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Summary: this seminar moves our focus from localities and popular movements to the political contexts and motors of change in the early Reformation period; specifically Henry VIII’s break with Rome and declaration of Supreme Headship over the Church in England. We will seek to weigh the balance of short-term and contingent factors in the breakdown of relations with Rome (such as the king’s desire to wed Anne Boleyn) versus longer-term developments in the relationship between church and state.

Seminar and essay questions:

a) Was the break with Rome solely caused by Henry VIII’s marital difficulties?

b) Where did the idea of the Royal Supremacy come from?


Overviews in Rex, Henry VIII, Haigh, English Reformations; Marshall, Reformation England; GR Elton, Reform and Reformation (1977), ch 5

GW Bernard, The Late Medieval Church, ch 2 – on monarchical control before the Reformation

----------------, The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church (2005), ch 1

P Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017), chs 3, 6

J. J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII (London, 1968), chs 6-8

Lucy Wooding, Henry VIII (2009), ch 4

David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (London, 2003), chs on Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn

Eric Ives, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn (2004) (and earlier edition, Anne Boleyn, 1986)

Thomas S. Freeman, ‘Research, Rumour and Propaganda: Anne Boleyn in Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs”, Historical Journal, 38 (1995)

M Dowling, ‘Anne Boleyn and Reform’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1984)

GW Bernard: ‘Anne Boleyn’s Religion’, Historical Journal, 36 (1993) – for contrast with Dowling, Ives

John Guy, ‘Thomas Cromwell and the Intellectual Origins of the Henrician Revolution’, in Guy, ed., The Tudor Monarchy (London, 1997), also in Guy and A Fox (eds), Reassessing the Henrician Age (1986)

---------, Tudor England (1988), ch 5

Walter Ullman, ‘This Realm of England is an Empire’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 30 (1979)

Virginia Murphy, ‘The Literature and Propaganda of Henry VIII’s First Divorce’, in Diarmaid MacCulloch, ed., The Reign of Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety (Basingstoke, 1995) (b)

Guy Bedouelle, ‘The Consultations of the Universities and Scholars Concerning the “Great Matter” of King Henry VIII’, in David C. Steinmetz, ed., The Bible in the Sixteenth Century (1990) (b)

GD Nicholson, ‘The Act of Appeals and the English Reformation’, in Claire Cross, David Loades and J. J. Scarisbrick, eds., Law and Government under the Tudors (Cambridge, 1988) (b)

Thomas F. Mayer, ‘Tournai and Tyranny: Imperial Kingship and Critical Humanism’, Historical Journal, 34 (1991), 257-77

------------, ‘On the Road to 1534: The Occupation of Tournai and Henry VIII's Theory of Sovereignty' in Dale Hoak, ed., Tudor Political Culture (Cambridge, I995), 11-30. (Compare scepticism of C. S. L. Davies, ‘Tournai and the English Crown, 1513-1519’, Historical Journal, 41 (1998), 1-26)