• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that Charles I rather than Archbishop Laud directed ecclesiastical affairs during the 1630s

Extracts from this document...


Assess the view that Charles I rather than Archbishop Laud directed ecclesiastical affairs during the 1630's William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633, has traditionally been seen as 'one of the twin pillars of Stuart despotism'1, playing a key role in the formation and enforcement of ecclesiastical policy during the 1630's. However recent work on this area, mainly by Davies and Sharpe, has challenged this assumption, suggesting instead that it was Charles I who was the architect of change and innovation, and that Laud merely acted as a figurehead for his religious ideals. Whilst it is certainly conceivable that Charles I as King and Supreme Governor of the Church was actively involved in the clerical matters of England, to so diminish Laud's role seems incongruent, thus it is far more plausible, as Fincham has suggested, that the two had a close working relationship, forming what can be seen as a partnership in religious endeavours. There is a lack of sources available to historians on the direction of religious policy during the 1630's as Charles conducted much of his affairs in person, leaving barely any written verification, and Laud publicly provided little reasoning for the changes that were implemented , leaving it to others, such as Heylyn to provide intellectual justification. Whilst some have accredited that this to Laud's belief that the laity were too involved in ecclesiastical matters and thus did not need to openly explain himself, Sharpe interprets this silence as evidence of Laud's nominal position, stating that 'Laud did not debate doctrine because it was not of great interest to him'2. ...read more.


Whilst it seems clear that Charles did take his job as Supreme Governor of the Church seriously, demonstrated most distinctly via the comments that he made in the margins of his bishops' accounts of their diocese, a counter argument naturally exists as to whether Charles signatures can definitively be said to prove his comprehension of affairs. It likely that his bishops would have phrased their reports so as to portray themselves in as positive a light as possible, meaning that Charles' conception of progress may not have been entire, due to the possible inaccuracy of the information which he based his recommendations on. Foster's view of Charles concurs with this, as he claims that 'most of the comments which the King made on Neile's reports suggest a king dutifully reading dispatches... but woefully out of touch and responding to tactfully phrased suggestions from his ministers'13. There is also an implication from Charles' notations of the extent that he relied on Laud to carry out his bidding, for example, when replying to Laud's request that laymen be denied any further control over the hiring and dismissing of lecturers, Charles commands him 'to show me the way to overthrou this and to hinder the Performance in tyme to all suche Intentions'14, which demonstrates the reliance and trust that is placed in Laud by Charles independently to find solutions to such issues and to formulate policy that meets his expectations. ...read more.


be completely discredited, meaning that, as Foster states, the question of who was behind the policy is 'something of a red herring'23. Whilst Davies, with the support of Sharpe, maintains that Charles instigated a policy of 'Carolinism' and that Laud simply followed his orders, Tyacke and Capern (on the issue of Ireland) steadfastly defend Laud's position of power; no conclusion has yet been reached. Therefore, on the weight of this, it is possibly more prudent to reason that both Laud and Charles had significant roles in the creation and implementation of reform, and were formed into a partnership within which both had individual interests and priorities, as Fincham has suggested. This working relationship could feasibly be based on Laud and Charles' similar religious beliefs and a mutual necessity of one another; as of 1628 Laud was a marked man, having been ousted in parliament as an 'evil advisor' and thus required the Royal support to implement his reforms, whilst Charles was looking for another that he could trust to act in his interests as Buckingham had done before his assassination. However this interpretation is simply another hypothesis as there is no clinching evidence on which this is based, thus it must be professed that there is no real way of answering the question of whether Charles rather than Laud directed ecclesiastical affairs, although it seems much more likely that a strong working relationship based on trust and similar ideals existed between the two men than one based on dominance from either Laud of Charles. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 1600-1699 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree 1600-1699 essays

  1. Why was Richelieu's foreign policy so politically divisive from 1624-42?

    Elliott has emphasised the importance of Louis XIII's decision to hold on to the strategically important Pinerolo. Retaining the town meant the abandonment of domestic reform, and the alienation of the d�vots. It also meant an inevitable prolonged war with Spain, which at a meeting in Lyon was denounced by

  2. Why had the policies of Charles I and his ministers aroused so much opposition ...

    Indeed, analysis of the period shows that one of Charles's few tyrannical acts in the period was numerous religious reforms. Kishlansky suggests that far from being an attempt by Charles to rule almost as dictator, it was in fact a desire for peace and harmony in his kingdom, albeit unsuccessful in its execution.

  1. How, and how effectively, did Charles I raise new sources of revenue in the ...

    assessment'3, as each county was expected to pay a lump-sum which had to be made up by its inhabitants, who could not agree on how this should be fairly split up amongst them, or on the amount that their county was assigned to compared to other counties.

  2. The Importance of the Diary for a Study of Archbishop Laud

    Religion has been labelled 'a fundamental and deep-rooted cause of the English Civil war'3; hence there has been much debate over the key priorities and aims of William Laud, who as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633, played a crucial role in the formation and enforcement of religious policy during the 1630's.

  1. How successfully did Della Porta defend the naturalness of his natural magic?

    work that would accuse his of sorcery: 'if I had no care to retell the calumnies of detractors and envious men, that most immodestly wound me, calling me a Sorcerer, a Conjurer, which name from my tender youth I have abhorred.'22 Thus, he places any reader who does accuse him

  2. Why, and with what consequences did Charles I fail to defeat the Covenanters in ...

    In June 1649 the King agreed to the Treaty of Berwick which was seen as a clear victory for the Covenanters. Overall it is clear to see that a combination of the King's naivety, lack of funds and the inferior quality of Charles's Army contributed to Charles's failure to defeat the Covenanters in the First Bishops' War.

  1. In arguing for the Copernican system Galileo demonstrated he was well equipped in balancing ...

    Bible but it could be in its service; as was the case with the story of Joshua in which Galileo held the Ptolemy system to not be adequate to explain Joshua?s miracle day; for with Ptolemy?s system Joshua?s miracle day wouldn?t have lengthen but become shorter instead.

  2. Salem, Spectral Evidence and Recovered Memory Syndrome

    Falling down in the meetinghouse as the accused were brought in, these girls would appear afflicted by the witch, screaming in pain and torment. Oftentimes, the girls would state that the defendant had appeared to them at night?even on nights the accused were locked away in jail.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work