No Christmas under Cromwell? The Puritan assault on Christmas during the 1640s and 1650s

Mark Stoyle investigates popular resistance to the Puritan assault on Christmas during the 1640s and 1650s

Vintners in an ale house, 1642. From a broadsheet titled ‘Health to All’, artist unknown. (Photo by Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the Christmas 2011 issue of BBC History Magazine

As the year 1645 limped towards its weary close, a war-torn England shivered beneath a thick blanket of snow. A few months earlier, parliament’s New Model Army, led by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, had routed the forces of Charles I at the battle of Naseby. Although that defeat had struck the king’s cause a mortal blow, the royalists still refused to surrender, and the bloody Civil War which had divided the country ever since 1642 continued to rage.

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now