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The Henrician Reformation

For discussion:

1. Did the Henrician Reformation display any consistent religious aims?

2. The early English evangelical movement owed as much to Lollardy as to continental reform.’ Discuss.


R Rex, Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993, and 2nd ed. 2006) - excellent short work with a clear (revisionist) line - a work of original scholarship despite the format. Interesting on Lollards.

-------, ‘The Crisis of Obedience: God’s Word and Henry’s Reformation’, Historical Journal (1996) - follows up theme of obedience as key to Henrician Reformation.

-------, ‘The New Learning’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1994) - helpful on pitfalls of terminology.

P Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003), ch. 2 - guide to recent historiographical controversies.

C Haigh, English Reformations (1993), ch 3 (on early Protestants); chs 7-9 (on Henrician policy) - revisionist textbook: sees religious policy as essentially subservient to political (especially foreign policy) developments.

G. W. Bernard, ‘The Making of Religious Policy, 1533-1546: Henry VIII and the Search for the Middle Way’, Historical Journal, 41 (1998) – the title says it all.

-------------, The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church (2006) – controversial thesis, putting Henry in driving seat.

D MacCulloch (ed), The Reign of Henry VIII (1995) - important essay by MacCulloch on Henry’s religious attitudes.

Ryrie, ‘Divine Kingship and Royal Theology in Henry VIII’s Reformation’, Reformation, 7 (2002) – another interesting attempt to work out Henry’s perceptions.

P. Marshall, ‘The Other Black Legend: The Henrician Reformation and the Spanish People’, English Historical Review, 116 (2001), also in Marshall, Religious Identities – how it looked from overseas.

GR Elton, Reform and Reformation (1977) - worth picking through chs 7-9, 12-13 for account stressing centrality of Thomas Cromwell and unsympathetic to revisionist concerns.

G Redworth, ‘A Study in the Formulation of Policy: the genesis and evolution of the Act of Six Articles’, Journal of Ecclesiatical History (1986) - case study of the beginnings of the Henrician ‘reaction’ of the 1540s.

RW Hoyle, ‘The Origins of the Dissolution of the Monasteries’, Historical Journal (1995) - important for assessment of government’s motives over the dissolution.

P. Marshall, ‘Papist as Heretic: the Burning of John Forest 1538’, Historical Journal, 41 (1998), also in Marshall, Religious Identities – case study in government’s treatment of dissent, and what this reveals about its motives.

JK McConica, English Humanists and Reformation Politics (1965) - controversially claims Erasmianism the guiding principle of Henrician Reform.

JJ Scarisbrick , Henry VIII (1968) - magisterial biography: chs 10 and 12 give insight into Henry’s own attitudes to his Supremacy.

P Marshall, ‘The Rood of Boxley, the Blood of Hailes, and the Defence of the Henrician Church’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1995) - attempts to draw some conclusions from a cause celebre of 1538.

------------, ‘Forgery and Miracles in the Reign of Henry VIII’, Past and Present (2003), also in Marshall, Religious Identities – broadens out from above case study to consider scope of government’s attack on the miraculous.

M Dowling, ‘Anne Boleyn and Reform’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1984) -brings a key figure into the spotlight; convincing.

------------, ‘The Gospel and the Court: Reformation under Henry VIII’, in P Lake and M Dowling eds. Protestantism and the National Church (1987) - expands the argument to highlight other reforming figures at the court.

AG Dickens, The English Reformation (2nd ed 1989) - ch 3 argues strongly for continuity between Lollardy and Protestantism; ch 5 gives sympathetic account of early Protestants; chs 7, 9 describe Henrician developments.

------------, ‘The Early Expansion of Protestantism in England 1520- 1558’, Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte (1987), and in his Late Monasticism and the Reformation (1994) and in P. Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640 (1997) - energetic attack on the revisionists, stressing significance of Reformation ‘from below’.

JF Davis, ‘Lollardy and the Reformation in England’, Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte (1982) and in P. Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640 (1997) - the most passionate advocate of the ‘continuity’ case.

---------, ‘The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation’, Historical Journal (1981) - case study of an enigmatic figure on the margins of Lollardy and Protestantism.

S Brigden, London and the Reformation (1989) - ch 2 contains some of best recent work on the first Protestants.

------------, ‘Youth and the English Reformation’, Past and Present (1982) and in P. Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640 (1997) - early Protestantism as a protest movement of the young.

P. Marshall and A. Ryrie (eds), The Beginnings of English Protestantism (2002) – chs. 1-4 on complexities of early Protestantism.

M Aston, ‘Lollardy and the Reformation: Survival or Revival’, History (1964), and in her Lollards and Reformers (1984) - points to interesting themes in early Protestant printing.

G Walker, Persuasive Fictions (1996) - esp. ch 5: sceptical about the potential, or even the existence of organized heretical groups.

R. Rex, The Lollards (2002) – lively revisionist account minimising their significance.