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'.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.