To What Extent and Why Was Archbishop William Laud such A Hated Figure From the Period 1640 to 1645?
Tyacke describes Archbishop Laud as one of the ‘greatest archbishops of
aim of this dissertation is to examine Archbishop William Laud, his
behaviour and actions. From this it may be possible to determine when
people’s perspective of him turned into disapproval, hatred and then
condemnation. I consider it necessary also to determine a form of
his character, and from this look at his attributes and failings. It
will be necessary
also, to look at the differences between what he aimed to do and what
actually achieved. This in turn will all enable me to asses the
question of why
laud was such a hated figure and to what extent. These two focus points
rather intertwined. Of course, one must look at who disliked him and
not but in terms of why; the reasons are far more intricate and
Factors such as propaganda, persuasion and fear all contributed to
would consider the subject of Archbishop Laud to be highly important in
understanding many issues about the Civil War. I chose to study Laud
would consider events that happened to him to be a crucial part in the
and outbreak of tension that led to the Civil war. Religion was an
part of the events that occurred from 1640 and Laud, as the archbishop
The Civil War and all its aspects has always been a subject for debate, and one of great controversy among historians, as perhaps one may expect of such an immense and significant event. It is important to examine the historiography of the Revolution and to understand the causes, in order to see where Laud fits in and how much impact he had or did not have. This may in turn draw more light on how hated he was and why. I think that it is quite evident, from the perspective of a historian, that in reality Laud was only a minor cause for the civil war. Many historians do label it a ‘War of Religion’ but often the focus is on the British Context, which included largely, the Irish Rebellion. This certainly is the argument of Revisionists in the 1970s and 1980s. The ‘four nation’s idea’ was also a revisionist, or ‘New British History’ argument emphasising the difficulty and inevitable troubles of one monarch in the seventeenth century trying to govern, control and unify several Kingdoms.
Most recent theories actually suggest that the Civil War was an ideological conflict, and that the divisions between Absolutism and Constitutionalism were ideological and not necessarily religious. It is really only Tyacke, a revisionist, who names Laud specifically. He sees Puritanism as a movement, which became so conservative as reaction against the innovations of King Charles I and Laud. They wanted to protect and defend the Elizabethan and Jacobean church from change such as Arminianism. The confusing and I would argue ironic thing about the way in which different schools of theology viewed each other, is that Laud would most likely, never have labelled himself an innovator. Quite to the contrary, I imagine that he too saw what he was doing as trying to uphold the old order, albeit from a slightly different angle.
In addition, many historians also argue, that when considering Laud, he should not be regarded as a theologian. Sharpe states that this is because on such theological issues Laud preferred to write and speak little. Charles in fact promoted him not because of his passion for, and skill in theology, but because they had similar ideas for the church and because Laud was a superior administrator. Trevor Roper argues that he was not a theologian but a politician, as politics and religion were so closely linked in this period. He argues in fact that it would be ridiculous to say that Laud ‘interfered’ in politics, because he was already in politics, that is to say, it was essentially his field as Archbishop. Tyacke contradicts these views as rather than seeing Laud as an administrator or a bureaucrat, he would suggest that he was actually firstly and primarily a controversial theologian. I would suggest that this was perhaps not by choice but due to the fact that his beliefs and ideas were contentious, and his position made them and him controversial. I would also question those theories, which suggest that it was unlikely for Laud to be a theologian because he never spoke of such theories. It is possible that he did indeed have a keen interest in theology but was perhaps either too astute to discuss it in public or that such records have simply been lost in time. I would also argue that Laud should perhaps be considered to be a politician and an administrator, however, I would propose that he was possibly all these things, and perhaps that led to his undoing, for very few men could be successful and interlink so many occupations.
Peter Heylyn, a contemporary of Laud, twenty-seven years his junior wrote about his life after his death, and similarly depicted him as more of a revolutionary theologian than an ecclesiastical administrator. I would argue that one must consider the fact that Laud, his ideas and indeed his actions became such a source of contention and evidently a basis for hatred, that surely such reactions could not have been stirred if he was merely and principally an administrator. I would consider the fact that theology had to come into it at some point, as it was largely a man’s beliefs, which identified him and made him agreeable to another man, the church and the state, or not.
Regarding such a substantial, prominent and debatable subject, it is of course from primary sources that a historian must look to try to find the most objective and interpretative evidence. However, although this is possible to a certain extent, one must firstly be aware of the limitations of such evidence available from the seventeenth century. Obviously, there were extremely limited media outlets and historians find themselves relying heavily on diaries, letters, newspapers and sources from Parliament records. This can of course be highly informative and useful and many regard it as an adversity that people of this present generation no longer or rarely record information in this way and rarely write letters to one another. Having said that other media development will, needless to say, make up for such a loss. Furthermore, it is important to note the restriction of access to such archaic and valid information. The British library holds many important accounts, which unfortunately are unavailable to undergraduates such as myself.
Similarly one must be aware that when news paper articles, personal artefacts and even Parliament records are found and examined that there is a certain amount of biased information to look for, and be aware of. That is to say, that as with secondary sources, one must regard them with a certain amount of criticism. Censorship and propaganda are definitely issues to consider. Explicitly, in letters and possibly even in diaries, at dangerous times, when thoughts of conspiracy was rife, people would often be far too weary of writing exactly what they wanted to for fear of interception. Also when reading parliamentary records it must be with the knowledge of the principles and preferences of those recording the information and those being written about. I would also argue that it is important to be aware of restrictions on secondary sources, that is to say there is also the problem of other people’s interpretation of evidence. A lot of historians may present their findings as fact when it is not always the case. It is always going to be based on a subjective view of the evidence available. It is therefore important for me to compare several sources in order to try and get the best possible outlook. Obviously a lot of interpretation is opinion, which is a very valuable aspect, as long as I ensure that I am aware of the differences.
I would argue that propaganda is also an incredibly important aspect to consider as it has always been a most lethal weapon in times of war and instability. It can sway even the most sturdy of minds and in this period religion was the most obvious form of propaganda to use. An example of this is the Member of Parliament John Hampden who, along with Pym deliberately used religion as a tool and as a basis for controversy, knowing that it was a topic that would invoke the passions of the House of Commons. In this way, while Members were incensed about Charles’ policies and objectives regarding the Church, they were presumably easy to excite about Charles’ other policies. Regarding the masses, at a time when media methods were simple and much of the population were fairly undereducated in such matters it is easy to see how biased information and conspiracy theories could have passed as fact. In addition, in times of tension, propaganda thrives and with it, scapegoats can be created. I would argue that fear; assumption and rumour were huge influences in the undoing of Archbishop Laud.
Civil War and revolution is frequently described as a ‘War of
how accurate an analysis this is has been a contended issue. What is
apparent is the fact that the events of the 1640s occurred in a society
religion was the centre of men’s lives. That is to say, it was largely
which defined men. Church and state were so closely related in the
century that it would have been nearly impossible and definitely,
think that they did not affect one another and that religion by default
become part of politics. H R Trevor Roper argues from this point of
suggesting that religion was an ‘expression of a particular social and
It then follows, according to Trevor Roper that one can understand why
were prepared to fight for religion in the seventeenth century but many
be willing to do so in modern times. This then is due to the fact that
is not so much an aspect of politics now, save perhaps in
toleration to the twentieth century member of British society seems to
something that is prearranged, and of no high contention. It may seem
that a man may be so hated, persecuted and executed under suspicion of
Catholicism. Burning people at the stake for Protestantism during the
Mary I may seem equally as outrageous and regarded by many as an error
thinking of those people of the sixteenth century. However, to regard
in this way is I would consider, to miss the point slightly. That is to
instead of trying to learn from the mistakes of the past and label them
such, surely it is important to understand actions and examine why men
and acted in such ways, drawing on comparisons. Religious intolerance
perhaps not such an unthinkable stance to take in the fifteenth and
centuries, just as the belief in witches and magic was a plausible one.
large proportion of the population in the 1640s, the mere idea of the
Catholicism was as daunting and terrifying as the possibility of Hitler
Laud rose to eminence in a period during which it was apparent that the
of England meant one of two different things to different men. This was
period where theological debates existed between Calvinists, who
predestination, and those who believed in a possibility of salvation
good men. That is to say that God was good and full of grace, and that
had free will, being able to change their destiny. The latter of these
theologians mentioned were usually known as Arminians, though I would
argue that it would be difficult to group these anti-Calvinists
any point in this period. These arguments also extended over the issue
whether or not to eliminate or accentuate ceremonies and sacraments
Church of England. It is on this subject that Laud became such a
figure as he saw ceremony as necessary to preserve a unity within the
Indeed his life, career and death echoed as well as influenced the
Archbishop Laud was finally brought to trial, after more than three
seems concievable that he was most likely a devoted member of the
England and believed that his policies were contributing to uphold it.
perhaps the problem was that he saw the Church of England as an
version of the Catholic Church in
fundamental distinction between Puritanism, the earlier Calvinists, and
Arminianism is the idea of predestination. Calvinists believed that
people were elected ‘Saints’ which meant that there was little need to
about sins and forgiveness because everything was already predestined.
contrast to this, anti-Calvinists believed that all men were sinners
talked about their sins and repentance for them. Only doing ‘good
being a good Christian could enable you be rewarded with eternal life.
specifically, also put a lot of emphasis on the Eucharist, which was of
a ceremony commemorating the last supper. The Eucharist prayer in Lauds
‘Works’ shows his belief that man had
been enveloped in ‘habitual sin’
over time, and that every Christian needed to repent of their sins in
achieve forgiveness. The only way to attain this is through the
sacrifice. When one considers the great emphasis that the Catholic
on the ceremony, (this also included the belief in transubstantiation)
perhaps more evident as to why those who were very anti-Catholicism saw
stress of such a ceremony as a step backward to
Consequently, some of Laud’s ideas and desires, that were undeniably evident, were his controversial designs to change aspects of the church. His revival of ceremonies was perhaps the most divisive. Laud, and Charles I himself, throughout the 1630s, believed that it was through ceremonies that external worship could be manifested. Although they were not absolutely the essence of religion Laud believed them to be crucial. Similarly Laud encouraged the custom of bowing towards the Alter and making sure that communion tables were placed alter wise. These changes pushed people to see Laud as an innovator and to believe conspiracies of papist plots. Similarly, the introduction and embellishment of the pictures in the churches led to accusations of idolatry. Archbishop Laud of course saw no such resemblance of his introductions to the old Catholic churches. The ultimate aim, which he endorsed, was that of Unity. Laud was incredibly focused on creating order and unity within the Church, which included all types of ceremony. This in turn would, it seems, enhance spirituality and enable all citizens in all four Kingdoms to worship in the correct way and achieve forgiveness and eternal life.
It can be argued that Laud’s main beliefs and aims were unity, order and discipline. He considered that good and effective authority was needed with in the church and stressed that this discipline and authority should come from the Bishops and the Clergy. This was because he had previously felt that non-clerical persons had been encroaching on the territory of clerical jurisdiction. This, according to Laud should never have been the case as the only people who should be able to enforce unity; order and discipline were the clergy and episcopacy. I would argue that the stress put on episcopacy was what greatly angered Puritans and Parliamentarians. Priests were of Catholic origin, and emphasised an old hierarchical system that they believed was not necessary or desirable any more. It symbolised corruption, hypocrisy and the old order, instead of empowering them, they should be abolished.
So accordingly, I would argue that many disliked Laud for his fundamental beliefs and associated him with Arminianism, whether or not his core beliefs fell in to this doctrine well or not. Peter White argues in his book, ‘The Rise of Arminianism reconsidered’ that there actually was no such ‘Rise’ and that historians who continue to argue that there was, are merely themselves, victims of Puritan propaganda. Whether or not there was a ‘rise’ in Arminianism, it is still easy to see why people associated Laud’s views with that theology, as predestination was an important part of what many saw as the English Church. Laud challenged this, and other aspects, which fundamentally made him unpopular.
Perhaps an equally important question to the rise of Arminianism is when and to what extent Puritanism came about. It has been argued that the origins of Puritanism come from the Thirty Years War but they did not start to have major influence in Parliament until the 1630s and 40s. I would argue that it was from the beginning of the Long Parliament that one can start to see divisions between what would become the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. For those who were to become Royalists, their attacks of Laud tended to be about issues that they felt infringed upon existing laws. For example, unlike John Pym, the Royalists did not object to the 1640 Canons because of their content so much as the fact that the continuation of the Convocation after the dissolution of Parliament was breaking existing Laws.
remarks how people’s reactions to an event like the Canons illustrate
exact political views and shows under which group they will eventually
That is to say, that future Royalist Seymour was primarily more
illegal behaviour than with the ‘wickedness’ of the Canons. His
sense in his context and shows us his religious and governmental
an extent. His character had a distinct lack of godly zeal but he had a
long-standing attachment to the law. In terms of the relation that this
with the Archbishop Laud, it shows us that men like
An example of what could be called ‘Constitutional Parliamentarianism’ according to David Smith is one Sir Benjamin Rudyerd. When the Long Parliament commenced he is said to have commented, ‘Let Religion be our primum quaerite, for all things else are but etcaeteras to it.’ As mentioned before, this belief that religion was the main issue for all men in the seventeenth century is highlighted here. In this particular instance Rudyerd suggests that religion is the cause of all secular grievances, and this, as Smith suggests also, was a very typical trait of a Parliamentarian. Most politicians who were to become Parliamentarians then disliked Laud because they specifically associated episcopacy with being a major cause for political troubles, and the Archbishop, as the central figure of Episcopacy, was the one to place the blame on.
the title to Smith’s book suggests, the search for a religious
this time was just as big a question as who was to blame for religion
unsettled. Men such as Benjamin Rudyerd and Jon Pym would have
form of ‘Godly Reformation’. However, constitutional Royalists differed
because they firstly did not give full support of abolishing episcopacy
a decisive non-Laudian policy. These were men such as Culpepper, Hyde
In a way Laud was the obvious and easiest person to blame as he and Laudianism, as a religious influence, could be seen to be the cause for the King’s behaviour and catholic sympathies (rather than blaming the Queen which would be treachery), also for bad policies and most specifically the Scottish war. Parliamentarians, reasoned, as I understand it, that firstly, the root of all deficient outcome was religious influence. Therefore if the outcome was bad, for example war with part of the Kingdome, the religious input must be equally as bad. Therefore Laud, as Archbishop of Canterbury and an important advisor to the King, must be fraudulent and unprincipled, and most likely a Catholic because Catholicism was equally deceitful and corrupt. That is to say, Laud’s unscrupulous and papist religious influences were blamed for the King’s mistakes, as well as his own. In this there is perhaps an element of rejection of respect for authority, only, people dare not directly disrespect the King, but could do so to his closest ministers, and so blamed them. John Walter would argue that a popular culture has expectations about how a Monarch should rule and how Charles should have been a valuable and virtuous King. When Charles embarked upon his era of Personal Rule, he challenged traditional loyalty and many lost respect for his authority and in turn he lost their loyalty, not only to him but to his court, ministers and church.
I would continue to argue that events from the late 1630s then caused a continued rise in the hatred of the Archbishop. This was then due to several reasons such as Episcopacy, that is ton say that Laud represented everything that the ‘godly’ and others hated about it, conspiracies of a Catholic Plot and idea that he was secretly a papist, fear, for many people started to go back to the Tudor ideas of conspiracy and treason at court and by the Kings ministers. In addition, fear of him having power, and as mentions, a rejection of respect for the authority. People opposed change like that which Laud was proposing. He was reactionary from their perspective. In addition there was the huge problem of the Scottish problem, that is to say the Prayer Book and the first war. Furthermore, and importantly, from the end of the short Parliament there was the problem of the Canons.
Traditionally, the government could be considered in terms of three estates. The first being the House of Lords and the second being the House of Commons. The third estate was the ecclesiastical estate, which met in Convocation when Parliament was called, and was, similarly dissolved when Parliament was, by the Monarch. However, in may 1640, this what not the cases, and Charles did not dissolve Convocation. When in the Tower Laud is said to have commented that he was ‘a little troubled’ and had reservations about the continuation of the Convocations. However, he managed to justify it by saying that it could continue because it had been called by a different set of writs than those used for parliament. He did though it seems come round to the idea as he drafted instructions from the King telling the Convocation what to do next.
Even before the canons had actually passed any legislation, members of Parliament were quite understandable angered, as however, the King and his councillors justified it, it was essentially, from their view, breaking the Law. It seemed equally unfair and unjustified for the king to have dismissed Parliament after such a short time, without answering or dealing with any of their complaints or suggestions, and yet to keep the Convocation open. It was obviously because within the Convocation the King had more of a say. Although parliament could not essentially blame Laud for the continuation, they equally could not blame the King so, when the items had all been passed, it was then that the blame felon to the ministers such as the Archbishop. Because it was Archbishop Laud, who seemed to be at the front of this event it is easy to se why even more people blamed him, disliked him and thought that he was responsible for the poor policies and seemingly illegal Laws like the Canons. By the end of May, Convocation had passed six Canons. The King confirmed them and ordered that ministers must preach, promoting them. I would consider that because they were so innovative and controversial, Laud was blamed even more so as people believed him to be a intransigent papist.
Obviously in 1640 the person to blame was never going to be the King, it was his ‘malevolent’ ministers and in religious matters the ‘evil’ Archbishop, who influenced him and was therefore responsible for things like the Canons. The ‘wicked’ canons were in fact, mentioned in article five that the House of Commons created and used to impeach Laud. Parliament then held Laud fully responsible for the Canons, or I would argue even if they had not fully blamed him originally, were able to use them to their advantage in the case against him.
The actual context of the Canons is quite interesting, as three out of the six passed addressed the current political situation. The first then was that the King had the right to call and dismiss parliament, the second that any subject taking up arms against the King would be dammed and would suffer an eternal hell. The third was that it was the duty of all subjects to pay taxes to their king. This third one was obviously a source of irritation for those in parliament who had suspected that a major reason for the Convocation was money. It is interesting however, that there was a Canon, influenced by Laud that said that all those who advocated popery or democracy were guilty of treason against God and King. Laud, most likely as a way of getting good publicity for himself, acquired a hangman to publicly burn about 200 books that were seized from a Papist. This canon however, did not seem to have the desired effect as many people believed or suspected that maybe the creation of this canon was too obvious, and that the public advertising of it made the content slightly phony and exaggerated.
addition, Laud was also responsible
for the most controversial piece of legislation of the canons, that is,
came to be known as the ‘etcetera oath.’
This was that, all bishops, priests,
and graduates must take an oath accepting the ‘Doctrines and
Government of the Church’ and promising not to change them. Even though
became known as the etcetera oath because it was really rather vague,
obvious that the one thing that this oath was clear on was the promise
This was the main cause of anger and worry, especially for men such as
Simonds D’Ewes who believed that such legislation would drive out the
would argue that what people found
to be the worrying aspect of the Canons, was the implication that the
was seemingly trying to reassert its power as an institution. In
and all other efforts were a way in which the church could support the
wanted and did, for the second time, go to war with
The canons, like the Scottish Prayer book are a specifically interesting aspect when looking at the causes of hatred for Archbishop Laud. That is to say, at the time Laud was at the centre of this disapproval and blame however, historians have since suggested that the King was the driving force behind the policies and that laud was merely the employee carrying out orders of the King. The political situation by 1641 angered so many people that they certainly needed someone to blame and it is possible for historians to see Laud as a type of Scapegoat. That is to say that in the 1640s men could hardly blame the king and label him inept, as he was ordained by God. They equally did not want to blame the Scots because many Englishmen had more in common with them than with the Royalists, and definitely more than with the Catholics.
this knowledge historians often
argue that people blamed Archbishop Laud as he was an easy target.
there was of course a reason for this as well, he was, I would suggest
choice, at the centre of these policies that were so disliked, so
cannot take all blame off him. Having said this, like many societies
of the past and probably as many will do in the future,
and bishops were also
selected for their academic abilities in a period and society when
rewarded for their birthrights, connections and kin. John Pym certainly
believed that they used religion to further their own ambitions. Sir
D’Ewes writes in his diary on
All reasons and justifications for the impeachment and hatred of Laud are set out technically and formally in the fourteen articles drawn up by Parliament and presented to the House of Lords with a conclusion by John Pym. This is a very useful piece of evidence when deciphering the reasons why Laud was reviled and executed. However, there were of course bound to be other reasons that were not put into the articles for, and causes put in that may not have been founded on any evidence.
When the articles were presented to the House of Commons as maintenance of the charge of impeachment against him, all articles were supported without even one ‘no.’ The first and possibly most significant article for accusation suggested that Laud himself ‘subverted the fundamental Laws and government of this kingdom of England.’ It also accused the Archbishop of wickedly advising the King and influencing Royal policy. One significant point is the point of ‘jure divino,’ that is to say that Laud considered that bishops had God given power and supposedly encouraged the King to exert the principle of Divine Right. This then gave both Laud and his bishops, and the King unlimited power. This first article also held Laud responsible for the levying of money that did not have consent of Parliament, for example, the levying of ship money. I would argue that the point of Divine Right and the power that came from that idea was a major reason for Laud being such a hated figure. He was seen as an ambitious man who wanted to elevate himself above the law and above parliament and this rather old idea of God given supremacy was perhaps seen as the perfect farce for created an episcopacy and monarch who could over ride Parliament.
Similarly Laud was also accused of giving and authorizing sermons, and printing and publishing works that denied the authority of Parliament and Laws of the Kingdom. In this accusation is also the implication that works published that had Popish connotations and content were the responsibility of the Archbishop thus going against the established Doctrine of the Church of England and the laws of the land. Laud was also accused of taking bribes and gifts in article four.
would argue that two other
significant accusations against Laud, which help a lot in understanding
was so disliked is article five, which discusses how he contrived and
introduced the wicked Canons, and article thirteen which suggests that
maliciously and traitorously plotted and endeavored to stir up war and
between his majesty’s two Kingdoms of England and Scotland.
As mentioned before the Canons and relations with
Among the fourteen articles I believe that one can see how some points have foundation and were genuine reasons for which many disliked Archbishop Laud. That is to say Parliamentarians believed these points to be true and it is obvious that they stemmed from fact, for example the unlawfulness of the canons and the offensiveness of some of their content. However, several points have quite evidently stemmed from conspiracy and are not based on factual evidence. For example, that Laud was responsible for all or at least most papist publication seems a ridiculous thing to present as fact when there is also evidence that he ordered Catholic books to be burned and ordered that those who advocated Catholicism be arrested for treason. Similarly, in 1637 Laud also persuaded the King to issue a proclamation forbidding missionary activity because he feared the activities and influences occurring in court around the Queen and her French Catholic courtiers. However, like so many other similar incidences it seems that the proclamation did more harm to Laud than good. This is because there had already been suspicion and concern among English men who blamed Laud for any Catholic conversion, and the proclamation confirmed the suspicions of what was going on at court, for which Laud was then blamed rather than the Queen.
One can see then how Laud was placed into this role of Catholicism from an early point, and where as it seems that the Queen of course had many allies, Laud had few. From these articles we can see how much emphasis was put on Laud as, firstly a Papist, and secondly as the main iniquitous and fiendish influence on the King. This is shown in that after Mr. Pym had had a conference with the House of Lords, he made the request that the Archbishop of Canterbury be ‘sequestered’ from the King. I would argue that Pym was the driving force behind the articles, as he seemed to have a passionate dislike for the Archbishop, adding his ‘touching’ speech about his spiritual wickedness, injustice and corrupt ways. With Pym giving such zealous and convincing speeches, it is hard to know who and how much people disliked Laud and actually agreed with Pym. Some may have felt that they could not counteract ‘King Pym’ for fear of his overruling power, and perhaps fear of being labeled a papist themselves. It is conceivably human nature that few would want to stand up for some one charged of treason lest they be accused of it themselves. That is to say that unless they really favored the one accused and ardently believed in his cause. I believe that unfortunately for Laud this was not the case. Perhaps many were indifferent or undecided about him but I am afraid to say that it is most likely that few had feelings enough to speak out or risk their careers or indeed lives over the seemingly withdrawn and suspicious Archbishop.
in his diary, I perceived
that Sir Simonds D’Ewes suggests that most were against Laud and it was
such a terribly debated matter. Mr. Grimstone added to Pym’s speech
Archbishop was the cause of all problems, both in the Church and within
Kingdom. He further commented that he preferred every other bishop in
is important to consider the issue
of the extent of which Laud was actually a ‘hated’ figure throughout
David Underdown has suggested that there a three ways in which one can look at the popular politics and opinion and by which we can examine the role in the English Revolution. The first is deference meaning that many people may have been some what in difference and shown polite respect to which ever side it appeared safest to do so with. This argument has often been used to explain Royalist success in acquiring an army because it would seem that at least in the early days of the War, many people would have been afraid to argue against their King and would have politely agreed to fight for him out of fear or traditional respect for the monarchy. The second model is that of localism, that is to say that certain areas had an affinity with a specific group, had certain customs and a devotion of some sort to these customs and focused on mainly local interests rather than national ones. This idea could be relevant to certain areas when considering religion as some places in the country and indeed all Kingdoms were more strictly Calvinist or Puritan than other places. Many areas, often on the south coasts were far more sympathetic to changes in religion, Laudianism and even Catholicism.
third idea was that of class, and
is this model that has often been used to explain popular
That is to say that such an ideas has been suggested to be the cause of
events as the violence in
comments that when regarding
protests that occurred during the Personal Rule of Charles I and those
extended into the Revolution, historians have said that the riots were
always, essentially defensive and conservative. Walters
argues that while protestors probably did draw on the
image of the past to defend, and as cause to defend, their rights, the
interpretation that the majority were Conservative is “unnecessarily
constraining.” He goes on to argue then that people drawing on the past
imagine it to have been could actually produce radical, and not
protestation when used to confront change. 
In relation to those who protested against laud, I would argue that
opposed change on grounds that what he was doing was too similar to an
past of Catholicism. The result for many people was to react in a
While they were defending their present, they were willing to
a different, more radical way in order to avoid Laudian type changes.
the perspective of those who rebelled against episcopacy and those who
purpose of Walter’s study is to
try and explain the outbreak of popular violence, and popular political
violence. He also tries to reflect upon and asses the roles of the
class, religion and anti popery with regard to how this affected their
the English Revolution.
When considering to what extent Laud was a hated figure among the
masses, it is
interesting to consider the rather general attack on bishops and
the summer of 1642. These people, along with the Archbishop were
because they condoned the hierarchical church system and supported the
silencing and departure of godly ministers that had occurred prior to
would not argue that most of the
country felt so strongly about a ‘godly’ reformation, but
is perhaps easier to examine who it was that
disliked Laud and who did
not but in terms of why;
the reasons are far more intricate and multifaceted. There are many
restrictions on information on and about people in the seventeenth,
within certain local areas which can make it difficult to examine
what extent Laud and Laudianism was unpopular. There are ways to guess
estimate his popularity for example, through case studies such as
would argue that the reaction to
the eventual death of Archbishop Laud says a lot about the extent to
was a hated figure. It seems that not many people were really very
at least only those who vehemently hated him were.
It also seems that not only did his Puritan enemies rejoice, but
was officially accused of many
immoral and wicked things, but an important point to conclude upon is
what his main crime was, and this I would argue was religion. The
of his subverting the laws of justice, taking bribes and assuming an
position were possibly embellished in order to increase the accounts on
he was accused, making it easier to impeach him, and persuade the House
Lords. It may be easy to see why some, especially politicians may have
as an evil man, as he is reported to have had a temper when provoked,
have taken personal insults perhaps a little too far.
Regarding accusations against him, I consider that the threat of Catholicism is also an unsubstantiated accusation. To the historian, in hindsight, it seems evident that there never really was a huge threat of a return to Rome so is it possible that those in charge really did believe that there was a threat or was the conspiracy theory merely a tool that was used to influence people’s opinion of Laud, and certainly of Charles’ court an ministers. It is of course difficult to know exactly who and to what extent people believed that the revival of Catholicism would take place, because one can understand that after the reign of Mary I and so much conflict over religion, people would fear going backwards on all that had been achieved. However I would argue that is was largely a tactic used to frighten the population and entice them into Puritanism.
was possibly disliked so much
because of his beliefs and ideology; however, as mentioned, I would
that it is highly important to consider his personality, position and
when looking at how people saw him. Charles Carlton, in his biography
evaluates Laud from a rather psychological perspective and concludes
was a very insecure man, who was not at all particularly social or
When exactly it was that Laud became so disliked has also been an interesting idea for me to consider, as I would argue that it was the Prayer book, which initiated suspicion of the Archbishop’s motives and plans, however, it seems to have been the Canons that decidedly labeled him as the embodiment of everything that any truly good and religious man should hate. Even though it is recorded in Sir Simonds D’Ewes’ diary that Mr. Cage, in respect of the Archbishop, stated that it was unfair to blame only him for the Canons when there were quite clearly others involved, it seems obvious to me that those members of Parliament were neither interested in or aware of any one else who may have been party to the event. This is particularly evident when D’Ewes avoids the argument by stating that by impeaching some one they were not really ‘accusing’ him and so left none that were in the wrong excused.  I would suggest that altogether they seemed solely content to place all the blame on the Archbishop.
come to an underlying conclusion
as to who hated Archbishop William
Laud is perhaps a slightly easier task than to asses to what extent he was actually hated. I would
suggest that Laud was not as detested as many believed him to be but
extremely good case had been made against him. In the seventeenth
was extremely easy for politicians to inject fear into people,
regarding sensitive issues. I would argue that Laud, in a similar way
Earl of Stafford, was used as an instrument to criticize the King, and
religious changes that he may have been endorsing. I would further
a fear of power was also present, for example Strafford had seemingly
isolated influence in
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