The Gunpowder Sermon (John Donne, 1622)

On this day in 1622, on the seventeenth anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, the Dean of St Paul’s, John Donne, felt compelled to a sermon reassuring the congregation as to the ongoing commitment to the Protestant cause of the King, who was himself widely suspected of harbouring Catholic sympathies.   In his sermon, Donne described the King as “in his heart, as farre from submitting us to that Idolatry, and Superstition, which did heretofore oppresse us, as his immediate Predecessor [Elizabeth I], whose memory  is justly precious to you, was”.  

There is a virtual reconstruction of the event at www.vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu.  It shows the sermon being given outside the cathedral, at (St) Paul’s Cross, whereas the original was actually given indoors on account  of inclement weather (“ a vicious squall of November rain”).

3D recreation of the site of Donne's sermon

3D recreation of Paul’s Cross preaching station outside St Paul’s cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is visited, although not entered, on our  “London Wall”, “Tower to Temple”, “Historic Smithfield, Clerkenwell and Holborn” and “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey”standard walks, and on our “Lost City highlights” and “Lost Wren churches” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

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