Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2021
Chapter 6 traces the place of religion in negotiations for a settlement between Charles I and his opponents from 1642 up to the regicide. Often dismissed as irrelevant and futile gestures by two sides with irreconcilable positions who negotiated in bad faith, it is argued here that these negotiations nevertheless provide intriguing sets of potential reformation settlements that could have reshaped the Church of England in significant ways, and useful indications of where creative compromises might be made. The chapter demonstrates the official royalist commitment to upholding the reforms of 1640-41, and readiness to offer further reforms curbing the power of episcopacy, offering toleration to ‘tender consciences’, and the calling of a national synod to debate further religious reforms. The parliamentarian side in negotiations was significantly hamstrung by the restrictions of the Solemn League and Covenant’s condemnation of ‘prelacy’ and the uniting of the British churches. The chapter traces the arguments through various peace negotiations, noting in particular the new opportunities opened up by the army’s intervention and the offers of the Heads of the Proposals. It is noted that the concessions offered by Charles – however insincere – would enjoy a significant after-life in his published works and future reform proposals.