Richard Allestree, The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety (1667)


This 1667 first edition of Richard Allestree’s The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety has a detailed gift inscription from an owner named Christiana Isabella Harvey. Harvey records that the book was given to her “by the Reverend Dr. Nicholas” on “Novemb. 7. 1686.”Allestree’s book was one of a series of devotional manuals or books that, as Edmund Christie White puts it, “presented practical guidance in an easily comprehensible style on how to live a life of devotion, and they were structured to promote methodical, repeated reading” (273). White notes that these works were especially popular in Restoration England.

Seller Antiquates noted that Christiana Isabella Harvey was later the “wife of English author Hamon L’Estrange (1674–1769).” Harvey was born in 1673 and died in January 1756, so the book by Allestree must have been given to her when she was only thirteen. She would go on to have three daughters. This book is also signed by one of them, Isabella L’Estrange.


Source: Book was offered for sale by Antiquates in 2017. Images used with permission.

Further Reading

J. M. Rigg, and Norma Landau. “L’Estrange, Hamon (bap. 1674, d. 1767), legal and religious writer.” Oxford Dictionary of National BiographySeptember 2004. Oxford University Press.

Edmund Christie White, “Paradise Regained and the Restoration Church of England: Pieties in Dialogue.” Milton Studies vol. 56, 2015, pp. 273-99.

One thought on “Richard Allestree, The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety (1667)

  1. Julie A. Eckerle

    I am belatedly reading this post and delighted to find mention of Christian Isabella Harvey, the niece of writer and book owner Dorothy Calthorpe (she had 3 Allestree books, based on her will). Would love to engage more about the Harvey/Calthorpe women and the Reverend Nicholas, who was married to Dorothy Calthorpe’s sister.


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