Woodford's diary, here published in full for the first time with an introduction, provides a unique insight into the puritan psyche and way of life. Woodford is remarkable for the consistency of his worldview, interpreting all experience through the spectacles of godly predestinarianism. His journal is a fascinating source for the study of opposition to the Personal Rule of Charles I and its importance in the formation of Civil War allegiance, demonstrating that the Popish Plot version of politics, held by parliamentary opposition leaders in the 1620s, had by the 1630s been adopted by provincial people from the lower classes. Woodford went further than some of his contemporaries in taking the view that, even before the outbreak of the Bishops' Wars, government policies had discredited episcopacy and cast grave doubt on the king's religious soundness. Conversely, he regarded parliament as the seat of virtue and potential saviour of the nation.
John Fielding is a retired civil servant. He completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 1989, and has published articles on the religious and political history of early seventeenth-century England.
List of abbreviations; Preface; Introduction; Editorial note; Robert Woodford's diary, 1637-41; Index.