William Laud

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Laud, William

Laud, William, 1573–1645, archbishop of Canterbury (1633–45). He studied at St. John's College, Oxford, and was ordained a priest in 1601. From the beginning Laud showed his hostility to Puritanism. He became president of St. John's College in 1611, dean of Gloucester in 1616, and bishop of London in 1628. Laud thought of the English church as a branch of the universal church, claimed apostolic succession for the bishops, and believed that the Anglican ritual should be strictly followed in all churches. To accomplish these ends, Laud, working closely with Charles I, tried to eliminate Puritans from important positions in the church. As chancellor of Oxford (from 1629) he carried out many reforms, strengthened moral and intellectual discipline, and stamped out Calvinism to make Oxford a royalist stronghold. In 1633, Laud became archbishop of Canterbury and continued on a larger scale his efforts to enforce High Church forms of worship. Through the courts of high commission and Star Chamber he persecuted and imprisoned many nonconformists, such as William Prynne. The tyranny of his courts and his identification of the episcopal form of church government with the absolutism of Charles brought about violent opposition not only from the Puritans but also from those who were jealous of the rights of Parliament. Supporting Charles and the earl of Strafford to the end, Laud was impeached (1640) by the Long Parliament. Found not guilty of treason by the House of Lords (1644), he was condemned to death by the Commons through a bill of attainder.


See biographies by A. Duncan-Jones (1927) and H. Trevor-Roper (2d ed. 1962).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Laud, William


Born Oct. 7, 1573, in Reading, Berkshire; died Jan. 10, 1645, in London. English church leader.

Laud, on the eve of the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century, was one of the closest advisers of King Charles I and was the most hated by the people. In 1633 he became the archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Anglican Church). The church policy of Laud was aimed at harmonizing the dogma of the Anglican Church with Catholicism. He strove to strengthen the role of the church as a weapon at the service of absolutism. He inspired the cruel persecutions of the Puritans. In the beginning of the revolution he was accused of state treason. Laud was executed by order of the court of the Long Parliament.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
They followed the themes of the original 15th-century glass (installed by Archbishop Morton c.1490, restored by Archbishop Laud in 1634 and destroyed in 1643 during the Commonwealth), using transcripts of Archbishop Laud's trial for treason, in which the iconography of the 15th-century windows was discussed.
In another essay that highlights the volume's effort to rectify the "over-privileging of canonical voices" in Law and Literature (15), Deborah Shuger presents a fascinating analysis of Archbishop Laud's prison diaries, "one of the unacknowledged masterpieces of English prose" (120).
The rest of the chapters take up range of subjects: legal documents in Shakespeare (Bradin Cormack), the trial of Archbishop Laud (Deborah Shuger), Artegall as ward in The Faerie Queene (Judith Owens), discourses of civil religion (Elliott Visconsi), and tyranny and grace in Milton (Paul Stevens), among others.
Now, what is important about this is the way in which the author clearly demonstrates how Archbishop Laud's harsh and destructive policies drove a moderate like Davenport out of the Church.
Moreover, competing positions in the debate over the ritual and governance of church could evolve over time and be recast ideologically in the face of altered circumstances: in short, how one defended episcopacy in 1641, after Archbishop Laud had been dispatched to the Tower, might be different from how one did so during the Laudian ascendancy of the 1630s.
What he didn't tell us was what became of the God-fearing, royal loyalist Archbishop Laud when Cromwell came to power.
Like Charles I and Archbishop Laud, but against recent historiographical trends, she regarded the Puritans as a fundamental danger to the crown.
Stratford shoulders away the symbol of empty achievement as he kneels before his 'ghostly father' Archbishop Laud, shortly himself to be decapitated, who extends his blessing through the bars of his cell.
Archbishop Laud's contemporaries accused him of 'unchurching' non-episcopal churches and of giving undue emphasis to the sacramental origins of bishops.
For example, we learn about readers of Foxe's book from Archbishop Laud to John Bunyan, about the provenance of various copies, about how some copies were wom out from too much reading, about the explorers who carried the Book of Martyrs to the New World, and about the tendency of subsequent generations to add their own events (such as the Gunpowder Plot) to Foxe's master narrative.
In addition, he demonstrates how the changes within the Church of England brought about by Archbishop Laud gave room for the Baptists to grow.
In 1638, too, Jones's handsome Classical screen was erected in Winchester Cathedral during the Episcopate (1632-47) of Walter Curl, largely at the desire of the King, prompted by Archbishop Laud: it contained bronze statues by Le Sueur of the first two Stuart Kings (they can be seen in the Cathedral today) set in niches on either side of a centrepiece reminiscent of Serlio's drawing of the Arco dei Gavi in Verona.