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Cheshire on the eve of civil war
Authors: Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This book aims to revisit the county study as a way into understanding the dynamics of the English civil war during the 1640s. It explores gentry culture and the extent to which early Stuart Cheshire could be said to be a ‘county community’. It investigates the responses of the county’s governing elite and puritan religious establishment to highly polarising interventions by the central government and Laudian ecclesiastical authorities during Charles I’s Personal Rule. The second half of the book provides a rich and detailed analysis of the petitioning movements and side-taking in Cheshire during 1641-42. This important contribution to understanding the local origins and outbreak of civil war in England will be of interest to all students and scholars studying the English Revolution.

Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the growing partisanship in Cheshire politics from the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion in October 1641 to the king’s visit to Chester that forced many to choose sides in September 1642. It highlights the roles of anti-popery and anti-puritanism, the emergence of an aggressive group of royalists led by Earl Rivers and Sir Thomas Aston and the unavailing efforts of the middle group to keep the peace and promote accommodation.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
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Richard Cust and Peter Lake
in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the emergence of the middle group in Cheshire politics in the spring and summer of 1641, opposed to Sir Thomas Aston’s pro-episcopacy petition, but then prepared to work with him on a petition in defence of the Book of Common Prayer in December 1641. Over this period those engaged in Cheshire politics sought to present themselves as non-partisan defenders of the county’s interests. But, as a study of Aston’s Remonstrance against presbytery demonstrates, this was a particularly hollow claim in his case.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Abstract only
Richard Cust and Peter Lake
in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the petitioning campaign in defence of bishops of January–February 1641 launched by Sir Thomas Aston. It investigates the ways in which this helped to stymie the hopes for a national settlement around the establishment of modified episcopacy that John Ley, in conjunction with allies at Westminster and in the shire, was promoting in the late winter and early spring of 1641.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the system of collusive management established by Bishop Bridgeman and local puritans led by John Ley. It investigates the challenges to this that arose during the 1630s as the Laudian authorities exerted pressure on Bridgeman to enforce anti-puritan measures and as a consequence of the fallout from William Prynne’s visit to Chester in 1637.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter investigates the principles that shaped the service of the ‘public man’ in early Stuart Cheshire and the ways in which this influenced local government. It also explores the archetype of the ‘godly magistrate’ and the culture wars waged by such men, in alliance with puritan ministers, against profane and ungodly practices.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the interaction of local and central government during the period, focusing especially on the impact of the crown’s fiscal demands, such as the forced loan and ship money. It traces the increasing opposition stirred up by such demands towards the end of the 1630s.

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Abstract only
Richard Cust and Peter Lake
in Gentry culture and the politics of religion