Richard Gough, Peter Peckard, and the Problem of Little Gidding

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This article explores the ways in which Little Gidding and its inhabitants-including the leader of that pious seventeenth-century household, Nicholas Ferrar-were remembered in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The memory of Little Gidding was shaped, in part, by a passage in Richard Gough's British Topography, in which Gough dismissed Nicholas Ferrar as a 'useless enthusiast'. Gough's attack was answered by the liberal churchman Peter Peckard, who defended the reputation of his wife's ancestor in his Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Nicholas Ferrar. And yet Peckard's response to the Ferrars of Little Gidding was not entirely approving: While Peckard celebrated their piety and benevolence, he also worried over their 'ceremonials' and their 'austerities'. This article presents a reading of the Memoirs, as well as a study of the relationship between Peckard's text and other contemporary sources, in order to shed light on the complex nature of Peckard's liberal Anglicanism.

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Cambridge University Press

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Journal of Anglican Studies