Review of the first three books in the Religion, Politics and Society in Britain series:
''All three writers have made distinguished contributions to the specialist literature and, on the basis of these books, this will prove a most promising series intellectually, as well as one that offers much to students.''
Jeremy Black, Professor of History, Exeter University
From the Back Cover
Religion, Politics and Society in Britain
Series Editor: Keith Robbins
Throughout the history of Britain religion has been a potent and influential force, permeating social and political life at many different levels. Yet it has often been written about in restricted institutional terms without accounting for the ways in which religious belief and practice have been bound up with wider social and political developments. Religion, Politics and Society in Britain
shifts the focus on this complex and fluctuating relationship and investigates the changing role of religion in British life from 600 AD to the present.
The seventeenth century was an age of religious experimentation, controversy and conflict. Religious values and institutions had been shaken by the English and Scottish Reformations of the previous century. As England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland turned into Great Britain, the Reformation gave way to the Post-Reformation, rife with competition between rival versions of Christianity.
Religion was at the heart of both political action and social thought. John Spurr reveals religion as the driving force of events through the reigns of the first Stuarts, the Civil War and execution of Charles I, the Commonwealth and the Restoration, the Popish plot, the Glorious Revolution which kicked James II off the throne, and the years of war under William and Anne. Vivid quotations and a compelling narrative bring these tumultuous events to life.
While some seventeenth-century Britons valued their own faith above all else, others saw belief and worship as part of the social and cultural fabric. Professor Spurr explores the nature of parish life and church administration and deftly reconstructs how ordinary people practiced religion in their everyday lives. He shows how and why religion still mattered to everyone in these islands.
John Spurr is Professor of History at the University of Swansea. He is the author of The Restoration Church of England 1646-1689 (1991), English Puritanism, 1603-1689 (1998), and England in the 1670s: This Masquerading Age (2000).