J. F. Merritt
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Town, cloister and Crown
in The social world of early modern Westminster
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The dissolution of Westminster's abbey gave rise to special problems, given the earlier prominence of the abbot in the medieval government of the town. Relations between Abbey, Crown and townspeople were certainly redefined during the century following the Reformation. In the Elizabethan period, power in Westminster was largely concentrated in the hands of the Crown and the Cecil family. The growing volatility of town politics and patronage in the early Stuart period partly reflected the collapse of the Cecil patronage that had earlier dominated the town. Jacobean Westminster was marked by a degree of continuity and stability, as Cecil patronage continued to operate on many levels within Westminster. In 1607, King James approved a bill for the incorporation of Westminster. Expenses incurred by St Margaret's parish in promoting the bill reveal the prominent, but ambiguous role played by members of the Cecil family.

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The social world of early modern Westminster

Abbey, court and community 1525–1640


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