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Author: John Walter

Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.

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Reconstructing popular political culture in early modern England
John Walter

Introduction . Reconstructing popular political culture in early modern England The meaner sort of people [are] always apt to rebel and mutiny on the least occasion.1 W hen I began my doctoral studies on popular protest in early modern England, the received wisdom was that there was a lot of it about, but that – major rebellions aside – this did not amount to much in terms of broader political significance. Echoing contemporary comments, this relative neglect reflected a belief that such small-scale protests were endemic to early modern society and, as

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
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Popular culture and popular protest in early modern England
John Walter

understanding of popular politics. Riot provides a privileged point of access into popular political culture. It provides a moment when the opaque surface of the past is punctured; it allows subordinate groups, rendered otherwise silent by the inequalities of literacy and preservation of the historical record, to testify to their attitudes and beliefs. Since riots – against enclosure, over the price and distribution of food, for and against religious changes, and against fiscal innovation – were more frequent and more representative, they provide a better context for

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
John Walter

Corn extracted … out of ye booke published by your L[ordships] the last year, butt in that vaine & undiscreet manner as that therby the poor may aggravate their grief & take occasion of soon discontentment’.1 The episode encapsulates the argument of this chapter. Deloney’s ballad spoke to a popular political culture in which the monarch was seen as a natural defender of the poor, and where legitimation for popular protest was derived from government measures designed to anticipate and address popular grievances. Although Deloney was threatened with imprisonment, in

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Simon Walker

implications for the broader topic of the nature of popular political culture in early Lancastrian England. In seeking to explain the rumour’s cultural significance, historians have tended to treat it as one instance of a well-recognized and geographically widespread phenomenon in medieval and early modern Europe: belief in a ‘hidden king’, the lost ruler who will return – from prison, death or exile – to remedy the wrongs of his oppressed but faithful subjects. England was not the only later medieval monarchy to be troubled by such apparitions: between 1354 and 1360 the

in Political culture in later medieval England
Central initiatives and local agency in the English civil war
Ann Hughes

’, ‘calamitous distractions’ or ‘troublesome times’. Discussion of the longer-term impact on popular political culture of participation in accounting for civil war losses must remain speculative. Civil war accounting tended to construct sharp distinctions between soldiers and civilians in a civil war context where roles were often blurred: the tiler Burton, for example, listed pay arrears as a part-time soldier in the Coventry garrison as well as his losses to the Scots; but he clearly did not regard the Scots as allies in a common cause. The later seventeenth

in Connecting centre and locality
The Rise of the New Model Army revisited
Ann Hughes

their accounts from the beginning of ‘these wars’, but they hardly ever use the term ‘civil war’, as if that horror was too much to record. Central features of later seventeenth-century popular political culture, notably its hostility to a burdensome state characterised by standing armies and heavy Parliamentary taxation, must owe something to the widespread recording of Parliament’s Civil War exactions in village accounts. Engagement with the parliamentarian wartime state contributed also to the later divisive mobilisations of local people on party lines, even while

in Revolutionising politics
John Walter

. It was also the product of the particular structures of the English monarchy that made • performative violence and the politics of violence • 147 self-government at the King’s command a political necessity, and required the popular policing of market, church and state. This created, in effect, a negotiated state, which offered legitimation for popular agency in the public transcripts that authority created and publicised to secure consent to its rule. In England in the 1640s, Parliament, print and pulpit combined to radicalise this popular political culture.102

in Ireland, 1641
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.

Subscriptional activity during the civil wars
Edward Vallance

the public memory at the end of the Cromwellian Protectorate. Notes 1 A collection of sundry petitions presented to the Kings most excellent majestie … published by his speciall command (1642), ‘The collector to the Reader’. 2 Zaret, Origins of Democratic Culture , p. 265. 3 J. Walter, Covenanting Citizens: The Protestation Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016

in Loyalty, memory and public opinion in England, 1658–​1727