1st Edition

Signs and Wonders in Britain’s Age of Revolution A Sourcebook

Edited By Abigail Hartman, Timothy G. Fehler Copyright 2019
    332 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Signs and Wonders in Britain’s Age of Revolution is an original collection of primary sources from the era encompassing the political, religious, and social tumult of the English Civil War.

    With a focus on Britain in the seventeenth century and covering topics such as astrology, scurrilous pamphlet wars, witch-hunts and trials, and the execution of King Charles I, Signs and Wonders investigates published "strange and true" accounts that existed alongside more traditionally studied historical events.

    Including fully edited and annotated texts of carefully selected popular pamphlets, the sourcebook is accompanied by guided introductory essays for each of the thematically divided chapters. With more than two dozen woodcut images, Signs and Wonders enables students to pursue in-depth primary source analysis of this rich period of history, when the supernatural was woven into the lives of those participating in or viewing the tumultuous political and religious events of the mid-17th century.

    In this collection of popular pamphlets, battles in the sky, witches, monstrous births, and apparitions stand side-by-side with the major political and religious events that make up the standard histories of the era, allowing a fuller perspective on these early modern narratives and their interpretation (and exploitation) by the heated presses of 17th-century Britain. Signs and Wonders in Britain’s Age of Revolution is essential reading for all students of early modern Britain.


    Chapter 1. Warning-Pieces


    The Supernatural in the English Revolution

    Witchcraft in the English Civil War

    Documents in the Collection

    Notes on the Illustrations, Transcriptions, and Editorial Conventions


    • "A Briefe Discourse of Prodigies," Preface to The Warnings of Germany (1638)

    Chapter 2. Prelude to War: ‘Fore-Runners of Destruction’



    • Motus Mediterraneus; or, A True Relation of a Fearefull and Prodigious Earthquake (1626)
    • Looke Up and See Wonders (1628)
    • "Dreadfull and Prodigious Aspects," excerpts from Warnings of Germany (1638)
    • Irelands Amazement, or the Heavens Armado (1642)
    • A Strange Wonder or, The Cities Amazement (1642)

    Chapter 3. Civil War: ‘These Troublesome and Distracted Times’



    • John Vicars’ Prodigies & Apparitions, or Englands Warning Pieces (1643)
    • A Great Wonder in Heaven (1643)
    • The New Yeares Wonder (1643)
    • Signes and Wonders from Heaven (1645)
    • The Most Strange and Wounderfull apperation of blood in a poole at Garraton (1645)
    • Sad Newes from the Eastern Parts (1646)

    Chapter 4. Cavaliers and Roundheads: ‘The Divells Agents Still’



    • The Devils Last Legacy (1642)
    • The Kingdomes Monster Uncloaked from Heaven (1643)
    • A Most Certain, Strange, and true Discovery of a Witch (1643)
    • A Dogs Elegy, or Rupert’s Tears (1644)
    • The Devills White Boyes: Or, A mixture of malicious Malignants (1644)
    • The English Devil: or, Cromwel and his Monstrous Witch (1660)

    Chapter 5. Christian Astrology: ‘Amongst the Celestiall Hieroglyphicks’



    • "Epistle to the Student in Astrology," from Lilly’s Christian Astrology (1647)
    • William Lilly’s 1648 Almanac: Merlini Anglici Ephemeris 1648
    • "To the Reader," from H. Johnsen’s Anti-Merlinus: Or, A Confutation of Mr. William Lillies Predictions for this Year 1648 (1648)
    • The Divels Delusions (1649)

    Chapter 6. Sectarians and Recusants: ‘Recant…Those Dangerous Errors’



    • A Relation of a Strange Apparition in an Ale-house (1641)
    • A Strange and Lamentable Accident…at Mears-Ashby (1642)
    • A Declaration of a Strange and Wonderfull Monster (1645)
    • Strange Newes from Scotland (1647)
    • The Ranters Monster (1652)
    • Strange Newes from Cambridge (1659)
    • A Lying Wonder Discovered (1659)

    Chapter 7. The Removal of the King: ‘Innocent Blood calls for vengeance’



    • Vox Infantis (1649)
    • A Miracle of Miracles (1649)
    • Strange Newes from the North (1650)
    • A True Relation of the Strange Apparitions Seen in the Air (1650)
    • More Warning Yet, Being A True Relation of a Strange and most Dreadful Apparition (1654)
    • The Five Strange Wonders (1659)


    Timothy G. Fehler is Professor of History at Furman University. His previous books include Poverty and Protestantism: The Evolution of Social Welfare in Sixteenth-Century Emden (1999), and Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile (2014).

    Abigail J. Hartman (BA, Furman University; MLitt, University of St. Andrews) is pursuing doctoral work in Medieval History.


    'This sourcebook is a valuable resource for advanced undergraduate students of the English Revolution. Its central theme of signs and wonders resonates with today’s crises of truth-telling and responds to recent historiographical developments. It will therefore capture the interest of students while simultaneously exposing them to serious scholarship.'

    William J. Bulman, Lehigh University, USA