dependable supporter of the Commonwealth and his Coleman Street congregation were influential in the City of London.
Wither was a fiery religious ‘radical’ and a friend to Levellers.
By comparison, Barton was part of a godly, popular and ‘experienced parish clergy’ who later conformed to the Church of England.
St Nicholas was an ardent Independent, part of the landed gentry, who fell out of favour with the Protector
hither all,’ to encourage readers to recognise the danger of ‘thin Congregations and empty seats’.
Barbon and Whiting held different doctrinal perspectives on the role and governance of the Church, yet they were united in both their belief of the applicability of Herbert's poetry to their particular cause, and their conviction that his words could help them negotiate the complex task of writing and asserting their devotional identities during a period when little could be wholly agreed upon.
And when the very different world of the theatre takes up cases of conscience and religious commitment it is again in family contexts, in such domestic tragedies and comedies as A Warning for Fair Women (1599) and The Puritan Widow (1607), discussed in this collection.
The period's religious groups and congregations have a similar character. Meeting house came to be the accepted designation for a building used for worship by nonconformists
, there had been a largely passive acceptance
of the Commonwealth’s religious regime.30 Although pockets of Roman
Catholicism were still seen as an ongoing issue in the Palatinate throughout
the period, by the early 1660s it was to be nonconformity and the Baptist
congregations, in particular, that were seen as the major threat. In Durham,
as elsewhere in the country, religious dissent now tended to be associated
with sedition, and the strength of the newly restored Church was soon used
to impose some control on the area. The returning bishop, John Cosin,
also held the
brought about by each congregation member’s individual
conversion. As Donne himself puts it: ‘It hath alwaies beene the
Lords way to glorifie himselfe in the conversion of Men, by the
ministery of Men’ (VI, 10, 205). The traditional conclusion of each
sermon – the word ‘Amen’ (from the Hebrew, meaning ‘So be
it’/‘Truly’) – attests to the performative potential with which the
sermon was believed to be endowed. The preacher was eager to
exploit the sermon’s performative power, for example when he
urges his listeners to dedicate themselves to Christ at the very
identity – is defined by dissent.
Mary Franklin's Experience shows – in a spare but richly dramatised account – how early modern household devotion evolved as a protected, even holy, space because of the call to worship according to one's conscience and not to the conformity of the Established Church. As Erica Longfellow asserts, ‘from the 1640s onward, the notion that the conscience rather than the state should govern religious decision-making introduced the idea that this area
migration by writing and they lived in a globalising world of
political tension that centred on religious debate. For example, Elizabeth
Avery, who first wrote in the late 1640s, had been brought up in exile in
the Netherlands in the two decades before war. She spent time in the
Fifth Monarchist congregation of John Rogers inside the Protestant Pale
in Dublin and her brother was a Congregationalist minister in Boston.87
The missionary travel of Quaker women also exemplifies the lived experience of women politicised by their times. Quaker Anne Gargill travelled
Passionate performances – Poems
erotic and divine
Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
(‘Batter my heart’, ll. 12–14)
Whereas Donne’s erotic poems are much indebted to religious
metaphor, his nineteen ‘Holy Sonnets’ strongly rely on erotic
imagery. After an analysis of Donne’s religiously erotic poems,
these are now to be compared to his erotically religious poetry.
As it engages in a histrionics of love making, Donne’s erotic
poetry conceives of love as a matter of (artful) performance, hence
The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval
religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to
ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building,
idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church
was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a
time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and
dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the
material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity
and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside
liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which
the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of
the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the
book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by
the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were
constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and
significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval
religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and
academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English
Murderers, martyrs and the ‘sacred space’ of the early modern prison
the Lollards’ Tower assumes an ambiguous identity: it sits on architectural borders between the sacred and profane, but it also seems like a threshold to St Gregory's. Its name also represents the profound changes the Reformation made to ideas of sacred space. When Hunne was imprisoned, Lollards were on the margins of English religious life, criminalised by secular and ecclesiastical authorities. By the time his story was printed in 1537, monasteries and chantries were being demolished and St Paul's future was as a Protestant cathedral. Catholic priests and laity