Journal Article

‘Affronts & Insolencies’: The Voices of Radwinter and Popular Opposition to Laudianism

John Walter

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXII, issue 495, pages 35-60
Published in print February 2007 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cel372
‘Affronts & Insolencies’: The Voices of Radwinter and Popular Opposition to Laudianism

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This article takes advantage of a set of records created by Richard Drake, former fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, to examine the under-explored subject of the reception of Laudianism at the grass roots. In recreating a detailed micro-history of Drake's attempted implementation of a sacrament-centred ceremonialism and the opposition it encountered on the eve of the Civil War, the article uses this to explore the relationship between the larger histories of ‘the politics of the parish’ and ‘the politics of reformation and state formation’ in the English Revolution.

Richard Drake, rector of Radwinter in Essex, was a Cambridge graduate of advanced Laudian and ceremonialist views. The changes he sought to implement in services and sacred space within the church triggered repeated episodes of iconoclasm and popular violence, of which Drake left detailed accounts. Parochial conflict led to his being petitioned and articled against, to his appearance before a Commons' committee and, finally, to his flight and sequestration. The article uses this evidence of claim and counter-claim to reconstruct the causes of confessional conflict between a parish, which under the earlier pastoral care of William Harrison had experienced an experiment in advanced godly rule, and Drake, whose own very different parochial ministry reflected the influence of a clerical circle that included Matthew Wren and Lancelot Andrewes.

The voices of Radwinter, the article suggests, confirm the importance of a confessional conflict that was at once intensely local, national, and even, in a Europe wracked by wars of religion, international. It concludes that this confessional politics both reflected and promoted a developing political consciousness that interacted with and underwrote precocious developments in the English Revolution.

Journal Article.  13372 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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