MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
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Anthony Sadler: Majestie Irradiant1

   (1 May)
Thomason dated his copy of this broadside on Mayday.

I. The Author

   According to Anthony Wood, Anthony Sadler (1610-c.1683) left "behind him the character of a man of a rambling head and turbulent spirit," a view confirmed by published reports of the controversies which Sadler seems to have attracted.2 Born in Chitterne St. Mary, Wiltshire, Sadler entered St. Edmund Hall, Oxford in 1628, and was ordained by the Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Richard Corbet in 1631 at the age of twenty one. His precosity seems to have accompanied a restless enthusiasm that marks his career as well as his poetic and controversial writings. After a temporary curacy at Bishopsgate in Hampshire, he served as chaplain to a relative, the Squire Sadler of Hertfordshire, before moving to Westminster as chaplain to Lady Lettice Paget, who presented him to a living at Compton-Hayway in Dorset on 25 May 1654.

   Having survived the years of civil war, Sadler was now middle-aged and finding his Anglican views were out of tune with the times. Within weeks of his presentation to Compton-Hayway, he was summoned for examination before a group of recently appointed "triers" -- the parliamentary commissioners charged with judging and approving new church appointments -- headed by the fiercely independent Philip Nye, whom William Lilly called a "Jesuitical Presbyterian."3 Woods notes that "no small trouble passed between him and them." Sadler presented his certificate of ordination on 10 June but it was rejected four days later. After further delays, he was called for examination by the triers on 3 July. In October, Sadler addressed Inquisitio Anglicana, his own account of the events of his trial, to Cromwell and the High Court of Parliament.4 Nye's response -- Mr Sadler Re-examined -- appeared in early December,5 and repeated charges that Sadler preached more for ostentation than edification. That month a further order was given for Sadler to be re-examined.6 Since there is no further record of Sadler until the year of the Restoration, when he shows up unemployed, we can only presume that he was ejected from his Dorest living sometime after 1 once his patroness had died.7

   Like other unemployed Anglican divines in 1660, Sadler must have held great hopes that Charles's return would mean more and better jobs for loyal clergymen, especially those who drew attention to their plight by publishing declarations of their past sufferings and eager support for the king. In anticipation of recognition or reward, the fifty-year old rushed into print by May, as we have seen. We learn from Mr. Sadler, Sadled, In the Vindication of Mr. R. Cranmer of London Merchant (1665), that Sadler was without a living in 1660, but was "well stockt with Wife and Children" (p. 4). This anonymous attack on Sadler reports that in 1660 he was quick to make it known how much he wanted a church living in recompense for his loyal sufferings. With the initial support of Robert Cranmer, and after preaching a sermon there in June, Sadler was duly appointed to a vacant appointment at Mitcham in Surrey. Within a few years, however, Sadler had fallen foul of Cranmer and other local parish dignitaries, entering into a series of legal suits that landed him in prison. The living at Mitcham was poorly paid, it had been vacant for many years and the house was in very bad condition when Sadler moved his family in. In Strange News Indeed: From Mitcham in Surry [sic] (1664), signed from "the Burrough Prison, Novem. 25. 1664," Sadler attacks Cranmer for not fuliflling his promises with regard to the living. But according to Mr. Sadler, Sadled, Sadler and his family were frequently shown hospitality, provided with food, medicine and coal; a subscription to repair the house was established. Once £40 had been raised, however, Sadler followed bad advice and sued his patron for dilapidation, thereby estranging himself from the local community. The author or authors even dispute Sadler's claim to be the author of the Inquistio Anglicana, insisting it was made up by "a Club of Divines" (p. 8). Other charges against him include frequent drinking and swearing, and refusing to pay for a horse that he bought on credit.

   Sadler again disappears from the record until 1681 when, at the age of 71, he was accused of debauchery by Seth Ward, the Bishop of Salisbury. The last record of Sadler appears when he is an old man of 73, petitioning against his suspension in 1683 (DNB).

   From the record of his publications praising the return of monarchy, it is clear that Sadler was skilled at promoting himself and that he seems to have enjoyed some success at finding himself employment within the restored Anglican church. Wood tells us that after the controversy with Cranmer, Sadler was made "Doctor of Div. and Chapl. extraord. to his Majesty" (AO, 2:505). Unfortunately, the DNB does not repeat this claim, and I have been unable to verify it.

   For more on Sadler's other Restoration publications, see The Subject's Joy.


[1] Wing: S273. Brs. Copies: LT 669.f.25(4) copy text; CLC Pamph Coll, folio drawer; CH {microfilm of LT}; MH1 *pEB65.A100.B675b v. A144=Marquis of Bute broadsides (microfilm); MH *pEB65.Sal52.660m.

[2] Anthony Woods, Athenae Oxoniensis, vols. (London: for Thomas Bennet, 1691, 1692), 2:505.

[3] Mr. William Lilly's History of his Life and Times, from the year 1602 to 1681 (1715), p. 83. See "An Ordinance for appointing Commissioners for approbation of Publique Preachers," 20 March 1654, in C. H. Firth and R. S. Rait, eds., Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, 3 vols. (London: HMSO, 1911), 2:855-88.

[4] Sadler, Inquisitio Anglicana: Or The Disguise discovered. Shewing The Proceedings of the Commisioners at White hall, for the Approbation of Ministers, In The Examinations of Anthony Sadler Cler: (Chaplain to the Right Honourable the Lady Pagett, Dowager) Whose Delay, Triall, Suspence and Wrong, presents it self for Remedy, to the Ld Protector, and the High Court of Parliament: And For Information to the Clergy, and all the people of the Nation (London: Printed by J. Grismond, for Richard Royston at the Angel in Ivie-lane, 1654).

[5] [John Nye], Mr Sadler Re-examined, Or, His Disguise discovered, shewing The grosse mistakes and most notorious Falshoods in his dealing with the Commissioners for Approbation of Publike Preachers in his Inquisitio Anglicana (London: Printed for Nathanael Webb and William Grantham, at the Signe of the Bear in Pauls Churchyard. 1654).

[6] CSPD, p. 410.

[7] Sadler's funerary sermon to Lady Pagett, Benedictio, Valedictio, appeared in October 1655; see Wood, AO, 2:505.