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The University of Cambridge and the English Revolution: 1625-1699.

This solid survey draws upon a wide range of secondary studies, printed, and manuscript sources to represent the impact of seventeenth-century religious and political disputes upon the institutions, fellows and heads in the University of Cambridge and its colleges in ten chronological chapters. The impact of royal patronage under James I to maintain balance and under Charles I to apply royal pressure and mandates for the appointment of "Arminian" heads becomes clear in the chapter on the 1620s and 1630s. Although Twigg detects no systematic campaign of reform here, the use of the pulpit to propagate Arminian doctrines and the introduction of "the beautifying or adornment of college chapels," including the moving of communion tables to the east end of college chapels and other "religious performances such as kneeling to receive communion, and bowing towards the altar and at the name of Jesus," marked a partially successful campaign to shift the theology and worship in at least in some of these training grounds of clergy (p. 35). A plan to enforce Arminian uniformity by a metropolitan visit in the late 1630s, however, came to nothing, partly because of procrastination and partly because of the protection of such powerful patrons as the Earl of Holland and the first Earl of Manchester.

The 1640s witnessed the considerable growth in parliamentary impact upon the university, starting with the impeachment of John Cosin, Master of Peterhouse and a leading Arminian, in March 1641 and culminating in a series of purges. The visitation carried out by the second Earl of Manchester in early 1644 expelled "the five most notorious royalist and Laudian heads," ejected some sixty-three fellows for non-residence, and removed eleven fellows for refusing the oath of the Solemn League and Covenant (p. 93). By the end of 1645, warrants were issued for the expulsion of 212 heads and fellows. Manchester also took the lead in nominating ten new heads as replacements who would take the lead in producing both a reformed university and ministry Faced with declining revenues and matriculations, the newly modeled and reformed colleges also came under attack from educational reformers. Despite a small purge during the commonwealth (five heads ejected), however, the interregnum witnessed a low level of intervention from the central authorities and increasing prosperity and stability.

The restoration witnessed the reinstatement of those purged earlier and the resignation or ejection of those who had taken their places and of heads and fellows who refused to conform to the new act of uniformity. The Arminians returned with a vengeance and restored surplices, organs, altar cloths, bowing toward the altar and at the name of Jesus, and old decorations to some college chapels and introduced such ceremonies into others. Royal mandates intruded or mere sought into a wide variety of areas, including the awarding of honourary degrees, but the Chancellors and such churchmen as Archbishop Gilbert Sheldon and Bishop William Sancroft provided some protection and channelling of royal patronage. Although not pleased with the intrusion of Catholic fellows by James II, none of the Cambridge colleges faced the trials of Magdalen College, Oxford. Indeed, Cambridge did resist a royal mandate which "ordered the university to admit Alban Francis [a Benedictine monk] to the degree of master of arts" without "the requirement to take any oath or make any subscription," a move which would have opened the way for Catholics to study for degrees (p. 281). Although the university gained credit after the Glorious Revolution for standing up to James II, some forty-odd fellows refused the oath of loyalty to William and Mary and faced expulsion. The last of the purges came with the accession of George I in 1714 when ten fellows non-jurors finally faced expulsion from St. John's College.

A revised version of the author's doctoral thesis, The University of Cambridge and the English Revolution 1625-1688 accurately draws upon the relevant work of others on such matters as curriculum and theological disputes and provides accurate new information on the purges carries out during the civil wars, interregnum, and restoration. The well documented intellectual life of the heads, fellows, and students receives less original attention here than one might have expected. On the whole, Twigg provides a solid introduction to the topic with a good bibliography to guide students to further works.
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Author:Christianson, Paul
Publication:Canadian Journal of History
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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