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The Devil’s BookCharles I, The Book of Sports and Puritanism in Tudor and Early Stuart England$
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Alistair Dougall

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898560

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898560.001.0001

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The reign of Elizabeth I and the battle over the Lord’s Day

The reign of Elizabeth I and the battle over the Lord’s Day

(p.39) 3 The reign of Elizabeth I and the battle over the Lord’s Day
The Devil’s Book

Alistair Dougall

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines changing attitudes to Sunday observance during the reign of Elizabeth I and shows how, although the church hierarchy continued to tolerate Sunday recreations, during the 1580s and 1590s radical Protestants developed a new, rigid form of sabbatarianism that prohibited any form of recreation on Sundays. It shows how, in countless sermons, books and pamphlets, puritans mounted a concerted attack on traditional popular festivity, denouncing dancing, sports, ales and wakes as profanations of the ‘Lord’s Day’. The chapter also examines how rising inflation, poverty and vagrancy in the late 1590s led magistrates to also want to regulate Sunday recreations but to do so out of concerns about social order rather than zealous sabbatarianism of the puritans.

Keywords:   Puritanism, Sabbatarianism, Elizabeth I, church attendance, Lord’s Day, sports, disorder, dancing, ales, festivity

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