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“In Ipswich, we are sober and grave.” 

The World Turned Upside Down, 2020

The Ungodly, 2023. Image credit: Bill Jackson

As England shifted to a more puritan lifestyle, people were encouraged to behave with far more restraint. And Suffolk was at the heart of Purtian movement. Places like Dedham were famous for the ‘Tuesday Lectures’, where Puritan preachers would address the crowds of hundreds on market day about living a Godly life.


” Richard: So what was the subject of today’s lecture? Were all the great and good of Dedham in attendance?
Hokins: Aye. All that do buckle on the armour of the Lord. But the lecture was of the ungodly and how we must labour to bring all into the fold. The lecturer said that God could be likened to a shop keeper who will pack up his wares if there’s no custom and move elsewhere. “

The Ungodly, 2023


There was to be no drinking, no gambling, no fashionable clothes, no dancing, and no playing football on Sundays. They even banned unnecessary rowing in boats! It was easy to see how such a way of living could easily create a judgemental nation, and as people became more ingrained in showing God how restrained they could be, they became more judgemental of those who just wanted to have fun.

 ” Live simply,
Work hard,
Be thrifty.
Thou shalt not go to parties,
Thou shalt not congregate in theatres,
Thou shalt not play music in the streets,
And more than all this, ye who live in sin,
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live! “

The World Turned Upside Down, 2020

The World Turned Upside Down, 2020.


The Christmas Riots

While some people happily accepted the new puritan ways, others were far less willing to give up the things they loved. In 1647, Oliver Cromwell, England’s head of state, ordered a ban on Christmas.

In Ipswich, people armed with spiked clubs wandered the streets persuading shops to close on Christmas Day despite what the Puritan law had ordered. They still wanted to celebrate. Among the chaos was a man actually named Christmas, who subsequently died in the following riots.

” It’s 25th of December that’s all, and I’ll open for business as usual.

But we held a great mutiny

Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

It’s Catholic superstition

It’s Christmas Day! “

The World Turned Upside Down, 2020


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