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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 sense of identity associated with a sense of belonging to the ‘imagined community’ of Cheshire. It also investigates what it meant to be a country gentleman in this period, how encounters with London and the world of higher education shaped attitudes, and the various meanings of ‘Cheshireness’.

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
Abstract only
Richard Cust and Peter Lake
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
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
Abstract only
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

The introduction explores the historiography of the county study. It traces the flowering of the genre in the 1970s and 1980s and describes the new approaches since then that justify revisiting this approach to understanding the English civil war. It then explains the approaches adopted in this book.

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
Richard Cust and Peter Lake

This chapter explores the role of dynastic priorities in shaping the gentry’s ambitions and striving for reputation in local society. It looks at the ways in which this shaped their social horizons and sense of kinship, as well as their competition for status.

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