Introduction Nursing Mothers and Sanctified Sisters: Women’s Political Behavior after the Restoration

  • Melinda S. Zook
Part of the Early Modern History: Society and Culture book series


After many weeks of listening to the “strong opinions” of Tabitha Smith, an Oxford glover named Richard Crutch decided to go to the authorities. In February 1686, he traveled to London and out of his “duty to his majesty” accused Smith of treasonable activity. She had come from the West Country to live with Richard and his wife, Katherine, about a month ago. Loquacious and opinionated, Smith had told them a fraught tale of daring and escape. Her husband, James, had joined the rebel leader, the Duke of Monmouth, at Lyme and had sent word to her in Taunton that she and their servants should prepare to provide horses and provisions for the rebellion. Tabitha Smith joined Monmouth’s army and saw action at Phillips-Norton where she herself commanded a company of horse. After the rebels’ defeat at Sedgemoor, Smith escaped back to Taunton “wearing men’s clothes” to secure what goods she had left. Colonel Kirke’s regiment came “speedily after.” Smith hid what she could, borrowed money from a shopkeeper in Bristol and made it to Oxford. Since Smith practiced the same trade as the Crutches, they had taken her into their home. But her bold talk soon made Richard apprehensive, and he regretted it. Smith swore that the Duke of Monmouth was still alive and would come again with 40,000 men. She boasted of having been entertained by a kinsman of the Earl of Derby’s in Lancashire, where they were raising money in preparation for Monmouth’s return.1


Political Culture Nurse Mother Woman Writer Early Eighteenth Century Feminist Historian 
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  1. 1.
    BL, Add. 41,804, ff. 257–257v. Tabitha Smith was probably referring to William Stanley, ninth Earl of Derby (c. 1655–1702) who was lord lieutenant for Cheshire and Lancashire.Google Scholar
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© Melinda S. Zook 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melinda S. Zook
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityUSA

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