The open-air pulpit in Paul's Churchyard in the City of London, known as Paul's Cross, is one of the most important vehicles of popular public persuasion employed by government from the outset of the Henrician Reformation in the early 1530s until the opening salvos of the Civil War when the pulpit was demolished.
Paul's Cross became especially prominent as the public face of government when Thomas Cromwell orchestrated propaganda for the Henrician reformation in theearly 1530s.
Here too, after the accession of Edward VI, Hugh Latimer preached his 'Sermon on the Ploughers', one of the most celebrated sermons of the English Reformation.
While Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London sat here listening to a sermon in 1553, a riot broke out.
In November 1559, John Jewelpreached his celebrated 'Challenge Sermon' here, arguably the most influential of all sermons delivered at Paul's Cross throughout the Tudor era.
Near the end of Elizabeth's reign William Barlow mounted the pulpit to pronounce the government's response to the abortive rebellion of the Earl of Essex.
Barlow preached another sermon at Paul's Cross in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.
Throughout the early modern period, Paul's Cross remained continuously at the epicentre of events whichradically transformed England's religious and political identities. And throughout this transformation, animated as it was by a popular 'culture of persuasion' which Paul's Cross itself came to exemplify, the pulpit contributed enormously to the emergence of a new public arena of discourse.
Many of thesesermons preached at Paul's Cross have been lost; yet a considerable number have survived both in manuscript and in early printed editions.
This edition makes available a selection of Paul's Cross sermons representative of this rich period in the maturation of England's popular culture of persuasion.