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Catholic Responses 1559-1640: assimilation, recusancy, church papism

For discussion:

What factors influenced Catholics towards assimilation, accommodation, or resistance? What forms might ‘resistance’ take?

How far did responses change over time, or reflect different social circumstances?


A Dures English Catholicism 1558-1642 (1983)- good survey

P Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003), ch. 7-excellent survey of the issues.

M Mullett, Catholics in Britain and Ireland 1558-1629 (1983)- broad survey

N Jones, The Birth of the Elizabethan Age (1983)- ch. 5 looks at Catholic problems in the first decade.

C Haigh, English Reformations (1983), chs. 14-15, good on shifts over the first 20 years.

P McGrath, Papists and Puritans under Elizabeth I (1967) solid general account

JCH Aveling, The Handle and the Axe (1976)- sees the Reformation as a decisive break in the development of Catholicism

J Bossy, ‘The Character of Elizabethan Catholicism’, Past & Present (1962), reprinted in T Aston (ed.), Crisis in Europe (1965). Argues for the central role of gentry households.

J Bossy, The English Catholic Community 1570-1850 (1985): a seminal work, arguing that Catholicism largely disappeared and was reconstructed by the missionaries. Now under attack from revisionists.

AD Wright, ‘Catholic History, North and South’, Northern History (1978)- critical of Bossy

C Haigh, ‘The continuity of Catholicism in the English Reformation’, Past & Present 1981), reprinted in Haigh, ed, English Reformation Revised- argues against Bossy and for survivalism.

C Haigh, ‘The Fall of a Church or the Rise of a Sect?’, Historical Journal (1978)- critical review of Bossy.

C Haigh, ‘The Church of England, the Catholics and the People; in Haigh, ed., Reign of Elizabeth I (1984), reprinted in P Marshall, ed., The Impact of the English Reformation (1997). This and the next argue, against Bossy, for the failure of the missionary campaign.

C Haigh ‘From Monopoly to Minority: Catholicism in Early Modern England’, Trans. Royal Historical Soc. (1981). On the Catholics’ ‘lost opportunity’. [Haigh’s thesis is criticised by McGrath, with reply by Haigh, in Journ. of Ecclesiastical History, 1984-5; see also A D Wright, ‘Catholic History, North and South Revisited’, Northern History (1989)- critical of Haigh]

J J Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (1984), ch. 7 on Catholic survivalism

A Walsham, Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic (1993)- ‘church papism’ as a middle way: critique of Bossy.

A Walsham, ‘“Domme Preachers”? Post-Reformation English Catholicism and the Culture of Print’, Past and Present, 168 (2000)

W J Sheils, ‘Catholics and their Neighbours in a Rural Community: Egton Chapelry 1590-1780’, Northern History, 25 (1998). Case-study challenging Bossy’s paradigms. See also his ‘Household, Age and Gender amongst Jacobean Yorkshire Recusants’, in Marie Rowlands, ed., English Catholics of Parish and Town (1999)

M Rowlands, ‘Recusant Women 1569-1640’, in Mary Prior, ed., Women in English Society 1500-1800 (1985)

P Holmes, Resistance and Compromise: the political thought of the Elizabethan Catholics (1982)

A Pritchard, Catholic Loyalism in Elizabethan England (1979)

P Lake & M Questier, ‘Agency, Appropriation and Rhetoric under the Gallows...’, Past & Present, 153 (1996); cf their ‘Prisons, Priest and People’, in N. Tyacke, ed., England’s Long Reformation 1500-1800 (1998); both reprinted in P Lake, The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat (2002)

Anne Dillon, The Construction of Martyrdom in the English Catholic Community 1535-1603 (2002)

Caroline Hibbard, ‘Early Stuart Catholicism: Revisions and Re-revisions’, Journal of Modern History (1980)