‘Bodies, Soules and Estates’: Liberty and the Canons of 1640

Charles W. A. Prior

in A Confusion of Tongues

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698257
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739040 | DOI:
‘Bodies, Soules and Estates’: Liberty and the Canons of 1640

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines reactions to the introduction of a new set of ecclesiastical Canons in England in 1640. These appeared in a context in which the King was already at war with the Scottish Covenanters, and at odds with an English parliament eager to put an end to controversial issues like powerful ecclesiastical courts, bishops, and altars. The Canons set out a bold new pattern of political ecclesiology, enhancing both regal and episcopal power. However, they were no sooner issued than they were declared illegal, and the chapter engages in a close reading of a pamphlet that mounted a focussed defence of the constitutionalism of the Church, which is linked directly to concepts of liberty. However, where some have interpreted these debates as the forum for a rising tide of political radicalism, this chapter argues that the reform of the defects of the Church was the preferred course of defenders of the laws of reformation.

Keywords: liberty; Canons of 1640; Convocation; parliament; et cetera oath

Chapter.  16492 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.