Kirsteen M. MacKenzie
, an historian who has taught for many years at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, has published a definitive account of the relationships between England, Scotland and Ireland during the Cromwellian republic of the 1650s. The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union 1643-1663
(Routledge, 2018) re-examines the political and constitutional bonds that were implied by the covenant to which the English and Scottish parliaments had subscribed at the beginning of the first civil war, and considers why so many Presbyterians understood the Cromwellian occupation to represent a breach of the covenant’s obligations. But far from retreating into their own world, this book shows that Presbyterians in Ireland and England set about an ambitious attempt to export their system of church government, with the effect that the Presbyterian movement actually grew under conditions that were designed to frustrate it. This important new book argues for a new account of Presbyterian growth in the British Republic, and demonstrates the resilience and tenacity of a religious group that refused to accept defeat.
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of
John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).