Over the course of the reigns of the last two Tudors and first three Stuarts – just in excess of a century – the national established Church of England was disestablished twice and re-established twice. Following the return to Rome under Mary, Elizabeth's settlement re-established the English Church under the royal supremacy, set down church doctrine and liturgy, embarked on a reform of canon law and so consolidated an ecclesial polity which many today see as an Anglican via media between papal Rome and Calvinist Geneva. However, as a compromise, the settlement contained in itself seeds of discord: it outlawed Roman reconciliation and recusancy; it extended lay and clerical discipline by the use of ecclesiastical commissioners; and it drove Puritans to agitate for reform on Presbyterian lines. While James I continued Elizabeth's policy, disappointing both Puritans and Papists, Charles I married a Roman Catholic, sought to impose a prayer book on Calvinist Scotland, asserted divine-right monarchy, engaged in an 11-year personal rule without Parliament and favoured Arminian clergy. With these and other disputes between Crown and Parliament, civil war ensued, a directory of worship replaced the prayer book, episcopacy and monarchy were abolished and a Puritan-style republic was instituted. The republic failed, and in 1660 monarchy was restored, the Church of England was re-established and a limited form of religious toleration was introduced under the Clarendon Code. In all these upheavals, understandings of the nature, source and authority of human law, civil and ecclesiastical, were the subject of claim and counter-claim. Enter Robert Sanderson: a life begun under Elizabeth and ended under Charles II, a protagonist who felt the burdens and benefits of the age, Professor of Divinity at Oxford and later Bishop of Lincoln, and a clerical-jurist who thought deeply on the nature of human law and its place in a cosmic legal order – so much so, he may be compared with three of his great contemporaries: the lawyer Matthew Hale (1609–1676), the cleric Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667) and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1678).