Baal's Priests: The Loyalist Clergy and the English Revolution (Hardback) book cover

Baal's Priests

The Loyalist Clergy and the English Revolution

By Fiona McCall

© 2013 – Routledge

364 pages

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Hardback: 9781409455776
pub: 2013-04-28
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About the Book

The English Civil War was a time of disruption, suffering and persecution for many people, not least the clergy of the established church, who found themselves ejected from their livings in increasing numbers as Parliamentarian forces extended their control across the country. Yet, historians have tended to downplay their suffering, preferring in most cases to concentrate instead upon the persecution suffered by dissenters after the Restoration. Drawing upon an impressive array of sources - most notably the remarkable set of family and parish memories collected by John Walker in the early years of the eighteenth century - this book refocuses attention on the experiences of the sequestered loyalist clergy during the turbulent years of the 1640s and 1650s. The study highlights how the experiences of the clergy can help illuminate events in wider society, whilst at the same time acknowledging the unique situation in which Church of England ministers found themselves. For although the plundering, imprisonment and personal loss of the clergy was probably indicative of the experiences of many ordinary people on middle incomes, the ever present religious dimension to the conflict ensured particular attention was paid to those holding religious office. During the war and interregnum, zealous religious reformers attacked every aspect of established religion, targeting both existing institutions and those who supported them. Clergy were ejected on an unprecedented scale, suffering much violence and persecution and branded as 'malignants' and 'baal's priests'. By re-examining their history, the book offers a balanced assessment of the persecution, challenging many preconceptions about the ejected loyalists, and providing new insights into the experiences and legacies of this influential group.


'Fiona McCall is to be congratulated for producing a perceptive and engaging work examining the English Civil War and, specifically, the suffering of the clergy which occurred during it. … McCall's monograph is full of extremely rich and detailed analysis of the period … Her scholarship is characterized by a patient willingness to examine her primary sources and ask astute questions about their character, veracity, and style. Her work brings to life the fact that the English Civil War was a time of terrible suffering, disruption, and persecution, particularly for those royalist clergy who were ejected from their churches.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'This book will be of relevance to anyone interested in the events of the English Revolution and their long-term religious impact on the Church of England. It helps to correct the historiographical bias, which has seen a plethora of studies on the Puritan, Presbyterian, and independent clergy during the Civil Wars and on their fortunes after the Restoration. By putting the experiences of the orthodox, loyalist clergy center stage the author has made a significant contribution to modern scholarship on the seventeenth-century English clergy.' Renaissance Quarterly 'McCall enables us to understand the experience of loyalist ejection as reflected in personal narratives and summarized in statistical analysis. McCall’s work is particularly valuable insofar as narratives of parish incumbents and their parishioners have not been combined with secondary research into one full-length historical study.' Anglican and Episcopal History 'In Baal’s Priests, Fiona McCall has written a valuable study which will once again direct historians’ attentions towards the Walker manuscripts, and in terms of extended quotations from the manuscripts which highlight the variety of information contained within them, McCall’s book provides more scope than either Tatham or Matthews. She displays an impressive knowledge of the Walker manu

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Memories of ejection; In quiet till the breaking out of the civil wars; Drawn swords and pistols cocked: the contingencies of war; A long pilgrimage of affliction - the sufferings of the clergy: rhetoric and reality; A hard shift to live: responses to ejection; The world’s our store-house now: the restoration of the loyalist clergy; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

St Andrews Studies in Reformation History

With the publication of its 100th book in 2012, the St Andrews Studies in Reformation Studies series celebrated an impressive publishing achievement. Since its establishment in 1995 the series has consistently offered high-quality, innovative and thought-provoking research in the field of early modern religious history. By encouraging authors to adopt a broad and inclusive interpretation of ’Reformation’, the resultant publications have done much to help shape current interdisciplinary interpretations of early-modern religion, expanding attention far beyond narrow theological concerns. Each title within the series has added to a body of international research showing how the ripples of the Reformation spread to virtually every corner of European society, both Protestant and Catholic, and often beyond. From family life, education, literature, music, art and philosophy, to political theory, international relations, economics, colonial ventures, science and military matters, there were few aspects of life that remained untouched in some way by the spirit of religious reform. As well as widening conceptions of the Reformation, the series has for the last fifteen years provided a publishing outlet for work, much of it by new and up-and-coming scholars who might otherwise have struggled to find an international platform for their work. Alongside these monographs, a complementary selection of edited volumes, critical editions of important primary sources, bibliographical studies and new translations of influential Reformation works previously unavailable to English speaking scholars, adds further depth to the topic. By offering this rich mix of approaches and topics, the St Andrews series continues to offer scholars an unparalleled platform for the publication of international scholarship in a dynamic and often controversial area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century