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Confessional politics in pre-civil war essex: Prayer books, profanations, and petitions

Walter, J (2001) 'Confessional politics in pre-civil war essex: Prayer books, profanations, and petitions.' Historical Journal, 44 (3). 677 - 701. ISSN 0018-246X

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This article contributes to the debate over the value of petitions for the recovery of ‘public opinion’ in early modern England. It argues for a greater attentiveness to the politics and processes in their production. An analysis of a hitherto unknown draft Essex ‘prayer book’ petition explores the construction of contrasting royalist and parliamentarian confessional politics. A reading of the content of the petitions offers evidence of the popular response to the Laudian ceremonialism; a reconstruction of the politics of its production provides evidence of the attempt to construct a political alliance in support of the crown around defence of the prayer book; a reconstruction of the occasion for the petition – the capture of the Essex grand jury by the godly and well affected – suggests a very different, and ultimately more successful, confessional parliamentarian politics. In identifying the critical role played by the middling sort – translating their role in the politics of the parish to the politics of the state – the article argues that a marriage of the research strategy of the social historian with the agenda of a ‘new political history’ will help to establish the enlarged social depth to the public sphere in early modern England. © 2001, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2011 15:29
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:15

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