In the precarious years that followed the Restoration of Charles II, the senior clergy of the Church of England navigated the country’s shifting politics at their peril. But high principles still had their place, as John Jolliffe explains.
English life in the second half of the 17th century divides into two sharply contrasting periods. The first, the Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell, sought to destroy the liturgy of the Church of England, the backbone of most people's devotional life. It made the theatre illegal and abolished the feast of Christmas. It also destroyed a great deal of the treasure of glass and stone at the heart of the nation's churches and cathedrals.
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