The reluctant chaplain
William Sancroft and the later Stuart Church
in Chaplains in early modern England
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This chapter focuses on the three aspects of chaplaincy in William Sancroft's life. They are resisting becoming a chaplain in the 1640s and 1650s, acting as an episcopal and royal chaplain in the 1660s and 1670s, and interacting with his own chaplains while Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1680s and 1690s. Sancroft's reluctance to contemplate life as a chaplain stemmed from more than love of collegiate life. Although the Restoration of the monarchy transformed the political and religious landscape of England, Sancroft's career initially failed to soar, not least because of the leisurely pace of his return from the continent. Sancroft's chaplains were, lobbied in 1679 about the need for convocation to sit in order to concede changes within the Church there rather than at the hands of a hostile House of Commons. The need for conviction in 1679 is expressed as 'We are already upbraided for a parliamentary Religion'.

Chaplains in early modern England

Patronage, literature and religion


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