14 Annotations

First Reading

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Though the term "fanatic" or "phanatique" was in use since 1525, by 1660 the word acquired new force to characterize (and denigrate) passionate nonconformists, both religious and political, especially the radical Puritan sects. The connotation broadened rapidly, and early in the 1661 Diary it will have become "a hostile epithet for all Nonconformists" (Companion, Large Glossary)---a heterogeneous assortment which would include Anabaptists, Fifth Monarchists (a millenarian sect), Quakers, and Presbyterians.
For one such as Pepys, who prized the traditions of the church he was brought up in, "fanatic" was a term of clear opprobrium. Later in the Diary he will discuss the strength of their numbers in London, how they were persecuted when it was feared they would foment civil unrest, and the vexed question of their true loyalty and patriotism. ("Shorter Pepys," index)

helena murphy  •  Link

The sects had flourished in the 1640's and in the 1650's due to greater freedom of speech and a free press. From 1640 to 1642 more than 1966 pamphlets had been published which questioned traditional institutions such as the family, marriage and property. These would have been read to the illiterate in taverns.What was previously regarded as heresy was freely debated and available such as Socinianism, which questioned the divinity of Christ, Millenarianism,whose golden age was in the future, The Koran, polygamy, free love and divorce.
The panic of the years 1659-1660 was very real and General Lambert, whose escape from the tower had put the country on the alert, was said to be arming the Quakers, whose pacifism was a later development.
After 1660 there was a real attempt to weed out the sects,Levellers,Diggers and Ranters among others, not least by The Royal Society whose aim was to combat
"fanaticism"and "enthusiasm".Robert Boyle set out in his philosophy to "steal the sectaries.....thunder". On a more positive note the mechanical philosophy helped to end belief in astrology, animism, magic and witchcraft.

Hill. Christopher, Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution. Phoenix 197

Nix  •  Link

Fifth Monarchy --

"The Fifth Monarchy Men or the Fifth Monarchists were a quasi-political religious party active from 1649-1661. Based on a strong millennium message, they hoped to reform Parliament and the government for the imminent coming of Christs' Kingdom on Earth. The movement was prominent throughout the Commonwealth and was organized.

"The 'Fifth Monarchy' or the 'Fifth Kingdom' is a biblical reference. The reference is based of the Old Testament (Daniel 2: 44) of a prophesy in a dream by King Nebuchadnezzar. He envisioned five kingdoms in history, and the last, or Fifth Kingdom would usher in a new kingdom on earth. Millenarianism was a popular message of the Interregnum (1649-1660). 'The godly being in league with God ...' (1626) wrote Thomas Gataker."

explanation continues at:


JWB  •  Link

Down the drain-hole of history:
Whitley, "Seventh Day Baptists in England"
..." shortly after 1661,Tillam and the others organized a wholesome emigration up the Rhine to a settlement in a disused monastery: this drained away most of the Fifth-Monarchy men and many Seventh-day Baptists. This colony soon met with total disaster. "

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

one who pretends to Inspiration and Revelations
--- An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, 1675

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Turns out the term "bondslave" was used as part of the Fifth Monarchist objections to both Cromwell and Charles II's regimes.

Thomas Venner's rising attempted to rescue prisoners in danger of being transported:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A contemporary view of the Fanatics is given in Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin's travelogue. He visited England in the Spring of 1669.

I corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

The preachers of the Anglican religion have but a thin attendance at their discourses, the people thronging in much greater crowds to the meetings of the Presbyterian sect; from which, as well as from that of the Hierarchy, which is a mixture of Calvinism and Lutheranism, have since been derived all those numerous and sub-divided Sectarians which are now to be found in London, daily multiplying in all the vigor of independence.

They are as follow:
Protestants or those of the Established Religion, Puritans, Presbyterians, Atheists, Brownists, Adamites, Familists or the Family of Love, Anabaptists, Libertines, Independents, Fanatics, Arians, Antiscripturists, Millenarians, Memnonists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Sabbatarians, Antisabbatarians, Perfectionists, Fotinians, Antitrinitarians, Sceptics, Tremblers or Quakers, Monarchists or Fifth Monarchy-Men, Socinians, Latitudinarians, Origenites, Deists, Chiliasts, Antinomians, Armenians, Quintinists, Ranters, and Levellers.

The Fanatics are men who are not united among themselves, neither do they live under any discipline; but, professing an extraordinary degree of zeal, they pretend to be what Moses and Aaron were of old, endeavoring to make themselves distinguished from other men, and to singularize themselves by the peculiarity of their opinions.


Since the travelogue is written by a professed Catholic, he would consider all the sects including the Protestants as being "nonconformists".


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II. They were all professed Catholics, of course.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Fifth Monarchists persisted until the 18th century. As I looked for more info on Venner's 1661 Rising, I found:

The Münster Rising, Memories of Violence, and Perceptions of Dissent in Restoration England -- by Andrew Crome
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 October 2021

(Edited excerpts only, as they reflect events in the Diary:)

The 1660 Act of Indemnity and Oblivion discouraged direct references to the tensions of the period. An official order to both forgive and forget, it was always hamstrung by the fact that any command to forget inevitably results in memories of the thing which is supposed to be forgotten.

Where detailed recollection of the recent past was discouraged, references to symbolic individuals could fill in – e.g., you could invoke ‘fanaticism’ in the 1680s simply by mentioning the regicide preacher Hugh Peter.

Similarly, rather than naming supposedly seditious dissenting groups and their actions, a reference to Münster [SEE A HISTORY AT THE END] quickly implied the violence inherent within dissent. This also avoided any direct reference to the Civil War period, while recalling its chaos.

Münster, the Civil Wars, and Venner's Rising became part of the unified narrative which can be traced in Restoration histories of the Civil Wars, whose authors claimed that dissent always led towards political radicalism and subversion of the magistrate.

This endured long after 1661. Some of this was occasioned by plots -- real and imagined -- linked to groups of dissenters following the ejection of nonconforming ministers in August 1662.

The Farnley Wood Plot in 1663 appears to have attracted the support of some Fifth Monarchist, Baptist, and even Quaker congregations (although the latter refused to carry ‘carnall’ weapons).

The image of the Anabaptist kingdom, which first reared its head in Münster, was certainly in the authorities’ minds. Sir Thomas Gower, deputy lieutenant of the North Riding, wrote to the King's General, George Monck, Duke of Albemarle in August 1663 warning that although the plots seemed to have little hope of success, they demonstrated the danger of nonconformists.

Arguments from reason had little effect on fanatics: ‘this sort of people, who follow ye fancyes of Anabaptism and ye dreams of those who presently expect to be sharers in a fifth monarchy, doe not govern themselves by such considerations, but earnestly believe what they vehemintly [sic] desire’.
In some respects, the plotters seemed to have deliberately recalled Venner's Rising.

Following 1660, Münster remained an example of the dangers of Civil War:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In a 1662 sermon preached before Gray's Inn on the anniversary of Charles II's restoration, Richard Meggott condemned those who looked back to the ecclesiastical chaos of the 1640s and 1650s, ‘some to New-England for an Independent Anarchy, some to Munster for an Anabapstisticall Frenzy’.

References to Münster served as a way for English writers to tie nonconformists to acts of religious violence in England, including the Civil Wars and Venner's 1661 Rising, without directly recalling these events. Discussions of the Münster Rising often directly transformed German Anabaptists into Quakers or Fifth Monarchists

Condemnations of the violence in Münster were also used by Congregationalists and Presbyterians to differentiate themselves from Baptists and Quakers and to emphasize their orthodoxy. Some Baptist responded by disclaiming their links to continental Anabaptists, while others moved to question the established historiography around the Münster Rising

Complaining about the treatment of Baptists by the Restoration press in 1660, the author (“S. T.”) of "Moderation: or arguments and motives tending thereunto turned to the abuses of history by their enemies." Condemning the ‘grand impeachment’ of those called ‘Anabaptists’, S. T. bemoaned that his fellow believers were accused of opposing the magistrate ‘upon which account the Munster Tragedy is so much and so often in all places (by Prints, and otherwise) laid to their charge, as indeed it could not lightly be more, if those bearing that name in England had been the very individual actors thereof at Munster’

This was not an exaggerated claim.

Although unfair in many ways, the connection between Fifth Monarchists and violence was pressed home to contemporaries in January 1661 when Thomas Venner led an abortive uprising in London against the crown.

Preacher to a Fifth Monarchist congregation in Coleman Street, Venner was a cooper and returned New England emigre who had been imprisoned for his involvement in a planned rising against Cromwell in 1657.

From 6 to 8 January, the rebels briefly captured St. Paul's, fought the trained bands, and killed around 20 soldiers before their eventual defeat.
Thomas Venner was hanged, drawn, and quartered outside of his own meetinghouse on 19 January.

Although only small in scale, for many Venner's Rising confirmed their worst fears about those outside of the national church.
As early as 10 January, under the urging of the bishop of London, Gilbert Sheldon, ‘unlawful meetings and conventicles’ were banned.

During the next 10 days, the government rounded up Quakers and other ‘suspicious’ nonconformists, while in Edinburgh the Scottish government banned meetings of Quakers, Baptists, and Fifth Monarchists as enemies of authority.

Preaching on the anniversary of King Charles' death, just days after Thomas Venner's execution, the Calvinist conformist Simon Ford described Münster as the ‘prologue to our tragedy’.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The writer of the descriptively titled "Munster paralleld in the late massacres committed by the Fifth Monarchists" offered descriptions of events at Münster in regular Roman type, with italicized paragraphs directly comparing them to Venner's rebellion.
Like the earlier anti-Quaker work, this made its parallels explicit – for example, descriptions of evangelists departing from Münster were immediately followed by an account of Fifth Monarchists sending letters to Ireland and Scotland.

Quakers did not escape censure through these connections. As in the 1650s and 1660s, the Friends were linked with Münster. Paedo-Baptists used a ‘slippery slope’ argument to connect Baptist belief to an inevitable turn towards Quakerism.

As William Penn's response suggests, while conformist authors maintained the connections between the Civil Wars, Thomas Venner, and Münster, dissenters unsurprisingly denied them. Although the government and Church of England may have shaped this narrative as a form of ‘public remembering’, there were ways to contest this. This could be through patterns of ‘seditious speech’, or the construction of subversive material.

Print could also construct counter-narratives. This was a pattern already set out in the 1661 declarations disowning any connection to Thomas Venner. A common tactic of dissenters was to argue that Catholics used the specter of Münster to challenge all Protestants. This also worked against the supposed similarities opponents drew between Baptists and Jesuits. The signatories of "the Humble apology", for example, reminded the authorities that linking all who were called ‘Anabaptist’ with Jan van Leiden/John of Leiden's extremist views made no more sense than claiming that all Protestants believed in consubstantiation simply because Luther had held to it.

As the author of the 1669 response to Symon Patrick's "Friendly debate between a conformist and a non-conformist" noted in "An humble apology for non-conformists": 'In the beginning of the Reformation, there were a sort of Anabaptists rose up in Germany, and did horrid things at Munster and elsewhere; was the fault therefore in the Reformation? Although the Papists use to charge it upon the Protestant Religion, that it is the Spring and Fountain of Sedition and Rebellion where it is received; Yet both We, and our Brethren Conformists, are able to wipe off that foul aspersion.'

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Similarly, Thomas Grantham's "Christianismus primitivus" reprinted Rev. Symon Patrick's 1661 "An humble apology for non-conformists as evidence of both Baptists’ continuing loyalty", and the unjust accusation that continued to claim their involvement in Venner's Rising.

The Münster comparison received a new lease of life between the aftermath of the Popish Plot and the death of Charles II. Tory apologists were keen to point out similarities between the anti-Catholic hysteria, Münsterites, and Civil Wars-era chaos. The 1683 "True loyalist", for example, made suggestive links between the Cromwellian protectorate and the Anabaptist rising in an echo of Calvinist conformist Simon Ford's post-Vennerite lament: ‘When was there ever more slavery and bondage in the State? And when more Anarchy and confusion in the Church? Munster itself saw but the Prologue to our Tragedy.’

Memories of Münster remained contested by Baptists. But this does not challenge their role as a form of cosmopolitan memory in post-Civil Wars England. The widespread nature of the popular interpretation of Münster, and its links to English political violence, made it necessary for such contestation to take place.
While Munster's history was used as a form of the ‘public remembering’ of the Civil Wars, its longer provenance in 16th-century anti-Anabaptist works allowed it to be accessed and applied by Presbyterians and Congregationalists as much as by establishment Anglicans.
In doing so, they could make use of the cosmopolitan memory of Münster in order to simultaneously deny their own connections to the chaos of the 1640s and 1650s, and to position themselves as being within mainstream Reformation orthodoxy.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The infamous Anabaptist rising in 1534 led by Jan van Leiden/John of Leiden, the German city of Münster was a place with powerful implications for the Protestant psyche. [LASTING] into the 18th century, the Münster affair was repeatedly invoked as shorthand for political chaos and the dangers of religious dissent.

The Münster Rising's application to English events is an example of what historians Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider label ‘cosmopolitan memory’, in which memories of international events connect individuals into a broad memory-structure while adapting to local traditions.
This process transposed events in 16th-century Germany onto 17th-century England, transforming English Baptists into violent rebels.

... In 1533, Münster underwent a shift from Catholicism to Lutheran Protestantism under minister Bernhard Rothman.
Falling increasingly under the influence of Anabaptist preachers like Jan Matthys, Münster became a haven for the group, as they elected an Anabaptist council -- subsequently facing armed opposition from the prince-bishop Franz von Waldeck, who besieged it from Feb. 1534 - June 1535.
As the siege took its toll, rhetoric from within Münster became more violent.
In December 1534, minister Bernhard Rothmann published 'Van der Wrake' (‘Consoling Message of Vengeance’) calling for the godly to execute judgement on sinners on earth in order to usher in the millennial period.

On Jan Matthys' death, his position was taken by the tailor-prophet Jan Bockelson, better known as Jan van Leiden/John of Leiden, who proclaimed himself the apocalyptic king and instituted a community of shared goods and polygamy.

As Münster suffered the effects of starvation its new ‘king’ became increasingly paranoid.
Münster was betrayed to the besiegers in June, 1535. Prince-bishop Franz von Waldeck's forces slaughtered most male Anabaptists.

In Jan. 1536, Jan van Leiden's Münster key ally Bernd Knipperdollink, and another leader, Bernd Kretchtink, were brutally executed. The authorities placed their bodies in cages hung on the tower of St. Lambert's Church, where the (now empty) cages remain in place today.

Propaganda about the atrocities and excesses in Münster began to circulate while the city was under siege. Later historians, both in the early modern and modern periods, often used these stories uncritically. This pathologized early modern Anabaptists, imposing an inappropriate link between apocalypticism and violence.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Münster provided an analogy of royalist critiques of their enemies in the 1640s and 1650s. Including rebellion against the established authorities, millenarian excitement, radical sectaries, and violent attacks on religious orthodoxy, it linked to ongoing concerns about ‘radical’ groups such as Quakers and Fifth Monarchists.

Finally, being linked specifically to Anabaptist violence already condemned by the magisterial reformers, allusions to Münster allowed Congregationalists and Presbyterians to differentiate themselves from the ‘radicals’, and to profess loyalty to both the English authorities and to established reformed tradition.
In other words, Münster served as a healing ritual through which to process the chaos of the 1640s and 1650s.

It remains important that we have a healthy skepticism when reading 16th-century accounts of the Münster siege written by the Anabaptists’ enemies.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.