Church and People in Interregnum Britain

Edited by Fiona McCall
23 June 2021
156 × 234 mm
300 pp
Paperback: 978-1-912702-65-7
Hardback: 978-1-912702-64-0
PDF: 978-1-912702-66-4

In 1645, as the First Civil War approached its end, a second Reformation took place which created profound dislocations in religion and in British society. The Church was disestablished, and godly puritan practices promoted in parish churches and everyday life. Some clergy and parishioners embraced change; others were horrified, experiencing these as times of madness and trouble. Historians continue to debate the extent of the social disruption that resulted, and the impact of godly ideals. 

With an introduction from Professor Bernard Capp, pre-eminent social historian of the period, this collection of essays assesses interregnum religious practice at ground level, based on a sophisticated understanding of the complex and unique pattern of record-keeping and survival from the period. Each chapter takes an original approach, using a specific local or institutional case study or previously under-examined source from England, Scotland or Wales. In the process, we see how ever-evolving national initiatives met local spaces, local traditions and individual personal agendas. We see the tensions produced by the emergence of religious plurality in a society still yearning for social conformity under a uniform practice of religion, the forces for inclusion and exclusion, of acceptance of or estrangement from godly religion.

Table of contents: 

Introduction: stability and flux: the Church in the interregnum
Bernard Capp

The administration of the interregnum Church

1. What happened in English and Welsh parishes c.1642– 62?:a research agenda
Andrew Foster

2. ‘Soe good and godly a worke’: the surveys of ecclesiastical livings and parochial reform during the English Revolution
Alex Craven

3. The ecclesiastical patronage of Oliver Cromwell, c.1654–60
Rebecca Warren

The clergy of the Commonwealth

4. The impact of the landscape on the clergy of seventeenth-century Dorset
Trixie Gadd

5. The clergy of Sussex: the impact of change, 1635–65
Helen M. Whittle

Enforcing godly ideals

6. ‘Breaching the laws of God and man’: secular prosecutions of religious offences in the interregnum parish, 1645–60
Fiona McCall

7. Scandalous Ayr: parish- level continuities in 1650s Scotland
Alfred Johnson

Traditionalist religion: patterns of persistence and resistance

8. Malignant parties: loyalist religion in southern England
Rosalind Johnson

9. ‘God’s vigilant watchmen’: the words of episcopalian clergy in Wales, 1646– 60
Sarah Ward Clavier

Remembering godly rule

10. ‘A crack’d mirror’: reflections on ‘godly rule’ in Warwickshire in 1662 245
Maureen Harris