The Protectorate is arguably the Cinderella of Interregnum studies: it lacks the immediate drama of the Regicide, the Republic or the Restoration, and is often dismissed as a 'retreat from revolution', a short period of conservative rule before the inevitable return of the Stuarts. The essays in this volume present new research that challenges this view. They argue instead that the Protectorate was dynamic and progressive, even if the policies put forward were not always successful, and often created further tensions within the government and between Whitehall and the localities. Particular topics include studies of Oliver Cromwell and his relationship with Parliament, and the awkward position inherited by his son, Richard; the role of art and architecture in creating a splendid protectoral court; and the important part played by the council, as a law-making body, as a political cockpit, and as part of a hierarchy of government covering not just England but also Ireland and Scotland. There are also investigations of the reactions to Cromwellian rule in Wales, in the towns and cities of the Severn/Avon basin, and in the local communities of England faced with a far-reaching programme of religious reform. PATRICK LITTLE is Senior Research Fellow at the History of Parliament Trust. Contributors: BARRY COWARD, DAVID L. SMITH, JASON PEACEY, PAUL HUNNEYBALL, BLAIR WORDEN, PETER GAUNT, LLOYD BOWEN, STEPHEN K. ROBERTS, CHRISTOPHER DURSTON.
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