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Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700$
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Adam Fox

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251032.001.0001

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Rumour and News

Rumour and News

(p.335) 7 Rumour and News
Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700

Adam Fox

Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights the means and the mechanisms of transmitting political news and rumours in Tudor and Stuart England during the 16th and 17th centuries. At this time England had strict laws of sedition and censorship which made it a criminal offence to speak or write ill of the government, its personnel, or anyone in authority. Production and accessibility of written news witnessed a huge growth as a result of increase in literacy levels, the continued expansion of a thriving scribal culture, and the steady growth of printed news in various forms. Even after the Licensing Act of 1662, manuscript remained the principal supplement to word of mouth for the circulation of political songs and ballads.

Keywords:   rumour, news, sedition, censorship, written news, scribal culture, Licensing Act of 1662

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