We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Facing childhood death in English Protestant spirituality.

Ryrie, Alec (2017) 'Facing childhood death in English Protestant spirituality.', in Death, emotion and childhood in premodern Europe. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 109-127. Palgrave studies in the history of childhood.


This chapter examines seventeenth-century English Puritan discussions of childhood death, notably those of Nehemiah Wallington and James Janeway, in order to argue that Puritan and Calvinist theology offered important resources to parents and children facing childhood death. Examining how deaths were confronted and were used pedagogically demonstrates how effectively Puritanism, especially the doctrine of predestination, could be used both to console grief and to train and discipline the young. The chapter also examines how Puritan parents of sick children used their religion to manage their fear and distress, from sometimes manipulative attempts to use prayer to change the outcome of an illness, to the struggle which parents and children shared to find assurance and spiritual solace in and despite physical suffering and impending death.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Alec Ryrie, Facing Childhood Death in English Protestant Spirituality / Death, Emotion and Childhood in Premodern Europe, 2016, Palgrave Macmillan reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:04 May 2017
Date of first online publication:07 February 2017
Date first made open access:07 February 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar