The defence of episcopacy on the eve of civil war: Jeremy Taylor and the Rutland petition of 1641

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


The discovery that Jeremy Taylor, the ‘Anglican’ divine, wrote much of the text of the Rutland Petition in Defence of Episcopacy in November 1641, and included many of the arguments that appeared in his ‘Of the sacred order and offices of episcopacy’, published in 1642, throws fresh light on the political and ecclesiastical implications of royalist petitioning. These petitions have sometimes been viewed as expressions of support for ‘prayer book Protestantism’. But, in line with other recent work, this article argues that they drew support from a very broad spectrum of religious opinion, which ranged from moderate Puritan supporters of further reform to avant-garde conformists. Each had their own agenda; but they could be mobilised behind the petitions because of the widespread fear of radical sectarian challenges to the established Church in late 1641.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-80
JournalJournal of Ecclesastical History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017