"Radicalism came early to Birmingham. As a ‘free’ town without serfdom or merchant and…"

from Brumblr, the scrapbook of Brum web ephemera:

“Radicalism came early to Birmingham. As a ‘free’ town without serfdom or merchant and craft Guilds, it developed in medieval times, at least in theory, a democratic form of government where important decisions required the consent of the ‘bretheren and sisteren’ of the town. Most unusual. By the seventeenth century its industrial development naturally led it to support Parliament against Charles I who claimed the ‘divine right of kings’ to Rule despotically. After Charles II was restored in 1661 the Act of Uniformity demanded that all Nonconformists return to the use of the Book of Common Prayer and another act forbad anyone who refused to conform to the Act to live within five miles of a corporate town. As Birmingham was not a corporate town it attracted the radical Nonconformist families who were to be its future ruling class.”

RADICAL BIRMINGHAM