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The mental world of a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman
Author: Geoff Baker

This book examines the activities of William Blundell, a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman, and using the approaches of the history of reading provides a detailed analysis of his mindset. Blundell was neither the passive victim nor the entirely loyal subject that he and others have claimed. He actively defended his family from the penal laws and used the relative freedom that this gave him to patronise other Catholics. In his locality, Blundell ensured that the township of Little Crosby was populated almost entirely by his co-religionists, on a national level he constructed and circulated arguments supporting the removal of the penal laws, and on an international level he worked as an agent for the Poor Clares of Rouen. That he cannot be defined solely by his victimhood is further supported by his commonplace notes. Not only did Blundell rewrite the histories of recent civil conflicts to show that Protestants were prone to rebellion and Catholics to loyalty, but we also find a different perspective on his religious beliefs. His commonplaces suggest an underlying tension with aspects of Catholicism that is manifest throughout his notes on his practical engagement with the world, in which it is clear that he was wrestling with the various aspects of his identity. This examination of Blundell's political and cultural worlds complicates generalisations about early modern religious identities.

Geoff Baker

Chapter 2 . William Blundell and the wider world B lundell’s patronage of Catholicism extended beyond the networks of friends and family that aided his survival. His support for his co-religionists emanated from the Little Crosby estate to include Catholics throughout the British Isles and those exiled on the continent.1 He used his estate as a refuge for Catholicism, making every effort to protect his Catholic tenants. This protection was not selfless and through the employment of a leasing system he ensured that his leaseholders stayed Catholic. Not only did

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Geoff Baker

him a wide range of material regarding local, national and international news. Local information that Blundell recorded mainly concerned how taxes would be distributed in Lancashire, as well as material specific to events in Little Crosby that was passed on to him by friends or officials in the township.44 His national concerns were focused on the fortunes of recusants, though friends and family who were either visiting London or had heard news from the capital also kept him informed of developments such as the fate of parliaments during the Interregnum, military

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Abstract only
Geoff Baker

alleged Catholic treachery. These aspects of Blundell’s behaviour may initially appear introspective; however, as Kaushik has argued, ‘in the politicized context in which they were conducted, [such activities] served as a form of defensive resistance’.4 Blundell’s resistance was not just reactive to the policies of the successive Protestant regimes under which he lived. He continued the work of his forefathers in ensuring that Little Crosby was a Catholic haven. His estate sheltered a Catholic burial ground which served priests and poor Catholics from the locality and

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Abstract only
Geoff Baker

passive victim nor the entirely loyal subject that he and others have claimed. Blundell actively defended his family from the extremes of the penal laws, particularly through creating sprawling kin and social networks, which included both Catholics and Protestants. The relative freedom that this support offered Blundell allowed him to patronise other Catholics. In his locality he ensured that the township of Little Crosby was populated almost entirely by his co-religionists, on a national level he circulated arguments supporting the removal of the penal laws, and on an

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Abstract only
Sara Pennell and Michelle DiMeo

), p. 35. For a fuller discussion of the domestic rhetoric of early modern cookery books, see Wall, ‘Reading the home’. 46 J. J. Bagley (ed.) and Frank Tyrer (transcr.), The Great Diurnall of Nicholas Blundell, of Little Crosby, Lancashire. Volume II 1712–19 , Record Society of Lancashire

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
Gabriel Glickman

Omer had opened up recusant England to the pressures of the Counter-Reformation. 4 Here, Catholicism could make for a robust and even confrontational figure in the religious landscape. In West Lancashire, the manorial chapel at Little Crosby attracted a regular seventy-five communicants to vespers, while the village itself could boast, according to its wealthiest landowner, William Blundell ‘not a beggar’, ‘not an alehouse

in The later Stuart Church, 1660–1714
Jan Broadway

heightened tension. In Lancashire, where catholics represented a far higher proportion of the population as a whole, the tensions were greater, and there was apparently far less possibility of peaceful co-existence with their protestant neighbours. The family of William Blundell had held land in the vicinity of Little Crosby since the thirteenth century, and enjoyed correspondingly close kinship ties with their protestant neighbours, but this did not save them from persecution. William was imprisoned with his father at Lancaster in 1590 for harbouring a priest, was then

in ‘No historie so meete’
A case study from Counter-Reformation Spain
Katrina B. Olds

paleocristiano de Martos’, Real Academia de la Historia (Spain), CAJ/9/7958/51(05); M. Corchado y Soriano, ‘Problemática sobre una lápida de fines del siglo VII en Bailén’, Gerión, número extra 1 (1988), 395–410; J. Maier and J. Salas, Comisión de Antigüedades de la Real Academia de la Historia: Andalucía. Catálogo e índices (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 2000); Recio Veganzones, ‘Descripción del manuscrito 1180’. 33 D. R. Woolf, ‘Little Crosby and the Horizons of Early Modern Historical Culture’, in D. R. Kelley and D. Harris Sacks (eds), The Historical Imagination

in Local antiquities, local identities
Jan Broadway

Lancashire recusant William Blundell learnt from Camden that verses relating to the seventh-century Northumbrian king St Oswald were inscribed on the porch of Winwick church about thirty miles from his home at Little Crosby. He accordingly wrote to ‘a Catholique gentleman and frend of myne whoe had dwelt heretofore nere the saide place’ to seek further information. From his friend he learnt that ‘the people thereaboute have yet in there mouthes (it may be by tradition)’ that Oswald ‘being greevouslie wounded in a battell not farre from yt place, vowed yt if hee might

in ‘No historie so meete’