The Further Correspondence of William Laud
Edited by Kenneth Fincham
Publication date:16 February 2018
Length of book:355 pages
William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645, is a central figure in the history of seventeenth-century Britain. Laud's correspondence provides revealing insights into his mind, methods and activities, especially in the 1630s, as he sought to remodel the church and the clerical estate in the three kingdoms. The Further Correspondence of William Laud prints 223 letters, drawn from thirty-eight libraries and archives, which were not included in the nineteenth-century edition of his Works. It has real importance for our perception of Laud and the early Stuart church, greatly increasing the number of his letters for the 1620s and providing significant new information, such as the three earliest letters to his closest political ally, Thomas Wentworth, in 1630. Other correspondents include politicians such as Sir John Coke and Lord Keeper Coventry, the diplomat Sir William Boswell, numerous heads of colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge, and churchmen such as Bishops John Bridgeman of Chester and John Bramhall of Derry as well as Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Constantinople. A lengthy introduction assesses the ways in which these letters deepen our knowledge, broaden our understanding and refine our views of Laud's various roles, as chief ecclesiastical counsellor to Charles I, court politician and administrator, chancellor of Oxford University, and overseer of religious reformation in the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. An appendix lists all of Laud's correspondence in chronological order. Collectively, the letters attest to his extraordinary energy and tireless commitment to reform and point to the indelible impact that Laud made on his contemporaries. KENNETH FINCHAM is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Kent. He has written extensively on religion and politics in early modern Britain, including two monographs, Prelate as Pastor: the Episcopate of James I (1990) and, with Nicholas Tyacke, Altars Restored: the Changing Face of English Religious Worship 1547-c.1700 (2007); edited two collections of essays, The Early Stuart Church 1603-1642 (1993) and, with Peter Lake, Religious Politics in post-Reformation England (2006); and edited two volumes of Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church (1994-8) for the Church of England Record Society.