Bartholomew Legate was the last man burned at the stake in Smithfield where Roger Williams grew up. Just like Roger’s father, Bartholomew was in the clothing industry and may have interacted with Roger’s father at his shop. Either way, Roger Williams was about ten years old when Bartholomew was burned at the stake for simply discussing and debating some of the details of his own Christian faith. Bartholomew was an early “Seeker”, someone seeking truth about his own religion while still believing in the religion generally.
Roger grew up in the Smithfield area where heretics were burned at the stake. This fact may have shaped his eventual decision to leave England for America and his views on the separation of church and state as well as his belief that religion and the lack of religion, is an individual right. Like Bartholomew, Roger Williams would eventually become a “Seeker” sometime in the 1640s.