This article came from Chronicle published March 1981. Page: 8


Ringing St John’s church bells for Dr Henry Sacheverell

Author: Leslie Brooke


St.John’s churchwardens paid the astonishingly large sum of £3 in 1709 ‘for Ringing 2 dayes upon an Extraordinary occasion for Dr.Sacheverell’.

The occasion for such rejoicing was the news that the doctor, who was rector of St Saviour’s, Southwark, had just been prohibited for preaching for three years! The reason was that he had preached a sermon in St.Paul’s in which he had called for the punishment of ‘Dissent and Dissenters’, urging all good citizens to rally round the church which he said was ‘in the ii:ost terrible danger’. Riots resulted and Dr.Henry Sacheverell was put on trial, the Queen herself daily attending; the three-week trial to lend support to his cause. He was found guilty but the sentence banning him from preaching for three years was regarded as a triumph, being of such a light nature. Naturally the established church lent their support, and the mob, which had welcomed the Queen’s support for the doctor by her attending as a private spectator, kept shouting ‘God bless the Queen and Dr.Sacheverell!’ We hope your Majesty is for High Church and Dr.Sacheverell!’ No doubt St John’s churchwardens considered their £3 expenditure well spent.