William Laud's Beheading End of an Era

On 10th January 1645 William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was beheaded at Tower Hill in London, England. He had been a controversial figure for many years; a supporter of Charles I and advocate for halting Puritan reform of the church, he found himself on the wrong side of history during Civil War Britain.

The son of a prominent clothing merchant, Laud was born in Reading, Berkshire. He was educated at Reading Grammar School and St. John's College Oxford. From early in his career he was associated with the followers of Lancelot Andrewes, a small clerical group who argued for the continuation of the ‘visible' church, believing that the outward practices of ceremony, order and uniformity were crucial to practicing an inward faith. These beliefs were contrary to the ideals of Puritanism, a powerful and popular doctrine in Reformation England.

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