Saturday, October 29, 2005

Muggles, not just for Harry Potter?

More from the old Encyclopedia Britannica.

A religious sect which arose in England about the year 1657; so denomiated from their leader Lodowick Muggleton, a journeyman taylor, who with his associate Reeves, setup for great prophets, pretending, it is said, to have an absolute powe of saving or damning who they pleased; anf givig out that they were two of the last witnesses of God that should appear before the end of the world."

It caught my eye because I invented the Cotterites in my novel Secrets of the Night, but also because it's such an uninspirational name. Or perhaps it was just shades of Harry Potter. I suppose the big hook for my curiosity was that it made the encyclopedia a 100 years after.

That sent me researching on the web, where I found that the Muggletonians were a bigger deal than I'd thought. Many google hits.

I liked this bit. First kill your Reverend....

"Muggleton was arrested and imprisoned on charges of blasphemy in 1653. Both Reeve and Muggleton were sentenced to six months in Bridewell Prison in 1654 for cursing the Reverend Mr. Goffin who died very shortly after having been cursed. This was a widely reported event of the period that helped to spread the mystic of the Muggletonians."

Only six months for cursing a vicar to death. Those were the days! And note the date discrepancy with the Enc. entry. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica isn't always right.

From the above page we have:

" Common themes of Muggletonians were: the soul was mortal; Hell existed within Man; no need for formal religious ceremonies. A private gathering at a local inn or tavern with a reading or two from the Bible, and the singing of the "Divine Songs" to traditional tunes over a few beers would be considered a "service". (No wonder it was popular!)

These meetings generally went unnoticed as simply private parties rather than as religious meetings. Not the high profile of other dissident groups after the Conventicle Act (1664) which declared religious meetings of five or more illegal.


Muggletonians included large numbers of women who actively participated in the society. The Muggletonians simple message and traditions found supporters in the countryside, and in the factory towns of England into the twentieth century.

As a group the Muggletonians never commanded large numbers of believers. As the Gnostics before them, their membership slowly dwindled away by attrition by the mid-twentieth century when the last reported member died. The Muggletonians were unique in their message, and their longevity."

My, my. They lasted quite a while, didn't they?

There's even art associated.

So much weird history, so little time

All the best,


No comments: