Articles

When Cromwell banned Lent

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2017 by kmflett

cromwell

It was said that the only opponents of Lent in the seventeenth century were butchers, butcher’s dogs and Puritans. The reason for this is clear. The one thing that was consistently forbidden to be eaten at Lent was meat. Butchers it appears could live with this, using the time to sort out their business for the rest of the year. We dont know what the dogs thought but we do know that Puritans didnt like Lent or any other occasion supported by the established Church.

Indeed after the Commonwealth took power following the departure of King Charles and his head (separately) in 1649 Lent was banned along with Christmas and Easter. These last two made a vigorous come back at various points after the monarchy was restored in 1660 but Lent did not. King Charles 11 did indeed restore Lent and penalties for being found eating things like meat during it, but these were it appears not enforced for long.

The view nowadays tends to be that Cromwell banned Christmas because he was a killjoy but he achieved precisely the reverse impact by banning Lent which of course may be why the ban ultimately worked.

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