Politics and the Paul's Cross Sermons, 1558-1642

ISBN : 9780199571765

Mary Morrissey
272 Pages
156 x 236 mm
Pub date
Jun 2011
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Scholars do not contest that English Reformation culture centred on 'the word preached'; that before the advent of newsbooks, sermons were the primary means available for shaping public opinion; or that the sermons of men like Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne were valued as literary works of the highest order. Throughout the Reformation period, England's most important public pulpit was Paul's Cross, which stood in the churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Politics and the Paul's Cross Sermons, 1558-1642 provides a detailed history of the Paul's Cross sermons from the reign of Elizabeth I until the destruction of the pulpit under Charles I. It explains the arrangement for the sermons' delivery and the tensions between the different authorities (the royal government, the bishops of London, and the Corporation of London) who controlled them. The increasing role that the Paul's Cross sermons played in London's civic culture after the Reformation is discussed, and an account is given of the narrowing of the sermons' audience in the years preceding the English Civil War. The book explores early modern English homiletics, so that preachers' adaptation of sermon genres to suit sermons on religious controversies or on political anniversaries (such as 5 November) can be described. The relationship between the different textual forms in which sermons are preserved is also considered.


1. The History of a Sermon Series
2. From Pulpit to Press
3. Controlling the Sermons
4. Controlling the Pulpit
5. The Monarch and Paul's Cross: Preaching on Political Anniversaries
6. Preaching against the Church of Rome: Anti-Catholicism and Anti-Popery
7. Preaching against the Puritan Movement

About the author: 

Mary Morrissey studied English and History at Trinity College, Dublin before completing a PhD in English at the University of Cambridge. She has published articles on other aspects of early modern English religious culture, especially women's writing, and is currently editing John Donne's Civic Sermons for The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, gen. ed. Peter McCullough. She lectures on Renaissance Literature at the University of Reading.

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