R. C. Richardson
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The role of the clergy
in Puritanism in north-west England
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The educational background of the puritan clergy in this region and their sense of brotherhood are important themes here. In this respect the fact that more than half of them were university-trained is surely significant. That there were conformist as well as nonconformist puritan clergy here as elsewhere in the country is made clear. But it was nonconformists who drew attention to themselves by their actions or by being most complained about by those who opposed them and it these who occupy centre-stage in this chapter. Failing to wear the surplice, refusing to use the sign of the cross in baptism, opposition to kneeling at the name of Jesus and at communion, organising conventicles, devising alternative catechisms as indicators of clerical nonconformity are amply covered. So too is ministers’ emphasis on the centrality of edifying sermons in church services and their preference for extempore rather than set forms of prayer. Puritan clergy are depicted here as leaders and as agents in the setting up of the ‘godly discipline’ in promoting Sabbatariansim and the furtherance of reformation.

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Puritanism in north-west England

A regional study of the diocese of Chester to 1642


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