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The Murder of Mr. GrebellMadness and Civility in an English Town$
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Paul Kleber Monod

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300099850

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300099850.001.0001

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A Parcel of Devils

A Parcel of Devils

Chapter:
(p.54) 2 A Parcel of Devils
Source:
The Murder of Mr. Grebell
Author(s):

Paul Kleber Monod

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300099850.003.0002

This chapter examines how the crime of John Breads connects with the wider context of social change in the early days of modern Rye. Breads' conception of madness was widespread among ordinary people in the 1700s, but it looked back to the preceding century and beyond. The chapter explains that it is not known whether Breads' judges or the members of his jury believed in devils, and argues that by the mid-eighteenth century, when Breads faced Mayor Lamb in the sessions court, godly magistracy was a thing of the past in Rye. The goal of purging the town of all sorts of satanic influences, of making it into a “city on a hill,” had largely been forgotten. As a result, the rhetoric of ascribing evil deeds to the devil had become less common, and witchcraft accusations had sputtered to an end.

Keywords:   sessions court, magistracy, Rye, satanic influences, evil deeds

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