A speaking statue

Roy Booth at Early Modern Whale wrote a fascinating post on pamphlets about the demolition of the Eleanor Cross in Cheapside in 1643 (or was it 1642? May 1643 according to this pamphlet). Interestingly, in accordance with the conventions what Roy calls the “minor genre of the speaking statue” (made me think of The Winter’s Tale…) the Cross tells the reader its own story in these pamphlets. Here is a wonderful quotation in which it remembers how all kinds of Protestants used to behave in its presence:

the Brownists spit at me and throw stones at me as they come along the street, the Familists hide their eyes with their fingers, the Annabaptists wish me to be knockt in pieces, the sisters of the Fraternity wil not come near me, but go about by Watling street and come in againe by Soaper-lane to buy their provisions of the Market-folkesā€¦ It is the Crosse that stands upon my head which is a moate in their eyes.

Update: Mercurius Politicus was inspired by Roy Booth’s post, and went in search of more images of the cross in EEBO.

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2 thoughts on “A speaking statue

  1. Not sure you can say ‘Protestants’ with regard to the quote!

    The list is all ‘extreme’ sects – surprising a couple of others are not included – they indicate the sort of ‘puritanism Malvolio went in for – and the sort that got in boats and sailed over to the newly founded colonies of the Americas.

  2. Well, yes, they are not your regular Anglicans, but they were extreme variants of Protestantism, who all object to the Cross because it is in their eyes a Papist idol. Perhaps I was too general there — the anabaptists are hard to fit into Protestantism and Catholicism alike.

    ExLibris has a useful list of English Dissenters from the Reformation to the Interregnum.

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