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Politics and Religion in Restoration Cockermouth

Michael A. Mullett


This book provides an account of the political and religious life of the borough and parliamentary constituency of Cockermouth during the reigns of kings Charles II and James II between 1660 and 1688.

After an introductory survey of the economic, social, institutional and ecclesiastical life and structures of the town, the eight further chapters offer the reader closely observed analyses of the town’s well-documented parliamentary elections. The emergency of a Tory party-political profile is vividly chronicled, along with the existence of a credible Whig party alternative. Cockermouth is thus sharply portrayed as playing an important role in the emergence of a national two-party system.
In what was still a deeply religious country, Cockermouth was caught up in the eccelesiastical conflicts of the period. The dominant figure in this story is that of the Congregational minister, George Larkham, whose fast-paced narrative of his church’s vicissitudes, through a period of often harsh repression, supply an unrivalled account of the fortunes and misfortunes of a provincial Non-Conformist community in later Stuart England.
Based on primary research in national and regional records, and written in a highly readable style, this study offers valuable insights into the history of one of Cumbria’s most important urban centres.
Michael Mullett is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Lancaster, where he taught for four decades until retirement in 2008. He chairs the Penrith regional group of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, and is an assistant editor of the Society’s Transactions. He is also currently preparing a study of politics, religion and the influence of Lady Anne Clifford in Appleby, 1660-1688.





Publication Date:

2014 January


Paperback; 210 x 145mm