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Author Topic: The Plum Pudding Riots. Christmas 1647  (Read 5897 times)

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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: The Plum Pudding Riots. Christmas 1647
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 16:07:29 »
That is really interesting. It is hard to imagine Canterbury being the cradle of an insurrection leading to a pitched battle.

A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: The Plum Pudding Riots. Christmas 1647
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 14:16:11 »
Thank you Herb Collector.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi


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The Plum Pudding Riots. Christmas 1647
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 23:41:18 »
The streets of Canterbury Wednesday 22nd December 1647.

The town crier.

By order of the Mayor and Jurates.
This is to give notice that the ordinance of the most honourable Parliament concerning superstitious observances is to be strictly enforced, and whereas Saturday next is the 25th day of December, and all persons whatsoever in the city of Canterbury are to take heed and remember that Christmas days and all other superstitious festivals are utterly abolished, wherefore all ministers and churchwardens and others are warned that there will be no prayers or semons in the church on the said 25th December, and whosoever shall hang at any door rosemary, holly, or bayes, or other superstitious herb, shall be liable to the penalties decreed by the ordinance of last year, and whosoever shall make or cause to be made, either plum pottage or nativity pies, is hereby warned that it is contrary to the said ordinance. This is also to give notice that the usual weekly market will be held in the city on Saturday the 25th December and all persons are required to open their shops on the said day.
By order of his worship Master Mayor William Bridges.

The puritan government believed that Christmas was a pagan and/or catholic festival, as well as being an excuse for drunkeness and other forms of excess.
Legislation banning Christmas was passed in 1644, but was widely disregarded. The order was reinforced in 1647.
Shops were ordered to open and many church's were locked to prevent them holding a service.

On Christmas day 1647, in defiance of the proclamation, the Rev Aldy, Minister of St. Andrews, preached in his church while the puritans held a noisy demonstration outside.
At the same time, the Mayor, together with the Sheriff, Town Clerk, Constable and a guard of pikemen, went around Canterbury.
Only a few shops had opened. While the Mayor tried to encourage them to stay open, the royalists tried to force them to shut. When a shopkeeper refused to open his shop, the Mayor ordered him to be taken to the stocks. A crowd takes the shopkeepers side. When the Mayor strikes one of them, the man knocks the Mayor down. Amid a general scuffle the Mayor is dragged along the gutter by his heels.
The people are ordered to disperse, but this only brings more people onto the streets.
Games of street football broke out from one end of town to the other, with balls kicked through the windows of puritan houses.

Boxing day was relatively peaceful, being a Sunday, but fresh riots broke out on the Monday. The Mayor set a guard with halberds and muskets, both at the city gates and at St. Andrews church.
The captain of the guard, a barber called White, shot and wounded a man who had called him a roundhead. Captain White was assaulted and imprisoned, the guard overpowered. The rioters set their own guard over the city. The prison and Town Hall were taken over, along with a supply of arms and power. The Mayor hid, and his house was ramsacked, along with many other puritan houses. Beacons were lit and the bells of Canterbury Cathedral were set a ringing to call in more people.
The watchword became 'For God, King Charles, and Kent.'

The disturbances only stopped when some 3,000 roundhead troops came to Canterbury in early January 1648. To stop more trouble breaking out the city gates were taken off and breachs made in the city walls. Many people were arrested and imprisoned in Leeds Castle.

The trial opened at Canterbury Castle on the 11th May 1648. The Grand Jury of Kentish country gentlemen threw out the charges and sent a petition to both houses of Parliament, asking that the forces under the command of Fairfax be disbanded, and testifying their loyalty to King Charles 1.
Parliaments reaction was to ask the Committee of Kent to put down all royalist meetings and to muster troops at various places in Kent.
This led in turn to a general royalist uprising in Kent which was defeated in a pitched battle at Maidstone on the 1st June 1648.

The town criers address is taken from 'For King and Kent' an historical novel by 'Colonel Colomb' published in 1882 in three volumes. Not strictly historically accurate but it does add a little colour.

There is a useful history of the British Christmas @, including its pagan origins which so annoyed the puritans.

For the puritan ban on Christmas see

For football as a symbol of misrule in the 17th century see


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