Writings by early-modern English artisans are rare and thus precious. London wood-turner and puritan, Nehemiah Wallington (1598-1658) is exceptional for having compiled fifty notebooks between 1618 and 1654. Although only seven of these are extant, they not only provide a wealth of valuable information about life in seventeenth-century London, but more importantly give access to the author's personal world, both inner and outer. Providing substantial excerpts from the surviving notebooks, this edition covers the broad range of subjects that animated Wallington's everyday life. Accounts of incidents in his domestic, working and religious life sit side by side with sustained meditations on his spiritual state; reports on national events are given, along with their possible providential meanings. Particularly illuminating are Wallington's reflections on his own mental wellbeing, at times suicidal, at others ecstatic. From letters on religious matters to expressions of anxiety over the illnesses and mishaps of his wife and children, from vexed thoughts about money matters to chronicling the tumults of civil war London, this collection provides a window into everyday life in seventeenth-century England. By making the writings of Nehemiah Wallington available in a modern edited edition, fully footnoted and referenced, together with a substantial scholarly introduction, we hope that this little-known London wood-turner will soon take his deserved place besides Pepys and Evelyn as one of the authentic voices commenting on early modern England.
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