William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. Also John Fisher (i.e., John Percy), Jesuit

      During the reign of Charles Ist (1625-1649) one man held sway over the Church of England. That man was William Laud (1573-1645), the Archbishop of Canterbury. Shortly after Charles's succession, Laud presented him with a list in which he divided the flock of Anglican ministers into sheep and goats - the sheep marked "O" (for orthodox) and the goats marked "P" (for Puritan). This began a feud that was to lead to many mutilations of Puritans (among whom were Henry Burton, q.v. and some of the divines in Clarke's Lives of Sundry Modern English Divines) and culminate in the beheading of Laud himself once the Puritans began to establish their power.

      Laud was also at odds with the Catholics, of course, and one of the books described here is an edition of his discussion with "Fisher the Jesuit".

      John Fisher (vere John Percy, or Piersey, Piers, or Persy, or, possibly, none of these but one John Sweet) was frequently imprisoned, but lived until his 70s and died a natural death of cancer in about 1642. His name was brought up at Laud's trial, and one of the accusations against Laud was that he had protected Fisher, securing his release from prison and discountenancing his arrest. It does appear that he did at least secure a commutation of Fisher's sentence. (An account of all this, together with the text of the Laud/Fisher discussion, can be found here.)

     The other book shown here is posthumously-published (1651) edition of seven of Laud's sermons (all originally delivered in the 1620s).

A Relation of the Conference between William Lawd, Then, Lord Bishop of St. Davids; now, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury: And Mr Fisher the Jesuite (London, Printed by Richard Badger, Printer to the Prince His Highnes. 1639, fol., 22+388 pp.). Front hinge cracked; otherwise a nice copy. Bookplates of John Lynch, Dean of Canterbury and W.A. Harding of Madingley and ex libris Thomas Richard Harding.



Seven Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions by The Right Reverend and Learned Father in God, William Laud, Late Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, &c. (London, Printed for R. Lowndes, at the White Lion in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1651, 8vo, 5+339.) An excellent copy, in near-fine condition (later leather binding, all edges gilt).

The title page describes Laud coyly as the "Late Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, etc.", and the book gives no details either of Laud's life or his fate. In the climate of Cromwell's Commonwealth it is perhaps surprising that it was published at all.