Preaching, polemic and Restoration nonconformity

This book explores the religious, political and cultural implications of a collision of highly charged polemic prompted by the mass ejection of Puritan ministers from the Church of England in 1662, providing an in-depth study of this heated exchange centring on the departing ministers' farewell sermons. Many of these valedictions, delivered by hundreds of dissenting preachers in the weeks before Bartholomew's Day, would be illegally printed and widely distributed, provoking a furious response from government officials, magistrates and bishops. The book re-interprets the political significance of ostensibly moderate Puritan clergy, arguing that their preaching posed a credible threat to the restored political order.

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Wandering soldiers and the negotiation of parliamentary authority, 1642–51

Historians have long been interested in vagrancy during the early modern period, and the treatment meted out to travellers by local officials. However, despite the fact that so many vagrants were conscripted for military service, little work has been done on how they fared during the British Civil Wars. The closely-related topic of ‘wandering soldiers’ remains largely unexplored, despite the fact that they featured prominently in early modern ‘rogue’ literature. Demobilised veterans and deserters did not simply go home, not least because large numbers of conscripts, being unskilled and unmarried, had little reason to do so. The chapter investigates the scale, complexity and political significance of the problems which resulted, and why, given the fact that such individuals were potentially far more dangerous than normal vagrants, the moral panics of earlier decades were not repeated.

in Battle-scarred
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This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about Black Bartholomew's Day, the mass ejection of Puritan ministers from the Church of England in 1662, and which uses political language and the historic meaning of the farewell sermons of the departing ministers. The book considers these sermons in the context of Restoration nonconformity, the public circulation of the Bartholomean texts and the polemical responses to Bartholomean preaching.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day

This chapter considers the farewell sermons as physical performances, whose prevalence and intensity demonstrate that religion remained a prominent feature in the Restoration landscape, analysing how these self-conscious performances were planned and orchestrated, and what the texts reveal about the relationships between the Bartholomean preachers and their various audiences. It discusses Michael Braddick and John Walter's thoughts about the term negotiation of power, and suggests that parliamentary legislation and political action at both local and national level impinged on the minds and actions of the nonconformist ministers, and helped shape the character of the farewell sermons.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day
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This chapter charts how the representation of the Bartholomean corpus has changed over the succeeding centuries to suit the times. The treatment of the farewell sermons in the three and a half centuries since their initial exposition shows that they have not simply spoken to their own time and space, but have often been made to speak to other times and other spaces. The chapter argues that while successive layers of interpretation of the farewell sermons can enrich our understanding of the corpus, they should also serve as a warning that it is all too easy to lose sight of the functioning of historical texts and artefacts in their original setting.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day
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This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the farewell sermons of the Bartholomean clergy. The farewell sermons demonstrate the extent to which religion remained a central consideration in the conduct of post-Restoration politics. This study has challenged several received wisdoms regarding the Restoration religious settlement and the origins of organised Dissent, as well as the simplistic preconception that historical significance must be imbued in structural change rather than language. The re-evaluation of the farewell sermons has also highlighted how much more we need to find out about the religio-political culture of Restoration communities, and particularly about the interaction between the centre and provinces with regard to the creation, reception and implementation of the Act of Uniformity.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day

This chapter aims to decode the rhetorical content of the farewell sermons of the Bartholomean clergy, describing how political comment was skilfully embedded in the exegesis and how the apocalyptic epistemology that underpinned so many texts could hardly fail to produce highly charged political polemic. The analysis reveals that most of the extant farewell sermons rely heavily on the New Testament. A number of themes featured consistently in the farewell sermons, including the eschatological significance of the ejection, memories of armed conflict, imminent persecution and the implications of civil death.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day

This chapter focuses on the scribal and printed circulation of the farewell sermons of the departing Bartholomean clergy, outlining the putative chronology of the translation of the Bartholomean manuscripts into print and examining how and why specific preachers came to be selected for publication. It evaluates whether Restoration authorities were successful in repressing circulation and argues that the natural disasters of 1665 and 1666 helped ensure that publication of the farewell sermons would not resume until the eighteenth century.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day

This chapter analyses the societal and religious identities of the Bartholomean clergy and explores their relationships within local communities, together with their fears and aspirations for a laity bereft of godly preaching, discussing the ministers' backgrounds and describing who and what they had come to represent by 1662. It argues that the nonconformists certainly possessed a sense of solidarity, which in the farewell sermons manifested itself in a hardening of religious resolve and a shared anticipation of persecution, but it did not inspire the formulation of a party agenda.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day

This chapter analyses the polemical responses to the circulation of Bartholomean sermons, arguing that figures in the Restoration establishment exploited the texts not simply to pursue an anti-Puritan agenda, but often in order to promote factions at Court and further their personal careers. It suggests that though the publication of the farewell sermons from 1662 onwards may have been aimed primarily at a sympathetic readership, they provided Cavalier-Anglicans with a visible target onto which to project their anger and insecurity.

in Black Bartholomew’s Day