Paul's Cross and the Culture of Persuasion in England, 1520-1640


The open-air pulpit within the precincts of St. Paul’s Cathedral known as ‘Paul’s Cross’ can be reckoned among the most influential of all public venues in early-modern England. Between 1520 and the early 1640s, this pulpit and its auditory constituted a microcosm of the realm and functioned at the epicentre of events which radically transformed England’s political and religious identities. Through cultivation of a sophisticated culture of persuasion, sermons at Paul’s Cross contributed substantially to the emergence of an early-modern public sphere. This collection of 24 essays seeks to situate the institution of this most public of pulpits and to reconstruct a detailed history of some of the more influential sermons preached at Paul’s Cross during this formative period.

Contributors include: Thomas Dabbs, Ellie Gebarowski-Shafer, Cecilia Hatt, Roze Hentschell, Anne James, Gerard Kilroy,
John N. King, Torrance Kirby, Bradford Littlejohn, Steven May, Natalie Mears, Mary Morrissey, David Neelands, Kathleen O'Leary, Mark Rankin, Angela Ranson, Richard Rex, John Schofield, Jeanne Shami, P.G. Stanwood, Susan Wabuda, John Wall, Ralph Werrell, and Jason Zuidema.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Torrance Kirby, DPhil (1988) in Modern History, Christ Church, University of Oxford, is Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Centre for Research on Religion at McGill University. He has published extensively on the thought of Richard Hooker and recently edited A Companion to Richard Hooker (Brill, 2008).

P.G. Stanwood, PhD (1961) in English Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is Professor of English Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. He has published extensively on Renaissance and 17th century English Literature; Bibliography; Richard Hooker; English Reformation; Jeremy Taylor; John Donne; John Milton.
“the articles in this collection represent the best of recent scholarship on early modern sermons. They speak with many voices, but eloquently remind us of the sermon’s power to persuade.”
Seth Anderson, Claremont Graduate University. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2015), p. 429.



Abbreviations and Acronyms

List of Illustrations


Part 1
Situating Paul’s Cross

1 John Schofield
Reconstructing St Paul’s Cathedral, 1520‒1640

2 Natalie Mears
Paul’s Cross and nationwide special worship, 1533‒1642

3 John N. Wall
Virtual Paul’s Cross: the experience of public preaching after the Reformation

Part 2
Early Tudor Sermons, 1520‒1558

4 Cecilia Hatt
‘The tree and the weed’: John Fisher’s Paul’s Cross sermons

5 Richard Rex
Paul’s Cross and the Crisis of the 1530s

6 Ralph S. Werrell
Reformation conflict between Stephen Gardiner and Robert Barnes, Lent 1540

7 John N. King
Paul’s Cross and the implementation of Protestant reforms under Edward VI

8 Torrance Kirby
Public conversion: Richard Smyth’s ‘Retractation’ at Paul’s Cross in 1547

9 Jason Zuidema
‘Lords and labourers’: Hugh Latimer’s homiletical hermeneutics

10 Mark Rankin
The style and logic of James Brooks’s 1553 ‘Reconciliation Sermon’

Part 3
Elizabethan Sermons, 1558‒1603

11 Angela Ranson
The challenge of Catholicity: John Jewel at Paul’s Cross

12 Thomas Dabbs
Paul’s Cross and the dramatic echoes of early-Elizabethan print

13 David Neelands
Richard Hooker’s Paul’s Cross sermon

14 Gerard Kilroy
Edmund Campion in the shadow of Paul’s Cross: the culture of disputation

15 Ellie Gebarowski-Shafer
Thomas Bilson and Anti-Catholicism at Paul’s Cross

16 Steven W. May
Queen Elizabeth’s performance at Paul’s Cross in 1588

17 P.G. Stanwood
John Copcot, John Whitgift, and Mark Frank: ‘right cause and faithful obedience’

18 W. Bradford Littlejohn
Bancroft versus Penry: conscience and authority in late-Elizabethan polemics

Part 4
Jacobean and Caroline Sermons, 1603‒1640

19 Anne James
Preaching the Good News: William Barlow narrates the fall of Essex and the Gunpowder Plot

20 Roze Hentschell
‘Paul’s Work’: repair and renovation of St Paul’s Cathedral, 1561‒1625

21 Jeanne Shami
The Love-sick Spouse: John Stoughton’s 1624 Paul’s Cross sermon in context

22 Kathleen O’Leary
Sermon, Salvation, Space: John Donne’s performative mode and the politics of accommodation

23 Mary Morrissey
The Paul’s Cross Jeremiad and other sermons of exhortation

24 Susan Wabuda
Lost at Paul’s Cross: unrecorded sermons


All those interested in English Reformation history, Tudor history, early-modern political thought, the history of the Church, public preaching, and sermon literature.
  • Collapse
  • Expand