This is a scholarly and original study of the Church of England in the reign of Charles I. Julian Davies's detailed analysis of policy, practice, and personality offers a bold new interpretation of the Caroline Church, firmly based on the documentary evidence.
Dr. Davies examines the measures which brought to an end the consensus of the post-Reformation Church, and which moulded and sharpened divisions in the years before the Civil War. He reinterprets the roles of key actors, and uncovers the tensions that existed between Archbishop Laud's essential conservatism and Charles I's attempts to realize his highly personal notion of sacral kingship through his prerogative as Supreme Governor of the Church. As a vital arm in the political apparatus of the state and as the vehicle for Caroline ideology, the established Church under Charles I became more politicized than ever before.
The author reassesses the significance of doctrinal arminianism in the seventeenth-century Church, taking issue with a number of scholars. He brings to the forefront of the debate constitutional issues which have recently been underplayed. His book makes an important contribution to a highly controversial area of historical study.
`Julian Davies has produced an important and comprehensive study of the Caroline Church. ... this is an important and useful book that would benefit both academicans and Episcopal clergy in their understanding of the Caroline Church and the causes of the English Civil War.'
Anglican Theological Review
'a major study that brings to the fore again the problems of religious ideology and practice during the reign of Charles I ... a beautifully researched and argued book ... valuable for any university library collection.'
Richard Wunderli, Colorado University, History, Fall 1993
'By painstaking research and evaluation of the evidence, Dr. Davies is able to show that Laud was not the mastermind behind the king's disastrous policies ... it is difficult to deny that Dr. Davies has thoroughly researched his material, has presented it in a lucid and coherent fashion, and has created a believable picture of early seventeenth century Anglicanism. The book is very clearly written and presented, and the Epilogue is a masterpiece of
concision which draws together the themes discussed in the earlier chapters and relates them to a wider historical and theological context. Dr. Davies is to be congratulated on producing a highly readable,
scholarly study of an era of controversy which is now itself controversial, and it must be hoped that his theses will make a major contribution to the ongoing debate about this formative period of Anglicanism.'
Gerald Bray, Beeson Theological Seminary, Birmingham, Alabama, Churchman
Theology Digest, Vol. 41, No. 1, Spring 1994
'... a major contribution to English church history and important additions to the list of a publisher which, more that any other, has produced a steady stream of authoritative publications in this field over the past twenty years or so. ... an impressive piece of scholarship based on a most exhaustive examination of primary sources in nearly eighty different record repositories. ... much more wide-ranging that the title might imply, ... a much needed
contribution to a major topic and therefore particularly wecome. This is an important and meticulously reaserched book, much enriched by a comprehensive and extensive guide to further reading.'
Nigel Yates. Southern History Vol 15, '93
'closely argued study'
Vol. 7, No. 4 '93
`an important contribution to the increasingly complex debate over Charles I's ecclesiastical policies between 1625 and 1641...This is a stimulating work, based on prodigious research in local and central archives, and it certainly adds complexity to our views of both the origins and the effects of charle's religious policies.'
EHR Sept 95