Skip to main content
Select Source:

Prynne, William

William Prynne (prĬn), 1600–1669, English political figure and Puritan pamphleteer. Beginning his attacks on Arminian doctrine in 1627, he soon earned the enmity of William Laud. When Prynne's strictures on the theater in his book, Historiomastix (1632), were interpreted as an attack on Charles I and his queen, he was fined, imprisoned (1633), pilloried (1634), and partly shorn of his ears. He continued his pamphleteering in jail and in 1637 was again fined, sentenced to life imprisonment, deprived of the remainder of his ears, and branded with the letters S.L. (for seditious libeler). He was released from prison by the Long Parliament in 1640 and was voted financial reparation. During the English civil war, Prynne strongly supported the parliamentary cause in his writings and took a vindictive part in prosecuting his old enemy, Laud. In defending his moderate theological position, however, he found himself opposing both Presbyterians and Independents. He also came into conflict with John Milton over Milton's advocacy of divorce. Prynne entered Parliament in 1648; but he opposed the demand of the army for the execution of Charles I and so was expelled in Pride's Purge. He wrote attacks against the Commonwealth, for which he was imprisoned (1650–53), and against the Protectorate, and later supported the Restoration of Charles II. In 1660 he became keeper of the records of the Tower of London.

See biography by E. W. Kirby (1931, repr. 1972); W. M. Lamont, Marginal Prynne, 1600–1669 (1963).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Prynne, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Prynne, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prynne-william

"Prynne, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prynne-william

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Prynne, William

Prynne, William (1600–69). Puritan lawyer, antiquarian, and politician. Educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn, Prynne was hauled before the Court of Star Chamber in 1634 for publishing the Histriomastix. This work, a 1,000-page denunciation of female actors and of theatre in general, was interpreted as an attack on Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Prynne was rewarded with the loss of his ears. His attacks on the bishops landed him a second time before Star Chamber in 1637, where he was sentenced to lose what remained of his ears. After his release by the Long Parliament in 1640, Prynne was instrumental in securing the conviction and death of his enemy Archbishop Laud. He next turned his fire against religious radicals and the New Model Army. The army cordially returned his hostility, and had him arrested at Pride's Purge (6 December 1648). He continued to write long-winded pamphlets against the republic, popery, and quakerism during the 1650s. When the Long Parliament was recalled, Prynne introduced the bill in March 1660 for its dissolution. As a member of both Convention and Cavalier parliaments, he remained a presbyterian and resumed his attacks on bishops.

Ian Gentles

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Prynne, William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Prynne, William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prynne-william

"Prynne, William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/prynne-william

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.