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Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days of C17

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  • Michael Robinson
    Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph Last Updated: 2:15am BST 05/08/2007 # Extracts: Entring Book of Roger
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 4, 2007
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      Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days

      By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
      Last Updated: 2:15am BST 05/08/2007

      # Extracts: Entring Book of Roger Morrice
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/04/ndiary104.xml

      Freak weather, prisoners held without trial, bishops behaving badly:
      it's the stuff of everyday news. Except these are not 21st-century
      reports, they are 17th-century ones.

      It has taken seven years - at least two longer than expected - and the
      collaboration of six leading international academics to extract these
      stories of life in the late Stuart period from the "diary" of Roger
      Morrice, a Puritan cleric-turned-lobby correspondent.

      Prof Mark Goldie, decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days
      Prof Mark Goldie with his recently published set of 'The Entering Book
      of Roger Morrice 1677-1691'

      His Entring Book, which lay forgotten for 300 years in a small
      research library in London, was unearthed in 2000, but this week the
      journal, hailed as "the most important unpublished British diary of
      the later 17th century", will be published.

      The work has been compared in importance to that of Samuel Pepys.

      The research team, led by Mark Goldie, of Cambridge University, has
      sifted through 1,500 pages, which amounts to nearly one million words
      of 17th-century English. This includes 40,000 words written in an
      archaic shorthand, critical of the monarch of the day, Charles II,
      which had to be decoded by a specialist.

      "It is a huge source of material that will play a very significant
      role in helping historians and students understand the period," said
      Mr Goldie. "It shows England in a very different mood to the Pepys
      diary, which was celebrating getting rid of the Puritans."

      Morrice's diary begins in 1677 and ends in 1691, covering the reigns
      of Charles II, James II, and William III and Mary II. He depicted a
      darker England thrown into a great crisis of "popery and arbitrary power".
      advertisement

      His writing was shaped by his personal experiences. Born in 1628, he
      became vicar of Duffield in Derbyshire in 1658, but was expelled from
      his parish four years later after Charles II returned from exile,
      introducing the high church Restoration era that persecuted and jailed
      non-conformists.

      Morrice moved to London where he became a de facto investigative
      journalist, relying partly on the gossip of the popular coffee houses
      and on a well-placed source in the king's privy council whose name was
      hidden in his coded writing.

      "Like all journalists, Morrice needed good sources and he was lucky to
      have a very leaky secretary on the privy council called Richard
      Collings," said Mr Goldie.

      Morrice's sources enabled him to provide unique accounts of events of
      great historical significance, including the death of Charles II.

      "On Thursday night a priest came up the back way. It was believed by
      all that he confessed the king, gave him extreme unction and that His
      Majesty died a papist."

      In the diary, he writes of the persecution faced by those who refused
      to abide by the laws of the Stuart state and established Church,
      particularly against those, such as the Quakers and Puritans, who
      worshipped illegally.

      "Eleven young men and women were seized at a chapel and convicted,
      fined and jailed, where they are put to hard labour," he wrote.

      Other passages cover issues that are just as relevant today,
      discussing law, religion, terrorism or weather.

      "The government has violated the fundamental laws of the kingdom and
      advanced arbitrary power and infringed liberty and property… and
      judges convict offenders… without any trial by juries," he writes on
      January 23, 1679.

      Describing the detention of those suspected of plotting against the
      king, on October 16, 1684, he tells of the case of one unfortunate
      victim where the soldiers were ordered to "keep him from sleeping,
      which they did without intermission for nine or 10 days. When he was
      ready to die … the balls of his eyes swollen as big as tennis balls …
      they tormented him by the thumbs".

      Elsewhere he reveals the debauched lifestyle of some of the country's
      most senior clergy: "The Bishop of London has lain in a bawdy house."

      He describes how in the winter of 1683-84 the Thames froze so hard
      that coaches travelled across the ice, an ox was roasted and bear
      baiting and other sports were held on the river's surface.

      Frances Henderson, who deciphered Morrice's code, said: "He clearly
      found it important to conceal his sources and developed a very
      effective shorthand code."

      Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph
      Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without
      licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/05/ndiary105.xml
    • Terry Foreman
      Michael R, Thanks very much for the word. The publication of the Entring Book has been much-awaited indeed! If it were not in copyright it would be a
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 5, 2007
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        Michael R,

        Thanks very much for the word. The publication of the Entring Book has
        been much-awaited indeed! If it were not in copyright it would be a
        wonderful blog to follow on the end of PepysDiary.

        Terry


        At 04:13 AM 8/5/2007 +0000, you wrote:
        > Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days
        >
        >By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
        >Last Updated: 2:15am BST 05/08/2007
        >
        ># Extracts: Entring Book of Roger Morrice
        >http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/04/ndiary104.xml
        >
        >Freak weather, prisoners held without trial, bishops behaving badly:
        >it's the stuff of everyday news. Except these are not 21st-century
        >reports, they are 17th-century ones.
        >
        >It has taken seven years - at least two longer than expected - and the
        >collaboration of six leading international academics to extract these
        >stories of life in the late Stuart period from the "diary" of Roger
        >Morrice, a Puritan cleric-turned-lobby correspondent.
        >
        >Prof Mark Goldie, decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days
        >Prof Mark Goldie with his recently published set of 'The Entering Book
        >of Roger Morrice 1677-1691'
        >
        >His Entring Book, which lay forgotten for 300 years in a small
        >research library in London, was unearthed in 2000, but this week the
        >journal, hailed as "the most important unpublished British diary of
        >the later 17th century", will be published.
        >
        >The work has been compared in importance to that of Samuel Pepys.
        >
        >The research team, led by Mark Goldie, of Cambridge University, has
        >sifted through 1,500 pages, which amounts to nearly one million words
        >of 17th-century English. This includes 40,000 words written in an
        >archaic shorthand, critical of the monarch of the day, Charles II,
        >which had to be decoded by a specialist.
        >
        >"It is a huge source of material that will play a very significant
        >role in helping historians and students understand the period," said
        >Mr Goldie. "It shows England in a very different mood to the Pepys
        >diary, which was celebrating getting rid of the Puritans."
        >
        >Morrice's diary begins in 1677 and ends in 1691, covering the reigns
        >of Charles II, James II, and William III and Mary II. He depicted a
        >darker England thrown into a great crisis of "popery and arbitrary power".
        >advertisement
        >
        >His writing was shaped by his personal experiences. Born in 1628, he
        >became vicar of Duffield in Derbyshire in 1658, but was expelled from
        >his parish four years later after Charles II returned from exile,
        >introducing the high church Restoration era that persecuted and jailed
        >non-conformists.
        >
        >Morrice moved to London where he became a de facto investigative
        >journalist, relying partly on the gossip of the popular coffee houses
        >and on a well-placed source in the king's privy council whose name was
        >hidden in his coded writing.
        >
        >"Like all journalists, Morrice needed good sources and he was lucky to
        >have a very leaky secretary on the privy council called Richard
        >Collings," said Mr Goldie.
        >
        >Morrice's sources enabled him to provide unique accounts of events of
        >great historical significance, including the death of Charles II.
        >
        >"On Thursday night a priest came up the back way. It was believed by
        >all that he confessed the king, gave him extreme unction and that His
        >Majesty died a papist."
        >
        >In the diary, he writes of the persecution faced by those who refused
        >to abide by the laws of the Stuart state and established Church,
        >particularly against those, such as the Quakers and Puritans, who
        >worshipped illegally.
        >
        >"Eleven young men and women were seized at a chapel and convicted,
        >fined and jailed, where they are put to hard labour," he wrote.
        >
        >Other passages cover issues that are just as relevant today,
        >discussing law, religion, terrorism or weather.
        >
        >"The government has violated the fundamental laws of the kingdom and
        >advanced arbitrary power and infringed liberty and property… and
        >judges convict offenders… without any trial by juries," he writes on
        >January 23, 1679.
        >
        >Describing the detention of those suspected of plotting against the
        >king, on October 16, 1684, he tells of the case of one unfortunate
        >victim where the soldiers were ordered to "keep him from sleeping,
        >which they did without intermission for nine or 10 days. When he was
        >ready to die … the balls of his eyes swollen as big as tennis balls …
        >they tormented him by the thumbs".
        >
        >Elsewhere he reveals the debauched lifestyle of some of the country's
        >most senior clergy: "The Bishop of London has lain in a bawdy house."
        >
        >He describes how in the winter of 1683-84 the Thames froze so hard
        >that coaches travelled across the ice, an ox was roasted and bear
        >baiting and other sports were held on the river's surface.
        >
        >Frances Henderson, who deciphered Morrice's code, said: "He clearly
        >found it important to conceal his sources and developed a very
        >effective shorthand code."
        >
        >Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph
        >Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without
        >licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright
        >http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/05/ndiary105.xml
        >
        >
        >
        >
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