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Voices from Rycote: William Wright on 1st Earl of Abingdon's election as High Steward of Oxford

The Earl of Abingdon had been a firm opponent of Whig attempts to exclude the Catholic Duke of York from the succession during the reign of Charles II. The Earl was retained in his office as Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire when the Duke succeeded to the throne as James II in February 1685. The Earl's loyalty to the Crown, however, was severely strained by James's efforts to secure religious freedom for his Catholic subjects. Abingdon's usefulness in Oxfordshire was therefore greatly diminished. Abingdon was removed from the lord lieutenancy in November 1687. His election as High Steward of Oxford was a direct challenge by the Oxford Council to the King's policies. In this address, celebrating his election, Abingdon is lavishly praised for "his temperate Zeale for the establish'd Religion; his firm adherence to the Lawes of England" and a "true Champion for the Rights & Privilidges of this Corporation." (Shelfmark: MS. Top. Oxon. c. 325, fol. 68r)

Voices from Rycote: William Wright on 1st Earl of Abingdon's election as High Steward of Oxford