The transition of power from Louis XV to Louis XVI took place against a background of unresolved political tension over the Maupeou coup. The funeral of Louis XV in July 1774 required the attendance of the parlement – but which one? The unpopular appointees of the Maupeou parlement? Or the exiled members of the old parlement? The princes of the blood threatened to boycott the ceremony. Ceremony and politics were inextricably linked in the first days of Louis XVI's reign.

in Death and the crown
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Ceremony in history

The image of Louis XIV and his court overshadow our understanding of eighteenth-century France. Rethinking the court society is a vital part of revising our interpretations of absolutist government in this period: a new understanding of royal ceremony is one part of this. This chapter challenges the neo-ceremonialist understanding of French royal ritual in the light of French scholarship questioning the relevance of the 'two bodies' model to the French monarchy and highlighting Marc Bloch's idea of 'marvellous royalty'. The relationship between ceremony and power lies at the heart of these questions.

in Death and the crown
Preparing the coronation, 1774–75

The first of three chapters dealing with the coronation of Louis XVI, this chapter considers the preparations required at Versailles and in Reims, and the currents at work in imagining the monarch at this juncture in French history. Sentimentalism and ideas of virtue are central themes. Louis XVI's ceremonial entry into Reims prompted grand decorations offering a commentary on contemporary political events, crowned by an arch of bienfaisance.

in Death and the crown
The coronation and the king’s healing touch

The royal healing touch for scrofula was performed by Louis XVI after his coronation for the first time in over thirty years. This chapter examines how the ceremony was organised and by whom, drawing on the record left by a Remois woman. It delves into the history of the ceremony and of healing by touch more generally, situating this ritual in the context of contemporary medicine in order to produce an explanation of the attractions of the ritual, which drew over two thousand people to Reims to be touched by the king.

in Death and the crown

This chapter provides a new insight into the recall of the parlement of Paris, a key moment in the early reign of Louis XVI. Ceremonial considerations played a significant part in the timing and handling of Louis XVI's decision. The venerable ceremony of the lit de justice was exploited by the monarchy to make clear political points on the conditions of the recall and set the stage for the relationship between king and parlement during the new reign.

in Death and the crown
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The coronation of Louis XVI, 11 June 1775

The coronation of Louis XVI, which took place on 11 June 1775, is described in detail in this chapter where it is considered as an amalgam of several smaller rituals each with its own provenance and meaning. Apparently transgressive gestures are granted positive meaning. The role of the queen in the coronation is considered, as is the meaning of tales of the king walking among the people after the ceremony.

in Death and the crown

This chapter presents a fresh analysis of the nature of the Association Movement in interregnum England and Ireland. It surveys the various local associations, using their constitutions and position statements to modify the long-held view that the association movement was an outgrowth of Richard Baxter’s drive for Christian unity. The chapter argues that the associations in general had a presbyterian basis, looking back to the Westminster assembly’s project as the foundation of local unity. The chapter then focuses on the political status of the associations in the interregnum, arguing that in the later years of the 1650s, the associations were eclipsed by a renewal of the struggle between congregationalists and presbyterians for control of religious policy in government.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66

The debate on the polity of the church was at the centre of the religious debates in the British Atlantic world during the middle decades of the seventeenth-century. From the Covenanter revolution in Scotland, to the congregationalism of the New England colonies, to the protracted debates of the Westminster assembly, and the abolition of the centuries-old episcopalian structure of the Church of England, the issue of the polity of the church was intertwined with the political questions of the period. This book collects together essays focusing on the conjunction of church polity and politics in the middle years of the seventeenth century. A number of chapters in the volume address the questions and conflicts arising out of the period’s reopening and rethinking of the Reformation settlement of church and state. In addition, the interplay between the localities and the various Westminster administrations of the era are explored in a number of chapters. Beyond these discussions, chapters in the volume explore the deeper ecclesiological thinking of the period, examining the nature of the polity of the church and its relationship to society at large. The book also covers the issues of liberty of conscience and how religious suffering contributed to a sense of what the true church was in the midst of revolutionary political upheaval. This volume asserts the fundamental connection between church polity and politics in the revolutions that affected the seventeenth-century British Atlantic world.

Open Access (free)

The Conclusion brings together the strands of the book in the context of an industry which continues to leave a legacy of ill-health, impairment and chronic sickness even after the last deep coal mine in Britain has closed. It argues for a perspective which respects the agency of disabled miners and their families, challenging theoretical structures and industrial historiographies which have left little room for the lived experiences of disabled miners and their families, or the fact that – far from being automatically excluded from the workplace – they were central to the social and economic landscape of the coalfields.

in Disability in industrial Britain
A cultural and literary history of impairment in the coal industry, 1880–1948

Coalmining was a notoriously dangerous industry and many of its workers experienced injury and disease. However, the experiences of the many disabled people within Britain’s most dangerous industry have gone largely unrecognised by historians. This book examines the British coal industry through the lens of disability, using an interdisciplinary approach to examine the lives of disabled miners and their families.

The book considers the coal industry at a time when it was one of Britain’s most important industries, and follows it through a period of growth up to the First World War, through strikes, depression and wartime, and into an era of decline. During this time, the statutory provision for disabled people changed considerably, most notably with the first programme of state compensation for workplace injury. And yet disabled people remained a constant presence in the industry as many disabled miners continued their jobs or took up ‘light work’. The burgeoning coalfields literature used images of disability on a frequent basis and disabled characters were used to represent the human toll of the industry.

A diverse range of sources are used to examine the economic, social, political and cultural impact of disability in the coal industry, looking beyond formal coal company and union records to include autobiographies, novels and oral testimony. It argues that, far from being excluded entirely from British industry, disability and disabled people were central to its development. The book will appeal to students and academics interested in disability history, disability studies, social and cultural history, and representations of disability in literature.