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William Prynne

(1600—1669) pamphleteer and lawyer

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English Puritan pamphleteer, a fearless campaigner on religious, moral, and political issues. His most famous pamphlet, Histrio Mastix (1632), was an attack on stage-plays; he was tried before the Star Chamber for its implied criticism of Queen Henrietta Maria, who was a devotee of plays and masques. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and cropping of the ears (1634). He continued to write anti-episcopal pamphlets and in 1637 the remaining parts of his ears were removed. The Long Parliament freed him in 1640. Elected to Parliament himself in 1648, he was expelled at Pride's Purge, and eventually supported the Restoration.

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