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Radicalism in the English Revolution 1640-1660 (HI312) - Topic 1

Topic 1: Reform, Agitation and Revolution, 1640-2
Seminar themes:
  • What was the role of London crowds in these years?
  • Did they have a significant impact on the course of events?
  • Were demonstrations spontaneous or organised? Who took part, and who might have been behind them?
  • Were the triggers political, religious, or economic?
  • Why was fear of Catholicism so rife?
  • How far were the provinces caught up in similar activities and concerns?


A. Primary Sources:
  • 'Extracts illustrating radicalism in the early 1640s' .
  • Extracts from Calendar of State Papers Venetian 1640-42 (the Venetian Ambassador's reports). Read only those items marked with a tick.
  • Extracts from Calendar of State Papers Domestic, 1640, 1641 and 1641-3 (only items ticked).
  • Look at the extracts for information about petitioning; suspected plots; riots and disturbances; contemporary opinions on motives of parliamentary leaders; reasons for breakdown between King and Parliament.

B. Secondary Sources

*A. Woolrych, Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660 (2002) chaps. 6-7.

*M. J. Braddick, God's Fury, England's Fire (2008)

*I. Roots The Great Rebellion 1640-60 (chaps 3-7).

*D. Hirst England in Conflict (1999); a revised edition of his Authority and Conflict (1986).

M. J. Braddick, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (2014, e-book): see chapters by Cust on the collapse of royal authority, and by Cope on the Irish rebellion.

*V. Pearl London and the Puritan Rebellion (On the problems of governing this key city in the rebellion; note especially chapters 4 & 6 and pp.228-236 on the organisation of riots).

*B. Manning The English People and the English Revolution 1640-1649 (1976), chaps 1-7 (valuable material on riots and demonstrations, though the overall argument is controversial).

A. Fletcher The Outbreak of the English Civil War (1981) and his essay in J. Morrill (ed), Reactions to the English Civil War ch. 1.

B. Sharp In Contempt of all Authority, ch.9 (agrarian riots in early 1640).

J. Walter Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution (1999), chaps. 7-8.

R. Ashton The English Civil War (1978) chaps 6 & 7.

J H Hexter The Reign of King Pym.

B. Manning 'The Nobles, the People and the Constitution' Past and Present 9, 1954.

H R Trevor-Roper 'The Fast Sermons of the Long Parliament', in Essays to K. Feiling, ed Trevor-Roper (on the use of sermons to whip up popular feeling). Also in his collected essays, Religion, the Reformation and Social Change.

J C Spalding 'Sermons before Parliament 1640-49'. Church History 36, 1967 (another view on sermons).

S R Smith 'Almost Revolutionaries: The London Apprentices during the Civil Wars', Huntington Library Quarterly, 42 (1978-9).

*R Clifton 'The Popular fear of Catholics during the English Revolution', Past and Present, 1971 (considers the role of agitators in stirring up anti-Catholic feeling).

*K J Lindley 'The Impact of the 1641 Rebellion upon England and Wales', Irish Historical Review 1972.

K. Lindley 'London and popular freedom in the 1640s', in Freedom in the English Revolution, ed. R.C. Richardson and G.M. Ridden (1986).

B S Manning 'The Outbreak of the English Civil War' in R. Parry, ed., The English Civil War (on popular fears and agitation, a short version of his subsequent book).

*C. Hill, 'The Norman Yoke', in Hill, Puritanism and Revolution (a popular ideology of resistance among many radical groups).

W G Hoskins 'Harvest Fluctuations, 1620-1757', Agricultural Historical Review, 16, 1968. (the economic context of popular disconntent; esp. important for the late 1640s).

*P. Higgins 'The Reactions of Women with Special Reference to Women Petitioners', in Politics, Religion and the Civil War, ed. B. Manning.

K J Lindley 'Riot Prevention and Control in Early Stuart London', in Trans Royal Historical Society, 5th series, 33 (1983) - useful background to the problem of order in London.

(On London crowds in later crises see:

I. Gentles 'The Struggle for London in the second Civil War', Historical Journal 26 (1983).

T. Harris London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II (1987), chap 3 on the Restoration.