By law established
The Church of England and the royal supremacy
in The later Stuart Church, 1660–1714
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The Restoration Church of England rested on a paradox. This chapter explores how the church tried to negotiate various pitfalls caused by its monarchs, the church's 'one fatal flaw'. The royal supremacy provides a window onto the church's relationships with the crown, with other religious groups, and its internal heterogeneity. With a monarch like Charles II, tying the church to human law and royal supremacy was not a very secure defence. Some churchmen therefore retreated to the safer terrain of divine law. Much of the story of the later Stuart church is illuminated by the clash between coercive jurisdiction, held by monarchs, and moral authority, wielded by the church. William Wake emphasised the royal supremacy's constraints on convocation, albeit adding the caveat that in dire necessity the church could act on its own authority.

Editor: Grant Tapsell


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