William Laud recorded in his diary, for August 4th, 1633: 'Sunday, News came to Court: of The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury's death and the King resolved presently to give it me. Which he did, Aug 6.' This month, 350 years later, Kevin Sharpe, urges the need for a re-evaluation of Laud's career
William Laud was a controversial figure from his student days in Oxford in the 1590s to his death on the scaffold in 1645, Laud rose to prominence in a period during which it became clear that the Church of England meant different things to different men. These were decades which witnessed theological wrangles between the Calvinists (who asserted that men were predestined to either salvation or reprobation) and the Arminians who believed in God's universal grace and the free will of man. They were years too of sharper disagreements over the liturgy between those who rejected and those who emphasised the ceremonies prescribed in the canons of the Church and the Book of Common Prayer. Laud's career reflected as well as affected the course of those wrangles and disputes. Not surprisingly he has remained the subject of controversy ever since.