Jacket Image

When God was King Rebels & Radicals of the Civil War & Mayflower Generation Martyn Whittock

  • Price: £18.99
  • Currently not available
24 Aug 2018
272 pages: 156 x 234 mm


Islam is not the only religion that has sought political power, or believed that it should be possible to create a theocracy. In the seventeenth century, Christians in the British Isles and North America attempted to follow the examples of sixteenth-century European radicals, while attempting to learn from their mistakes. This occured first in Scotland, and then during the upheavals of the Civil Wars, culminating in Oliver Cromwell attempting to impose just such a rule “of the saints” across the whole country. On the other side of the Atlantic the Mayflower “Pilgrims” and other “godly” colonists sought to establish a New Jerusalem in the New World. At the same time, millenarian groups planned a religious, political, and social revolution to usher in the return of Christ; while others argued for something akin to modern democracy and some a form of rural communism. And even after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, millenarian groups continued to plot an overturning of the world order. Among groups, such as the Quakers, their faith continued to have a radical impact on their politics and their seventeenth-century legacy influenced the later development of Dissent and Nonconformity in the United Kingdom and in North America. Nor is Christian political radicalism dead today – it has influenced politicians ever since, and can be seen in recent political developments in the USA in the twenty-first century. This book is a fascinating study of the ideas and actions of these political radicals and the kind of societies and life experiences that produced them.
Martyn Whittock graduated in Politics from Bristol University in 1980. He taught history for thirty-five years and latterly was curriculum leader for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education at a Wiltshire secondary school. He is a Licensed Lay Minister in the Church of England. He has acted as an historical consultant to the National Trust and English Heritage. He retired from teaching in July 2016 to devote more time to writing. He is the author or co-author of forty-seven books, including school history textbooks and adult history books. The latter include: A Brief History Of Life in the Middle Ages (2009), A Brief History of the Third Reich (2011), A Brief Guide To Celtic Myths and Legends (2013), The Viking Blitzkrieg AD789-1098 (2013), The Anglo-Saxon Avon Valley Frontier (2014), 1016 and 1066: Why The Vikings Caused The Norman Conquest (2016), Norse Myths and Legends (2017), When God Was King (2018), The Vikings: from Odin to Christ (2018). The last two published by Lion Hudson. Also co-written with his daughter, Esther, is Christ: The First Two Thousand Years (2016). The Story of the Cross is their second collaborative venture. Both books are published by Lion Hudson.
“The Christian Church – particularly the Protestant bit of it – is particularly adept at bifurcation. This was never more evident than in the 17th Century. Whittock leads us through the luxuriant undergrowth of politico-religious fragmentation and rival sincerities. His book well deserves to be set alongside Christopher Hill's classic The World Turned Upside Down.”

You might also be interested in..