George Herbert and Caroline Religious Uniformity

  • John M. Adrian
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


The concept of nationhood became even more contested in the two decades following the 1612 publication of Poly-Olbion. The commencement of Charles I’s Personal Rule in 1629 did little to assuage the fears of a monolithic nationhood and, indeed, seemed to confirm Michael Drayton’s particular complaint about the disproportionate influence of the royal Court. As we shall see, there were initiatives afoot to reduce the national religious landscape to a greater uniformity as well. Such political and religious issues came to dominate public discourse, and it is easy to look back at the 1620s and 1630s as a time of national polarization. But against this highly charged backdrop, contemporaries continued to turn to the local to mediate ideological conflicts. The same heterogeneity that Lambarde and Drayton endorsed in their works was also found serviceable to a new generation of writers. In this chapter we will consider George Herbert’s investment in the local parish as a strategy for negotiating national religious controversies about appropriate forms of worship. As with the previous two chapters, the author’s deployment of the local is intimately tied to his historical moment — in this case, the rise of Laudianism.


Religious Experience Middle Ground Historical Moment Parish Bond Local Church 
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© John M. Adrian 2011

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