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The 'Long Reformation': Protestantism and the People

For discussion:

1. In what sense can the mass of the English People be described as ‘Protestants’ by the early part of the seventeenth century?



D MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England (1990 and 2nd ed. 2002) - ch 10 offers excellent short introduction to recent thinking on this topic.

P Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003), ch. 6 – as alternative to above.

C. Marsh, Popular Religion in Sixteenth-Century England (1998) – lively survey (covering whole period) and emphasizing consensus.

K Wrightson, English Society 1580-1680 (1982) - ch 7 attempts survey of ‘popular religion’ in the post-Reformation period.

K Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971) - classic study of popular mentalities; argues Reformation had little success in eradicating popular ‘superstition’.

P Collinson, The Religion of Protestants (1982) - ch 5 on ‘Popular and Unpopular Religion’ - important.

D Cressy, Bonfires and Bells (1989) - traces the development of a Protestant festival calendar in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

R Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England (1993) - esp. chs 3-5; tackles similar themes to Cressy, though with different shades of emphasis. See also his ‘The English Reformation and the Evidence of Folklore’, Past and Present, 148 (1995) for an interesting take on long-term religio-cultural change.

C Haigh, ‘The Church of England, the Catholics and the People’ in Haigh ed Reign of Elizabeth I (1984) and in Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation (1997)- identifies the phenomenon of ‘Parish Anglicans’. (Thesis now elaborated in C. Haigh, ‘The Taming of Reformation: Preachers, Pastors and Parishioners in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England’, History, 85 (2000)).

---------, Success and Failure in the English Reformation’, Past and Present, 173 (2001)

---------, The Plain Mans Pathways to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in Post-Reformation England (2007)

J Maltby, ‘Parishioners, the Prayer Book and the Established Church’ in K Fincham ed. The Early Stuart Church (1993) and in Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation (1997) - emphasizes rather different concept of ‘Prayer Book Protestants’. Maltby’s case is fully elaborated in her Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (1998)

M Ingram, Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570-1640 (1987) - ch 3 attempts to characterize some features of ‘conformist’ religion. See also his ‘From Reformation to Toleration: Popular Religious Cultures in England, 1540- 1690’, in Tim Harris, ed., Popular Culture in England, c.1580-1850 (Basingstoke, 1995).

Anthony Milton, 'Religion and community in pre-civil war England' in N. Tyacke (ed), The English Revolution c.1590-1720. Politics, Religion and Communities (2007) – insightful discussion of the kinds of people who weren’t puritans.

P. Collinson, ‘William Shakespeare’s Religious Inheritance and Environment’, in idem, Elizabethan Essays – broader significance than title implies.

I Green, ‘The emergence of the English catechism under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1986) - points to volume and importance of Protestant cathechizing. See also his monograph, The Christian’s ABC (1996).

-------, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England (2000)

JP Boulton, ‘The Limits of Formal Religion: the Administration of Holy Communion in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart London’, London Journal (1984).

M Spufford, ‘Can we count the “Godly” and the “Conformable” in the Seventeenth Century?’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1985) - points out problems in attempting to quantify religious commitment.

T Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550-1640 (1991) - important study analysing role of cheap literature in forming post-Reformation religious culture. Shortened version in M Spufford (ed), The World of Rural Dissenters (1995) and in Marshall (ed), The Impact of the English Reformation (1997).

N. Tyacke (ed), England’s Long Reformation 1500-1800 (1998) - see in particular essays by Duffy, Collinson, Hickman, Gregory.

P. Lake, ‘Deeds against Nature: Cheap Print, Protestantism and Murder in Early Seventeenth-Century England’, in K. Sharpe and P. Lake (eds), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England (1994) - looks at interaction between Protestant ideas and ‘popular culture’. Variations on the theme in his ‘Popular Form, Puritan Content? Two Puritan Appropriations of the Murder Pamphlet from Mid-Seventeenth-Century London’, in A. Fletcher and P. Roberts (eds), Religion, Culture, and Society in Early Modern Britain (1994); ‘Puritanism, Arminianism and a Shropshire Axe-Murder’, Midland History, 15 (1990) and in first part of Lake with Michael Questier, The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat: Protestants, Papists and Players in Post-Reformation England (2002).

Walsham, ‘“The Fatall Vesper”: Providentialism and Anti-Popery in Late Jacobean London’, Past and Present (1994) - on the importance of providentialism as a link between elite Protestant and ‘popular’ attitudes. See also her important book Providence in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1999).

P. Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (2002), chs. 4-7 – reformers confronting, and at times accomodating to, traditional ideas about death.