puritan century


Scarce Puritan survivor

Christ’s Famous Titles - The Second Part
containing several significant names, titles, and similitudes, whereby our Lord Jesus Christ is described in the Holy Scriptures … : in seven sermons, preach’d in and about the city of London : persuant to the design of the first part formerly published -
by William Dyer Late Minister of the Gospel
London Printed for Nath. Crouch a the bell in the Poultry near Cheapside 1701
180 pages + 12 page publishers catalogue

contains (from t. p.) I. The great shepherd –
II. The power of God –
III. The wisdom of God –
IV. The glory of his people –
V. The light of the world –
VI. The gift of god –
VII. The hope of salvation.

William Dyer (1632-1696) was a godly pastor in London, who was expelled from his church in the ‘Great Ejection’ of 1662. He is described as a man of great piety, and a serious fervent preacher.

My kink is writing fics where Bro Jerry has a rare moment of softness and kindness for a kid who needs help (either a young Portia or a young Nigel) and then goes right back to being a dick

 Everyone talks about 17th century English Puritan names and they’re great but I absolutely adore the outright yet unintentional foppishness of male cavalier and rake names at this time. Pour example:

  • Orlando Bridgeman 
  • Josceline Percy 
  • Algernon Capell
  • Heneage Finch
  • Theophilius Bird
  • Ned Kynaston
  • Colley Cibber
  • Ferdinando Stanhope
  • Sidney Godolphin
  • Cloudesley Shovell
  • Denzil Holles
  • Lionel Tollemache
  • Willoughby Twysden

All real people from 17th century England.

Cromwell is full of contradiction; a country squire who became an outstanding military commander; a king-killer who was offered the crown and refused it; a champion of religious toleration who was terrified of the power of Catholicism; a party reveller who danced late into the night and who banned Christmas; a practical joker who became an enduring symbol of everything Puritanical.
—  Tom Reilly, Cromwell Was Framed. The best summary I’ve ever read of Britain’s most complex historical figure.
New England Gothic, like other manifestations of the American Gothic, encompasses supernatural and explained phenomena, ghosts, witches, and monsters as well as inbred families, guilty secrets, and monsters in human shape. New England’s Gothic history, folklore, and literature combine nostalgia for a medieval or colonial golden age with the stronger belief that from the past comes horror and evil. Stephen King, the exemplar of Gothic New England since the 1970s, continues the tradition of collecting and rewriting supernatural legends begun by Cotton Mather and John Greenleaf Whittier. Nineteenth-century authors such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Harriet Beecher Stowe immortalized the region’s Gothic past. In the twentieth century, Rhode Island’s H. P. Lovecraft peopled the landscape with hybrid monsters and the reanimated dead. For these writers, seventeenth-century Puritans stand in for the Middle Ages of the first Gothic Revival.
—  Faye Ringel on New England Gothic
The Witch is Feminist as Hell (Pun Intended.)

(Please note - this post contains spoilers for The Witch.)

Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of seeing Robert Egger’s new film The Witch. The story is about a puritan family in 17th century New England that falls into panicked paranoia when their youngest son vanishes and the oldest daughter is suspected of witchcraft. As a passionate horror fan and filmmaker, I had been eagerly following the buzz surrounding the movie for a long time. When tickets finally went on sale, me and my friend Theresa - a fellow horror fanatic - bought tickets for opening night and decided to bring our boyfriends along for a double date. We were not disappointed. The film was incredible. Everything was impeccable - the directing, the writing, the acting, the sound design, the production design, the cinematography. I highly recommend it.

During dinner afterwards, Theresa and I gushed about The Witch’s ending. After having lost her entire family to the evil machinations of a witch living in the nearby wood, the teenaged Thomasin decides to sign the devil’s book and become a witch herself. She walks naked through the dark wood until she comes upon a firelit orgy of naked dancing women. As she joins them, they begin to fly through the air and Thomasin laughs, delighted for the first time in the entire film.

“You two seem.. empowered by that ending. Is that right?” my boyfriend asked. He was genuinely puzzled by this.

“Well, yeah.” both Theresa and I said. “Of course.”

We weren’t empowered by it because the two of us like to worship Satan. We were empowered because we’re feminists.

Surprising to folks everywhere, this isn’t the same thing. But for centuries, women were encouraged to believe that it was. Historically, those thought to be witches were women who lived alone, who were wise and knowledgeable, women who chose not to have children, women who enjoyed their own sexuality, women who performed abortions and administered help for menstrual problems a.k.a. provided women’s health care.

Partaking in these activities was said to be against god and unnatural. These women must be evil, they must eat babies and ruin crops. Centuries ago, when evil was more literal to people, these women were persecuted, tortured and murdered. In some countries today, they still are. In America, instead of being called witches, we are now deemed sluts, bitches and stupid whores, and still denied basic rights and health care.

At the end of The Witch, Thomasin looked down the long barrel of a miserable Puritan life as a woman, where she might go to hell for any manner of minor sin. She decided to, well, fuck that shit and sign the devil’s book.

If you remove the religious connections, Thomasin signing that book is an act of agency, of refusing to participate in a society that subjugates her. As she flew naked above the witches’ fire, she was able to take joy in her own body for the first time in her life, to be unashamed and free.

Witch stories in film and literature have always been popular, from cackling broom riders to Creole voodoo queens. It’s telling that in these tales, the worst thing for men is to be taken in by these women - bewitched, if you will. It’s a classic fear, a man tricked by a beautiful woman who turns out to be an ugly hag. Of course, being ugly is an unforgivable offense for a woman, more so if you are secretly ugly and make men think otherwise. Women today who wear “too much” makeup - an amount that is always vaguely defined - run a gamut of insults from “untrustworthy” all the way to “stupid whore”.

For women in these, the worst thing is to be accused of witchery or to have your witchery discovered. The fear is not that the young daughter will be killed by a witch, it is that she will become one. A witch is a free-thinking woman outside of the control of society - the horror!

Thomasin spends most of the film being pious and good. But after her father violently accuses her of being a witch based on the accusations of couple of little kids, and her mother attempts to strangle her while screaming that her “sluttish ways” tempted her little brother into hell, it’s easy to see why signing her soul away for freedom started to seem pretty appealing.

The Witch is a brilliant, affecting horror film that is destined to be a cinematic classic of the genre. But it is made all the more powerful by the fact that the problems its female main character faces in 1630 are still being faced by women today.


When Christmas was banned in Boston,

To the Puritans of the 17th century, Christmas was terrible thing.  Christmas was the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus by praying, being humble, and working hard, all with a spirit of self denial.  In the mid 17th century Christmas was banned in Britain by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament. In America the Puritans wanted something similar.  The Rev. Increase Mather (pictured above), father of Cotton Mather, spearheaded the movement to ban Christmas with this denouncement,

“it is consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in Mad Mirth.”

In 1659 the City of Boston banned Christmas, the law stating,

“It is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county.”

Boston’s ban on Christmas lasted 22 years.  In 1681 a royal governor named Sir Edmond Andros took control of governance of the colony and rolled back many Puritan laws, including Boston’s ban on Christmas.  However, Christmas was still de facto illegal by many other laws.  Civil servants could be removed from their posts, public school students could be expelled for skipping Christmas Day.  Celebrating Christmas was also highly looked down upon by Bostonians.  When Gov. Andros attended Christmas celebrations in 1686, he had to be guarded by a regiment of soldiers to fend off a mob of angry Puritans.  Christmas celebrations didn’t come back into fashion in Boston until after the American Civil War.

In response to what they considered the antisexual censoriousness of the cultural feminists, the lesbian sexual radicals were happy to create a public debate around the issue of lesbian sex. They criticized the cultural feminists for reinforcing traditional concepts of gender instead of encouraging women to try to gain access to what has historically been a main bastion of male privilege—freewheeling sexuality. They compared the cultural feminists to the nineteenth- and early-twentieth century puritanical females who had vitiated the first feminist movement by misdirecting their energies—axing saloons and making the lives of prostitutes more miserable, instead of attending to the business of wresting more freedom for women. Those earlier women also had prudishly tried to depict the world in simplistic terms of male vice and female virtue, the sexual radicals said. Feminism should by its very nature be a radical movement, they insisted, scoffing at the contemporary feminists who were attempting to turn it conservative by promoting the old notion of universal differences between men and women.

The lesbian sexual radicals of the 1980s believed that too many women who loved women had been deluded by the movement into suffering boring, “politically correct” sex. They sought to create an alternative to the tame sexuality of lesbian-feminism, which denied lesbians those experiences that heterosexuals and homosexual men had claimed as their right. Politically correct sex they characterized as being obsessively concerned with not “objectifying” women and with promoting humdrum “equal time” touching and cunnilingus; they found absurd the “politically correct” notion that any kind of penetration was heterosexist. Such dogmas produced “vanilla sex,” the sexual radicals said. They insisted that there neither is nor should be any automatic correspondence between lesbian-feminist political beliefs and lesbian sexual practices and that it was time that lesbians freed themselves to enjoy sexuality without any of the restraints inculcated in them as women or imposed on them by the movement.

—  From “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in 20th-century America” by Lillian Faderman

A Visit to the Gallery (1877). Pier Celestino Gilardi (Italian, 1837-1905). Oil on canvas. UMMA.

Elegantly dressed women in 19th century attire whisper and titter about the sculpture of Venus de’ Medici, in a fleeting pose as she unsuccessfully attempts to cover her nude body in a gesture of modesty. Gilardi, who depicts Venus’s back, reveals her front side reflected in a mirror, enabling the viewer to see both it and the expressions of the women, creating a witty commentary on the prudish social mores of 19th century puritanical society.

anonymous asked:


“You ready yet?” Morgan asked his boyfriend, Spencer Reid. “It’s been almost forty-five minutes. You smudge your makeup or something?”

“Ha ha. Very funny, Derek.”

“Woah, touchy,” Morgan said, chuckling and letting himself into the bathroom. Reid was standing in front of the mirror, combing his wild hair behind his ears.

“Have you ever heard of knocking?” Reid asking, shooting at icy glare at Morgan. “It’s an interesting concept, first introduced by the Puritans in the fifteenth century.”

“How come you’re gettin’ all dressed up just to visit my family?” Morgan asked, choosing to ignore Reid’s sassy remark.

Reid flushed. “I’m not!”

Morgan raised an eyebrow, nodding at Reid’s fancy jacket and silk tie. “You don’t even wear this stuff to work. You really think my momma is gonna care how you dress?”

“You…you don’t think she will?”

Morgan chuckled and put a reassuring hand around Reid’s shoulders, kissing him softly on the lips. Reid, after a moment’s hesitation, leaned into the kiss.

“No, I don’t,” Morgan said softly. “She already loves you, you know. Thinks you’re the smartest, sweetest kid she’s ever met.”

Reid swallowed, looking at Morgan nervously.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. You gotta trust me on this, alright?

“Alright,” Reid said, setting the hairbrush down reluctantly and following Morgan out the door.


Once the two arrived at Morgan’s mother’s house, it took every ounce of Morgan’s self-restraint not to laugh at Reid’s nervousness. He was fidgeting nonstop, rambling on and on about random trivia completely unrelated to what was about to happen.

“It’s gonna be fine, baby,” Morgan said, tucking a stray strand of hair behind Reid’s ear. “Let’s go.”

Reid swallowed and opened the car door. He didn’t say a word the entire walk up the driveway and Morgan could practically hear the gears in his brain turning. Once they reached the front door, Morgan smiled at the familiarity of his surroundings. It’d been almost half a year since he’d last seen his family. He squeezed Reid’s hand and knocked on the door.

“Coming!” And then Morgan’s mother was there, opening the door with a beautiful smile.

“Hi, baby,” She said, pulling Morgan into a tight hug and showing no sign of having noticed Reid’s presence. “So good to see you.”

“You too, Ma,” Morgan said, laughing softly and holding his mother tightly.

A few seconds later Morgan’s sisters came bounding to the front door, looking around excitedly.

“Hey, brother,”  Said Desiree, wrapping her arms around Morgan. “Well, where is she?”

“Yeah,” Sarah said, beaming up at Morgan. “You told us you were bringing a ‘special friend’ along with you to meet the family.”

Spencer blushed scarlet at the term ‘special friend’ and shuffled his feet awkwardly, looking up at Morgan’s family and waving shyly.

“Doctor Reid? I didn’t see you there,” Said Morgan’s mother, staring at the two of them with wide, confused eyes. “It’s been a while. What brings you here?”

“Mamma,” Morgan said, wrapping an arm around Reid’s scrawny shoulders and kissing him sweetly on the cheek. “Spencer is the special friend I was tellin’ you about on the phone last week.”

Desiree and Sarah both gasped simultaneously and Derek’s mother’s mouth fell open for a moment as she practically gaped at the two men. Reid’s heart stopped beating for a split second, pure terror and embarrassment jolting through him like an electric shock.

“I-I’m sorry, if you don’t want me here then I understand–“ Reid began, only to be cut off by the soft laughter of Derek’s mother.

“Spencer, honey, you’re always welcome here. I was just a little surprised, that’s all. I think the two of you make a wonderful pair.”

Reid was stunned into silence. Morgan smiled hugely at him, and Reid could tell how badly he wanted to say ‘I told you so.’

“Yeah, you sure do!” Desiree said, grinning. “How come you never told us you swing both ways, Derek?”

Now it was Morgan’s turn to feel embarrassed. “I, uh. Guess I never thought it was important.”

“Well, it’s a nice surprise,” Sarah said, giggling as she eyed Morgan’s arm around Reid. 

“This is wonderful, Derek,” Said Morgan’s mother. “Just wonderful. And it’s good to see you again, Doctor.”

Reid smiled, face slightly pink. It felt as if a huge weight had just been lifted off of his shoulders.

“It’s good to see you too, Ms. Morgan,” Reid said.

“So charming. And smart, too! You picked a good one,” Desiree said, elbowing Derek and causing Reid to turn impossibly more red. 

“T-Thank you,” Reid mumbled.

“Come inside, come inside. I made us dinner,” Said Morgan’s mother. “I hope you like Chinese chicken salad.”

“I do!” Reid said eagerly. “It’s packed full of niacin, selenium, and phosphorus, making it quite the health food.”

Ms.Morgan laughed. “Wonderful,” She leaned over to Morgan and whispered something in his ear. Morgan chuckled and looked over at Reid affectionately.

“Yeah, Ma, he is a doll.”

Cavaliers and Round Heads - A History Nest Mythbust

It’s the archetype of the English Civil Wars - an armoured Ironside, one of Cromwell’s Puritan, Parliamentarian warriors, going up against a flamboyantly dressed, hat-and-feather wearing, dashing cavalier supporting King Charles I. Both images, unfortunately, are the product of propaganda, and didn’t reflect what warriors actually looked like during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. 

The truth is cavalrymen from both sides equipped themselves as well as they could afford. Everyone who could would have worn a metal helmet, a breastplate and a long, leather jerkin for protection. Those who did wear hats commonly wore metal skull caps beneath them to provide protection. They’d also deck themselves out in as many pistols and blades as was practical and, because there were few uniforms during the war, a coloured sash to show which side they were on (usually, but not always, orange for Parliament and red for the king) or, if they didn’t have a sash, bits or paper of sprigs of a certain plant. 

Also, the idea that Puritans all cropped their hair is, like the belief that they never drank, a myth. There would have been almost as many long haired ironsides as “cavaliers” (itself a disdainful name not used regularly by the king’s own supporters).