Skip to main content

English Reformations

Welcome to the homepage of the BA Seminar:

'English Reformations: Religion and Society under the Tudors'

This Blockveranstaltung is equivalent to a BA Seminar and will be assessed through a presentation and Hausarbeit. In assessing performance, the main emphasis will be on content and argumentation rather than language skills.


The Reformation is traditionally seen as the watershed between the medieval and early modern periods. In spite of an emphasis on long-term continuities in recent research, the new religious doctrines transformed societies right across Europe. This seminar examines the reigns of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603), characterized by a remarkable series of reformations and restorations whose motives, popularity and long-term consequences continue to be debated. Was the Henrician break with Rome solely caused by the king’s marital problems? Should the Elizabethan settlement be seen as a ‘via media’ between Catholicism and Protestantism? Did the sixteenth century pave the way for religious toleration? Were parishes torn apart by iconoclasm, confessional strife and local government burdens? The focus lies on socio-cultural transformations in English local communities. Short lectures, discussions of primary sources, student presentations and debates (all in English) will address themes like: late medieval piety; the state of the Church c. 1500; parish politics; Renaissance, reform and resistance; cultural change; radical religious policy under Edward VI; re-Catholicization under Mary; the Elizabethan Age; confessional identities; religious minorities – all in the light of the lively historiography of the last decades and developments in other regions.

Module Structure

The module is structured in four parts:

1. Introduction: Themes, presentation topics and general organization: Friday 11 November 2011 (12-13 hours; mandatory)

2. Block 1 (6 sessions; Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2011; rooms/times as advertised in ekVV)

A) Late Middle Ages

- Unorthodox Religious Movements in Pre-Reformation England: Marina Decius

B) Henrician Reformation

- Henry VIII - Portrait of a Renaissance Monarch & Henry's Reformation? Jennifer Mittendorf & Mareike Möllenkamp
- The Local Impact of the Henrician Reformation & The Pilgrimage of Grace: Lara Berkemann & Kim Biermann
- Early Evangelicals in Tudor England & England and the European Reformation: Anne Diekjobst & David Schütte

3. Block 2 (6 sessions; Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December 2011; rooms/times as advertised in ekVV)

C) The Reigns of Edward VI & Mary

- The Restoration of Catholicism: Mary and her Cardinal & Did the English People accept the Return to Catholicism? Amira Al-Latifi & Jan Seidensticker
- The Persecution of Heretics in the Reign of Mary & Early Modern Catholicism: A Gentry Religion? Stephanie Eckebrecht, Ina Kiel, Marcel Kals

D) The Elizabethan Age

- The Virgin Queen: Biographical and Iconographical Approaches & Cultural Life in Elizabethan England: Nadine Bokop & Natalie Dolowny
- English Society in the Elizabethan Age & When did England become a Protestant Country? Jospehine Fausten & Jennifer Hahn
- Witchcraft and Magic in Early Modern England: Meiko Pander

4. Office hours (Wednesday morning 21 December 2011, 10-12, and Friday 3 February 2012, 14-17; both in S4-220)

Preparatory Reading

[Available in Universitätsbibliothek and StudIP]

Peter Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (London, 2003)

Core Materials

[Most items available in Universitätsbibliothek or StudIP]


Bray, Gerald (ed.), Documents of the English Reformation (1994)

Brigden, Susan, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors (2000)

Bush, M.. The Pilgrimage of Grace (Manchester, 1996)

Collinson, Patrick, The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society (Oxford, 1982)

Dickens, A. G., The English Reformation (2nd edn, 1989)

Doran, S.; Jones, N. (eds), The Elizabethan World (London, 2010) [günstigere Alternative: Haigh, C. (ed.), The Reign of Elizabeth I (1984)]

Duffy, E., The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400-c.1580 (2nd edn, New Haven, 2005)

“ , Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor (New Haven, 2009)

Fletcher, A.; MacCulloch, D., Tudor Rebellions (5th ed., 2004)

Guy, John, Tudor England (any edn)

Haigh, C., English Reformations: Religion, Politics and Society under the Tudors (Oxford, 1993)

Harper-Bill, C. The Pre-Reformation Church in England (1989)

Knowles, D., The Religious Orders in England III: The Tudor Age (Cambridge, 1959)

Kümin, B., The Shaping of a Community: The Rise & Reformation of the English Parish (Aldershot, 1996)

Loach, J., Edward VI (1999)

MacCulloch, D., The Later Reformation in England (Basingstoke, 1990)

“ , Reformation: Europe’s House Divided (London, 2004)

Maltby, J., Prayer Book & People in Elizabethan & early Stuart England (Cambridge 2000)

Marshall, Peter, Reformation England (London, 2003)

Rex, R., The Lollards (2002)

Shagan, E., Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2003)

Swanson, R. N., Church and Society in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 1989)

Wrightson, K., English Society (1982; further edns)


Specialized essays [mostly available in StudIP]

Bernard, G. W., ‘The Making of Religious Policy, 1533-1546: Henry VIII and the Search for the Middle Way’, Historical Journal (1998)

Boulton, J., ‘The Limits of Formal Religion’, London Journal 10 (1984), 135-54

Burgess, ‘‘For the Increase of Divine Service’: Chantries in the Parish in Late Medieval Bristol’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1985)

Collinson, P., ‘Elizabeth I’, in: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004)

Craig, J., ‘Co-operation and initiatives’, in: Social History, 18 (1993), 357-380

Davies, C.S.L., 'Popular Religion and the Pilgrimage of Grace', in A Fletcher and J Stevenson eds., Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1987)

Davies, RG, ‘Lollardy and Locality’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1991)

Dickens, A. G., ‘The early expansion of Protestantism’, in: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 78 (1978), 187-222

Elton, G. R., ‘Tudor Government: The Points of Contact I, The Parliament’, in: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fifth series, 24 (1974), 183–200

Elton, G. R., ‘Tudor Government: The Points of Contact II, The Council, in: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fifth series, 25 (1975)

Elton, G. R., `Tudor Government: The Points of Contact: III. The Court', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, 26 (1976)

Hindle, S., ‘Hierarchy and Community in the Elizabethan Parish: The Swallowfield Articles of 1596', Historical Journal 42:3 (1999), 835-51

Hutton, ‘The Local Impact of the Tudor Reformations’, in: C. Haigh (ed.), The English Reformation Revised (Cambridge, 1987)

Kümin, B., ‘Parish und Local Government’, in: P. Blickle (ed.), Gemeinde und Staat im Alten Europa (1997), 209-38

„ ; ‘Reformation und Pfarreileben’, in: B. Kümin (ed.), Landgemeinde und Kirche im Zeitalter der Konfessionen (Zürich, 2004), 129-62

MacCulloch, ‘The Myth of the English Reformation', Journal of British Studies 31 (1991), 1–19

McIntosh, M., ‘Local responses to the poor’, in: Continuity & Change 3 (1988), 209-45

Palliser, D.M., 'Popular reactions to the Reformation during the years of uncertainty', in C. Haigh (ed.), The English Reformation Revised

Richmond, C., ‘Religion and the Fifteenth-Century English Gentleman’ in RB Dobson (ed), The Church, Politics & Patronage in the Fifteenth Century

Ryrie, A., ‘The Strange Death of Lutheran England’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (2002)

Whiting, R., '"Abominable Idols": Images and Image-breaking under Henry VIII', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, (1982)

Wrightson, K., ‘The Politics of the Parish’, in: P. Griffiths et al. (eds.), The Experience of Authority (London, 1996), 10-46

Discussion Forum

This discussion forum allows all participants in English Reformations to post information, questions, suggestions etc. To start a new topic, click on "Start a New Thread", to contribute to an existing discussion, click on its title and then the "Reply"-button. Messages can contain links to other websites and/or "attachments" of various file types (e.g. for presentation materials, images and so on). To filter out spam, each contribution is monitored by the administrator and cleared for public view after a short delay .

Access: here

Digital Resources

'BBC History - The Tudors':
A mixture of general information (chronology), study units (e.g. on Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, What was the Reformation?, The Reformation: The People's View), interactive features (e.g. re Henry's warship Mary Rose) and details of relevant TV programmes

Britain 1486-1688: EuroDocs’:
Links to electronic versions of various primary sources

British History Online: The 16th Century’:
Features wills, chantry certificates etc.

Church Gallery’: BBC gallery of englisch churches from a wide range of periods

Earls Colne. Records of an English Village, 1375-1854’:
Online edition of the administrative, legal and ecclesiastical sources of an Essex village

Early Modern Literary Studies: Texts’:
Includes e.g. poems by Elizabeth I

Early Modern Resources’:
Links to sources, bibliographies, discussion fora etc.

English Dissenters’:
Features information on Lollards, Brownists etc.

Discussion forum focusing on English history; featuring reviews, conference reports etc.

Heiligenlexikon, ökumenisches’:
For biographies etc.

Internet Archive – Protestant Reformation’:
Contains some sources and materials relating to the English Reformations

Access to full-text archive of journal articles (by subscription)

Medieval Wall Paintings in the English Parish Church’:
Featuring numerous illustrations of pre-Reformation English church art

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’:
Electronic version of the 60-volume series (by subscription)

Records of Early English Drama’:
Online platform of an ongoing research project, including search facilities (performance sites, companies etc).

'The Reformation' (Podcast Series produced by the 'Historical Association', 2010), featuring talks by Henry Cohn, Beat Kümin, Peter Marshall and Penny Roberts.
NB: You need to log in the Student Zone with email: 900000 and password: warwick101 (Module Students only).

Royal Historical Society Bibliography of British and Irish History’:
Online bibliography of historical literature on Britain and Ireland (by subscription)

Shakespeare Online’:
With texts, criticism etc.

'Tudor History':
Information platform featuring biographies, texts, dates etc.

'The Tudors':
Website of the eponymous American TV series.

Warwick Network for Parish Research’:
Website of an association of scholars involved in parish research, featuring projects, bibliographies, digital sources, texts, links etc.



Prof. Dr. Beat Kümin


Bishops' Bible 1569 (British Library)