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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.

A world turned upside-down?
John Walter

reported from Suffolk that the unemployed clothworkers, ‘begin to argue the case, whether in this great necessity it be not lawful, for to take something from those that have been the cause to deprive them of all manner of livelihood as to perish for hunger’. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds in Essex and Suffolk, with underemployed clothworkers to the fore, had attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. Evidence suggests that these riots have a more complex history than the simple 185 Walter_07_Ch

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
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

his public former statements and even more with the sort of rabidly anti-puritan and proto-royalist chit-chat that we have found circulating among his associates and supporters in Cheshire. If anything, Aston’s screed intensified his former stance. In marked contrast to the initial remonstrance to the House of Lords, Aston now repeatedly embraced iure divino episcopacy in the clearest possible terms. Thus, the claim that bishops were ‘instituted in the time of the apostles’ was stated as a simple fact. Theirs was ‘a divine institution’, a ‘sacred order’, ‘patterned

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion