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Covenanting Citizens wins Samuel Pepys Award

  • Date

    Tue 19 Dec 17

Essex history professor and author John Walter has won the Samuel Pepys Award 2017 for Covenanting Citizens: The Protestant Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution.

The biennial prize is awarded to a publication that makes the greatest contribution to our understanding of Samuel Pepys, his times or his contemporaries. This year’s Award is made in memory of Robin Hyman, publisher of the Latham-Matthews edition of Diary, who died in January this year.

“The world that Samuel Pepys had to navigate was marked by growing divisions in church and state, the legacy of civil war and fears of foreign entanglements,” explains Professor Walter. “Covenanting Citizens explores these divisions, the attempt by Parliament to use the radical innovation of a state oath to swear the nation to its vision of a new political order, and its consequences for the emergence of a popular political culture in which novel ideas of an active citizenry could be debated and discussed. 

“I am delighted to think that the award will stimulate interest in this critical period of British history whose consequences were not only important for Pepys and his contemporaries but also for the political world in which we now live.”

The Samuel Pepys Award was founded by the Samuel Pepys Club and is run and financed by the Samuel Pepys Award Trust. It was first given in 2003 to mark the tercentenary of the death of Samuel Pepys in May 1703.

Dr Richard Luckett, one of the 2017 judges, described Professor Walter’s Covenanting Citizens as “absorbing, well-written, astonishing in its range of sources, often surprising... It is an exceptional achievement.”