James Naylor

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The 1640s Picturebook

Engraving from 1656 by an unknown engraver, James Naylor was a bit player in the Civil Wars, during which he fought as a foot soldier and later in Lambert’s Cavalry in the New Model Army, but came to prominence in the years after.  He developed into a charismatic and eloquent preacher of the fledgling Quaker movement. In fact so good was he that the authorities became very worried about the following he was attracting and  eventually he was tried for blasphemy by Parliament. This was nothing short of a show trial and Naylor narrowly escaped a death sentence, being finally sentenced to be whipped through the streets and tortured by the public hangman. The engraving shows what happened to him. In the first pane he is being whipped at a cart’s tail in a pair of ragged breeches and his shirt hangs in rags. The hangman wears a short tabbed…

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