Famous People from the Isle of Ely

Dowsing, William (17th century)

A Suffolk puritan. During the Civil War he visited some 100 parish churches in Cambridgeshire, and about 150 in Suffolk, smashing stained glass and other 'superstitious' imagery, ripping up monumental brass inscriptions, destroying altar rails and steps, and pulling down crucifixes and crosses. He dealt quite as vigorously with the chapels of the Cambridge Colleges, still fresh from their Laudian re-ordering. Dowsing kept a diary of his activities, noting down what he destroyed at each church. This Journal has never been properly published. For this major new edition, all of the churches have been visited and the remnants of Dowsing's work identified. To elucidate his entries, full use has been made of parish records and the notes of antiquaries before and after his visit. The 1630s appearance of the College chapels has been recreated from college accounts and unpublished contemporary descriptions. There are many maps and illustrations, and an extensive set of introductory chapters, including discussion of the activities of iconoclasts in surrounding counties, and a review of the kinds of damage to church fabric which demonstrate iconoclasm of the period.

Try this link for more information: http://www.williamdowsing.org/

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