The essays contained in this volume examine the particular religious experiences of women within a remarkably vibrant and formative era in British religious history. Scholars from the disciplines of history, literary studies and theology assess women's contributions to renewal, change and reform; and consider the ways in which women negotiated institutional and intellectual boundaries. The focus on women's various religious roles and responses helps us to understand better a world of religious commitment which was not separate from, but also not exclusively shaped by, the political, intellectual and ecclesiastical disputes of a clerical elite. As well as deepening our understanding of both popular and elite religious cultures in this period, and the links between them, the volume re-focuses scholarly approaches to the history of gender and especially the history of feminism by setting the British writers often characterised as 'early feminists' firmly in their theological and spiritual traditions.

chapter 1|22 pages


chapter 3|19 pages

Masculine Virgins:

Celibacy and Gender in Later Stuart London

chapter 5|19 pages

‘When God shall Restore them to their Kingdoms’:

Nuns, Exiled Stuarts and English Catholic Identity, 1688–1745 1

chapter 6|17 pages

A Latitudinarian Queen:

Mary II and her Churchmen

chapter 10|16 pages

The Life and Works of Catherine Talbot (1721–70):

‘A Public Concern’