• Lionel K. J. Glassey
Part of the Problems in Focus Series book series (PFS)


Henry Fairfax, D. D., Dean of Norwich, died aged sixty-eight in May 1702 and was buried in the south aisle of the nave of Norwich Cathedral. His monument represents him as deposited in the midst of a small stone library, although during his lifetime he had been described by a hostile critic as a man who never looked into a book and was ‘good for nothing but his pipe and his pot’.1 A long Latin inscription refers to his defence of religion as one of the deprived fellows of Magdalen College in Oxford during King James’s reign. It also mentions the circumstance that he was a nephew of the victorious Parliamentarian general at Naseby, Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had been (so the inscription goes) ‘a wise man whether one contemplates his actions or his counsels’. These laudatory references to the Captain-General of the New Model Army and a rebel who had defeated his King, Charles I, in battle, gave great offence in early eighteenth-century Norwich. An order was given to scrape the words ‘Naseby’ and ‘wise’ off the marble on which they were inscribed. A visitor to the south aisle of Norwich Cathedral today can still see the gaps in the Latin text where a Parliamentarian hero had once been celebrated.


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  1. The best textbook on the period from 1660 to 1689 is Geoffrey Holmes, The Making of a Great Power: Late Stuart and early Georgian Britain, 1660–1722 (London, 1993), which is beautifully written and has informative appendices.Google Scholar
  2. B. Coward, The Stuart Age: A History of England 1603–1714 (London, 1980)Google Scholar
  3. and J. R. Jones, Country and Court: England 1658–1714 (London, 1978) are beginning to date, but they have served a generation of students well and they still provide an admirable guide to the outlines of later Stuart history.Google Scholar
  4. Four brief but helpful introductions for the newcomer to the period are: K. H. D. Haley, Politics in the Reign of Charles II (Historical Association Studies, Oxford, 1985);Google Scholar
  5. R. M. Bliss, Restoration England, 1660–1688 (Lancaster Pamphlets, London, 1985);Google Scholar
  6. J. Miller, Restoration England: The Reign of Charles II (Seminar Studies in History, London, 1985);Google Scholar
  7. and J. Miller, The Glorious Revolution (Seminar Studies in History, London, 1983).Google Scholar
  8. More recent are: J. Miller, An English Absolutism? The Later Stuart Monarchy 1660–1688 (Historical Association, New Appreciations in History 30, London, 1993);Google Scholar
  9. and M. Mullett, James II and English Politics 1678–1688 (Lancaster Pamphlets, London, 1994). All of these books are concise and clear.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Patrick Morrah, Restoration England (London, 1979) does not go beyond 1666, but is pleasantly reflective, if not profound, on the early years of Charles’s reign. An outstanding collection of essays, which to a considerable extent has set the agenda for the revisionist interpretations of the period,Google Scholar
  11. is Tim Harris, Paul Seaward and Mark Goldie (eds), The Politics of Religion in Restoration England (Oxford, 1990).Google Scholar
  12. An older but still useful collection of essays is J. R. Jones (ed.), The Restored Monarchy, 1660–1688 (London, 1979).Google Scholar
  13. The two monarchs whose reigns are covered by this volume have attracted several biographers. Charles’s elusive personality and equivocal policies are differently interpreted by J. Miller, Charles II (London, 1991), which concentrates more on foreign than on domestic affairs;Google Scholar
  14. R. Hutton, Charles II: King of England, Scotland and Ireland (Oxford, 1989), in which the reverse is the case;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. and J. R. Jones, Charles II: Royal Politician (London, 1987), which is focused, as the title suggests, on Charles’s relationships with ministers, politicians and parliaments.Google Scholar
  16. James has been best served by J. Miller, James II: A Study in Kingship (Hove, 1978; 2nd edn, London, 1989).Google Scholar
  17. Four collections of documents and source material are all valuable in different ways. A. Browning (ed.), English Historical Documents, 1660–1714 (London, 1953; 2nd edn, 1966) is wide-ranging, and contributes under a variety of headings a series of admirable short summaries of the then state of knowledge.Google Scholar
  18. J. P. Kenyon (ed.), The Stuart Constitution (Cambridge, 1966; 2nd edn, 1986) likewise contains a valuable commentary on the political and constitutional material that it prints. The revision for the second edition was extensive.Google Scholar
  19. The collection edited by William Myers, Restoration and Revolution (London, 1986) provides a well-chosen selection from the prose writings of the period.Google Scholar
  20. Joan Thirsk (ed.), The Restoration (Problems and Perspectives in History, London, 1976) combines extracts both from contemporary writers and from modern historians, and is especially strong on social and economic themes.Google Scholar
  21. Additionally, the enterprise of the publishers of the paperback edition of The Diary of Samuel Pepys, eds R. Latham and W. Matthews (11 vols, London, 1970–83) is to be warmly commended.Google Scholar
  22. The available bibliographies for the period are in need of revision. Mary Freer Keeler, Bibliography of British History: Stuart Period, 1603–1714 (2nd edn, Oxford, 1970)Google Scholar
  23. and W. L. Sachse, Restoration England 1660–1689 (Cambridge, 1971) are both more than a quarter of a century old.Google Scholar
  24. John Morrill, Seventeenth Century Britain, 1603–1714 (Folkestone, 1980) is a combination of bibliography and extended review article.Google Scholar
  25. Finally, mention should be made of two authors who wrote in a now unfashionable genre: the comprehensive, multi-volume survey. D. Ogg, England in the Reign of Charles II (2 vols, Oxford, 1934; 2nd edn 1955), together with his England in the Reigns of James II and William III (Oxford, 1955; 2nd edn 1957) had a great influence in its time. There is more on Scotland and Ireland than the titles would suggest.Google Scholar
  26. And no student of the period should neglect Lord Macaulay, History of England (5 vols, London, 1849–65; numerous later edns, including a paperback abridgement in Penguin Books). Despite the title, this is essentially a study of James’s reign and the Revolution. Macaulay was prejudiced and dogmatic, but he read widely in printed and manuscript sources at a time when libraries and archives were less well-catalogued than they are now, and his gusto makes it impossible to be bored by him. It became clear in 1988 during the commemoration of the tercentenary of the Revolution that there is a widespread view among non-specialists that Macaulay said the last word on the subject.Google Scholar

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© L. K. J. Glassey 1997

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