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Canine Piety

William Laud was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633-1645. He became obsessed with the liturgy, and his heavy-handed high church policies were seen as persecution by many Protestants. In his excellent book, The Reformation: A HistoryDiarmaid MacCulloch illustrates a peculiar conflict between Laud, his followers, and the English people

In the Laudians’ zeal to make worship and church interiors more holy, they offended against long-standing silent understandings of religious behaviour; they even tried to stop people bringing their dogs to church. The English were already a nation of dog-enthusiasts if not dog-lovers, and they tolerated dogs in church on the same basis as children, as long as both groups behaved themselves: there was much fury among churchgoers at the cat-loving Archbishop’s intolerance. (p. 520)

Only a cat lover…


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