|LOCATION OF THE JUDGES' CAVES IN WEST ROCK, CT|
|REV. THOMAS HOOKER|
Of course, to understand the significance of the half way covenant fully, you really need to understand the requirements for Church membership in the Puritan Church of New England during the 1600s. Originally, in order to be considered a full member of the Church, you had to undergo a conversion experience. However, that alone wasn't enough. In addition, you were required to go before a Committee of Church leaders and respond to questions about your conversion experience in order to make sure that your experience was genuine and that you met the proper standards for a saved person.
I mean, you wouldn't want to accept into the congregation any slouchy Church members whose conversion experience wasn't stellar enough to meet the standards of a group of people who, after all, referred to themselves as "Saints." A lot of people thought that requirement for Church membership was fairly onerous and preferred to skip it, regardless of whether their conversion experience was perfectly solid or not. Those were the people for whom the half way covenant was intended.
|REV. JOHN DAVENPORT|
(As an aside, it is also worth noting that while Rev. John Davenport did not found Yale University in New Haven, he did envision the establishment of the University which took place 30 years later.)
Subsequently, for a couple of years the royal authorities chased around the New Haven Colony looking for these judges, but never found them. Local folks in New Haven simply did what was necessary to shield them from being apprehended. From what I gather, there is a place where the judges hid from their royal pursuers for extended periods of time called the Judges' Caves located in West Rock National Park in CT.
Upon hearing the news, many in the New Haven Colony refused to accept the situation and headed down for New Amsterdam where Peter Styvesant was in charge. However, in August 1664, England seized control of New Amsterdam which cut off that avenue of escape.
*There was also a third refugee judge, John Dixwell, but he was not subject to arrest because in England they thought he was dead. There are three roads in the City of New Haven each named after one of the three judges.