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Narratives of Moral Reform at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century: The Societies for the Reformation of Manners in Local, National, and International Contexts

Recorded on 19 June 2024

Speakers: Hanna Filipova (University of Gothenburg) & Daniel Reed (Oxford Brookes University)

This presentation will draw on new research to consider two contemporaneous viewpoints of the Societies for the Reformation of Manners (SRM) at the turn of the eighteenth century. Hanna Filipova's upcoming book is devoted to the perception of the homosexual behaviour of Peter I of Russia by his contemporaries. One of the earliest sources mentioning the Tsar in this context is the trial of Capt. Edward Rigby, a victim of sodomy persecution initiated by the SRM in London. Daniel Reed has recently published a study of the SRM in Hull, which provides an unparalleled account of a provincial reforming society in this period. Unlike other societies founded elsewhere, the majority of reformers in Hull were Dissenters. Their interactions with civic and ecclesiastical leaders raised divisive questions about who had authority to direct voluntary religious enterprises; questions that laid bare ongoing tensions between Dissenters and Anglicans in the years after 1688. These cases provide fresh opportunities for discussion of intersection, crossover, and divergence in experiences of encounters with the SRM in local, national, and international contexts.

IHR Seminar Series: British History in the Long 18th Century