The Popish plot was an alleged Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II and re-introduce the Catholic faith to England. Despite it being a fiction, belief in the plot became widespread and many innocent Catholics were sent to their deaths.
Moving away from the focus of recent histories of the plot, which remain predominately in the realms of parliamentary discussion, courts of law and the councils of the King, this volume considers how details of the plot circulated more broadly. It investigates the many media used, primarily print, but also manuscript and word of mouth, for instance in books, pamphlets, newspapers, and ballads.
The most prolific commentator on the Popish plot was Roger L'Estrange, the press censor during the reigns of Charles II and James II. L'Estrange was interested in the working of the London book trade at this time, and as one who did not believe there was a Popish plot, wrote prolifically in order publicly to cast doubt upon it. L'Estrange's writings provide us with valuable insights into the production, dissemination, and reception of political opinion in this period.
Drawing on the latest insights of literary studies, political history, and the history of the book and reading this volume will further understanding in how belief in such an extraordinary plot took hold amongst so many.