Twelve friends of the late Mark Kishlansky reconsider the meanings of England’s mid-seventeenth-century revolution. Their essays range widely: from shipboard to urban conflicts; from court sermons to local finances; from debates over hairstyles to debates over the meanings of regicide; from courtrooms to pamphlet wars; and from religious rights to human rights. Taken together, these essays indicate how we might improve our understanding of a turbulent epoch in political history by approaching it more modestly and quietly than historians of recent decades have often done.
Robert Skinner explains the ideological underpinnings of the Personal Rule
However intrinsically interesting they may seem to be, it is almost never a good idea to advance large claims on the basis of newly discovered or little regarded sources. There are limits to how far one source can be pushed and there is always a chance that the material may not be either as novel or as important as the first flush of discovery makes it appear. But in emulation of Mark Kishlansky, that is what I will do here.
The manuscripts in question are a set of sermons preached at court throughout the 1630s by RobertSkinner (1591–1670). I still remember
Paul D. Halliday, Eleanor Hubbard, and Scott Sowerby
controversialists’. 29 Amussen agrees, spotting in Prynne’s denunciation of Charles’s failed patriarchal leadership an expression of unmistakable cultural conflict. Like Prynne, RobertSkinner seemed a moderate to some – most of all to himself – when he preached his Arminian views before the King in the 1630s. As Peter Lake shows, Skinner painted himself and his royal and clerical patrons as holding moderate ground besieged by puritan conspirators. But warning that puritan assaults would undermine the Church only widened the religious divisions that ran across polity and society
dismissed from his chaplaincy.24
The majority, however, prospered and ended with Crown livings, deaneries or
bishoprics.25 So who controlled the vital entry to this stairway to preferment?
Under James I, successive lords chamberlain exercised this responsibility; in
contrast, under Charles I in the 1630s, it was effectively Archbishop Laud,
who recruited chaplains sympathetic to his programme of ceremonialism and
uniformity in worship, such as Peter Heylyn and RobertSkinner.26
The influence of royal chaplains is central to any narrative of ecclesiastical
politics in the
’s house George Ashwell, who was
to be an admirer of the puritan Richard Baxter’s Worcester Association.23
Another visitor was Thomas Lamplugh, who was later attacked by Wood as
‘a great cringer . . . to Presbyterian and Independents . . . [who] had made great
compliance with the men of the times . . . not without great dissimulation’.24
Lamplugh’s patron in the 1650s was RobertSkinner, the Laudian bishop of
Oxford, who had managed to retain one of his livings and (reportedly) a licence
to preach.25 Heylyn also seems to have enjoyed good relations with fellows
Lake, ‘Popularity, prelacy and puritanism in the 1630s: Joseph Hall explains himself’,
The English Historical Review, 111 (1996), 856–81, and P. Lake, ‘Joseph Hall, RobertSkinner and the rhetoric of moderation at the early Stuart Court’, in L. A. Ferrell and
P. McCullough (eds), The English Sermon Revised (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 2000), pp. 167–85.
74 A. Lake, Ten Sermons upon Severall Occasions (1640).
75 On Williams, see Brian Quintrell, ‘Williams, John (1582–1650)’, ODNB.
76 Williams, ‘The Laudian imprimatur’, p.101.
and the Genevan extreme by accepting Zwingli’s concept of the bread merely signifying or pointing to the body of
Christ but insisting that Christ was at least spiritually present in
the host (cf. Muir, 1997: 171–5). However, there is evidence that,
even as late as 1634, the question of the Eucharist had not been
satisfactorily settled. In a clearly rhetorical question, RobertSkinner, in a sermon preached before King Charles I at Whitehall
in that year, wonders: ‘Is it not deep infidelity and heresy, to think
Christ to be absent from his body and blood?’, and
‘Anglicanism’ compounded, and RobertSkinner was
virtually the only bishop who did so. Heylyn’s decision to compound under
the Oxford Articles did not necessarily alienate him from other royalists, but
it did distinguish him from the more prominent ‘Anglican’ clergymen.
Prosecution, royalism and newsbooks
Having, as he later described, ‘ﬁxed my self on a certain dwelling near the
place of my birth’ in Oxfordshire in mid-April 1647 (possibly the house of
his friend Dr Kingsmill), Heylyn from thence removed to Minster Lovell in
Oxfordshire, the seat of his deceased elder