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Heritage Open Days 2018 Talks: From Hull to Bordeaux

6 Sep 2018



Family Friendly

Heritage Open Days 2018 Talks: From Hull to Bordeaux: Andrew Marvell, the wine trade, and the seventeenth-century struggle for religious toleration, Dr Stewart Mottram.

How tolerant should we be of other religious beliefs? This talk tells the seventeenth-century origins of this debate and of Hull’s role within it, focusing on Andrew Marvell (d. 1678) and his wine merchant nephew, Will Popple.

As well as being a poet and politician, Marvell was also something of a businessman. As Marvell’s letters in the Hull History Centre reveal, in the 1670s Marvell helped his relatives, the Thompsons, with their wine business in Bordeaux. Many Hull merchants were drawn to Bordeaux: Marvell’s nephew, Will Popple, had been living there since 1670. Popple’s correspondence with his uncle shows their shared interests, not only in wine, but in the fraught religious politics of their day. Marvell was well known in the 1670s as a spokesman for the rights of religious nonconformists (eg. the Quakers) to practise their faith unmolested by Anglican ministers. Popple emerged as an equally impassioned advocate of religious toleration. His best-known work, A Rational Catechism (1687), responded to Popple’s first-hand experience of religious persecution in Bordeaux.

This talk explores the influences of both Marvell and the Hull-Bordeaux wine trade on Popple’s pioneering religious views – an important but little-known chapter in the centuries-long story of Hull’s liberal heritage.

Free admission – there is no need to book in advance.