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Elliot Vernon

This chapter examines the London presbyterian movement’s connections with the wider ‘political presbyterian’ coalition in 1646 and 1647. It looks at the political presbyterians’ attempt to seize and control the politics of settlement with Charles I. This strategy focused on restoring the fractured parliamentarian consensus by vilifying political rivals and seeking to exclude them from the projected post-civil war political settlement.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

This chapter reassembles the history of the practice of church government in the Province of London between June 1646 and August 1660. It argues that the critical factor in understanding the history of the Province of London was not institutional, but rather personal. The true backbone of London presbyterian government was not institutional foundation or authority, but the collective dedication of the London presbyterian laity and clergy to the cause of further reformation. The chapter explores the election of ruling elders, the operation of the presbyterian classes and provincial assembly and attempts to instil presbyterian discipline.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

This chapter explores the radicalisation of London’s moderate puritans during the period 1637–40 in the wake of the crisis that erupted in the Churches of England and Scotland under the Laudian administration of the 1630s. It then turns to the godly ministers’ mobilisation of opposition to the Canons of 1640. This opposition revitalised the godly clergy as a political force and ushered in a somewhat cautious movement seeking further reformation of the polity of the Church of England.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

This chapter explores the London presbyterians and the politics of the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. It examines how they sought to negotiate the re-establishment of order in the English church out of the chaos of the immediate post-Cromwellian period. This ultimately led the presbyterians to make compromises that would be fatal to both presbyterianism and the reformation of English church order begun in 1640.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

The chapter provides a presbyterian reading of the ‘Smectymnuus’ tracts and situates these works in the alliance of godly clergy who were meeting at Edmund Calamy’s house in Aldermanbury. The chapter explores the pre-civil war puritan thought on church polity. It also analyses how this Aldermanbury group joined the parliamentarian mobilisation against Charles I’s administration in the spring and summer of 1641. Nevertheless, there was a lack of consensus on issues of religion and church polity and these issues were also circumscribed by what was politically possible in that year. The chapter looks at the attempts in spring and early summer 1641 to reach a consensual settlement of religion. When this failed, the summer debates over the so-called ‘Root and Branch’ bill saw various models for the national church being aired. These debates ultimately revealed deep tensions among those seeking to reform the Church of England. The chapter concludes by exploring the emerging divisions among the godly on the issue of the proper location of power in church government and how, in light of those divisions, the parliamentarian clergy closest to the opposition to Charles I’s administration struggled to maintain unity, if not consensus, in the fight against prelacy.

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Abstract only
Paul Fouracre

Here the origins of the use of light in worship are traced back to the Mosaic books of the Old Testament. How the injunction to keep a light burning at all times was adopted into Christianity despite opposition. The gifts the Emperor Constantine made to churches for lights are discussed against the background of declining oil production in the later Roman period. Early evidence from Italy, Spain, England and France is discussed and comparative analysis of the spread of the lights is made. There is emphasis on the economic background and discussion of the emergence of localized production of olive oil, alongside a switch to wax as an acceptable substitute fuel for the lights.

in Eternal light and earthly concerns
Abstract only
Paul Fouracre

The Conclusion to this study returns to the initial question of the social and economic consequences of maintaining a light burning at all times in the church. It outlines the ways in which, as the costs were spread throughout society, the consequences grew. Society was not structured around the lighting, but providing for the lights did have an effect on social structure in certain circumstances, such as the rise of the censuales in Germany, or the organization of parishes around guilds. Comparison was made with other cultures, and it was observed, finally, that the lighting of candles to signify eternity was comforting, and common. The huge number of candles lit to mark the death of Diana, Princess of Wales make the point.

in Eternal light and earthly concerns
Elite practice
Paul Fouracre

This chapter shows how resources dedicated to the lights were institutionalised in the different parts of Europe. This was against a background of an increasing shortage of olive oil. Miracles which related to the shortage are analysed. Frankish charters of immunity receive close attention for they show how rulers invested the lights. The situation in France, Italy and Spain is compared in order to investigate what the social consequences were of making people contribute to the costs of the lights.

in Eternal light and earthly concerns
Belief and the shaping of medieval society
Author: Paul Fouracre

In early Christianity it was established that every church should have a light burning on the altar at all times. This unique study is about the material and social consequences of maintaining eternal lights. Never before has the subject been treated as important to the political economy, nor has it been explored over the whole medieval period. The cost of maintaining the lights meant that only the elite could afford to do so, and peasants were organised to provide funds for the lights. Later, as society became wealthier, a wider range of people became providers and organised themselves into guilds or confraternities in support of the church and with the particular aim of commemorating their members. Power over the lights, and over individual churches, shifted to these organisations, and, when belief in the efficacy of burning lights was challenged in the Reformation, it was such people who were capable of bringing the practice of burning eternal lights to a sudden and sometimes violent end. The study concludes that the practice of keeping a flame on the altar did indeed have important material and cultural consequences. Because it examines the relation between belief and materiality at every turn, the book also works as a guide to the way in which Western Europe developed, from the decline of the Roman Empire to the advent of the Protestant state.

Abstract only
Paul Fouracre

The Introduction establishes the scope of the subject. It examines previous work in the area and asks why the subject of providing for the lights has not had more attention. It argues that the topic is certainly worth sustained investigation and sets out a plan for the study as a whole

in Eternal light and earthly concerns