Like a library in a dream or romance, Thomas Plume’s Library is reached via a stone spiral staircase. Low light and low ceilings, bookcases of solid oak, displays of ancient bindings, oil paintings with muted tones: a pocket of 18th century spacetime somehow enduring on Maldon High Street.
Church, State and Monarch in Elizabethan England were as consubstantial as the Trinity. To hold religious views that did not conform to the established religion was to court danger, disaster and death. The modern, secular distinction between a public and private sphere was unimagined, and outlawed rituals carried out within the walls of one’s own home were viewed as a direct threat to that trinity of the English state.