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  • Cited by 8
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2021
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Book description

England's Second Reformation reassesses the religious upheavals of mid-seventeenth-century England, situating them within the broader history of the Church of England and its earlier Reformations. Rather than seeing the Civil War years as a destructive aberration, Anthony Milton demonstrates how they were integral to (and indeed the climax of) the Church of England's early history. All religious groups – parliamentarian and royalist alike – envisaged changes to the pre-war church, and all were forced to adapt their religious ideas and practices in response to the tumultuous events. Similarly, all saw themselves and their preferred reforms as standing in continuity with the Church's earlier history. By viewing this as a revolutionary 'second Reformation', which necessarily involved everyone and forced them to reconsider what the established church was and how its past should be understood, Milton presents a compelling case for rethinking England's religious history.


'Anthony Milton’s magnum opus sets out a powerful reinterpretation of the politics of religion in seventeenth-century England. Instead of seeing Anglican conservatives pitted against Puritan revolutionaries, Milton depicts an era of Second Reformation, a contest between rival Reformers of the Church of England. A magisterial book.’

John Coffey - University of Leicester

‘Remarkable for the breadth of its scholarship and depth of its analysis, the very best thing about Anthony Milton’s magnum opus is the clarity of its exegesis and of its reimagining of the mid seventeenth century as a struggle for the re-formation of the Church of England by its engagement with contested pasts and challenging presents. This is intellectual, cultural and religious history of the highest order.’

John Morrill - University of Cambridge

'Anthony Milton is to be congratulated on this substantial work which reassesses the religious upheavals of England in the mid-seventeenth century.'

Martin Cowper Source: Congregational History Society Magazine

‘… in this deeply scholarly book, Milton provides a significant re-framing of our own ‘origin myths’ and places the violent events of the mid-17th century as much, if not more, at the centre of a historical understanding of the nature of the Church of England as those of the mid-16th century ... The case for the scholarly importance of England’s Second Reformation is without doubt …’

Judith Maltby Source: Church Times

‘… This is a nuanced and subtly textured book … it is a deeply rewarding read that will challenge both new students and longtime scholars of the period to reimagine their past approaches.’

D. Alan Orr Source: H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online

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