When originally published in 1972 this book – chiefly thematic in approach and based on the author’s doctoral thesis - was hailed as the first regional study and micro analysis of the development of English Puritanism to appear in print. Leading scholars like Patrick Collinson welcomed its appearance. Internal contrasts within the huge, sprawling diocese of Chester and its large parishes are drawn out as are comparisons with the religious situation in other parts of the country. The ways in which, for much of the period under review, Puritanism in this region was actively supported, and not persecuted, by the authorities is a key distinctive feature which receives careful attention. So do the activism of puritan laity and gender dynamics. Puritan clergy provide only part of the story which is documented in these pages though often it is most conspicuous (not least because clergy tend to be the principal narrators). There is much here on women’s distinctive roles and contributions within households and congregations and as patrons. Analysis is offered of the reading habits of puritan clergy and laymen as a major example of the ways in which puritans in this region were closely connected with the wider world. Contributions made to Puritanism in this diocese by clergy from outside it are also assessed. The ways in which individual and corporate patronage was brought to bear in favour of Puritanism receives a whole chapter of its own. Tensions and conflicts between puritans and Roman Catholics in the North West are carefully reviewed in what was in effect a frontier region.
advocated by the Church in some ways remained remarkably consistent across decades of economic, political, and social turmoil. the holy household 151 Household devotions Prescriptive literature advised that lay Catholic women not only create a sacred family space but also actively direct the home-based prayers and religious rituals that defined Irish life in the century after the famine. In almost all Irish households, nightly prayers were led by women. By the late nineteenth century, as home life increasingly revolved around Catholicism, mothers’ and, sometimes
their own devotional life. Conventicles, for example—a natural extension of the puritan emphasis on family—based rieligion and one of the surest signs of the vitality of lay puritanism—were regularly being held by godly laymen in the diocese, at least in the early seventeenth century. Puritan laymen in the diocese, trained in household devotions and in conventicles, could easily take on a role similar to
schismatical minister at Barwick called Richard Fletcher’. 52 3 Conventicles and household devotions Although complete and deliberate separatism seems to have been uncommon in this period among the puritans of the diocese of Chester, nonetheless godly laymen were capable of organising themselves if or when the need arose. In practice it must have arisen frequently, for the typical form
home and material culture. This chapter looks further at religious iconography and Catholic artefacts. Exploring gender and consumption, it reveals that the growing power of homebased Catholicism depended on women’s consumerism and financial management. It also examines the central roles that mothers and grandmothers played in household devotions and prayers. The ways in which Irish women shaped religious experiences for themselves and their families during several key moments, such as the rosary and the station-mass, show how lay women created and maintained
the Church of England who refused to conform and who were thereafter labelled as ‘nonconformists’. These men were forbidden to hold civil or military office and their public worship was further curtailed by the Conventicle Act of 1664, which forbade unauthorised gatherings of more than five people who did not belong to the same household. The value of household devotions thus grew in direct response to the proscription of public worship for many of these people, especially before the 1689 Act of Toleration allowed limited freedom of worship to some nonconformists if
several false belief systems. This reflected the affinity among study, meditation, and prayer: the exposition of a text flowed naturally into a consideration of ways that the text could apply to one’s life and a prayerful response to both the text and its application. 40 If Bernard envisioned this work being used in household devotions (as, e.g., the family prayer suggests
This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy. The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to affect human bodies and health.