williams attended the Charterhouse during his teens, a boarding school founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Smithfield. Williams is recognized by a plaque and a list of “Old Boys” on the walls of the Charterhouse. Click here for a four-minute video about Williams’ early life in Smithfield, London. Click here for a 55-minute video of a tour of Smithfield.


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