Signs and Wonders and the English Civil War
Chris Durston records how the monstrous and the supernatural were seized on by political and religious factions in seventeenth century England as signs of judgment.
During the seventeenth century, thousands of Englishmen and women were fascinated, intrigued and often appalled by reports of inexplicable miraculous or prodigious happenings. In the 1640s and 1650s in particular, the breakdown of effective press censorship produced an avalanche of almanacs, prophecies and miracle reports. Writing in 1660, John Gadbury defined a wonder, or prodigy as, 'a thing (generally) that comes to pass beyond the altitude of man's imagination and begets in him a miraculous contemplation, yea, often-times horror and amazement'.