Edited by Fiona McCall (University of Portsmouth)

Published: 15 June 2021

The English Civil War was followed by a period of unprecedented religious toleration and the spread of new religious ideas and practices. From the Baptists, to the “government of saints”, Britain experienced a period of so-called ‘Godly religious rule’ and a breakdown of religious uniformity that was perceived as a threat to social order by some and a welcome innovation to others.  

The period of Godly religious rule has been significantly neglected by historians- we know remarkably little about religious organisation or experience at a parochial level in the 1640s and 1650s. This volume addresses these issues by investigating important questions concerning the relationship between religion and society in the years between the first Civil War and the Restoration.


Dr Fiona McCall is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Portsmouth. 

Published by University of London Press as part of the RHS / IHR New Historical Perspectives series

300 pp, Available from June 2021, in print, eBook and as a free Open Access download.

To request a review copy, please contact Katharine Nelson, Marketing and Sales Manager at University of London Press.

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Table of contents

Introduction: Professor Bernard Capp

I. Reformed Church Structures and Government

1.    Parish Reform during the English Revolution, Dr Alex Craven, Victoria County Histories

2.    ‘What happened to parish registers between c.1646 and c.1666?’ Dr Andrew Foster and Dr Caroline Adams

3.    Gathered Churches and their Books: Rewriting the Theory and Practice of Church Government in the 1650s, Dr Mark Burden, University of Bristol

4.    Scandalous Ayr: A Kirk Session in Scotland’s Interregnum, Dr Alfred Johnson

II. The Clergy of the Commonwealth

5.    The Ecclesiastical Patronage of Oliver Cromwell, c.1654-1658, Dr Rebecca Warren

6.    The clergy of Sussex: the impact of change c. 1635-1665, Helen M Whittle

7.    The Impact of the Landscape on the Clergy of Seventeenth-Century Dorset, Trixie Gadd

III. Traditionalist religion: persistence, resistance and division in the interregnum and beyond

8.    ‘Tubby preaching rogues’: transgressions against Godly religious rule in the English parish 1645-1660, Dr Fiona McCall, University of Portsmouth

9.    Malignant Parties: Loyalist religion in South-West England, Dr Rosalind Johnson, University of Winchester

10.  ‘“The Mountaines did serve for their Refuge”: 1650s Wales as a refuge for Anglican clergy’, Dr Sarah Ward, University of the West of England

11. 'A crack'd Mirror': reflections of 'Godly Rule' in Warwickshire, 1660-1665, Dr Maureen Harris