The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


sabbatarianism. Strict observance of the sabbath (Hebrew shabath-to rest) as a rest-day in accordance with the fourth commandment 'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy'. Christians transferred commemoration from the traditional seventh day to Sunday to honour Christ's resurrection-by worship rather than absence of work. Nevertheless Constantine decreed limits of Sunday work (321). Sabbatarianism was uniquely enforced by 17th-cent. English and Scottish presbyterians, especially in the *Interregnum. For puritans sabbath-keeping had to be total. Puritan magistrates' inflexible enforcement led James I to issue his *book of sports ( 1618, reissued in 1633), allowing sabbath participation in morris-dancing, maypole, and rush-bearing. Vehemently opposed as 'iniquity established by law', this prompted many to emigrate to America. Eighteenth-cent. church courts were still hearing cases of sabbath-breaking by work, 'tippling', or games. The evangelical revival made sabbatarianism fashionable, so that on a Victorian Sunday there was no sport or pleasure, not even reading of serious secular literature. In the 20th cent. there has been progressive relaxation until Sunday trading is freely allowed ( 1990s).


sac and soc. Medieval legal phrase, possibly of Danish origin, referring to manorial jurisdiction. It was at the expense of the hundred court, though not the county court. Though each word had its original and precise meaning, it became what Stubbs called 'a mere alliterative jingle', which did not bear close analysis. The phrase survived in the privilege of the soke of Peterborough, where special jurisdiction over eight hundreds was granted to the abbey of Peterborough.


Sacheverell riots, 1710. These erupted in London's West End on the night Of 1/ 2 March 1710 following the third day of the impeachment of Dr Henry Sacheverell. This outspoken high Anglican Oxford don was on trial at Westminster Hall for publishing a sermon condemning the Whig government for undermining the fabric of church and state through its favouritism towards dissenters. Rioters from a broad cross-section of London society, inspirited with church fervour and anti-government hatred, demonstrated their sympathy for the doctor by sacking and burning six prominent dissenting chapels. The trial and the riots heralded the collapse of the *Godolphin ministry in August.


Sacket's harbour, battle of, 1813. During the *War of 1812, British and American forces struggled for control of Lake Ontario. In May 1813 Sir George Prevost, governorgeneral of Canada, launched an attack upon the American base at Sacket's harbour, at the east end of the lake, but was repulsed. Initial success was cancelled by Prevost's caution.


Sadler, Sir Ralph ( 1507-87). Sadler spent much of his life among the Scots, a nation he thought 'unreasonable, rude, beastly and inconsistent'. But at least he was rewarded and died a wealthy man. His career began under the patronage of Thomas *Cromwell. He was made a gentleman of the privy chamber in 1536, knighted in 1538, and appointed a secretary of state in 1540. Though he served in most of the parliaments during his lifetime, he was not of the first rank as a speaker. He was employed in several missions to James V of Scotland and after his death in 1542 returned to try to negotiate a future marriage between Prince Edward and Mary, queen of Scots. When this went wrong and resulted in war, Sadler took the field. A strong protestant, he was under a cloud in Mary Tudor's reign but on Elizabeth's accession was sent back to Scotland to foster the reforming party. In 1568 he negotiated with the Scots over Mary and forwarded the incriminating Casket Letters. In 1569 he helped to suppress the rising of the *northern earls. His last active service was to have charge of Mary, 1584-5. From 1568 he was chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Small in stature, he was reputed competent and honest.


sailing covers a great range of activity from ocean racing to 12-foot dinghy competitions, or merely messing around in boats. At the top end of the sport is the America's Cup, preserve of millionaires and syndicates, and named after the famous yacht which caused such a sensation when it visited Cowes in 1851. The Fastnet race, started in 1925, is from Cowes to Ireland and back to Plymouth. Yachting was admitted to the Olympics in 1908. The governing body is the Royal Yachting Association, which organizes Cowes week in August. There is a Dinghy Cruising Association, and large numbers of local competitions are arranged by clubs, in rivers and estuaries, gravel pits and reservoirs.


St Albans, battle of, 1455. The first battle of St Albans on 22 May was little more than a hand-to-hand skirmish in the streets of the town. But since it ushered in the Wars of the


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The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


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