chapter  7
The Church in the 1630s
Pages 9

This decade has always been seen as critical in the history of the Church (50). It embraces the 'personal rule' or 'eleven years' tyranny' from 1629 to 1640, when Archbishop William Laud appeared to reign supreme in both Church and state. In 1632 his old patron Richard Neile became Archbishop ofYork, and his newfound ally Thomas Wentworth, later Earl of Strafford, became Lord Deputy of Ireland. Although Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury only in 1633, he had been effectively in charge of the Church since at least 1627. In 1636 his friend William Juxon, Bishop of London, became the first clergyman since the reign of Henry VII to hold the post of Lord Treasurer. Little wonder, then, that William Laud was seen as one of the architects of the Civil War; his policies created a stir in England, while his attempts to introduce changes in Scotland led to the so-called 'Bishops' Wars' after 1638. Given that these led inexorably to the Long Parliament of 1640, the case against Laud looks strong. And indeed, Laud paid the ultimate price of his own life when convicted on such charges by contemporaries in 1645.