Control of Religious Printing in Early Stuart England

Control of Religious Printing in Early Stuart England

S. Mutchow Towers


Boydell Press



Comparative analysis of a range of religious texts published over a period of thirty reveals shifts in doctrinal bias and illustrates the operation of press controls during the period.
It is usually considered that the mechanisms of press control over print publication in Jacobean and Caroline England were only intermittently and ineffectively applied, even in the turbulent decade of the 1630s. This book offers a detailed investigation of their effectiveness, over a period of four decades. It begins with a comparative study of the publication patterns of the evangelical Calvinist Thomas Taylor and the Arminian Thomas Jackson, and supports its findings by sampling the religious press for the years 1607, 1617, 1627, and 1637, studying the development of press controls, and, importantly, comparing texts. The author contrasts the content of religious titles which were subject to pre-publication examination and licensing with those which were not, and investigates the texts for both evangelical Calvinist teachings and for evidence of Laudian ceremonies, practices, and doctrines. This detailed comparative work also reveals the activities of the licit press, and illustrates the degree to which Laud's licensers influenced the nature of religious orthodoxy during the Laudian hegemony of the English Church.

S. MUTCHOW TOWERS is at the Folger Shakespeare Library.


September 2002
312 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Modern British Religious History
ISBN: 9780851159393
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Considerably more nuanced than previous considerations of the topic, and it is a good model of valid historical argument.... It also provides a narrative in its own right of the course of censorship in the period, which can profitably inform both literary and historical studies pertaining to religious literature, censorship, the Civil War, and the history of the Church of England. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY NEWS

(A) fascinating new study.... (the author's) excellent scholarship and persuasive conclusions make this a volume that should be welcomed enthusiastically. JOURNAL OF THE EARLY BOOK SOCIETY

Meticulously argued, methodologically sane.this book will surely become an essential point of reference in future discussions of early modern print regulation. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

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