A 17th Century Life: The Diary of Ralph Josselin

What was life like in 17th century England? The words of Ralph Josselin, recorded in his diary, tell us. Puritan minister, farmer, author, book collector, follower of news, tracker of the plague, parliamentary supporter, and family man – Josselin offers us a unique insight into his life and his century. Click here for the 80-minute YouTube video.

In Josselin’s diary we see these themes in miniature: his powerful providentialism, his nonconformist views on the placement of the altar, his elation over parliamentary victories.

Death and disease are another theme. In 1665 and 1666, Josselin tracked the plague: how close would it get to his village? Every cough, every fall, every rumor of smallpox in the neighbourhood – the overwhelming message is that life was at risk every day.

The discussion, led by Roxanne Reddington-Wilde of the Partnership of Historic Bostons (left), included comments by public historian and speaker Lori Rogers-Stokes.