University of Leicester
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Thomas Manton and the presbyterians in interregnum and restoration England

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posted on 2015-12-17, 15:04 authored by Adam Parker Richardson
This thesis presents Thomas Manton as a leading figure in the Presbyterian bid for the centre ground of English ecclesiastical culture in the Interregnum and Restoration. Not only was Manton active on multiple committees of national significance for religious settlement from the 1650s to 1670s, but he likely has the largest corpus of sermons for any seventeenth century Puritan. Much modern scholarship has overlooked the more moderate, sober religious figures while giving greater attention to figures who cast a unique but unrepresentative profile. This thesis aims to correct this by tracing the career and writings of a minister who, though a jure divino Presbyterian, served both Cromwell and Charles 11 as chaplain, and whose sermons have been cited by Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists for hundreds of years after his death. This thesis will explore the political and ecclesiological landscape of the Interregnum and Restoration through the life and works of a single divine. Manton's early years in Devon and Tiverton, his education at Blundell's School and Wadham College, Oxford, his early clerical experience with Presbyterianism, his London parishes, and patronage networks will all be considered for their significance in developing a national leader. Then Manton's role not only among the Presbyterians but between the Presbyterians, the Independents and successive regimes will be evaluated. He is present and involved at nearly every major turn, beginning with the death of Christopher Love, then working for the unity of the godly in the Commonwealth alongside Cromwellian Congregationalists, and finally working for a broad religious settlement in the Restoration. Though he was ultimately ejected from the Church of England, Manton continued work for the accommodation of the godly from within and to protect the church from heresy from without. Nearly fifty years after Manton's death, his lone biographer, William Harris, himself expressed surprise that others had not yet attempted a life of 'a person of so great worth and general esteem, and who bore so great a part in the public affairs of his own time' (Memoirs, vii). This thesis is the first modern scholarly work to set Manton in his historical and cultural context, as well as the first work based on a full reading of his Complete Works. By better understanding Manton, we can better understand the Presbyterians and Independents, and the politics of religion in Interregnum and Restoration England.



Coffey, John; Hopper, Andrew

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Historical Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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