Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)


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Timothy Wilks

This work was part of the reaction against the trend for adorning and beautifying places of worship, which was especially conspicuous in its impact on the university chapels. Prynne cites Paul in 1 Corinthians — See DNB. Gurnay set himself the task of countering recent arguments in defence of images.

Indeed images were too dangerous to allow even if it were true that they served some good purpose as their defenders argued. In any case the instructive abilities of images were to be seriously questioned. They might convey a matter of fact, but no commentary on whether this fact was good or bad, a model or a warning, or any detailed consideration of its causes and consequences. Images therefore confused rather than clarified. Even if it could be proved that images were profitable as means of instruction that would hardly assuage a jealous God who had strictly forbidden them.

The distinction between dulia and latria was also condemned, Gurnay arguing that in Greek the two expressions were normally used to signify the same thing. However, Gurnay was replying not to Catholics but to fellow Protestants within the Church of England, those Laudian bishops whom he considered to be crypto-Catholics. Given the detailed and thorough arguments against images in Towards the Vindication of the Second Commandment, why did Gurnay feel the need to write again on the subject?

It was obviously an issue which he considered extremely important and in urgent need of addressing. In the first work he had stated that he considered it his duty to write, even though he did not expect to succeed — other more learned men having failed before him.

In , the godly were expecting and impatiently waiting for parliament to act against images, although attempts to get legislation through were faltering under the pressure of weightier business and conflicting views about religious change. Furthermore, with the collapse of the Laudian religious regime and the abolition of High Commission in July , Gurnay was able to express himself with far greater freedom. An Appendix unto the Homily against Images in Churches was mainly devoted to two particular issues. This was effectively an attack on Laud and his followers and on recent ideas about the beauty of holiness — an attack which Gurnay may not have felt able to make so directly in The second issue tackled was the unusual one of funeral monuments.

In general terms the work was a push for further reformation, one which went beyond the removal of recent additions to churches and a return to the Elizabethan status quo. The idea of images as harmless ornaments was given short shrift. The godly, on the 16 Ibid. It had been a heathen practice to erect altars over the dead and then build temples over the altars turning the dead into the gods of the temple. God had kept the burial site of Moses a secret to prevent any such idolatry.

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Moreover, funeral monuments were not necessary, serving only the purpose of honouring the dead which was not a biblical requirement. To bury them with pomp and glory was a falsification of the state of the dead. Even for purposes of remembrance a monument was an unreliable witness — sculptors and painters could only represent the outer parts of the man. After all, argued Gurnay, it was a book of remembrance which the Lord promised for the dead. In fact even the iconoclastic members of parliament were keen to preserve such monuments from damage, adding clauses to that effect to both of the ordinances against images and innovations.

This was aimed at Arminians who had argued that strict measures against images were no longer necessary. Montagu, for instance, had written that the position taken against images in the Homilies was appropriate to the beginning of the Reformation, when it was essential to counter the gross abuses that were prevalent, but that now the church was reformed it was less relevant. Salteren refuted this vehemently. Images and idols were one and the same, and idolatry could not be avoided without the total abolition and destruction of images and pictures in churches.

These were not officially printed until 8 September, but an unofficial version 20 Ibid. Thomas Warmestry, A Convocation Speech. A non-conforming minister at Ware in Hertfordshire, Chauncy had found himself before the High Commission in for speaking out against altar rails at a private chapel in nearby Ware Park the home of Sir Thomas Fanshawe.

A Qualified Intolerance: the Limits and Ambiguities of Early Stuart Anti-Catholicism

After spending several months in prison, Chauncy had made submission before the court but wrote a retractation in before emigrating to New England. It was this retraction which was now printed, giving his arguments in full against communion rails. Even where the rails were of ancient rather than recent origin, Chauncy believed that they had been subject to abuse. On Alsop, see H. Plomer, Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from to , 3—4.

Wherein is proved the unlawfulnesse and danger of rayling in altars or communion tables , 4, 13, 36—7, See also DNB.

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See ch. Therefore, we must not love but hate our owne imaginations, inventions, and lyes. Here he again argued against innovations, including organs. Like other writers, Smart adopted the theme that true beauty was not a matter of sumptuous decoration but a spiritual one. He described the correct form of worship: The Word of God ought to be read, taught and heard; the Lords holy name ought to be called upon by publike prayer, and thanksgiving: his holy Sacrament ought duly and reverently to be 26 Chauncy, The Retractation of Mr Charles Chauncy, 33, preface.

The cross was a free-standing monument, one of the Eleanor crosses erected to commemorate the wife of Edward I at the end of the thirteenth century. It stood some thirty-six feet high, in three stone tiers, with niches containing statues of saints, apostles, kings and bishops, and a Virgin and child. At the top was a gilded cross and a dove representing the Holy Ghost.

The cross had been the target of iconoclasts many times since the Reformation. In the Christ child had been removed, the Virgin defaced and the arms hacked off other images. Royal support for the cross, however, led to its restoration and remodelling in , , —1 and In the Virgin had been replaced by a statue of the classical goddess Diana, deemed to be less controversial, but the Virgin was restored in Shortly after an iconoclastic attack on the cross in January , there appeared in print a tract entitled Cheapside Crosse censured and condemned by A Letter Sent from the Vice Chancellor and other Learned Men of the famous University of Oxford.

This letter contained the opinions of George Abbot, in his judgement against the restoration of the cross in The desire for images, Abbot argued, implied a great weakness of faith, 29 Idem, A Short treatise of Altars, Altar-furniture, Altar-cringing, and Musick of all the Quire, Singing-men and Choristers ? Smart also took advantage of the changing times and his new freedom from prison to produce another work on this theme, A Catalogue of superstitious Innovations in the Change of Services and Ceremonies , listing the offences of the Laudians at Durham.

This was concerned with alerting Queen Elizabeth to the grave dangers of allowing the cross to stand. Finally, the anonymous compiler of the pamphlet added his own comment declaring of Cheapside Cross that there was not such a superstitious monument in Spain, France or Rome. It was to be finally taken down at the beginning of May Cheapside Crosse censured and condemned, 2—5, 6—7, 3—4, 9, 7. First is the reference to the Protestation Oath which had been taken in the House of Commons on 3 May and which was required to be taken by all adult males over the age of eighteen.

Allowing Cheapside Cross to stand was considered by Loveday to be a breech of this covenant. He commented that, now we have great cause to hope that our arke is coming home. Others, like Prynne, had argued that previous reformations were incomplete, and that the failure 36 Samuel Loveday, An Answer to the Lamentation of Cheapside Crosse. Together with the Reasons why so many doe desire the downfall of it, and all such Popish Reliques , clauses 1—3, 6. Lewis Camden Society, 1st ser. Webb 2 vols, , See also P. But who can live without them? He that would win an everlasting Crowne, Must elevate his Crosse, not throw it downe.

Not only should they be pulled down but also broken into small pieces to avoid future restoration. By contrast both of the others considered such pictures harmless, even those depicting Christ. The attack on popery in the popular press reached a peak in early It formed a background against which the debate on images, as expressed in the Cheapside Cross material, could be played out.

Certainly some of the works referred approvingly to the undertakings of parliament. Yet their concern was not exclusively with church imagery, as it was in the specially written scholarly works which appeared in These had a broader general target, in the form of popery, and they were clearly aimed at a wider, more popular readership.

The timing of the publication of these works is relevant — they reflected the feelings of panic and fear running through the country in the light of the political split between parliament and the king, and in the wake of the Irish Rebellion. Petitions flooded into parliament during these same months, the most prominent theme of which was the fear of popery and the belief that the rebellion was a prelude to a general insurrection or invasion. Such an attitude may have been a reaction to the association of the universities with the spread of Laudian ideas but also hints at the kind of arguments which would later be expounded by some separatists and radicals.

To a number of religious radicals the idea of a formally educated clergy was diametrically opposed to their belief in an unofficial ministry where anyone moved by an inner truth could preach. This highlights one of the important themes in Puritan thought: the notion of zeal as both a duty and a proof of godliness. Wolfe 8 in 10 vols, New Haven, —82 , i, Works on related themes were given timely publications when parliament was taking action against images in and The idea of parliament as spear-heading a reforming drive against images has already been seen in the satirical tracts of —2.

This reminded readers of how God has stirred up the heart of the State of the Kingdome, viz: the parliament. The introduction to the new edition noted that When Constantine began the great work of Reformation, it was the complaint of some who were wedded to the old Idolatry, That he brought in innovations of Religion; The like complaints are frequent by the blindly zealous of these times, against our worthy Patriots, who are purging our Idolatry, Errour, Superstition, and Profanenesse, which made many places of this Land as loathsome as the Augean stall, and as laborious to cleanse.

The sermons delivered to parliament at the monthly fasts allowed ministers to speak directly to MPs and exhort them to do their godly duty. On 17 November , the first such sermon was preached by Cornelius Burgess, the minister of St Magnus the Martyr who would come to have a great influence on both religious and political affairs. Burgess rallied the members of parliament directly to lead the reformation, carefully censuring any uncontrolled, unauthorized iconoclasm: You all I think, agree upon the necessity of a great Reformation.

Where should you begin then, but where God ever begins? I speake not this to backe or countenance any tumultuous or seditious spirits that have been lately stirred up to do things without Commission; but to You, whom God hath duly called to the worke, and indispensably requires it at your hands. God had threatened cities because they spared idols and images. There was much to do: are there no Altars? Jeffs et al. The printing of these sermons served to promote the iconoclastic cause.

The iconoclast Willam Dowsing, for instance, possessed an almost complete collection of fast sermons and his marginal notes show that he was clearly inspired by them. The implications were clear. This work is illustrative of the way in which the concept of idolatry was used as propaganda during the war. It was also used to stir up the army, who are described as fighting under the banner of Jesus. Cooper Woodbridge, , 1—28, at 3—4ff. In , A Spirituall Snapsacke for the Parliament Soldiers, a fairly moderate tract dedicated to the earl of Essex, had encouraged the ordinary soldier to think of himself as fighting for God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost and the gospels.

The editor of the edition claimed it had almost official status during the war. The letter relates the uncovering of a box of relics and a large crucifix hidden in Tiverton Church in a wall recently built by cavaliers. The royalist newspaper Mercurius Aulicus reported various acts of iconoclasm committed by parliamentary troops, and by the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry in London — describing its chairman Sir Robert Harley as tearing down images in Westminster Abbey with his own hands.

On 20 May was published the first issue of Mercurius Rusticus, a periodical written by the minister Bruno Ryves, which was to run for another 61 A Spirituall Snapsacke for the Parliament Soldiers, 6—7. Begley , 20—1. Greaves and R. Zaller Brighton, —4. Title page of the royalist newsbook Mercurius Rusticus. The illustrations include the destruction of exterior crosses at Canterbury Cathedral; soldiers at Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge; the plundering of private houses; an attack on a royalist minister at Wellingborough; and a bonfire lit to celebrate the abolition of episcopacy.

BL, Both periodicals were keen to tie in the profaning of churches with attacks on the monarchy — for example, Aulicus accused Harley of destroying pictures of kings and queens at Whitehall Palace, while Rusticus highlighted such things as the alleged vandalising of the statues of James and Charles at Winchester Cathedral. Hammond was a royalist who was soon to be ejected from his presidency of Magdalen College by the parliamentary visitors. He accepted some of the arguments used against images, agreeing that men were by nature idolaters and that to have an image was against the word of God and therefore unlawful.

These were less likely to be worshipped, although caution was still recommended when setting them up in country churches. Hammond also distinguished between the use of images and the worshipping of them — one did not automatically lead to the other. Ultimately, it was argued, it was not necessary to have such strict prohibitions against images as the zealous would like. The parliamentarian press meanwhile 65 Mercurius Aulicus, 16—24 June , Seven issues of Mercurius Rusticus, which was printed throughout , survive in the British Library.

See Angliae Ruina, A radical twist to the argument against images and other objects associated with an unreformed or partly reformed church was the extension of the idea of idolatry to apply to church buildings themselves. Irredeemably polluted by the idolatry of the distant and recent past these were considered by some to be dangerously tainted and not safe even to be turned to secular usage. This kind of thinking was usually connected to a rejection of any form of national church however loosely structured. Similar arguments had already been used against cathedral churches in the sixteenth century, as in the writings of Henry Barrow.

For religious extremists ordinary parish churches were now regarded with the same hatred and suspicion. A follower of the teachings of Jacob Boehme — who held that God resided within — Hering emphasized the importance of the spirit compared to the material world. A Leveller and religious pamphleteer who had been an apprentice with John Lilburne, Chidley had set up his own separatist church in Bury St Edmunds along with his mother Katherine also a radical writer.

In Thunder from the Throne of God against the Temples of Idols, of , Chidley argued that churches could not be properly purged except through complete demolition. Acts and Ordinances, i, — John Nickolls , He was particularly concerned that some cathedral churches were being used as preaching houses — in To His Highness the Lord Protector and to the Parliament of England, Chidley expressed his concern at the recent order of parliament allowing Gloucester cathedral to be used in such a manner.

Like others, he commented upon the increase of idolatry in the days of the late king, when the bishops and the Clergy by his authority had got an encrease into their High Places of their Organs, their Rails, their Altars, their white surplices, Tippets, Hoods, and Copes. He cited Deuteronomy —19, probably the most comprehensive of biblical injunctions against graven images, and applied it absolutely. Forbidden images which were still tolerated in churches included pictures of men, women and children.

See also T. More generally the subject of church images seems to have become less of an issue in the s. There was a small resurgence of texts on this and related issues at and immediately after the Restoration. These were interpreted as the judgements of God against those who conformed to the restored church, as in the notorious work Mirabilus Annus, or the Year of Prodigies and Wonders. One prodigy was the alleged appearance in Hertfordshire of two suns, a phenomenon which was interpreted as meaning the end of innovations in religion, as well as the fall of great men.

In another, an Essex minister died following a fall from his horse after baptising a child with the sign of the cross. Taking an overview of the period, it can be seen that the subject of images was one of concern mainly in the early to mid s. This can be ascribed in large part to its role as a focus for anti-Laudian and anti-episcopal feeling. After the outbreak of war, the perceived increase in idolatry served as an explanation for the unprecedented turmoil and civil strife, whilst its reformation was a tool through which the godly could attempt to take some control over the situation.

The bulk of writing directly against images, however, does seem to have been concentrated in —2, with relatively little appearing to support the main pieces of iconoclastic legislation in and This suggests that the chief inspiration behind the writing and publication of such works was the need to campaign for reform when it was by no means the inevitable outcome.

Throughout , parliament was unable 74 See Short Title Catalogue, ed. Wing 3 vols, New York, edn , for the various postRestoration editions of Gurnay. Eyre and Rivington 3 vols, —14 , 7 September As has been noted, many of the arguments used in the s were based on traditional ideas on images, the same ideas as those propounded in the debate against the Catholic Church in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Such ideas can be found expressed in all of the serious works against images described here. They were not exclusively Puritan ideas but rather mainstream Protestant ones, the widespread acceptance of which can be seen in their use by non-Puritans, including future royalists like Henry Hammond and Thomas Warmestry. The texts of the s, however, contained new features which reflected current circumstances, and were also indicative of a far broader condemnation of images and other objects which were thought to have no place in a truly reformed church.

This was partly because most of the authors were Puritans — as, for instance, Vicars, Gurnay, Salteren, and Loveday. Yet another factor was concern with the apparent increase in idolatry and the fear that the Church of England was being pushed into a closer proximity to Rome. Virtually all of the works of this period complained of the recent increase of images and idolatry, and this was linked to the behaviour of the higher clergy. Whilst an association between idolatry and episcopacy had been made by radicals and Presbyterians in the sixteenth century, as in An Admonition to Parliament by Field and Wilcox, there had also been a strong tradition of godly bishops who, like Jewel and Abbot, themselves wrote against images.

In the seventeenth century, the Laudian emphasis on clerical hierarchy and formal ceremony, with its elevation of the power and status of the bishops, stirred up widespread hostility. Thus attacks on episcopacy and on cathedrals which had been on the fringes of Elizabethan writing against idolatry and images came — via the works of s dissenters like Prynne and Burton — to be in the mainstream of such writing in the s. See, e. Such statements played into the hands of royalists and religious opponents of parliament.

In the anonymous author of The Dolefull Lamentation of Cheapside-Crosse opined at length on what he considered would be the social and political consequences of the attack on crosses. He rebuked the iconoclasts: the next crosses which you will find fault withall, will be those rich monied men, whose bags lye crosse in their chests. Many of the writers against images, as has been seen, expressly reminded readers that reform was the preserve of the magistrate and those in authority. With parliament mainly in the hands of godly reformers after the outbreak of war, action against images seemed certain, and by April the setting up of the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry, closely followed by the demolition of Cheapside Cross, showed that parliament was taking its role as the new Hezekiah seriously.

Whatever questions remain about the extent to which iconoclasm was actually pursued in the country at large and these are questions which will be addressed throughout this book , there can be no doubt that parliament took the issue seriously and that a series of increasingly radical pieces of legislation was passed. The legislation can be seen as setting an official standard which may or may not have been met generally but which nonetheless constituted an agenda for official iconoclasts. This chapter looks at the iconoclastic measures taken by parliament and also at the work of its special committee set up to address the issue in and around London.

The Passage of Iconoclastic Legislation Concern with the direction that the church was taking under Laud had found brief expression during the Short Parliament 13 April—5 May where several members presented petitions from their constituencies complaining of innovations. John Pym had the task of reporting on innovations, including the issue of the position of the communion table as well as the setting up of crosses, images and crucifixes in cathedral and parochial churches.

The dissolution of parliament less than a week later meant that no further action could be taken. Throughout the summer, hostility towards the war with Scotland led to iconoclastic riots, mostly committed by conscripted soldiers but often with the collusion of the local populace. This committee was to receive petitions from individual parishes with complaints against their ministers, some of whom were cited as having erected superstitious images. The matter was referred back to the committee dealing with Cosin which was ordered to draw up proposals for a conference to be held with the House of Lords on the matter.

On the May riots in London, see K. Shaw, The English Church —60 2 vols, , i, ch. Meanwhile the Commons continued their attempts to instigate reform, driven on by Pennington. Cosin was also charged with employing Roman Catholics to undertake painting and glazing work, including the erection of images depicting God and the Trinity. CJ, ii, On 8 August the report was postponed for a further day, although it did not materialize even then.

This idea was adopted and the House declared that churchwardens should have the power to act in their own churches. Later the same day a committee was set up to consider the broader issues, including the removing of Communion Tables in the Universities, and the Inns of Court; and the book of Sports; and all other matter of innovations that have happened in Debate this forenoon; and to frame an order upon them. On rail riots in London see ch. CJ, ii, , —9. For the full text of the order see Appendix I. Whilst the clauses against pictures and images were primarily aimed at those recently erected, in glass windows and elsewhere, they could also be used to demolish similar objects which had survived the Reformation.

One aspect of this legislation that was radical compared to measures against images taken in the sixteenth century, was that the responsibility for enforcement was put almost entirely into the hands of local clergy and laymen. The September order named parsons and vicars alongside churchwardens as the persons designated to carry out the removal of images and other innovations, bypassing the traditional church hierarchy. Previously, local church officials could not act in such a capacity without permission from the higher clergy.

An Elizabethan proclamation of had forbidden any defacing or taking down of glass without licence from the Ordinary, whilst during the trial of the Salisbury iconoclast Henry Sherfield in the question of authority had been the main issue, concerning even those sympathetic to the defendant.


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Yet it was part of the aim of the order to resolve conflict over these matters at a local level by giving direction, and by removing the offensive items which were provoking good people to disorder. Godly Elizabethan bishops may have done their duty and overseen the reformation in their dioceses albeit some more zealously than others , but in the immediate post-Laudian era the struggle was seen to be against an innovating and dangerously inclined prelacy.

The Upper House had not ignored the issue of innovations but had in fact made several moves to address the problem. It stated that 13 14 See ch. Coates, On 1 March the Peers further ordered that bishops should give directions to ensure that every Communion Table, in every church in his Diocese, doth stand decently, in the ancient Place, where it ought to do by Law, and as it hath done for the greater Part of these threescore years last past.

Gee, The Elizabethan Clergy, On 22 April , following more church riots, this time in Cheshire, the Lords reissued their order concerning divine service, again stressing peace and order and discouraging the involvement of ordinary parishioners. The Lords remained primarily concerned with a return to a pre-Laudian position. Even this part of the sentence was remitted when the defendants pleaded poverty after a spell of imprisonment.

The Lords put a more precise definition on this, confining it to those which had been raised within the last fifteen years a figure not dissimilar to that which would be used by the Commons in their ordinance, where those less than twenty years old were to be demolished. Interestingly, however, their proscription of images of the Virgin Mary applied to the last twenty years only, suggesting perhaps that not only were these less offensive than depictions of the Trinity, but also that there may have been more of such pictures installed within the last few years.

The main sticking point for the Lords was the issue of bowing at the name of Jesus. In response the Lords voted the next day to reprint their own earlier order concerning divine service, despite the refusal of the Commons to assent to this and some dissenting voices amongst their own ranks — unsurprisingly, figures like the earls of Bedford and Warwick and Lord Kymbolton. The Commons reacted by printing a declaration 19 Ibid. For more on the June rail riots see ch. If the original rails at St Saviour were fifty years old they must have been a rare example of Elizabethan rails see ch.

In his report on the activities of the Recess Committee, given to the reconvened parliament, Pym discussed the response to the iconoclastic order. The parish of St Giles Cripplegate continued to offer resistance. On 21 October another heated discussion 21 Ibid. For copies of the order 8 September and declaration 9 September see BL, For the 28 September order see also BL, On 1 March another debate was held on the subject of St Giles Cripplegate, and an order was issued for the immediate removal of the rails. The rails at St Giles were said to be eighty years old.

This was probably an overstatement, but, nonetheless, there is a sense that further attempts to settle the matter were avoided as too controversial, or simply embarrassing. Debates were scheduled several times but postponed, and when Harbottle Grimston tried to bring the topic up during a discussion of the Remonstrance, on 16 November, he was shouted down. The business was put off until 3 November when many of those with certificates returned to parliament, only to be put off again until the next day.

Even then no action was taken. This spilled over, on 28 December, into an attack on Westminster Abbey, when there was an attempt to demolish the altar, organs and royal tombs. Bray 4 vols, , iv, ; Coates, 20 n. It had already been put off from 2 November ibid. He argued that he was afraid upon inquiry we shall find. It received a first reading on 16 February and a second the next day. He argued that if we commit the work to ignorant men only, as the churchwardens for the most part are, to deface what they list and leave it to their judgement only to distinguish what is a superstitious image and what not, we may have that defaced which we would not.

The bill was finally passed by the Commons on 23 March, but then met with further delay in the Lords. Messages were sent up from the 28 29 30 Private Journals, i, See also CJ, ii, , , and It had been included in the Nineteen Propositions, presented to the king at the beginning of June, but was still being debated by the Lords in July, when it was referred to a committee which was to consider their suggestion that commissioners be appointed in each county to oversee the removal of stained glass windows.

This proviso illustrates the concern of the Upper House that iconoclastic legislation should be enforced in a carefully controlled way. The bill passed with this amendment on 16 July, but did not gain the full assent of both Houses until 1 November. Finally, on 27 December, a short bill had to be introduced to amend the time limits set out in the bill which were now out of date. Although this bill does not appear to have been put into action, the Commons did proceed with other measures against specific idolatrous offences. The men were quickly brought under control by their captains.

The celebration of the first High Mass, in December , had been a major event followed by three days of religious ceremony which attracted large crowds. The presence of the friars and the openly practised Roman Catholic worship made the chapel a focus of anti-Catholic fear. For its inclusion in the Nineteen Propositions see Gardiner, Constitutional Documents, , clause 8. Drew Surrey Record Society, 2, For descriptions of these windows see Prynne, Canterburies Doome, 59— Ashbee Aldershot, , 88—9.

An attempt had been made by the City of London authorities to persuade parliament to act against the Capuchins in December , but this failed due to the pressure of other business. In May placards had been posted outside Somerset House exhorting Londoners to eradicate the idolatry being practised there, and further attacks had occurred in January and February On 13 March the Commons revived its original order to address the issue. The order was repeated on 18 March when a committee, headed by Henry Marten, was appointed to oversee its performance, accompanied by the trained bands of London and Middlesex.

The Venetian ambassador, recording the event some days later, wrote of the smashing of altars, the breaking and defiling of images and the burning of ornaments. CJ, ii, ; ibid. For the intervention of the French ambassador and the debates between the Commons and the Lords over the expulsion of the Capuchins see CJ, iii, 24, 25, 46—7 and LJ, v, , However, the drive against idolatry had a broader base.

In the tense atmosphere of these first months of war, when the royalists seemed to have the upper hand, it was natural that the godly members of parliament should feel the need to appease God. The other was bloodshed — but that came second. The expulsion of the Capuchins was seen by the parliamentarians as a success, being linked directly to the victory at Reading which occurred shortly afterwards.

This committee the work of which is discussed in detail below was principally created to oversee the reformation of Westminster Abbey and parish churches in London and the surrounding areas. It was to issue an order to churchwardens, based upon that of September but with additional clauses making it more radical, and it was to be involved in the removal of crosses and other monuments from public spaces.

Other measures sanctioned by parliament around this time were the destruction of Cheapside Cross in May , and the reformation of the Temple church. On 27 May the treasurers of the Temple were required to pull down the communion rails and crosses in the church, remove the communion table from its altar-wise position and level the ground at the east end of the church.

Macray 6 vols, Oxford, , iii, 11; Oxford Royalist Newsbooks, ed. Thompson 4 vols, , i, —7. The order for this was actually given on 30 March, and it probably took place before the date given here 23 May. BL, G. This attitude was no doubt combined with a desire to impress the Scots, with whom an alliance was beginning to look possible.

Parliament may also have been responding to popular pressure. The impact of the split with the king and the outbreak of war played a significant part in this development towards increased radicalism, removing the more conservative elements from parliament and allowing the zealous members a freer rein: the committee which drew up the September order in had included future royalists Falkland, Culpeper and Hyde, and the order had 41 CJ, iii, 57, 63, It repeated and redefined those objects prohibited by the earlier order, and went further in adding new items to the list and including areas outside of religious buildings.

Certain things were defined more carefully, no doubt to avoid leaving loopholes. Altars and tables of stone, for instance, were specifically named, although these items must have been rare especially in parish churches. Not only crucifixes but now plain crosses were to be demolished reflecting the recent campaign against them in London ; images and pictures of saints were forbidden alongside those of the Trinity and the Virgin Mary; and superstitious inscriptions were required to be removed.

This is significant because the act of defacing such objects was a symbolic gesture making a bolder statement than merely removing them could. The increased radicalism of the legislation was particularly illustrated in the inclusion of superstitious inscriptions. Not only were these not mentioned in the earlier order but Michael Herring, churchwarden of St Mary Woolchurch 44 For members of the committee which drew up the order, see CJ, ii, 84; Private Journals, i, Herring had gone further and defaced statues on tombs simply because they were in the act of kneeling at prayer.

Even in , when inscriptions became legitimate targets, parliament was careful to legislate against such excess and worse vandalism committed since the outbreak of war , adding clauses to ensure that the ordinance was not carried out in an uncontrolled way. Those responsible were obliged to make good any structural work damaged in the process of reformation, and to carry out necessary repairs. Secular monuments, including royal ones, would continue to come under attack from time to time, generally at the hands of soldiers.

The attack on religious imagery in non-religious sites was a controversial move — many opponents of images were happy to accept those kept outside of churches. This more radical agenda reflects the activities of the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry and its campaign against public crosses. The deadline for compliance with the ordinance was 1 November , with a fine being imposed for neglect, and local justices required to enforce the legislation by 1 December.

It is doubtful if these deadlines were met in the majority of parishes. Even the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry had to be reminded, on 20 December, to push on with enforcement. At the same time the Commons also ordered Colonel Venn, commander of the garrison at Windsor, to put the ordinance into execution at Windsor and Eton. CJ, iii, , ; ibid.

The inspiration for this renewed iconoclastic drive seems to have come out of moves made earlier in the year to reform the chapels in the royal palaces. The fact that any reformation of the royal chapels would certainly involve meddling with, as well as the confiscation of, royal property made it desirable that any such action be given legal validity. It was to become the Ordinance for the further demolishing of Monuments of Idolatry and Superstition on 9 May , and on 21 May the Commons ordered that the new legislation be put into execution at Whitehall.

Again, as with the ordinance, there was an attempt to define offensive items more carefully and strictly, whilst at the same time the scope of the legislation was broadened. Not only were angels now added to the list of religious characters not to be depicted, but the prohibition against images was widened dramatically to include even representations, that is symbolic images such as, for instance, Christ depicted as a lamb or the signs of the four evangelists.

Organs and vestments, which had in many places long ceased to be used, were now specifically banned, while chancels raised at any time, even those which had survived the Reformation, were to be levelled. The inclusion of roods and roodlofts in the ordinance is something of a curiosity, given that one would have expected these to have long been removed from ordinary churches. Ronald Hutton, however, has pointed out that a number of roodlofts did survive the Reformation, through sheer luck and the determination of local parishioners.

American Revolution and the Church

This clause may have been a tightening up of legal loopholes so that in cases where such things still existed it could not be argued that they were beyond the remit of the legislation. It could also be that these items were included now to cover specific cases: it has already been suggested that the May ordinance came out of moves to reform the royal chapels, and this kind of object may have survived there.

The clause for the defacing of vestments was clearly linked to the recent confiscation of copes and surplices from the royal chapels. In most other places these items would no longer have been in use, although there was probably also a desire to see that they were not simply put away but actually destroyed. Whilst the Continental Reformed churches tended to use shallow basins, sited near the pulpit, the post-Reformation Church of England, like the Lutheran churches, had been content to retain fonts.

Haigh Cambridge, , It seems to have been as a result of this, rather than the May ordinance, that many baptismal fonts were removed and destroyed. There was to be no more large-scale legislation on the subject of images, furnishings or utensils in churches.

This aimed to bring the former royalist stronghold into line with the parliamentary regulations on imagery. The next month the regulations for the Triers — proposed judges to oversee the election of Presbyterian elders — included articles concerning suspension from the sacrament. On this see also D. Hence an ordinance was passed in February which required the good repair and maintenance of all churches. The Directory of Public Worship was careful to make it clear that although churches may have been the scenes of past errors of idolatry they were not in themselves idolatrous.

This shows the increasing fear of radical sectarians, some of whom, as has been seen, were arguing for the demolition of the churches themselves. Nevertheless, after the execution of the king and the establishment of a Commonwealth in , Stuart symbols — in the form of arms, statues and inscriptions — were ordered removed from churches and elsewhere, and were treated in a similar way to religious images: they were not only to be removed but to be defaced.

The entire report was referred to the Committee for Plundered Ministers. In suppressing a traditional ideology — whether religious or political, papal or monarchical — it was not enough merely to remove from sight the objects which defined that ideology, but they must also be seen to be destroyed. In many ways the defacing of such artefacts was a stronger comment and a clearer statement of victory — it was a symbolic act, demonstrating the power of the new regime. On yet another level there was a link between anti-Stuart iconoclasm and religious iconoclasm.

After his death, Charles I had been set up as a martyr and an icon, most notably in Eikon Basilike, a book purportedly written by the king himself. The symbolism of this was not lost on Milton, who called his answer to this idolizing of the king Eikonoclastes. In this tract, Milton systematically smashed not only the 55 CJ, iv, ; Acts and Ordinances, i, —70, On cathedrals see ch. For the defacing of the royal statues see CSPD , Whilst an exploration of the metaphorically iconoclastic aspects of the English Revolution is beyond the scope and theme of this book, the links between anti-royal and religious iconoclasm is noteworthy and is touched upon in the following chapters when looking at the actions of ordinary soldiers, which occasionally fused the two.

Those which depicted persons of the Trinity or the Virgin Mary were ordered to be burnt. A list of former royal paintings and hangings assigned to Cromwell at Whitehall and Hampton Court Palace included several depictions of religious subjects such as a Madonna with angels, the story of Jacob, and the prophet Elijah. At some point in the s Cromwell was the recipient of a letter from a godly woman, Mary Netheway, concerned about the heathenish statues of Venus, Adonis, Apollo and others in the gardens of Hampton Court.

CJ, iv, These orders do not appear to have been carried out but the controversy surrounding the sale illustrates the point. This is not to say that Puritans ceased to be concerned about idolatry in general and images in particular. Puritan iconoclasm was, it would appear, largely a phenomenon of the s, linked closely to the religious, political and military situation of those years.

Between September and May there was a move from the original emphasis on recent innovations to a drive for further reformation. By objects which had been a legitimate part of the preLaudian church — for instance, organs, fonts and ceremonial vestments — were outlawed. The agenda had become a strictly Puritan one rather than an antiLaudian reaction to the changes of the Caroline church.

One of the key moves in this progression was the setting up of the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry some four months before the August ordinance. Its remit was to receive information, from time to time, of any Monuments of Superstition or Idolatry in the Abbey Church at Westminster, or the Windows thereof, or in any other Church or Chapel, in or about 60 Acts and Ordinances, ii, Harley, member of parliament for Herefordshire, was a notable Puritan of Presbyterian leanings who took a personal interest in the subject of images.

Having been a member of the committee which drew up the order against innovations in September , Harley used the parliamentary recess which followed to ensure that it was carried out in the parishes neighbouring his estate at Brampton Bryan. This involved the removal of the church cross at Wigmore, and the breaking of windows at Leintwardine. Apart from Harley, I have found no evidence of any of these individuals being actively and consistently involved in enforcing iconoclasm, although Gurdon and Bond were involved in the reformation of Somerset House chapel in March and Gurdon was a member of the committee set up to take charge of the royal coronation regalia which allegedly desecrated Westminster Abbey in June CJ, ii, , iii, 8, Such an action would have been an anticipation of the campaign against crosses in London during and their inclusion in the August ordinance, both of which Harley was undoubtedly influential in initiating.

The work of the committee started immediately. The initiative for this widespread campaign came apparently from the City authorities at the Guildhall. On 23 March , less than a month before the creation of the Harley Committee, a group of London ministers had been appointed to view the windows of the Guildhall and its chapel. The report they produced, on 27 April , expressed concern not only with the Guildhall windows and other images in the City but in particular with Cheapside Cross.

The mayoral court decided that parliament should be consulted about its removal and a petition was drawn up. It may well have been in response to 65 Ibid. MS , fols r, r. I have not been able to trace the source, although it sounds like a classic piece of royalist propaganda. MS This order appears to have been based on the abortive bill passed by parliament in November The requirements of the order were largely a repeat of those of , with some additions: the taking away and demolishing of altars or tables of stone; the removal of the communion table from the east end into the body of the church; the removal of tapers, candlesticks and basins from the communion table; and the taking away and demolishing of all crucifixes, crosses and images and pictures of persons of the Trinity, or of the Virgin Mary.

The London parishes were expected to give the committee an account of the work done by 20 May — a very short space of time indeed. No evidence of such reports to the committee survive, although many of the London parishes removed steeple and other outdoor crosses at around this time. Westminster parishes were also included, although the poor survival rate of parish accounts and the absence of any records of the court of burgesses for the period means that detailed evidence is rather thin on the ground.

On the Guildhall Report and for more on the demolition of the cross, see ch. Both may be right — the Venetian ambassador reported that the work took three days to complete. For the full text, see Appendix I. Charing Cross itself, which was in a state of much disrepair and without religious images, was allowed to stand until The Harley Committee seems to have been responsible for defacing any confiscated items deemed to be idolatrous.

As mentioned earlier, it had to be reminded of its duty on 20 December with a Commons order urging the enforcement of the ordinance. The committee was no doubt also expected to enforce the final piece of iconoclastic legislation, the May ordinance. There exists little evidence to illustrate how systematic such enforcement was after the initial May campaign.

Given the pressure of its other work during that time — the reform of Westminster Abbey and the royal chapels — it is likely that the committee worked in an irregular way, probably acting upon information received and sporadic reminders from parliament to chase up cases of neglect as on 20 December and again on 19 August An entry from the vestry minutes of St Michael Cornhill shows a meeting of the Harley Committee held on 20 October where pressure was applied to the parish officials to comply with the parliamentary ordinances.

This may have been a case of the committee chasing up an individual parish or may have been part of a more general initiative aimed at reminding parishes of their duty. It does 72 J. Timbs, Curiosities of London edn , 84—5. The Abbey may also have suffered from two instances of unofficial or semi-official iconoclasm during June and July On 3 June the Commons ordered a committee headed by Henry Marten to break open the doors to the room where the coronation regalia was kept in order to take an inventory. This was carried out on 7 June, Marten being accompanied by a number of troops.

What actual official iconoclasm took place in is not documented. Most of the work appears to have happened between and , although it should be remembered that the dates given are those on which the bill or receipt was drawn up, the work itself having already been carried out. To illustrate this, reports in Mercurius Aulicus of the defacing of pictures at Whitehall Palace were dated as 19 June , although a receipt for payment for the work is dated exactly one month later.

Payment for a bill of 24 July for work at the Abbey was 74 CJ, iii, ; iv, The pictures were removed by 22 March but were not destroyed.


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Both of these instances are discussed in ch. Marten was unsuccessful in his attempt to seize the regalia at this time but returned on 13 June when he allegedly took away plate and money. On 8 May , the Commons ordered the melting down of Westminster Abbey plate then in the possession of Harley. After the Restoration the dean and chapter offered a reward for the return of missing utensils and goods belonging to the church CJ, iii, ; Westminster Abbey Archives, Chapter Act Book, —2, fol.

The most prominent was joiner Adam Browne, who had been appointed surveyor at the Abbey in , and who had done a good deal of work for Archbishop Laud. Browne and Sutton seem to have been reluctant witnesses against their former employer, taking pains to point out that the order for the window at the chapel had been given not by Laud but by Robert Newell, sub-dean of Westminster Abbey. However, no doubt motivated by pragmatism, Browne carried out work for the Harley Committee and remained in his post until his death in Carpenter Thomas Gassaway had also worked for the dean and chapter of Westminster Abbey.

Sutton also found himself in the position of having to undertake work removing painted windows, some of which it might be conjectured may have been his own work see ch. Lethaby, Westminster Abbey Re-examined , ; H. Tanner, Unknown Westminster Abbey , The altar was destroyed by the Committee for the Demolition of Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry, probably around December The removal of the glass was probably done much earlier — the receipts largely record the work of restoration rather than destruction and it is likely that the painted windows had been broken down previously and left in a state of disrepair.

This altar was of ornate Renaissance design with some obviously offensive features. A free-standing screen contained bronze reliefs showing the Resurrection to the front and the Nativity to the back. Above the whole was a canopy on which kneeling angels supported a cross on one side and a pillar bearing a cockerel representing St Peter on the other see plate 3. It is likely, however, that the most offensive parts of the altar were removed or defaced earlier than this. It is not always easy to tell exactly what the object is that was being demolished, although some indication can be taken from the trade of the workman named in the accounts.

Perkins, Westminster Abbey: its Worship and Ornaments 3 vols, , ii, ff. On Henderson see Paul, Assembly of the Lord, passim. Unfortunately it has not been possible to identify any of these paintings, to ascertain their date or content. Similar paintings depicting two kings were allowed to remain, and do so still.

Letheby has suggested, a Doom or Last Judgement which may have occupied the central tympanum of the north porch like that at the cathedral of Amiens. Gassaway was paid for erecting scaffolding, and Stevens, the mason, cut down statues of the Virgin Mary and other saints. Stevens also removed a cross from the top of the door to the alms house. Scott, Gleanings from Westminster Abbey Oxford, , MS , receipt of John Rutland, 12 January This is probably a reference to some symbolic imagery — the lamb as a symbol of Christ could take several forms representing the Crucifixion, the Resurrection or the book of Apocalypse.

It had been decided that the whole House should take the sacrament as a way of weeding out any papists amongst them Notestein, 43, 46, 48 19 and 20 November ; CJ, ii, 32, 20 November; BL, Add. Even under the Protestantism of the Even under the Protestantism of the reformed Church, the spiritual and social dramas of birth, marriage, and death were graced with elaborate ceremony.

Powerful and controversial protocols were in operation, shaped and altered by the influences of the Reformation, the Revolution, and the Restoration. Each of the major rituals was potentially an arena for argument, ambiguity, and dissent. Ideally, as classic rites of passage, these ceremonies worked to bring people together. But they also set up traps into which people could stumble, and tests which not everybody could pass. In practice, ritual performance revealed frictions and fractures that everyday local discourse attempted to hide or to heal.

Using first-hand evidence, this book shows how the making and remaking of ritual formed part of a continuing debate, sometimes strained and occasionally acrimonious, which exposed the raw nerves of society in the midst of great historical events. In doing so, it brings to life the common experiences of living and dying in Tudor and Stuart England. Some of the poorest regions of historic Britain had some of its most vibrant festivities. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the peoples of northern England, Lowland Scotland, and Wales Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the peoples of northern England, Lowland Scotland, and Wales used extensive celebrations at events such as marriage, along with reciprocal exchange of gifts, to emote a sense of belonging to their locality.

This book looks at regionally distinctive practices of giving and receiving wedding gifts, in order to understand social networks and community attitudes. The book is about informal communities of people whose aim was maintaining and enhancing social cohesion through sociability and reciprocity. Communities relied on negotiation, compromise, and agreement, to create and re-create consensus around more-or-less shared values, expressed in traditions of hospitality and generosity. Ranging across issues of trust and neighbourliness, recreation and leisure, eating and drinking, order and authority, personal lives and public attitudes, the book explores many areas of interest not only to social historians, but also literary scholars of the British Isles.

For generations, historians have presented Britain as exceptional and different. In recent years, an emphasis on the Atlantic In recent years, an emphasis on the Atlantic and imperial aspects of British history, and on the importance of the nation and national identity, has made Britain and Ireland seem even more distant from the neighbouring Continent. It acknowledges areas of difference and distinctiveness, but points to areas of similarity. It accepts that both Britain and Ireland were part of an Atlantic and wider imperial world, but highlights their under-recognized connections with the rest of Europe.

And, perhaps most ambitiously of all, it suggests that if the British and Irish thought and acted in national terms, they were also able, in the appropriate circumstances, to see themselves as Europeans. Some of the chapters say more about British and Irish similarities to the Continent, others stress connections, and still others illustrate European identities. But, taken together, they present a case for our regarding eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland as integral parts of Europe, and for our appreciating that this was the perspective of many of the British and Irish at the time.

Other historians have opended up parts of this subject, presenting a more rounded picture than exceptionalist narratives allow, stressing convergence rather than divergence, establishing important connections and exploring their ramifications; but none has attempted such a panoramic view. This book provides a full view of the social, political, and military aspects of the volunteer movement of the French Wars: the volunteer infantry, yeomanry cavalry, and the armed associations in This book provides a full view of the social, political, and military aspects of the volunteer movement of the French Wars: the volunteer infantry, yeomanry cavalry, and the armed associations in England, Scotland, and Wales from to It considers the antecedents of voluntary military forces, and the government planning that led to the formation and development of the volunteers and yeomanry.

It shows how the administration of volunteering fitted into the existing system of county administration and central government. It analyses the geographical spread and concentrations of volunteering in relation to the apparent threats from popular radicalism and French invasion. It considers the type of men who joined the volunteers and their motivation for doing so, and those who promoted and organized the corps and the incentives they offered to recruit them. It analyses the social structure of volunteer membership and compares it with other mass organizations.

It looks at the ways in which volunteering affected existing social relations, and examines the allegedly democratic aspects of corps' internal organization. The book examines the political affiliations of volunteers and the implications they had for the behaviour and use of the force. It considers criticisms of volunteering, in particular the alleged political and constitutional dangers of an armed population able to challenge the existing order. It shows how volunteering fitted into national defence planning, in particular for preparations against invasion, for evacuation and maintaining internal order.

It examines in detail how the volunteers were used in policing roles. This book offers a set of detailed case studies about how the break-up and dissolution of marriages was contrived before the first Divorce Act in Individuals in their own words explain their Individuals in their own words explain their actions and feelings about one another in dramatic court-room confrontations, while behind the scenes they were conducting secret negotiations, and offering massive bribes to witnesses either to commit perjury or to hold their tongues.

These stories offer astonishing insights into many previously unknown aspects of marital life and marital breakdown in early modern England. They also provide sobering evidence of the huge gap between the enacted law and actual practice. This analysis of the religious policy and ecclesiastical practice of the Church of England in the reign of Charles I offers a new interpretation of the Caroline Church, firmly based on the This analysis of the religious policy and ecclesiastical practice of the Church of England in the reign of Charles I offers a new interpretation of the Caroline Church, firmly based on the documentary evidence.

The author examines the roles of Charles I and of Archbishop Laud, demonstrating both Laud's essential conservatism in religious matters and Charles's highly personal notion of sacral kingship, which he was attempting to realize through his prerogative as Supreme Governor of the Church. As a vital arm in the political apparatus of the state and as the vehicle for Caroline ideology, the established church under Charles I became more highly politicized than ever before. This book reassesses the significance of doctrinal Arminianism in the seventeenth-century church, taking issue with a number of scholars and bringing to the forefront of the debate constitutional issues that have recently been underplayed.

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Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War - Boydell and Brewer

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Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)
Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)
Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)
Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)
Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)
Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Puritan Iconoclasm during the English Civil War (Studies in Modern British Religious History)

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