Catholic Gentry in English Society
The Throckmortons of Coughton from Reformation to Emancipation
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Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Group
This volume advances scholarly understanding of English Catholicism in the early modern period through a series of interlocking essays on single family: the Throckmortons of Coughton Court, Warwickshire, whose experience over several centuries encapsulates key themes in the history of the Catholic gentry. Despite their persistent adherence to Catholicism, in no sense did the Throckmortons inhabit a 'recusant bubble'. Family members regularly played leading roles on the national political stage, from Sir George Throckmorton's resistance to the break with Rome in the 1530s, to Sir Robert George Throckmorton's election as the first English Catholic MP in 1831. Taking a long-term approach, the volume charts the strategies employed by various members of the family to allow them to remain politically active and socially influential within a solidly Protestant nation. In so doing, it contributes to ongoing attempts to integrate the study of Catholicism into the mainstream of English social and political history, transcending its traditional status as a 'special interest' category, remote from or subordinate to the central narratives of historical change. It will be particularly welcomed by historians of the sixteenth through to the nineteenth century, who increasingly recognise the importance of both Catholicism and anti-Catholicism as central themes in English cultural and political life.