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English Religious Life in the Sixteenth Century (HI948)

Module Leader

Professor Peter Marshall


Context of Module
Module Aims
Intended Learning Outcomes
Outline Syllabus
Illustrative Bibliography
Context of Module

This module, taught in the Spring term, may be taken by students on the MA in History, the MA in Religious, Social and Cultural History, or any taught Master's student outside the History Department.


Module Aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the extensive (and often contentious) recent scholarship relating to the religious and cultural impact of the Reformation in England over the course of a ‘long sixteenth century’ (roughly 1480-1640). Students will be expected both to engage empathetically with the variety of religious mentalities found in this period, and to assess critically the methodologies, conclusions, and preconceptions of the historians who have written about them.


Intended Learning Outcomes

By taking this module, students will be given the opportunity to:

  • develop critical reading skills, and encounter a range of scholarly approaches and historical methodologies
  • through regular participation in seminars, improve oral presentation skills, and the ability to debate constructively with peers and teachers
  • prepare independently under guidance a 5,000 word assessed essay, making use of a range of secondary and (where appropriate) primary sources, and to enhance their facility with bibliographic searching and the conventions of written historical scholarship.
  • reflect on themes and sources arising out of the module which may be appropriate for later treatment in a Dissertation.


Outline Syllabus

Seminar 1: The Pre-Reformation Church

Seminar 2: The Henrician Reformation

Seminar 3: The Impact in the Parishes, 1520-53

Seminar 4: Mid-Tudor Protestantism

Seminar 5: The Marian Church

Seminar 6: Elizabethan and Jacobean Puritanism

Seminar 7: The Catholic Community

Seminar 8: The 'Long Reformation': Protestantism and the People


Illustrative Bibliography

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

JJ Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (1984)

C Haigh, English Reformations (1993)

E Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (1992)

AG Dickens, The English Reformation (2nd ed 1989)

P. Marshall (ed.), The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640 (1997)

R Rex, Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993)

S Brigden, London and the Reformation (1989)

D MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England 1547-1603 (1990)

P Collinson, The Birthpangs of Protestant England (1988)

T. Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550-1640 (1991)



1 assessed essay of 5,000 words: the course is taught in weekly 2-hour seminars.


Seminar Day: Thursday
Seminar Time: 3.00-5.00

Seminar Room

: H317