Obituary: Christopher George Durston

Christopher George Durston, Historian of the English Revolution: born Bristol 11 July 1951; Lecturer in History, St Mary's College, Twickenham 1976-2002, Professor of History 2002-04; Lecturer in History, Plymouth University 2004-05; married 1972 Rosalind Rees (two sons); died Plymouth 5 August 2005.

Christopher Durston was an outstanding historian whose research interests, focused on the effects of the 17th-century revolution on the lives of English people, resulted in an impressively wide-ranging yet well-integrated body of work.

He published The Family in the English Revolution (1989), together with several essays on the failure of Puritan attempts to achieve a more thorough reformation of attitudes and behaviour, including a substantial and wide-ranging chapter in a volume of essays, The Culture of English Puritanism, that he co-edited with Jacqueline Eales (1996). Two dispassionate and readable accounts, James I (1993) and Charles I (1998), in the well-known series of "Lancaster pamphlets" are perhaps his most widely consulted publications.

His most notable monograph is, however, Cromwell's Major-Generals: godly government during the English Revolution (2001). The importance of the major- generals had long been appreciated, but the task of writing a proper account of them had defeated some eminent scholars. Durston rose to this challenge with confidence, and his study of the under-funded and ill-supported efforts of these earnest, conscientious soldiers was acknowledged as a masterpiece.

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