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Bastwick, John

Bastwick, John (1593–1654). Bastwick was an indefatigable opponent of Laud and the bishops. Born in Essex, he went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and then practised as a physician. In the 1630s he published several pamphlets urging presbyterianism and denouncing the church which was ‘as full of ceremonies as a dog is of fleas’. In 1637, with Prynne and Burton, he was sentenced to the pillory, to a fine, life imprisonment, and to have his ears cropped. Clarendon subsequently described him as ‘a half-witted, cracked-brained fellow’, but admitted that it was unwise to treat gentlemen ‘as the poorest and most mechanic malefactors used to be’, since it was much resented by professional men and ‘treasured up wrath for the time to come’. Bastwick was exiled to the Scillies but brought back in triumph by the Long Parliament in 1640. He subsequently served in the parliamentary army and continued to wage pamphlet warfare until his death.

J. A. Cannon

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