Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Rookwood Family Papers, 1606-1761

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Rookwood Family Papers, 1606-1761

Article excerpt

Rookwood Family Papers, 1606-1761. Edited by Francis Young. [Suffolk Record Society, Vol. LIX.] (Rochester, NY: The Boydell Press. 2016. Pp. lx, 115. $45.00; ?25.00. ISBN 978-1-78327-080-4.)

The Rookwood family papers give a significant insight into the economic, social, and political lives of a substantial Catholic family in early modern England. In the access it gives to many of those papers, this edited collection will prove helpful to a wide range of scholars of early modern Catholicism.

As Francis Young's introduction to the volume points out, the Rookwoods of Coldham Hall in Stanningfield, Suffolk, were a remarkable family who managed to maintain their Catholicism in spite of contemporary penal legislation and an association with treason that started with Ambrose Rookwood's involvement with the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and was revived with his great-grandson's embroilment with an attempt on the king in 1696. On either side of these moments of political intrigue the family struggled and, through a combination of pleading, legal manoeuvring, and dedication to their religious practice, succeeded in maintaining their estate, religion, and position in local society with relatively little disruption. In the detail it gives of legal measures and estate matters this collection of papers will be of especial interest to those seeking to understand the practicalities of Catholic survival in this period. The collection also throws light on the local and domestic life of the family in the first half of the eighteenth century; this serves as a welcome encouragement to scholars to pursue the social and economic history of English Catholicism in this still under-studied period.

Of particular note are transcriptions of the 1737 inventory of the contents of Coldham Hall (document 31) and the list of English Catholic books and manuscripts in the library (document 32). …

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