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In 17th century England, Thorough was a name given by Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford to a scheme of his to establish absolute monarchy in England. Although "Thorough" is largely attributed to Strafford, its implementation can also be accredited to the Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford was an English statesman and a major figure in the period leading up to the English Civil War. He served in Parliament and was a supporter of King Charles I. From 1632–40 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the King, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned Wentworth to death, Charles reluctantly signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.
Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme authority and where that authority is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is legally bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature.
Laud exploited his secular and religious roles to implement the policy of thorough in England. Laud used his authority as Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint only Arminian clergymen as Bishops; this in turn meant that most vicars they appointed would also be Arminian. Arminianism is a sect of Protestant Christianity which believes in the "Divine Right of Kings" and the (Catholic reminiscent) "Beauty of Holiness". Laud hoped that his new Arminian Church of England would make the English conform to believing in the "Divine Right", supporting Charles I's personal rule and setting up a parliament-independent monarchy.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.
Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants. His teachings held to the five solae of the Reformation, but they were distinct from particular teachings of Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and other Protestant Reformers. Jacobus Arminius was a student of Theodore Beza at the Theological University of Geneva. Arminianism is known to some as a soteriological diversification of Protestant Calvinist Christianity; to others, Arminianism is a reclamation of early Church theological consensus.
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
Though English Arminians often supported expansion of royal authority, this did not correlate to support of absolutist monarchies. Arminians challenged Calvinist conception of absolute predestination by introducing an element of free will into Protestant soteriology; that is, they asserted that even the elect (those destined to salvation) could fall totally and finally from saving grace. This idea often translated into acceptance of an increased role of sacraments and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, or the "Beauty of Holiness", though this was not necessarily the case. (See Anti-Calvinism: The Rise of English Arminianism.)
The phrase "Divine Right of Kings" has been incorrectly interpreted as equivalent to absolutism. For further information, see Robert Bucholz & Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, 2d edition and David Cressy & Lori Anne Ferrell, Religion and Society in Early Modern England, 2d.
Laud used his authority over the prerogative courts to humiliate the gentry, who were largely Puritan and Presbyterian. As Puritans and Presbyterians, the gentry were opposed to Laud's beliefs and opposed to the idea of a parliament-independent monarchy. It is arguable whether the opposition of the gentry was based on religious grounds or on grounds of their own prospects of personal gain from a limited monarchy. This interpretation flows from Christopher Hill's Marxist interpretation of the origins of the English Civil War. William Laud used his authority over the prerogative courts to punish many people, including Puritan martyr William Prynne. In this era, religious issues were constitutional issues as in the case of Charles I and William Laud's attempt to impose the English Book of Common Prayer on Scotland. Ibid. See The English Revolution, Economic Problems of the Church: From Archbishop Whitgift to the Long Parliament, Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century, Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England
William Prynne was an English lawyer, author, polemicist, and political figure. He was a prominent Puritan opponent of the church policy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud. Although his views on church polity were presbyterian, he became known in the 1640s as an Erastian, arguing for overall state control of religious matters. A prolific writer, he published over 200 books and pamphlets.
Strafford was Lord Deputy of Ireland, and domiciled in Ireland for much of the personal rule. He left the running of England largely down to Laud, although the application of Thorough in Ireland was entirely down to Strafford. The fear that Strafford instilled in the Irish through the policy of "Thorough" can be demonstrated when looking at the ease in which Strafford extracted subsidies from the Irish Parliament as the Second Bishops War approached during 1640.
The Lord Deputy was the representative of the monarch and head of the Irish executive under English rule, during the Lordship of Ireland and then the Kingdom of Ireland. He deputised prior to 1523 for the Viceroy of Ireland. The plural form is "Lords Deputy".
The Bishops' Wars of 1639 and 1640 are generally viewed as the starting point of the 1639–1652 Wars of the Three Kingdoms that ultimately involved the whole of the British Isles. They originated in long-standing disputes over control and governance of the Church of Scotland or kirk that went back to the 1580s. These came to a head in 1637 when Charles I attempted to impose uniform practices between the kirk and the Church of England.
The Personal Rule was the period from 1629 to 1640, when King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland ruled without recourse to Parliament. The King claimed that he was entitled to do this under the Royal Prerogative.
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity attached to the British Monarch, recognised in the United Kingdom. The monarch is regarded internally as the absolute authority, or "sole prerogative", and prerogative the source of many of the executive powers of the British government.
Laudianism was an early seventeenth-century reform movement within the Church of England, promulgated by Archbishop William Laud and his supporters. It rejected the predestination upheld by the previously dominant Calvinism in favour of free will, and hence the possibility of salvation for all men. It is probably best known for its impact on the Anglican High Church movement and its emphasis on liturgical ceremony and clerical hierarchy. Laudianism was the culmination of the move towards Arminianism in the Church of England, but was neither purely theological in nature, nor restricted to the English church.
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and needed to become more Protestant. Puritanism played a significant role in English history, especially during the Protectorate.
James Ussher was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656. He was a prolific scholar and church leader, who today is most famous for his identification of the genuine letters of the church father, Ignatius, and for his chronology that sought to establish the time and date of the creation as "the entrance of the night preceding the 23rd day of October... the year before Christ 4004"; that is, around 6 pm on 22 October 4004 BC according to the proleptic Julian calendar.
Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1641–1652). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the 'divine right of kings'. The goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.
John Pym was an English parliamentarian, leader of the Long Parliament and a prominent critic of Kings James I and then Charles I. He was one of the Five Members whose attempted arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons of England in 1642 sparked the Civil War. In addition to this Pym went ahead and started to accuse William Laud of trying to convert England back to Catholicism.
The Declaration of Sports was a declaration of James I of England issued just for Lancashire in 1617, nationally in 1618, and reissued by Charles I in 1633. It listed the sports and recreations that were permitted on Sundays and other holy days.
The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of divines (theologians) and members of the English Parliament appointed from 1643 to 1653 to restructure the Church of England. Several Scots also attended, and the Assembly's work was adopted by the Church of Scotland. As many as 121 ministers were called to the Assembly, with nineteen others added later to replace those who did not attend or could no longer attend. It produced a new Form of Church Government, a Confession of Faith or statement of belief, two catechisms or manuals for religious instruction, and a liturgical manual, the Directory for Public Worship, for the Churches of England and Scotland. The Confession and catechisms were adopted as doctrinal standards in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches, where they remain normative. Amended versions of the Confession were also adopted in Congregational and Baptist churches in England and New England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Confession became influential throughout the English-speaking world, but especially in American Protestant theology.
John Bramhall was an Archbishop of Armagh, and an Anglican theologian and apologist. He was a noted controversialist who doggedly defended the English Church from both Puritan and Roman Catholic accusations, as well as the materialism of Thomas Hobbes.
The Grand Remonstrance was a list of grievances presented to King Charles I of England by the English Parliament on 1 December 1641, but passed by the House of Commons on 22 November 1641, during the Long Parliament; it was one of the chief events which were to precipitate the English Civil War.
The Caroline Divines were influential theologians and writers in the Anglican Church who lived during the reigns of King Charles I and, after the Restoration, King Charles II. There is no official list of Caroline-era divines; they are defined by the era in which they lived, and Caroline Divines hailed from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. However, of these four nations, it is Caroline England which is most commonly considered to have fostered a golden age of Anglican scholarship and devotional writing, despite the socio-cultural upset of civil war, regicide, and military rule under Oliver Cromwell. Importantly, the term divine is restricted neither to canonised saints nor to Anglican figures, but is used of many writers and thinkers in the wider Christian church.
Richard Cosin was an English jurist. He became prominent as an ecclesiastical lawyer in the service of Archbishop John Whitgift, active against the Puritans in the Church of England.
The reign of Elizabeth I of England, from 1558 to 1603, saw the rise of the Puritan movement in England, its clash with the authorities of the Church of England, and its temporarily effective suppression as a political movement in the 1590's by judicial means. This of course led to the further alienation of Anglicans and Puritans from one another in the 17th century during the reign of King James (1603-1625) and the reign of King Charles I (1625-1649), that eventually brought about the English Civil War (1642-1651), the brief rule of the Puritan Lord Protector of England Oliver Cromwell (1653-1658), the English Commonwealth (1649-1660), and as a result the political, religious, and civil liberty that is celebrated today in all English speaking countries.
The reign of King James I of England, from 1603-1625, saw the continued rise of the Puritan movement in England, that began during the long and prosperous reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), and its ongoing clash with the authorities of the Church of England. This eventually led to the further alienation of Anglicans and Puritans from one another in the 17th century during the reign of King Charles I (1625-1649), that eventually brought about the English Civil War (1642-1651), the brief rule of the Puritan Lord Protector of England Oliver Cromwell (1653-1658), the English Commonwealth (1649-1660), and as a result the political, religious, and civil liberty that is celebrated today in all English speaking countries.
Under Charles I, the Puritans became a political force as well as a religious tendency in the country. Opponents of the royal prerogative became allies of Puritan reformers, who saw the Church of England moving in a direction opposite to what they wanted, and objected to increased Catholic influence both at Court and within the Church.
From 1649 to 1660, Puritans in England were allied to the state power held by the military regime, headed by Oliver Cromwell until his death in 1658. They broke into numerous sects, of which the Presbyterian group comprised most of the clergy, but was deficient in political power since Cromwell's sympathies were with the Independents. During this period the term "Puritan" becomes largely moot, therefore, in British terms, though the situation in New England was very different. After the English Restoration the Savoy Conference and Uniformity Act 1662 drove most of the Puritan ministers from the Church of England, and the outlines of the Puritan movement changed over a few decades into the collections of Presbyterian and Congregational churches, operating as they could as Dissenters under changing regimes.
The Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent that of England and of Ireland, during the 17th century. Presbyterian denominations tracing their history to the Covenanters and often incorporating the name continue the ideas and traditions in Scotland and internationally.
Arminianism in the Church of England was a controversial theological position within the Church of England particularly evident in the second quarter of the 17th century. A key element was the rejection of predestination. The Puritans fought against Arminianism, but it was supported by kings James I and Charles I, leading to deep political battles. The term comes from Arminianism, which in Protestant theology refers to Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian, and his Remonstrant followers, and covers his proposed revisions to Reformed theology. "Arminianism" in the English sense, however, had a broader application: to questions of church hierarchy, discipline and uniformity; to details of liturgy and ritual; and in the hands of the Puritan opponents of Laudianism, to a wider range of perceived or actual ecclesiastical policies, especially those implying any reconciliation with Roman Catholic practice or extension of central government powers over clerics.
Historians have produced and worked with a number of definitions of Puritanism, in an unresolved debate on the nature of the Puritan movement of the 16th and 17th century. There are some historians who are prepared to reject the term for historical use. John Spurr argues that changes in the terms of membership of the Church of England, in 1604–6, 1626, 1662, and also 1689, led to re-definitions of the word "Puritan". Basil Hall, citing Richard Baxter. considers that "Puritan" dropped out of contemporary usage in 1642, with the outbreak of the First English Civil War, being replaced by more accurate religious terminology. Current literature on Puritanism supports two general points: Puritans were identifiable in terms of their general culture, by contemporaries, which changed over time; and they were not identified by theological views alone.
William Laud was an English archbishop and academic. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633, during the personal rule of Charles I. Arrested in 1640, he was executed in 1645.