Burying the good old cause
The experiences of Edward Bowles were typical of godly clergy who lived through the mid seventeenth century. A supporter of Parliament’s cause, he was appointed chaplain to a regiment of foot in the early months of the civil war. In the next decade, Bowles ministered at York, where he corresponded with Oliver Cromwell’s spymaster John Thurloe. Despite his support for the Protectorate, Bowles saw the restoration of Charles II as the surest method of reaching a political and religious compromise, and, with it, peace and stability. In the final year of the Commonwealth, he actively mediated discussions between General George Monck and Thomas, Lord Fairfax, who were then preparing to declare for a free parliament at Westminster. Despite his active support for the Restoration, Bowles, with other Presbyterians, suffered exclusion in its immediate aftermath. And yet, dying on the eve of the infamous ‘Black Bartholomew’s Day’ in August 1662, he did not quite live long enough to see the ejection of hundreds of his fellow Nonconformist ministers from their livings....
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