James Apthorp (1731-1799) with 1754 Oxford Prayerbook
This Anglican Book of Common Prayer was published in Oxford, England by Thomas Baskett in 1754. Thomas Baskett, the son of the King’s printer John Baskett, inherited his father’s printing house and title as the King’s printer, printing Bibles and prayer books from 1743 until his death in 1761.
Inscribed on the title page of this prayer book is “James Apthorp, Pew No. 75.” James Apthorp was the son of King’s Chapel member Charles Apthorp, an affluent Boston merchant and well-known slave trader who is memorialized inside the chapel. James married Sarah Wentworth, who also grew up attending King’s Chapel, in 1755. Together, they had ten children, including the poet Sarah Wentworth Morton, who was baptized here in 1759.
In 1759, James Apthorp purchased pew number 75, the number that is also inscribed on the prayer book title page. Perhaps this book was kept inside their family pew to use during services!
While living in Boston and attending King’s Chapel, the Apthorp family lived at 74 King Street (later State Street), just a few blocks away from the chapel. The family moved to Braintree in 1768 after inheriting property there and they became members of the Anglican Christ Church. James Apthorp’s sister Susan Apthorp Bulfinch is the only member of the Apthorp family to remain a member of King’s Chapel following the American Revolution.
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