Hooting Yard: Muggletonians

It was in February 1651 that a London tailor, John Reeve, received a commission from God. He explained to Muggleton, his cousin, also a tailor, that they were the two witnesses spoken of in the Book of Revelation 11:3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Reeve died a few years later in 1658, leaving Muggleton to continue their work, and to give the sect his name.

What was that work? It was one of the key tenets of the Muggletonians that, having created Man, God took a step back and took no interest whatsoever in our everyday doings. Muggletonians did not preach, nor proselytise. They had no form of organised worship, and indeed hardly any organisation at all. What they did do was meet up, usually in taverns, and talk – often rancorously – and sing Muggletonian songs. They also had holidays, where they might choose a picnic spot instead of a tavern for talking and singing, on the 19th of July, and on the “Great Holiday”, from the 2nd to the 4th of February, celebrating Reeve’s initial revelation.

This episode was first broadcast on 19th July 2012.