Robert the Puritan -
Belief in Sin
common with prevalent puritan thought he believed that the imbibing of too
much alcohol was a sin, and recorded several instances when he refused to
participate in the drinking of a toast. However, occasionally he
succumbed to the temptation to take alcohol, usually whilst in the company
of more seasoned drinkers. In consequence he faced both physical
discomfort and spiritual guilt:‑
" I supped to night with Mr More at the Swan, where I drunke too much wyne with him for it made me litle ill afterward, Oh
Lord make me to take heed for time to come."
3 October 1639.
Several brief entries suggest that the diarist occasionally
smoked and that again he experienced much guilt because of the habit. In
these very private comments the writer reveals the human side of his
nature and his failure to maintain the exacting standards of behaviour
which he set for himself.
contributions to this site are welcome.
Please email us
© Stephen Butt 2004 - rev
The Diary of a
The diarist, though by nature a man who appears to have been very
self‑disciplined and ‑ by virtue of his legal training ‑ able to
debate and discuss emotional subjects in a reasoned manner, is
disparaging about both Catholics and Armenians:‑
" .. Lord I pray thee purge
thy floore blowe away the chaffe that is amongst o(u)r
doctrine & in o(u)r discipline let pop(er)y & Arminianism hide
themselves reforme whatever is amisse, looke uppon the
imprison(men)ts of thy servants formerly & at this day & uppon
all their sufferings & uppon all their prayers & vouchsafe to
heare in mercy for the Lords sake. "
21 June 1639.
On the same evening, and as a
postscript to this entry, Robert Woodforde recorded that he had
been in "hot dispute with Anthony in St Dunstan's churchyard
Woodforde recorded most of the common
saints' days in his diary adjacent to the date of each entry,
but as a puritan he deplored their continued recognition, as
on 21 September 1639, being the feast of St Matthew:‑
" St Matthewes day to day, oh
Lord that we might once leave this dedication of dayes to
Saintes & dedicate all o(u)r dayes to thee o(u)r god & to thy