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Chapter 12 - Failed Reformations, 1659–1661

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2021

Anthony Milton
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

Chapter 12 challenges the assumption that the ‘Restoration church’ inevitably accompanied the political restoration. It begins by charting the different attempted reformations of 1659-60, from radical Congregationalist proposals to the rapid re-establishment of the 1640s Presbyterian settlement just before the king’s return in 1660. The attempted comprehensive settlements of the following ten months are then carefully analysed with reference to the ‘abortive reformation’ of 1640-41 discussed in Chapter 4, the peace negotiations discussed in Chapter 6, and other past reform initiatives. Analysing the wide range of commentary by puritan divines and more moderate episcopalian writers, it points to elements of possible compromise in areas of doctrine, church government (including the revival of plans for ‘reduced episcopacy’), liturgy and ceremonies, and extemporary prayer, culminating in the remarkable concessions of the Worcester House Declaration of October 1660. Other elements of the abortive reformation of 1640-41 are also observable, such as anti-Laudianism, the robust re-assertion of the Church of England’s links with the foreign Reformed churches, and some notable memorializing of earlier evangelical conformists who had been members of the Williams Committee. It is argued that hindsight has led historians to miss these many continuities with earlier reforming initiatives.

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Chapter
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England's Second Reformation
The Battle for the Church of England 1625–1662
, pp. 437 - 478
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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