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William Hone and the Culture of Protest


A workshop and reenactment to mark the 200th anniversary of William Hone's trials in December 1817.

In 1817 the publisher and satirist William Hone was put on trial for having published three liturgical parodies that attacked the Prince Regent and Lord Liverpool's Tory government. He was charged with blasphemous libel. Hone defended himself at each of the three trials (held on consecutive days) and his acquittal - against the odds - was a major victory for the freedoms of speech and press.

This anniversary represents a chance for us not only to reconsider Hone’s position within and significance to the culture of protest in the late 1810s, but also to bring past and present into conversation. In our own moment - as we confront the Brexit vote and Trump presidency - questions about the efficacy of protest and the limits of anti-government satire are highly resonant.


  • David Taylor (
  • Mark Knights (
  • Mark Philp (

This event is being held in conjunction with the Warwick Words History Festival.

Friends Meeting House, Warwick
Saturday 25th November 2017, 11am-3pm

The speakers will be:

  • Jason McElligott (Marsh Library, Dublin): "Hone and the Civil War of 1819-20"
  • John Gardner (Anglia Ruskin): "Hone and the Spy System"
  • Joanna Innes (Oxford): "A Friend in the Government? Hone and George Rose"
  • Brian Maidment (Liverpool JM): "Hone and Cruikshank"
  • David Taylor (Warwick): "Hone and the Functions of Parody”

Free, and includes lunch, but pre-registration is required (email

Ballroom, The Courthouse, Warwick
Saturday 25th November 2017, 4-5pm

Within the space of Warwick’s eighteenth-century courthouse, student performers from the University of Warwick will stage a one-hour version of Hone’s trials using verbatim testimony.

TICKETS: £6. To book, call the Warwick Words Festival Box Office: 01926 334 418