June 2009 – Funding from the British Academy has enabled a search for correspondence between the Westminster assembly (1643-1652) with European churches. Research conducted over a two year period, concluded in December 2008, included the efforts of Dr Inga Jones (née Volmer) to contact and query over 200 archives. This research uncovered significant letters to and from the assembly and between European Reformed churches wondering how to weigh the competing claims of the assembly, Parliament and Charles I. The joint-fundraising campaign of the assembly and the Long Parliament on behalf of suffering Irish Protestants was particularly successful in the Netherlands and the records of Dutch classes and synods, explored by Prof. Fred van Lieburg.
Dr Chad Van Dixhoorn argues that this research sheds new light on Parliament’s complicated relationship with what it called ‘the best Reformed churches’. Copies and details of all assembly correspondence will be included in the final volume of the minutes and papers of the Westminster assembly. Preliminary results from this research were given by Dr Van Dixhoorn at a conference in Dublin in June 2009 on ‘Insular Christianity’. It is expected that his paper will be published along with other contributions in a volume of conference proceedings.