R. C. Richardson
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The context and distribution of puritanism
in Puritanism in north-west England
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Controlling an unusually large diocese stretching from North Wales to Cumberland, Westmorland and parts of Yorkshire was a supremely difficult task for bishops and archbishops. Large parishes contributed to the general unmanageability and enabled Puritanism to take root and develop especially in quasi-independent chapelries and areas where marketing and industrial activity were well established. Manchester was simultaneously the most prosperous and most puritan town in the North-west, the main distributing centre for the textile industry of the region and the one most closely linked in two-way traffic with London, the epi-centre of Puritanism in the country as a whole. In the countryside Puritanism took root most readily in weakly manorialised, industrialising pastoral areas – as Joan Thirsk had earlier suggested for other parts of England. The heartland of Catholicism, by contrast, was in the more isolated west of Lancashire, with stronger ties to Ireland than to London.

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Puritanism in north-west England

A regional study of the diocese of Chester to 1642


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