Local History and the Origins of the Civil War
This chapter seeks to unravel some of the connections between local approaches to early seventeenth-century English history and interpretations of the Civil War. It argues that local history can help to create a more satisfying general account of the origins of the war than has hitherto been provided. Society was more diffuse and broader based than in south Warwickshire: there were fewer great gentry and more poor while yeoman and freeholders of more modest wealth were able to flourish through independent enterprise in an expanding economy. Brian Manning has argued that the Civil War arose out of conflict within a feudal society between the 'people' and an aggressive landed and commercial elite. The war was fought between parliamentarians who were pressing for godly reformation of popery and profanity and royalists who supported the traditional social order, believed that parochial rituals and festivities were a guarantee of social harmony, and feared Puritan disruption more than any popish conspiracy.