This book aims both to shed light on the complex legal and procedural basis for early modern chaplaincy and to expand the understanding of what chaplains, in practice, actually did. Each chapter in the book treats in a different way the central question of how interactions in literature, patronage and religion made forms of cultural agency are available to early modern chaplains, primarily in England. The numerous case studies discussed in the book include instances of both the public and the more private aspects of chaplaincy. The book first focuses on the responsibility of the bishop of London's chaplains for pre-publication censorship of the press. It then examines the part played by ambassadorial chaplains such as Daniel Featley within wider networks of international diplomacy, interconfessional rivalry and print polemic. Patronage was evidently the key to determining the roles, activities and significance of early modern chaplains. Unsurprisingly, patrons often chose chaplains whose interests and priorities, whether theological or secular, were similar or complementary to their own. Episcopal chaplains had a politically significant role in keeping lay patrons loyal to the Church of England during the interregnum. Alongside patronage and religion, the book also considers the diverse array of literary activities undertaken by early modern chaplains.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents William Gibson's pioneering work, addressing a more restricted historical period and laying greater emphasis on literary and cultural matters and such topical issues as the role of chaplains as spiritual advisers to elite women. It explores how interactions in literature, patronage and religion made forms of cultural agency available to early modern chaplains, primarily in England. The chapter shows statutory and case-study evidence to survey again the different types of chaplaincy current during the early modern period, the chaplain's appointment processes, and the rules and expectations governing chaplain's activities. It focuses on the responsibility of the bishop of London's chaplains for pre-publication censorship of the press.