A Swarme of Sectaries

…and schismatiques: wherein is discovered the strange preaching (or prating) of such as are by their trades coblers, tinkers, pedlers, weavers, sowgelders, and chymney-sweepers. By John Taylor. The cobler preaches, and his audience are as wise as Mosse was, when he caught his mare. Printed in London in 1642, this is an attack on the mechanic or ¬†independent preachers without livings who had sprung up in the religious turmoil of pre-war London. Nick Poyntz’s blog on this (and other things) is recommended. Click on this link for a more detailed description of the background of this publication

There’s not a lot of detail here, but this is a representative group of independently minded folk gathered at the Nag’s Head in Coleman Street to listen to a preacher in a tub deliver the word. Was he a cobbler or a sowgelder? We will never know though we can see his clothes above the waist. He is wearing a doublet with a day cap on his head and possibly a glimpse of a blue apron around his waist that would mark him as a tradesman rather than a cleric. The rest of the congregation are suitably dressed, women in petticoat, waistcoat and kerchief, one in a coif and another in a hat. The men are in short-tabbed doublets and breeches with hats. Most are wearing cloaks too. It can’t have been all that warm at the Nag’s Head!

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