Render Unto Caesar: Ecclesiastical Politics in the Reign of Queen Anne

By R. Barry Levis

An innovative analysis of the role of the Church in the political disputes of Queen Anne’s reign.

ISBN: 9780227177822


Before Queen Anne’s reign had even begun, rival factions in both Church and State were jostling for position in her court. Attempting to follow a moderate course, the new monarch and her advisors had to be constantly wary of the attempts of extremists on both sides to gain the upper hand. The result was a see-saw period of alternating influence that has fascinated historians and political commentators.
In this engaging new study, Barry Levis shows that although both parties claimed to be in support of the Church, their real aim was advancing their respective political positions. Uniting close analysis of Queen Anne’s changing policies towards dissenters, occasional conformity and church appointments with studies of the careers of several prominent churchmen and politicians, Levis paints a gripping picture of competing religious values and political ambitions. Most significantly, he shows that, far from being restricted to the church and political elites, these conflicts were to have a cascading influence on the division of the country long after the Queen’s reign ended.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 248
Illustrations 12 b&w, 1 colour

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Dr R. Barry Levis is Professor Emeritus of History at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles on ecclesiastical history with a focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


List of Illustrations


1. Prologue, 1698–1702
2. The Tory Ascendancy, 1702–4
3. The Shifting Balance of Power, 1705–6
4. Strife in the North: A Case Study of Local Ecclesiastical Politics
5. The Whig Supremacy, 1706–9
6. The Sacheverell Trial, 1709–10
7. The Return of the Tories, 1710–14
8. Epilogue



Articles and Media

Endorsements and Reviews

Render Unto Caesar is a remarkable study of the religious politics of the reign of Queen Anne, rooted in a profound knowledge of manuscript sources. Barry Levis has revealed how central the Church was to the period of ‘the rage of Party’. It is further evidence that the Church was a source of passionate controversy in the early eighteenth century.
William Gibson, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Oxford Brookes University

Using an impressive range of archival and printed sources, Levis details the high politics of ecclesiastical policy politics in the early eighteenth century. Render Unto Caesar offers a reliable guide to the complex debates about the relationship between church and state in post-revolutionary England.
Brian Cowan, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History, McGill University

R.B. Levis grounds this first deep-dive regnal analytical narrative of Queen
Anne’s struggle to rule with moderation in a thorough exploitation of the extant
sources, making especially effective use of the surviving fragments of the diary and
correspondence of Anne’s figurative confessor, the embattled Anglican moderate
John Sharp, Archbishop of York. T e result is a definitive study of Church-State
politics for Anne’s reign for our times and, one anticipates, for many years to come.
R.O. Bucholz, Professor of History, Loyola University Chicago