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The Cult of King Charles the Martyr (Studies in Modern British Religious History) Hardcover – 20 Mar 2003
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Scholarly, readable, stimulating, and approachable. CHURCH TIMESBy placing before us a considerable, informed, and often sensitive reading of material too easily dismissed as predictable and unenlightening, Lacey has offered both a foundation for further studies and a well-placed stepping stone for others' journeys. H-NET BOOK REVIEWS Scholarly, insightful, and thought-provoking...(a) groundbreaking study. REVIEWS IN HISTORYIt is a tribute to this intelligent, fascinating and cogent study that it provokes far-reaching reflection. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW A major contribution to early modern British history. JOURNAL OF MODERN HISTORYOriginal in its treatment of the origins and early development of the cult of Charles I as martyr in the 1640s and 1650s.... An important contribution towards a better understanding of what was in the king's mind and what were the beliefs of his supporters. HISTORYA valuable study of the materials of Charles' memorialization and the pressures that made the myth. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Should be read by anyone interested in royal culture and its evolution over time. HISTORICAL JOURNAL
The cult of King Charles the Martyr did not spring into life fully formed in January 1649. Its component parts were fashioned during Charles' captivity and were readily available to preachers and eulogists in the weeks and months after the regicide. However, it was the publication of the Eikon Basilike in early February 1649 that established the image of Charles as a suffering, innocent king, walking in the footsteps of his Saviour to his own Calvary at Whitehall. The figure of the martyr and the shared set of images and beliefs surrounding him contributed to the survival of royalism and Anglicanism during the years of exile. With the Restoration, the cult was given official status by the annexing of the Office for the 30th January in the "Book of Common Prayer" in 1662. The political theology underpinning the cult and a particular historiography of the Civil Wars were presented as the only orthodox reading of these events. Yet from the Exclusion Crisis onwards dissonant voices were heard challenging the orthodox interpretation.In these circumstances, the cult began to fragment between those who retained the political theology of the 1650s and those who sought to adapt the cult to the changing political and dynastic circumstances of 1688 and 1714. This is the first study to deal exclusively with the cult, and takes the story up until 1859, the year in which the Office for the 30th January was removed from the "Book of Common Prayer". Apart from discussing the origins of the cult in war, revolution and defeat, it also reveals the extent to which political debate in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was conducted in terms of the Civil Wars. It also goes some way to explaining the persistence of conservative assumptions and patterns of thought. Andrew Lacey is currently Special Collections Librarian, University of Leicester, and College Librarian, Trinity Hall, Cambridge. See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It begins with a thumbnail of Charles's life but focuses on his martyrdom and them subsequent building and articulation of his sainthood standing for and dying for the principal of an undivided but reformed Church in Apostolic succession. It recounts the efforts of early recognition, the Restoration certainly, and the piety of those who followed the Saint. It also disentangles the cause of Monarchism from Martyrdom (the two being separate, but combined in Charles's example) with quite a lot of sympathy for the combined thesis (the Royal Martyr Church Union and The Society of King Charles the martyr are distinctly and by their constitutions apolitical to this day as a result of this debate) but articulating that those of a Republican view may be members of the Cult of KCM in good conscience.
A word of warning: this book is pretty thick and dense, with quite a lot of detail, a good bit of looonnngggg form small-h "history" and detail about the Church of England. So this is really a "specialist" or an "enthusiasts" text. If you'd like a more direct easily accessible account then "A Coffin for King Charles" is the better start for the casual reader. This is for academics, members of SKCM, fire-breathing-Republicans looking for an alternative text from their view to smash (you shant be able too) and those who study the roots of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Caroline divines and King Charles and the civil war.