Anna Trapnel

(fl. c. 1632—1670) self-styled prophet

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Oliver Cromwell (1599—1658) lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland


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(fl. 1642–60) Prophetess, born in Poplar, Middlesex, the daughter of a shipwright. She joined the radical dissenting Fifth Monarchist movement in 1652, and was associated with the revolutionary church of John Simpson (1614/5–1662) at All Hallows the Great in London. Her spiritual and political extemporizations flowed forth in trances and were transcribed in shorthand. She achieved notoriety by a twelve-day ecstasy at Whitehall attacking Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, after which she travelled to Cornwall, was arrested on suspicion of sedition, and committed to Bridewell, a journey she vividly recorded in Anna Trapnel's Report and Plea. Other accounts of her activities appeared in Strange and Wonderful News from Whitehall, The Cry of a Stone, and A Legacy for Saints, all published in 1654. See, Virtue of Necessity (1989);, Women's Writings of the Early Modern Period (2002);, Women and Religious Writing in Early Modern England (2004).

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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