Exiles at Home: Crises, Letters and Pastoral Care


Several forms of crisis in seventeenth-century Britain positioned protestant nonconformists and religious dissenters as exiles at home. Disestablishment of state church structures, government persecution, and the ravages of civil war meant that the practices of pastoral care within these communities had to adapt. This presentation focuses on the integral role played by letters: as a way of providing pastoral care to dispersed or exiled community members, thus making an important contribution to a developing puritan literary tradition within the broader European and transatlantic republic of letters, and as a means by which nonconformists, later dissenters, sought to record their own narrative of the British civil wars and revolution following the restoration of Charles II, promoting a countercultural reformation project. Two case studies will illustrate the range of epistolary responses to these political and religious crises: the correspondence of the Scottish covenanter, Samuel Rutherford (c. 1600-61) and that of the English nonconformist, Richard Baxter (1615-91).

Dr Alison Searle joined the University of Leeds as a University Academic Fellow in Textual Studies and Digital Editing in September 2016. She is co-general editor of The Complete Correspondence of Richard Baxter (forthcoming in nine volumes with Oxford University Press) and editor of The Sisters (1642) by James Shirley (also for OUP). She was an ARC DECRA postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney (2012-2016), an AHRC Research Associate on the Complete Works of James Shirley at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2008-2012), and a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London (2006).


Date & time

Tue 06 Aug 2019, 4.30–5.45pm


Theatrette (2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, Building #120, 120 McCoy Circuit, ANU


Alison Searle (University of Leeds)

Event series


Penny Brew
02 6125 4357


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