Christopher Feake: Sermons

Scope and Content

The volume contains:

  • (a) folios 1-153v, Morning Exercises: Or An Exposition of the XII Last Chapters, of the Revelation of Jesus Christ Delivered in XXIX Sermons, with a prefatory note stating these Sermons were preached in or near the City of London, by that gracious humble-spirited man Mr. Christopher Feake, being a part of his Expositary Exercises which were delivered in the Space of Seven Moneths successively; the first on the Eighth Day of September in the yeare of Our Lord 1672 and the last of them Aperill the thirteenth 1673... being taken from his Mouth in Short-writing;
  • (b) folios 154-180v, Life Eternal, in the Knowledg, of God and Christ... out of Iohn; the XVII and III , with a prefatory note stating The Discourse next following I am forced to give you but in part, it being Maimed by the loss of the first Part... for the whole of this Subject as delivered in Ten Sermons; whereof wee have Onely the foure last, viz.t the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th and therefore don't wonder that I beginn at Sermon the Seventh . Sermon 7 was delivered on 7 September, 8 on 21 September, 9 on 5 Octoboer, and 10 on 19 October 1673;
  • (c) folios 181-221, A Mirrour of Mercy, or the Promise of Paradise Made by Christ to the Thief upon the Cross delivered in Seven Sermons on Luke the XXIII and 43, without preface. These sermons were delivered between 26 October 1673 and 1 February 1674.
 Original pagination: pp. 1-438. Pasted inside the front cover are two slips containing entries for this volume from printed sale catalogues, one if which is numbered 1158.

Administrative / Biographical History

Christopher Feake (1612-c 1683), Fifth Monarchist leader, was the eldest of five children of Edward Feake, gentleman, of Godstone, Surrey. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, as a pensioner in 1628 and graduated BA in 1632. By 1637 he had married Jane Man, daughter of John Man of Paul's Wharf, London. Feake became vicar of Elsham, Lincolnshire, in around 1637 and in January 1646 he obtained the sequestered vicarage of All Saints, Hertford. Here he dispensed with psalm-singing and the Lord's prayer, and preached against monarchy and aristocracy. In 1647 he became vicar of Christ Church, Newgate, and shortly thereafter lecturer at both St Anne Blackfriars and All Hallows-the-Great.

Feake used his oratorical skills in the pulpit to incite as well as to instruct his audiences, in his attempts to destabilise the government. In 1650 he preached before the lord mayor of London in support of the fifth monarchy prophesied by Daniel, and in 1652, before the House of Commons. By the end of 1651 Feake was one of a group in London beginning to organize the Fifth Monarchists, a movement which felt itself called to establish the latter-day fifth kingdom of Daniel's prophetic visions. Feake soon became one of the movement's recognized leaders and one of the most hostile and outspoken critics of Cromwell and his government.

In January 1654 Feake was arrested, for the second time, and imprisoned in Windsor Castle, from where he continued to lead the Fifth Monarchy movement. In 1654 he published two of his most influential works, The new non-conformistand The oppressed close prisoner. In September 1655 he was removed to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, until his release in December 1656. In 1659 the Fifth Monarchists were no longer an influence in London. Feake published his account of the movement in A beam of light. He is recorded as a teacher at Dorking in 1662, and in 1669 as preacher; he was licensed as an Independent in 1672. He last appears as a preacher in a cellar on London Bridge in 1682. The date of his death is unknown.

Source: Bryan W. Ball, 'Feake, Christopher (1611/12-1682/3)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the Manchester booksellers Sherratt & Hughes in February 1952.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Christopher Feake.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1952-1970 (English MS 1158).

Geographical Names