chapter  1
An 'Elizabethan Church Legacy'?
Pages 11

The use of all historical concepts entails simplification and distortion, but the concept of an 'Elizabethan Church legacy' has value and a long pedigree (68). In a sermon preached before members of Parliament in 1643, Thomas Fuller informed his congregation that Queen Elizabeth had 'swept the Church of England, and left all the dust behind the door' (17, p. 142). Nineteenth-century historians acknowledged that Elizabeth left unresolved problems, yet attached greater blame to James land Charles I for handling their inheritance badly. Now the pendulum has swung again and historians are being more critical of Elizabeth (61, 64, 66, 91). Discussion of a 'Iegacy' focuses the mind on the state of religious affairs at a critical juncture in 1603, provokes analysis of important trends, and highlights themes deemed central to this book. It is wise to remember, however, that this approach may distort our sense of period, exaggerate the importance of 1603 as a 'turning point', and should be set against a Jacobean legacy' in 1625.