The polity of the British episcopal churches, 1603–62

This chapter provides a historical account of the British episcopal churches from the Tudor Reformation until the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy and Church of England in the later seventeenth century. It explores the connection between episcopal polity and the liturgy of the Church of England. The chapter argues that episcopacy and liturgy provided the resilient bedrock that preserved the Church of England through the civil wars and interregnum.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
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The Introduction sets out the aim of the book – to uncover the material circumstances, political interventions and social and cultural contexts of disabled people’s lives in order to understand both the lived experience and the rhetoric of disability. It explores the ways in which disabled people and a politicised discourse of disability influenced the nature of coalfields society along material, political and cultural axes, arguing that disability can be seen at the pivotal centre, as a site of struggle in industrial society. Opening with the case study of injured miner Frank Eaves and his struggle to secure compensation, the Introduction sets out the parameters of the book, explains its comparative and interdisciplinary nature, and discusses the methodological and theoretical complexities of studying disability history.

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

This chapter introduces the volume by asking the questions pertinent to the subject matter of church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world. It summarises the developments of church polity in the period before the time frame of the volume. The chapters of the volume are introduced so that the wider issues explored in common are brought together.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
Open Access (free)
Medicine, care and rehabilitation

This chapter considers the medical understandings of, and responses to, disability in a period of considerable change and development. If the pace of medical innovation and development was rapid in the nineteenth century, it quickened in the twentieth as new ways of studying, understanding and treating the miner’s body were devised and major institutions and movements emerged which focused on the health and rehabilitation of miners. The shifting consensus on lung diseases dominated medical discourse, but the eye condition miners’ nystagmus and the development of orthopaedics, including dedicated miners’ rehabilitation centres, were equally crucial. The chapter argues that, rather than being passive patients, disabled miners – together with their families and unions – had significant agency in the medical developments of this period.

in Disability in industrial Britain
An exploration of church polity and the governance of the region’s churches

This chapter looks at the issues surrounding church polity in mid- to late seventeenth-century colonial New England. It looks at the debates surrounding the role of synods in the congregational churches of New England, as well as disputes concerning the role of the laity in church governance. The chapter focuses on the gradual seventeenth-century drift in the American colonies away from the pure congregationalism of its founders towards more presbyterian forms of government. This retreat from congregational and lay governance was made more rapid by the New Englanders witnessing the events of the civil war and interregnum in England and the chaos caused by the de facto toleration of religious sects.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
The Welsh experience of church polity, 1640–60

The chapter looks at the issue of political policy and church polity in mid-seventeenth-century Wales. It eschews the focus on the formation of independency and baptist churches traditionally found in studies of Wales in the period. Instead, the chapter looks at the activities of the Long Parliament, particularly the Herefordshire MP Sir Robert Harley, in the attempt to institute the Long Parliament’s projected presbyterian settlement in Wales. The chapter argues that the failure of presbyterianism to take roots in Wales in the period was due to its essentially English and politically metropolitan character. Conversely the success of independency and baptists’ forms of church polity owed much to its propagation by godly Welsh preachers.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
The failure of congregational ideas in the Mersey Basin region, 1636–41

This chapter explores the failure of congregationalist ideas to penetrate into the Mersey Basin area of Lancashire and Cheshire in the late 1630s and early 1640s. The chapter focuses on the network of godly clergymen around local aristocratic magnates, the earls of Derby and particularly Lord Strange. These clerics, led by Charles Herle, the future prolocutor of the Westminster assembly, would organise against attempts from New England ministers such as Samuel Eaton and Richard Mather to introduce congregationalist ideas into the region. As civil war broke out, both presbyterians and episcopalians would act together to protect their vision of a cohesive national Church of England from congregationalism.

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

The coal industry has a reputation for stormy industrial relations and is often characterised as being marked by hard-headed employers and militant trade unions. Much of the attention in the considerable historiography has, understandably, focused on battles over wages and working conditions, yet miners’ trade unions placed safety, compensation and disability at the heart of their activities and campaigns, and devoted more of their resources to these issues than to wages or working conditions. This chapter evaluates the place of disability in the industrial politics of the coal industry, both in the sense of disability as rhetoric in union campaigning and coalfields literature, and also in the form of practical efforts by the unions and employers on disability issues. It ranges from the interactions of union lodges and colliery companies in individual contested compensation claims to the efforts of miners’ MPs and women’s groups to enact legislation in Parliament to safeguard the mining population as a whole. It argues for an understanding of mining disability as inherently political and central to the development of the industry.

in Disability in industrial Britain
To what extent was Richard Baxter a congregationalist?

This chapter looks at Richard Baxter’s efforts at peacemaking by analysing that part of his work that seems to hold out congregationalist ideas. It is argued that this aspect of Baxter’s work reveals his attempts to reduce the distances between competing interregnum positions on church polity with the goal of achieving Christian concord. Using theoretical work drawn from the field of religious studies, the chapter shows how Baxter attempted to erode the boundary markers of mid-seventeenth-century confessional identity in order to convince his opponents and friends that they shared more common ground than difference. The success and failure of Baxter’s efforts are assessed in the context of the late interregnum and early Restoration debates on religion.

in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
The importance of the covenant in Scottish presbyterianism, 1560–c. 1700

This chapter looks at the role of covenanting in the early modern Scottish presbyterian tradition in establishing ideas of Scotland as a godly nation. The chapter argues that the Scottish understanding of covenanting, based on deep roots in the Reformed theology of the Scottish Reformation, was deployed by clergy and theologians to argue that the Scots were a people in covenant with God similar to that of the biblical Jews. Such arguments were applied to argue that, even if not all Scots were the elect of God, the nation was still a godly nation. The chapter traces this idea through the Scottish Reformation into the Covenanter revolution of the late 1630s and 1640s. It explores the decline of the idea of national covenanting in face of the Cromwellian conquest and the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy and episcopal forms of church polity in the later seventeenth century.

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