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Elizabethan and Jacobean Puritanism

For discussion:

1. To what extent is it legitimate to speak of a Puritan ‘movement’ in this period?

2. Should the terms ‘puritan’ and ‘puritanism’ be ‘banished altogether from the historians’ dictionary’?


C Durston & J Eales (ed) The Culture of English Puritanism 1560-1700 (1996) - important collection - esp. intro. and chs 1-3.

J. Coffey and P. C. H. Lim (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (2008)

John Spurr, English Puritanism 1603-1689 (Basingstoke, 1998) – good survey of later period.

P Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003), ch. 5 – sketches the context.

B. Hall, ‘Puritanism: the Problem of Definition’ in Studies in Church History Vol. II ed. G.J. Cuming (1965)

P. Collinson, English Puritanism, Historical Association pamphlet (1983) - good introduction to Collinson’s approach.

--------------, ‘Puritanism’ - entry in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation - ditto

-------------, ‘A Comment: Concerning the Name Puritan’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1980)

-------------, Archbishop Grindal 1519-1583 (1979) -biography of Elizabeth’s ‘Puritan’ archbishop.

-------------, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (1967) - classic study, heavy-going in places.

-------------, The Religion of Protestants (1982) - absorbing study of Elizabethan Church; esp. chs 4-6

------------, Godly People (1983) - important collection of articles, esp. nos. 1, 6 (also in Studies in Church History 3), 9, 11, 13 (also in ST Bindoff et al Elizabethan Government and Society), 15 (also in PN Brooks ed Reformation Principle and Practice), 16 (SCH 1), 18 (Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 1975), 20.

-------------, The Birthpangs of Protestant England (1988) - explores interactions of godly Protestantism with culture, urban and family life.

----------, ‘The Elizabethan Church & the New Religion’ in C Haigh ed. Reign of Elizabeth I.

----------, ‘Sects and the Evolution of Puritanism’, in F. J. Bremer (ed), Puritanism: Transatlantic Perspectives on a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Faith (1993) - on relationship of Puritanism to separatism.

---------, ‘Ecclesiastical Vitriol: Religious Satire in the 1590s and the Invention of Puritanism’, in J. Guy (ed.), The Reign of Elizabeth I (Cambridge, 1995)

-----------, ‘Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair: The Theatre constructs Puritanism’, in D. L. Smith, R. Strier, and D. Bevington (eds.), The Theatrical City (Cambridge, 1995)

P Lake, Moderate Puritans and the Elizabethan Church (1982) - places no. of Puritan theologians in Elizabethan mainstream.

--------, ‘Calvinism and the English Church 1570- 1635’, Past and Present (1987) - important article modifying Collinsonian model of a Calvinist consensus. (Draws on insights of R. T. Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (Oxford, 1979)).

--------, Anglicans and Puritans? Presbyterianism and English Conformist Thought from Whitgift to Hooker (1988) - examines concept of puritanism in context of contemporary polemic.

--------, ‘Defining Puritanism - again?’, in F. J. Bremer (ed), Puritanism: Transatlantic Perspectives on a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Faith (1993)

--------, ‘Anti-Puritanism: The Structure of a Prejudice’, in K. Fincham and P. Lake (eds), Reigious Politics in Post-Reformation England (2006)

RL Greaves, ‘The Puritan Non-Conformist Tradition in England, 1560-1700: Historiographical Reflections’, Albion (1985)

K Parker, The English Sabbath (1988) - denies strict sabbatarianism an exclusively ‘Puritan’ preoccupation.

----- and Eric Carlson, ‘Practical Divinty’: The Works and Life of Revd Richard Greenham (Aldershot, 1998) – (esp. introduction) – scepticism about ‘puritan’ label

Hunt, ‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 161 (1998) – similarly tries to break down some traditional stereotypes.

Thomas Freeman, ‘Demons, Deviance and Defiance: John Darrell and the Politics of Exorcism in Late Elizabethan England’, in Peter Lake and Michael Questier, eds., Conformity and Orthodoxy in the English Church, c. 1560-1660 (Woodbridge, 2000) – the less respectable face of puritanism.

Keith Wrightson and David Levine, Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling 1525-1700 (1979 and 2nd ed. 1995) – influential thesis on connections between puritanism and social control.

Margaret Spufford, ‘Puritanism and Social Control?’, in Anthony Fletcher and John Stevenson, eds., Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1985) – critical of ‘Wrightson thesis’.

Martin Ingram, ‘Religion, Communities and Moral Discipline in Late Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century England’, in Kaspar von Greyerz, ed., Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (1984) – likewise.

Nicholas Tyacke, ‘Popular Puritan Mentality in Late Elizabethan England’, in P. Clark, A. Smith and N. Tyacke (eds), The English Commonwealth 1547-1640 (1979), and his Aspects of English Protestantism c. 1530-1700 (2001) – silly puritan names.

Good regional studies:


RC Richardson, Puritanism in North-West England (1972)

WJ Sheils, The Puritans in the Diocese of Peterborough 1558-1610 (1979)

W Hunt, The Puritan Moment: the Coming of Revolution in an English County (1983) - Essex.

David Underdown, Fire from Heaven: Life in an English Town in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1992) – Dorchester: the godliest place in England!