William Prynne, a Puritan lawyer, wrote Histriomastix, or the Player’s Scourge, directed against the sinfulness of play-acting, masques, and revels. This aroused the indignation of the British court because he unwisely declared actresses were whores. Since Queen Henrietta Maria enjoyed plays and sometimes took part in performances herself, his statement was considered seditious.
The Star Chamber, notorious for persecuting the regime’s political opponents, ejected Prynne from his profession, condemned him to stand in the pillory at Westminster and Cheapside, to lose both his ears, to pay a fine of £5,000, and to be kept in perpetual imprisonment. A few years later, on account of his News from Ipswich (Ipswich was a Puritan stronghold opposed to the state-sponsored Anglican Church), he was again fined £5,000, had his ears shaved further, was branded on both cheeks for libel, and condemned to imprisonment for life in Carnarvon Castle.
However, when Parliamentary forces came to power, he was released and became a member of the House of Commons. Adapted from Ditchfield’s Books Fatal to their Authors.