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THE CANTERBURY ELECTION OF 1626 AND PARLIAMENTARY SELECTION REVISITED

  • THOMAS COGSWELL (a1)
Abstract

In 1626, after losing a bitterly fought parliamentary election in Canterbury, Thomas Scott wrote Canterburie cittizens. Initially, he planned to present it to the House of Commons, but the text quickly became too lengthy and, most importantly, too controversial in its assessments. Scholars can only be glad that he produced such an extensive account of the contest. His book allows us to see how the ‘Rule-alls’ on the corporation, dominated by brewers and innkeepers, struggled against Scott's humbler supporters. As Scott makes abundantly clear, this contest was not a result of any chance misunderstanding; rather it stemmed from long-standing divisions within the city which emerged at the 1621 elections and continued well into the Civil War. For days before the election, a group of godly ministers sought to rally votes for Scott, while the ‘Rule-alls’ systematically bullied voters into line. Consequently, although Scott had the largest numbers of supporters at the election, some were too frightened to voice their support loudly. After discussing this episode in detail, the article will reassess the literature on early Stuart elections and particularly, Mark Kishlansky's 1986 book, Parliamentary selections.

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Department of History, University of California, Riverside 92521, CA thomas.cogswell@ucr.edu
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I am indebted to Jackie Eales for assistance with the Corporation and to Dr Stephen Rowlstone for his splendid transcription of Thomas Scott's A manifestation. For many conversations about this case in particular and voting in general, I am grateful to Richard Cust, Jackie Eales, Ann Hughes, Peter Lake, Jason Peacey, Andrew Thrush, and especially Mark Kishlansky; and to Andrew Thrush, Christopher Thompson, and Nicholas Tyacke for reading early drafts; and Allyson Schuele for graphing the contests.

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1 Proceedings in parliament 1626, ed. W. Bidwell et al. (6 vols., New Haven, CT, 1992), ii, p. 395 n. 12; and Canterburie cittizens for the parliament, Canterbury Cathedral Archive (CCA), MS 66, fos. 2, 36, 43v, 57, 69v, 76, 79v, and 129v.

2 Clark, Peter, ‘Thomas Scott and the growth of urban opposition to the early Stuart regime’, Historical Journal, 21 (1978), pp. 126. On the early Stuart contested elections, see Kishlansky, Mark, Parliamentary selection: social and political choice in early modern England (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 3104; and Thrush, Andrew, ‘Introductory survey’, in Thrush, Andrew and Ferris, John P., eds., The House of Commons, 1604–1629 (6 vols., Cambridge, 2010) (HC, 1604–1629), i, pp. 94154.

3 Everitt, Alan, The community of Kent and the Great Rebellion (Leicester, 1966); Hirst, Derek, The representative of the people? Voters and voting in England under the early Stuarts (Cambridge, 1975); and Clark, Peter, English provincial society from the Reformation to the Revolution: religion, politics and society in Kent, 1500–1640 (Rutherford, 1977).

4 Gruenfelder, John K., Influence in early Stuart elections, 1604–1640 (Columbus, OH, 1981), pp. 4, 1011, 17, 19–20, 131, 193, and 216; Hasler, P. W., ed., The House of Commons, 1558–1603 (3 vols., London, 1981), i, pp. 183–4; and Cust, Richard, ‘Election and selection in Stuart England’, Parliamentary History, 7 (1988), p. 344. See also Yerby, George, People and parliament: representative rights and the English Revolution (Basingstoke, 2008); and Patterson, Catherine, Urban patronage in early Stuart England: corporate boroughs, the landed elite and the English crown, 1580–1640 (Stanford, CA, 1999).

5 See Russell, Conrad, Unrevolutionary England (London, 1990), p. xxvii; Underdown, David, A freeborn people: politics and the nation in seventeenth-century England (Oxford, 1996), pp. 23–5, 3841; Cust, Richard, ‘Politics and the electorate in the 1620s’, in Cust, R. and Hughes, A., eds., Conflict in early Stuart England (Harlow, 1989), pp. 152 and 160–2; idem, The Forced Loan and English politics, 1626–1628 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 175–87; Tyacke, Nicholas, ‘The puritan paradigm of English politics, 1558–1642’, Historical Journal, 53 (2010), pp. 527–50; idem, ‘Revolutionary Puritanism in Anglo-American perspective’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 76 (2015), pp. 745–69; Cuttica, Cesare, ‘Thomas Scott of Canterbury (1566–1635): patriot, civic radical, puritan’, History of European Ideas, 4 (2008), pp. 475–89; idem, ‘Kentish cousins at odds: Filmer's Patrarchia and Thomas Scott's Defence of freeborn Englishmen’, History of Political Thought, 28 (2007), pp. 599–616; and idem, Sir Robert Filmer (1588–1653) and the patriotic monarch: patriarchalism in seventeenth-century thought (Manchester, 2012), pp. 51–91; and Andrew Thrush, ‘Canterbury’, and ‘Thomas Scott’, in HC, 1604–1629, ii, pp. 192–8, and vi, pp. 246–52.

6 Kishlansky, Parliamentary selection, p. 140 n. 12; and Hirst, Representative of the people?, p. 2.

7 HC, 1604–1629; Kishlansky, Parliamentary selection, pp. 16–17, 31–2, 141 nn. 12 and 23; for Kishlansky's corrections, see pp. 27 n. 14, 28 n. 21, 31 n. 31, 32 n. 34, 41 n. 72, 44, nos. 85 and 86, 76 n. 7, and 78 n. 12.

8 See, for example, Neale, J. E., The Elizabethan House of Commons (London, 1949), pp. 19132; and Kishlansky, Parliamentary selection, pp. 49–55 and 85–101.

9 Great Yarmouth Assembly Book, 26 Jan. 1626, Norfolk Record Office, Y/C19/6, fo. 10. For a brilliant example of a deep background study, see Cust, Richard, ‘Parliamentary elections in the 1620s: the case of Great Yarmouth’, Parliamentary History, 11 (1992), pp. 179–91.

10 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 7v–8. See also Hirst's review, Albion, 19 (1988), pp. 428–34; and Cust, ‘Election and selection’; idem, ‘parliamentary Elections in the 1620s’; and idem, ‘Politics and the electorate’.

12 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 11, 15v, and 52v; Proceedings in parliament 1626, vi, p. 233; Kent History and Library Centre (KHLC), Knatchbull MSS, U951/Z16, paragraphs 49 and 59; and Tyacke, ‘Puritan paradigm’, p. 544. On his ancestors, especially Sir John Scott (c. 1423–85) and Sir Rainold Scott (1459–1524), see KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U951/Z17, fos. 156v–158v; and for his work on baptism, see Folger Shakespeare Library v.a 127, pp. 135–216.

13 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 10, 11, and 83v; and Tyacke, ‘Puritan paradigm’, pp. 527–50.

14 Draft minutes of the Burghmote, 1617–18, CCA, CC/AD1a [fo. 1], and Accounts 1620–9, CCA, F23, fo. 290v. On the local background, see Eales, Jacqueline's recent work: ‘The rise of ideological politics in Kent, 1558–1640’, in Zell, M., ed., Early modern Kent, 1540–1640 (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 279314; and ‘Kent and the English Civil War, 1640–1660’, in F. Lansberry, ed., Government and politics in Kent, 1640–1914 (Woodbridge, 2001), pp. 1–34.

15 KHLC, U951/Z16, paragraph 49.

16 Although the Hallbook for this period has not survived, the Chamberlain's Accounts reveal a good deal about the city's relationship with Lennox and especially Montgomery. See, for example, Accounts for 1620–9, CCA, FA 23, fos. 201, 202v, 248, 249v, and 289v–290.

17 Lovelace to the mayor et al., 1 Sept. 1618, CCA, FA 22/2/32; KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U951/Z17, fo. 156; Canterburie cittizens, fo. 70v; and ‘Thinges grievous and offensive to the commonwealth’, [1603], The National Archives (TNA) SP 14/1, fo. 128. I am grateful to Nicholas Tyacke for emphasizing the importance of the last document.

18 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 15v, 18, 73, 51v, and 47v; KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, Z17, fo. 131; and Scott, ‘A discourse of polletique and civill honor’, in G. D. Scull, Dorothea Scott, otherwise Gotherson and Hogden (Oxford, 1883), pp. 147 and 155. On the 1617 freeman, see CCA, FA 22/1, fo. 305v; and on Scott's relationship with the Herberts, see KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U951/Z17, fo. 157v.

19 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 13, 14, 16, 17, and 34.

20 Ibid., fos. 13v, 17v, 21v, and 99v.

21 Ibid., fos. 2 and 7.

22 Ibid., fos. 3v, 31v–32v, and 44v.

23 Ibid., fo. 50 n. 1; and ‘The humble petition of a great multitude of knight, gentlemen and other freehoulders’, 2 May 1625; the certificate of votes in the county election, [May 1625], KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U1115/015/1 and 5, and U951/Z17, fo. 130.

24 T. Scott to Edward Scott, 18 Jan. 1626, Canterburie cittizens, fo. 20v.

25 Ibid., fos. 13–14.

26 Ibid., fos. 5, 13, 14v, and 20v.

27 Ibid., fo. 5.

28 Ibid., fos. 16v–17, 18v, and 21v.

29 Ibid., fos. 5v, 18v, and 29.

30 Ibid., fo. 19.

31 Ibid., fo. 22.

32 Ibid., fo. 23.

33 Ibid., fo. 24; and Jacqueline Eales and Stephen Rowlstone, Canterbury 1641 poll tax www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/school-of-humanities/history/research/1641-poll-tax/home.aspx, accessed 28 Nov. 2018.

35 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 24–25v.

38 Canterburie cittizens, fo. 28.

39 Ibid., fos. 28, 31.

40 Ibid., fo. 77v; and KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U951, Z17, fos. 131v and 146v–147.

41 Canterburie cittizens, fos. 41–4 and 59.

42 Ibid., fos. 48, 49v–50, and 52v.

43 Ibid., fos. 66, 68, and 74.

44 Proceedings in parliament 1628, vi, pp. 221 and 243. See also Thrush, ‘Thomas Scott’, in HC, 1604–1629, vi, pp. 246–52.

45 Philpot to Nicholas, 19 Mar. 1640, TNA SP 16/448, fo. 70; Richard Culmer, Cathedrall newes from Canterburie (London, 1644), p. 19; and Arundel to Nicholas, 16 and 18 Aug. 1641, British Library Add. MS 78,268, fos. 15 and 23v. For John Simpson and Richard Inge, see the Clergy of the Church of England Database.

46 Antidotum Culmerianum (Oxford, 1644) p. 11; Culmer, Cathedrall newes, pp. 21–2; and Culmer, Richard Junior, A parish looking-glasse for the persecutors of ministers (London, 1657), pp. 56. See also The razing of the record (Oxford, 1644), pp. 9–11; and Prynne, William, Canterburies doome (London, 1646), p. 146.

47 Russell, Unrevolutionary England, dustjacket; Proceedings in parliament 1626, vi, pp. 231 n. 46 and 232.

48 Peacey, Jason, ‘Tactical organisation in a contested election: Sir Edward Dering and the spring election at Kent 1640’, in Kyle, Chris, ed., Parliaments, politics and elections, 1604–1648, Camden Fifth Series, xvii (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 237–72.

49 ‘The letter written to the Lower House’, [early 1640s], KHLC, U951/Z12, [fo. 1v]. See also Cogswell, T., Home divisions: aristocracy, the state and provincial conflict (Manchester, 1998); Smith, A. Hassell, County and court: county government and society in Norfolk, 1558–1603 (Oxford, 1974); Hamilton, Charles, ‘The Shropshire muster-master's fee’, Albion, 2 (1970), pp. 2634; and Braddick, Michael, ‘Administrative performance: the representation of political authority in early modern England’, in Braddick, M. and Walter, J., eds., Negotiating power in early modern society: order, hierarchy and subordination in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 166–87.

50 Tyacke, ‘Puritan paradigm’, p. 527. See also Cust, The Forced Loan and English politics, pp. 253–315; Tyacke, Nicholas, Anti-Calvinists: the rise of English Arminianism, c. 1590–1640 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 164–80; and Donagan, Barbara, ‘York House Conference revisited: laymen, Calvinism and Arminianism’, Historical Research, 64 (1991), pp. 312–33.

51 Canterburie cittizens, fo. 124.

52 Ibid., fos. 134v–135, 126, and 127.

53 Ibid., fo. 45v; Clark, ‘Thomas Scott and the growth of urban opposition’, p. 25; and Tyacke, ‘Puritan paradigm’, p. 549.

54 Russell, Unrevolutionary England, p. xxix; and KHLC, Knatchbull MSS, U951/Z16, paragraph 75, and Z17, fos. 38v and 57.

55 Kishlansky, Parliamentary selection, p. 76. For the contested county elections from HC, 1604–1629, 1614 (Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Somerset, and Yorkshire), 1621 (Huntingdonshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Yorkshire), 1624 (Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Kent, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Oxfordshire), 1625 (Huntingdonshire, Kent, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Yorkshire), 1626 (Cheshire, Dorset, Kent, Norfolk, and Northamptonshire), and 1628 (Cornwall and Yorkshire).

56 For the contested English two member constituencies from HC, 1604–1629, 1614 (Gloucester, Stockbridge, Thetford, Stafford, and Scarborough), 1621 (Chester, Lymington, Canterbury, Queenborough, Westminster, Northampton, Oxford, Ludlow, Gatton, Steyning, Aldborough, Beverley, Pontefract, Richmond, Rye, Sandwich), 1624 (Reading, St Ives, Maldon, Cirencester, Lymington, Hertford, Canterbury, Leicester, Thetford, East Retford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Bletchingley, Arundel, Steyning, Aldborough, Beverley, Kingston-upon-Hull, Knaresborough, Scarborough, Dover, Rye, and Winchelsea), 1625 (Lostwithel, Colchester, Tewkesbury, Lymington, Canterbury, Queenborough, Leicester, Brackley, Thetford, Guildford, Wells, Scarborough, Hythe, New Romney, Rye, and Sandwich), 1626 (Reading, Canterbury, Leicester, Wells, Steyning, Boroughbridge, Scarborough, Dover, Hythe, New Romney, and Rye), and 1628 (Reading, Chester, Dartmouth, Bridport, Newport (Isle of Wight), Newtown, Yarmouth, Hertford, Canterbury, Clitheroe, Wigan, Boston, Westminster, Thetford, Oxford, Ludlow, Dunwich, Salisbury, Kingston-upon-Hull, Knaresborough, Richmond, Scarborough, York, New Romney, Rye, and Sandwich).

57 For these uncertain contests, see HC, 1604–1629, 1604 [Rutland, Evesham, Ipswich, Maldon, and Scarborough], 1614 [Rutland, Knaresborough, and Ludlow], 1621 [Somerset, East Grinstead, East Retford, Sudbury, and Winchelsea], 1624 [Boroughbridge, Christchurch, East Retford, Malmesbury, Poole, and Salisbury], 1625 [Maidstone, Malmesbury, and Much Wenlock], 1626 [Huntingdonshire, Knaresborough, Rochester, Salisbury, and Sudbury], and 1628 [Cornwall, Somerset, Aldborough, Carlisle, Hythe, and Rochester].

58 For double returns, see HC, 1604–1629, 1621 (Hindon), 1624 (Chippenham, Pontefract, and Southwark), 1625 (Bridgnorth), 1626 (Ludgershall, Grampound, Newport (Cornwall)), and 1628 (Coventry, Mitchell, Newport (Cornwall), Exeter, Colchester, Gatton, Guildford, and Lewes).

59 ‘Burgesses elected’, 22 Jan. 1624; and ‘Burgesses for the parliament’, [Jan. 1624], Essex Record Office, D/B 3/3/392/53, and D/B 3/3/392/18; York Libraries and Archives, House Book 32, fos. 314v–315; and Hirst, Representative of the people?, p. 15. I will discuss this phenomenon at greater length elsewhere.

60 Withington, Phil, The politics of commonwealth: citizens and freemen in early modern England (Cambridge, 2005), p. 5; Canterburie cittizens, fos. 7v–8; and Cust, ‘Parliamentary elections in the 1620s’, p. 191. See also Withington, Phil, ‘Two renaissances: urban political culture in post-Reformation England reconsidered’, Historical Journal, 44 (2001), pp. 239–68; idem, ‘Views from the bridge: revolution and restoration in seventeenth-century York’, Past and Present, 170 (2001), pp. 121–51; and idem, ‘Citizens, soldiers and urban culture in Restoration England’, English Historical Review, 123 (2009), pp. 587–610.

61 For more on Scott's views on those responsible for James's death, see Bellany, Alastair and Cogswell, Thomas, The murder of King James I (London, 2015), pp. 344–62.

I am indebted to Jackie Eales for assistance with the Corporation and to Dr Stephen Rowlstone for his splendid transcription of Thomas Scott's A manifestation. For many conversations about this case in particular and voting in general, I am grateful to Richard Cust, Jackie Eales, Ann Hughes, Peter Lake, Jason Peacey, Andrew Thrush, and especially Mark Kishlansky; and to Andrew Thrush, Christopher Thompson, and Nicholas Tyacke for reading early drafts; and Allyson Schuele for graphing the contests.

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