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Puritans, Church and Crown, under Elizabeth and James

For discussion:

Are Puritans best understood as ‘the hotter sort’ of Protestants?

How far did Puritans wish to alter the Elizabethan Settlement and the Elizabethan Church? Why did most choose to remain within the Church?

Can Puritans be seen as part of a ‘Calvinist consensus’ in this period? How far can we identify a distinctive ‘Puritan culture?


C Durston & J Eales, eds., The Culture of English Puritanism 1560-1700 (1996), esp. introd & chs 1-3.

John Spurr, English Puritanism 1603-1689 (1998) Good for the later period; see esp. Part III, ‘The Puritan Experience’

John Coffey and Paul Lim, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (2008)

R J Acheson, Radical Puritans in England 1550-1660- brief ‘seminar study’

B Hall, ‘Puritanism: the Problem of Definition’ in Studies in Church History, vol. ii, ed G J Cuming (1965)

C Hill, Society and Puritanism (1964)- ch. 1 on the definition of a Puritan, stressing loose, non-religious usage (rest of book is a good discussion of the affinity between puritan values and those of the industrious middling sorts)

P McGrath, Papists and Puritans under Elizabeth I (1967), very readable narrative

P Collinson, English Puritanism, Historical Association pamphlet (1983)- good introduction to Collinson’s approach

------, ‘A Comment: Concerning the Name Puritan’, Journ. of Ecclesiastical History (1980)

-------, The Religion of Protestants (1982)- fine study of ‘Jacobethan’ church; esp. chs 4-6.

-------, Godly People (1983)- collection of important articles, esp. nos. 1, 6 (also in Studies in Church History 3), 9, 11, 13 (also in S T Bindoff, ed., Elizabethan Government & Society), 15 (also in P N Brooks ed, Reformation Principle and Practice), 16 (also in SCH 1), 18 (also in Bulletin of Institute of Historical Research, 1975), 20.

-------, The Birthpangs of Protestant England (1988)- Puritan interactions with culture, urban and family life.

---------, ‘The Elizabethan Church and the New Religion’, in C Haigh, ed. Reign of Elizabeth I.

---------, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (1967)- the classic (but lengthy!) narrative.

P Lake, ‘Calvinism and the English Church 1570-1635’, Past & Present (1987)- modifies Collinson’s model of a Calvinist consensus.

---------, Anglicans and Puritans? Presbyterianism and English Conformist Thought (1985) -concept of puritanism in context of contemporary polemic

--------, ‘Defining Puritanism- again?’, in F J Bremer, ed., Puritanism: Transatlantic Perspectives (1993)

David Como, Blown by the Spirit; Puritanism and the Emergence of an Antinomian Underground in pre-civil war England (2004). See also Como, ‘The kingdom of Christ…’ in M. McClendon et al., eds., Protestant Identities (1991)

- R L Greaves, ‘The Puritan Non-Conformist Tradition in England, 1560-1700: Historiographical Reflections’, Albion (1985)

D Underdown, Fire from Heaven (1992)- fascinating case study of a Puritan town (Dorchester)

P. Seaver, Wallington’s World. A Puritan artisan in 17th c London (1985)

Keith Wrightson & D. Levine, Poverty and Piety in an English Village (2nd edn., 1999), ch. 6 and esp. Postscript. (relationship between puritanism and social attitudes)

Margaret Spufford, ‘Puritanism and Social Control’ in A Fletcher & J. Stevenson, eds, Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (1985) (critique of Wrightson)

M. Spufford, Contrasting Communities. English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1974), chap. 10, pp.249-71.

K Parker, The English Sabbath (1988)

Primary sources: dip into the published diaries/journals of Ralph Josselin, Richard Baxter, Adam Martindale, John Angier. For more racy puritan writings, see ‘Martin Mar-prelate’. For anti-puritan views: W Holden, Anti-Puritan Satire 1572-1642 (1954)