The Seventh-Day Men: Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism in England and Wales, 1600-1800

By Bryan W. Ball

The first comprehensive study of the history of the 17th-dentury Sabbatarian movement.

ISBN: 9780227173114


‘The Seventh-day Men’ was a title given by contemporaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to an emerging body of Christians who observed Saturday, rather than Sunday, as the divinely appointed day of rest and worship.

This is the first fully documented history of the Sabbatarian movement in England and Wales in the two centuries following the Reformation. Drawing on many rare manuscripts and printed works, Dr Ball provides clear evidence that the movement was far more extensive than is often recognised, appearing in more than thirty countries.

The author suggests that the origins of the movement can be traced as far back as the Celtic tradition, and shows that the first ‘modern’ Sabbatarian appeared as early as 1402. He also explores the reasons why the movement declined in the eighteenth century.

As the first comprehensive study of the subject, this book establishes the Sabbatarian movement as a significant strand of thought in the history of English Nonconformity, with considerable influence on the religious life of the period.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 470

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Dr Bryan W. Ball is a retired academic and the author of numerous books, including The Soul Sleepers: Christian Mortalism from Wycliffe to Priestley (also published by James Clarke and Co Ltd). He holds a PhD from the University of London and has contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the Encyclopaedia of World Faiths.

He was Head of the Religious Studies Department at Newbold College, England, and Principal of Avondale College, Australia.


Introduction to the Second Edition

1. Precedents and Antecedents
2. John Traske and Theophilus Brabourne
3. The Mill Yard Church
4. The London Calvinistic Sabbatarian Churches
5. The South and South-West
6. The Chilterns and the Thames Valley
7. The Cotswolds and the Severn Valley
8. South Wales and the Borders
9. East Anglia
10. The Northern Counties

I. Ireland
II. Notes on Supposed Sabbatarian Congregations, 1650-1750
III. The More-Chamberlen Church Reconsidered
IV. An Annotated Chronological Bibliography of Seventh-day Literature to 1750
V. Distribution of the Sabbatarian Movement to 1800 by Counties
VI. Additional Notes for the Second Edition

Bibliography for the First Edition
Bibliography for the Second Edition
Index of Places
Index of Persons
General Index


Endorsements and Reviews

An impeccable work of historical scholarship which treats a subject long deserving of the intelligent attention it receives from Bryan W. Ball. … The book contains a wealth of detail.
Winton W. Solberg, in Church History

This definitive work provides us with the first coherent, well-documented examination of the Saturday Sabbatarians, their antecedents, origins, teachings, development and decline.
Raymond Brown, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History

The original text has been left unchanged – thank goodness – and the additional material easily identifiable as gathered in a second introduction, in twenty pages of extra notes and in an additional bibliography. From the Unitarian General Baptist point of view it is worth noting some additional information regarding the origins of the elusive and fascinating Mill Yard Seventh Day Baptist congregation.
Andrew Hill, in Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, Vol 25

In writing a second edition Ball’s goal of reaffirming Saturday Sabbatarianism within the ‘rich kaleidoscope’ of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century English religious history, and rescuing it from the inaccuracies of the past and the recent present, has undoubtedly been achieved.
Irena Larking, in Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 24, No 3