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The Prophetess and the Patriarch

The Visions of an Anti-Regicide in Seventeenth-Century England

Published for the first time in full, a common woman’s writings reveal the startling role she played in England’s revolt against the monarchy.
In 1649, a seamstress named Elizabeth Poole appeared at the Whitehall debates in London to prophesy in front of Parliament’s army shortly after it had defeated the crown in the English civil wars. Invited to help deliberate the fate of Charles I, Poole advised the army to spare the king’s life but to put him on trial for tyranny and to enter into a new compact with the people. After her visions proved controversial, she was defamed as a prostitute and a witch. She retaliated by printing her prophecies, along with two new defenses of her original revelations. This collection publishes Poole’s pamphlets in full for the first time.

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“The publication of Gillespie’s excellent edition of Elizabeth Poole’s writings is a crucial intervention in early modern English women’s studies. Poole’s pamphlets and prophecies, collected here for the first time, were transgressive attempts to influence the revolutionary politics of mid-seventeenth-century England. Gillespie’s edition does meticulous, expert work in situating the texts in their contemporary politico-religious contexts. It is vital reading for anyone interested in the history of English women’s writing and seventeenth-century culture, history, and politics.”

Marcus Nevitt, University of Sheffield

Table of Contents

A Vision: Wherein Is Manifested the Disease and Cure of the Kingdom
An Alarm of War
An[other] Alarm of War
APPENDIX 1: Contexts for Elizabeth Poole
William Kiffin et al., A Confession of Faith
William Kiffin, A Brief Remonstrance
Anonymous, A Discovery of Six Women Preachers
APPENDIX 2: Transcript of Elizabeth Poole’s Appearances in Whitehall
William Clarke, General Council at Whitehall, 29 December 1648 and General Council 5 Jan. 1648 at Whitehall
APPENDIX 3: Pamphlets Cited by Elizabeth Poole
Excerpt from Henry Ireton, A Remonstrance of His Excellency Thomas Lord Fairfax
John Lilburne, Foundations of Freedom; or, An Agreement of the People
APPENDIX 4: Pamphlets About Elizabeth Poole
Anonymous, The Manner of the Deposition of Charles Stewart, King of England
Excerpt from Anonymous, To Xeiphos Ton Martyron
Anonymous, The English Devil: or, Cromwell and His Monstrous Witch Discover’d at WhiteHall
APPENDIX 5: Other Pamphlets Relevant to Elizabeth Poole
Henry Ireton and John Lambert, The Heads of Proposals
Francis White, The Copies of Several Letters Contrary to the Opinion
of the Present Power

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