Source 1: Report to the Council of State, December 1650


Sir Hen. Mildmay to report to Parliament that Council have received informations that there was very wilful and strict observation of the day commonly called Christmas Day, throughout the cities of London and Westminster, by a general keeping of shops shut up; and that there were contemptuous [disrespectful] speeches used by some in favour thereof, which Council conceives to be upon the old grounds of superstition [belief usually founded on ignorance or fear] and malignancy [evil/hostile], and tending to the avowing of the same, and contempt of the present laws and Government, and therefore request Parliament to consider further provisions [laws] and penalties for abolishing and punishing those old superstitious observations, and meeting with such malicious contradiction of offenders in that behalf.

Also that they have received information of frequent resort and exercise of the idolatrous [worship of idols or false gods] mass [celebration of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church], to the great dishonour of Almighty God, notorious breach of the laws, and scandal of the Government, wherein they have already taken some course, and desire Parliament to take that matter also into consideration, for further remedies and suppression of that idolatry.

That Council are also informed that the arms and pictures of the late King still remain in several churches and halls, and upon the gates and other public places of the city of London, and request Parliament to appoint some person to see the same taken down and defaced, and give an account of the execution of the same within a limited time as they shall think right to allow for that purpose.

« Return to Christmas is cancelled!

Report of Sir Henry Mildmay to the Council of State, 15 December 1650

  1. What is the attitude of author of this report towards the celebration of Christmas Day? Can you explain his views?
  2. What does this report reveal about popular attitudes towards the celebration of Christmas? How would you explain them?