Ongoing editions

This page provides brief abstracts of some of the major forthcoming or partially published editions of puritan or dissenting texts.


1. Paper editions

The Bunyan Church Book 1656-1710 (ed. Michael Davies, OUP): The purpose of this edition (currently in preparation, and forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2015) is to provide literary scholars and historians, as well as students and general readers, with a scholarly yet accessible annotated edition of A Booke Containing a Record of the Acts of a Congregation of Christ in and about Bedford: the manuscript record of the Bedford congregation’s life during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Who the congregation’s members were, how they were received and disciplined, how they survived strife and harassment, and what defined their ecclesiological principles and practices are all revealed in fascinating detail by this remarkable document.  This edition will include the Church Book’s record of meetings from 1656, when they begin to be noted, to 1710, when an off-shoot congregation was formed out of the Bedford church and established – on good terms – at Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire.  During this period, John Bunyan famously served as the congregation’s preacher and pastor, witnessing significant crises and developments both within the Bedford church and for Restoration Nonconformity more generally.  This period also records the first two decades of life for the church following Bunyan’s death and the passing of the Toleration Act, under the pastorship of his successor, Ebenezer Chandler.  Providing a detailed introduction alongside textual and explanatory notes, this edition intends to place the Church Book firmly within its various contexts: literary and epistolary, biographical and historical, doctrinal and ecclesiological.  As such, The Bunyan Church Book aims to make more readily available a record that singularly ‘brings us up against the raw material’, as Roger Sharrock put it in his ‘General Editor’s Preface’ to Bunyan’s Miscellaneous Works, upon which is founded ‘the spirit of English Puritanism which we breathe in The Pilgrim’s Progress’.

The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (gen. ed. John Morrill, OUP): In 2008 Oxford University Press commissioned a new edition of the writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell. They invited John Morrill to act as general editor and he has been joined by 10 other leading scholars. The first three volumes of this new critical edition will publish Cromwell’s letters and speeches in chronological order with contextual information and full critical apparatus. Volumes 4 and 5 will be companion volumes with a series of multi-authored essays, a chronology of Cromwell’s life, maps, genealogies, and other appendices. With the help of two years of funding provided by the Leverhulme Trust, the Cambridge-based project completed its archival and transcription work this past June. Editorial work has now begun and they hope to complete their new edition by the end of 2015. More information about the project and its team can be found on their website:

Reliquiae Baxterianae (ed. N. H. Keeble, Thomas Charlton, Tim Cooper, and John Coffey, OUP): A scholarly edition of Richard Baxter’s autobiographical papers to be published in 5 volumes by Oxford University Press probably in 2017 edited by N. H. Keeble, Thomas Charlton, Tim Cooper and John Coffey,

Richard Baxter’s Correspondence  (ed. Johanna Harris and Alison Searle, OUP): Johanna Harris and Alison Searle are co-general editor of a project to produce a complete scholarly edition of the correspondence of Richard Baxter,

The Works of Lucy Hutchinson (gen. ed. David Norbrook, OUP): This four-volume edition will provide all of Hutchinson’s major writings, together with many texts which have never been previously published. The first volume, already published, contains Hutchinson’s translation of Lucretius, ed. David Norbrook, Reid Barbour, and Maria Cristina Zerbino. Volume 2, which is nearing completion, will contain Hutchinson’s religious prose, including her ‘Principles of the Christian Religion’ (ed. Elizabeth Clarke), paraphrases of Calvin’s Institutes (ed. David Norbrook), and translation of John Owen’s Theologoumena pantodapa (ed. Jane Stevenson). Volume 3 will consist of Hutchinson’s Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson and related texts, whereas Volume 4 will focus on the remainder of her poetry, including Order and Disorder and the ‘Elegies’.

2. Databases

Dissenting Academies Online: Database and Encyclopedia 1660-1860 (Simon Dixon, Inga Jones, and others): Dissenting Academies Online: Database and Encyclopedia  is a relational database of archival sources for every known dissenting academy from the seventeenth to the mid nineteenth century. As well as providing materials for the lives of the tutors, and lists of students attending each of the academies, it includes newly written biographies of several hundred dissenters and histories of most of the major academies of the period. It is being constantly updated as new manuscript and printed sources come to light.

Dissenting Academies Online: Virtual Library System (Rosemary Dixon, Kyle Roberts and others): Dissenting Academies Online: Virtual Library System (launched 2011) was created by an interdisciplinary team of postdoctoral scholars through the generous funding of the AHRC Religion and Society Programme. Built off of open-source integrated library system software, the Virtual Library System (or VLS for short) reconstructs the holdings and borrowing histories for the leading eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Baptist, Congregational, and Presbyterian (later Unitarian) English dissenting academies in its initial incarnation.  The VLS includes over 12,000 unique titles held by these different academies between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries.  The VLS also includes a large amount of borrowing information, numbering over 40,000 loans to students, tutors, and others, allowing for the reconstruction of the borrowing histories of over 600 individuals.  Users of the VLS can gain an unprecedented view into the dissenting culture of print during this time.

Private Books for Educational Use – the Formation of the Northern Congregational College Library (Ed Potten and others):  The project’s overall objective is to expand the published online database, Dissenting Academies Online: Virtual Library System, created under the AHRC award, ‘Dissenting Academy Libraries and their Readers, 1720-1860’, in order to include new data that was unknown and unforeseeable at the time of the original application and enlarge the scope and aims of the database. The new data includes c.5000 titles in the published but rare catalogue (1885) of Lancashire Independent College, held by Manchester Central Library, and an uncatalogued collection of books acquired in the mid 1970s by the John Rylands University Library, Manchester, from Northern Congregational College, Manchester. The original database has been enlarged to include the libraries of Congregational colleges in Yorkshire and Lancashire, the date will be extended up to the twentieth century, and provenance details of individual books will be entered for the first time.

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