Hardinge Simpole

Puritans and Roundheads
The Harleys of Brampton Bryan and the outbreak of the English Civil War
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By Eales, Jacqueline
ISBN 0951375717
SERIES History and Biography
Paperback  Previously published by Cambridge University Press  244 pages
Subject [British & Irish history: c 1500 to c 1700 ] [Biography: historical, political & military ]
Published April 2002
UK Price £19.95   
US Price $29.95   

This book is based on the private papers of the Harley family of Brampton Bryan and in particular on the letters of Lady Brilliana Harley(1598 - 1643), which contain an unparalleled account of the development of civil war parties in an English county. The Harleys were the only major gentry family in Herefordshire to support Parliament against the King during the English Civil War. Sir Robert Harley KB (1579 - 1656) was a prominent member of the Long Parliament until his exclusion at Pride's Purge in 1648. His wife Lady Brilliana was a staunch supporter of the Parliament and led the successful defence of Brampton Castle against a royalist siege in the summer of 1643. Religion played a prominent role in the formation of royalist and parliamentarian parties in Herefordshire in 1642, for the Harleys were also the only major gentry family in the county who were puritans. This book thus uses the unique Harley family archives in order to trace the impact of religious beliefs on political affiliations in Herefordshire before and during the outbreak of the Civil War. This is not simply a family history. The Harleys were in contact with a wide circle of puritan clergy and laity throughout the English and Welsh marcher counties, the Midlands and London. The Harley papers are used to demonstrate the growth of conflicting religious and political ideologies in the early Stuart period and to show how those competing ideologies contributed to the outbreak of a civil war in 1642.

Dr Jackie Eales is Reader in History at Canterbury Christ Church University College, England.

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