William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-45), remains one of the most controversial figures in British ecclesiastical and political history. His rise to prominence under Charles I, his contribution to the shaping and implementation of contentious religious policies and his subsequent and catastrophic downfall are fundamental to our understanding of the religious and political developments which led to the collapse of royal authority in all three of the Stuart kingdoms. Events in Scotland were central to this chain of events, and this book presents Scotland as a case study for a fresh interpretation of Laud, his career and his working partnership with Charles I. Casting new and much-needed light on Laud's engagement in Scottish affairs, this book reveals that his agency in Scotland was broadly consistent with - although differing in detail from - his approach in England and Ireland.
It represents a major contribution to key debates on the nature of religion and politics in the 1630s and early 1640s and enhances current thinking on the role of both prince and prelate in the formulation of ecclesiastical policy, the 'British problem', and, indeed, the causes of the British Civil Wars. LEONIE JAMES is Lecturer in History at the University of Kent, Canterbury.