From Deliverance To Destruction
Rebellion and Civil War in an English City
By Mark Stoyle
This is a study of the city of Exeter during the Great Civil War of 1642-46; it offers a lively, immediate account of how one English city slid, inexorably, into the chaos of civil war. The book shows how Exeter's inhabitants first began to dissent from each other over religious issues, then became divided into two warring camps, and finally, after three years of bitter conflict, witnessed much of the ancient city being destroyed about their ears.
The main text is accompanied by a generous collection of transcripts from original seventeenth-century documents. These have been specially selected to illuminate the war's effect on ordinary men and women, and to show how closely engaged they were with the national politico-religious debate. This book will be of interest to all serious students of the English Civil War, while at the same time being accessible to a non-specialist audience.
Contents: The centre, heart and head of the West - Exeter before the Civil War; zealous to advance God's glory - Ingnatius Jurdain and the puritan dynamic; the times grow more dangerous - descent into war; rebel city - parliamentarian Exeter; "reduced into the power of his sacred majesties" - royalist Exeter; close begirt - the final siege; conclusion; documents; tables.
"Dr Stoyle's account deserves to become the standard authority. He ranges widely in the sources to describe and explain the circumstances by which parliamentary authority was ousted and replaced by Royalist administration until the final siege of Exeter in 1646. He explores the tensions between the commands of Berkeley and Goring on the Royalist side, and convincingly analyses conflicts between military and civic authority." (Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries 1998) "Dr Stoyle is to be congratulated on a book which is highly readable and widely accessible, which presents a lively and engaging account, but which also makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the urban sector before and during the civil war." (Southern History, Vol. 18, 1997) "This is of more than local interest, since Exeter offers something of a case study, challenging the view that in provincial urban communities little concern was shown there for national issues until citizens were faced by the mind-concentrating demands posed by war in the kingdom . . . Similar searching reinspection of other urban centres is called for." (Cromwelliana)
Mark Stoyle is Professor of early modern history at the University of Southampton. He specialises in early modern British history, with particular research interests in the 'British crisis' of the 1640s; cultural, ethnic and religious identity in Wales and Cornwall between 1450 and 1700; and popular memory of the English Civil War from 1660 to the present day.