The Book of Sports was the royal declaration which sanctioned popular participation in traditional pastimes after church attendance on Sunday. It was denounced by a vociferous opposition who viewed recreation on the Sabbath as the devil’s work. Alistair Dougall takes a fresh look at the events surrounding the re-publication of the Book of Sports in 1633 and reassesses the role of Charles I himself in the controversy. He re-examines the cultural battle that emerged as a result of the tension between Sunday observance and traditional revelry and demonstrates how a new form of ‘sabbatarianism’ became the hallmark of the radical Protestants who sought to suppress all Sunday recreations. The book also makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding the causes of division in English society which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1642.
Alistair Dougall taught for four years at Southampton University before joining the Godolphin School in Salisbury, where he is Head of Sixth Form and teaches History, specialising in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English and European History.
The scope of Dougall’s investigation will allow historians of Caroline culture and the English Civil Wars to see local, polemicized battles over the Lord’s Day in a longer perspective. More generally, this highly readable book is a case study in how religious, social, and political motivations intertwine.
Sylvia Brown, Renaissance Quarterly, Volume 65, No 3, Fall
Renaissance Quarterly, Volume 65, No 3, Fall
The book offers a thorough and cogent story of the development of English sabbatarianism, and students seeking to understand the complex political, religious and cultural history of these years will appreciate the admirable blend of subtlety and clarity that Dougall achieves.
Mark Hailwood, The Journal of Rural History, Volume 23/2
The Journal of Rural History, Volume 23/2
Well-researched, cogent, extremely readable and likely to become the standard work upon its subject.