Dr. Andrew Thomson was a Reader in History at King’s College London and taught at sixth form college level until his retirement. Dr. Thomson holds a Ph.D. in Church History from the University of London, United Kingdom.2011 0-7734-1580-7
This book attempts to assess the ministry of the Church in Winchester – a premier diocese – in the seventh century – a time of outstanding upheaval – as it underwent the awesome challenges of Archbishop Laud’s Arminianism, abolition during the wars and emergence after the Restorations into an age of Toleration.
The focus is the parish. While the hierarchy was immersed in national policy, the parish clergy were the front line – the interface – between Church and people. They performed the essential rites of passage in the communities, from baptisms to communion – and with the churchwardens, oversaw the fabric of their church, its fittings and charity. Five critical points – 1615, 1637, 1663, 1675, and 1697 – form the basis of this study. Early chapters examine such characteristics as ‘class,’ education, and income of the clergy; later chapters, likewise, parochial activity over the century.
It is the contention of this survey that the mid-century upheavals smashed traditional loyalties but that the parish clergy and their overlords, when restored, reverted to type and failed to heed the lessons of the 1640s/50s. Problems from outmoded parochial boundaries to pluralism and working into old age remained unaddressed, depriving the church of the vigorous ministry needed in the changed circumstances of post-restoration Britain.