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8. A New Reign and the Legacy of the Old


Seminar Overview:

This seminar aims to fulfil a dual function: a detailed discussion of a historical moment, and a broader retrospective survey of the themes of the module as a whole. Rather than terminating out investigations abruptly with the death of Elizabeth in 1603, we will consider in this session the ways in which the new regime of James I came into existence and established itself (taking account of the Hampton Court Conference of 1604 and Gunpowder Plot of 1605). This will involve assessing what precisely changed with the death of Elizabeth, and the extent to which the problems James faced were unresolved issues from Elizabeth’s reign. At the same time, we will look to gain some perspective on the overall achievements and consequences of the Elizabethan Reformation.

Questions for discussion:

- In religious terms, was 1603 an ‘almost irrelevant date’ (Collinson)?

- Who had most reason to be disappointed at the start of James I’s reign: Catholics or Puritans?

- What were the principal legacies of the Elizabethan Reformation?


Seminar Reading:

Burgess, Glenn, Wymer, Roland and Lawrence, Jason, eds, The Accession of James I : Historical and Cultural Consequences (Basingstoke, 2006), esp. chaps by Baynham, Croft [E]

Carrafiello, Michael L., ‘Robert Parsons’ Climate of Resistance and the Gunpowder Plot’, Seventeenth Century, 3 (1988)

*Collinson, Patrick, , ‘The Jacobean Religious Settlement: The Hampton Court Conference’, in Howard Tomlinson, ed., Before the English Civil War (Basingstoke, 1983)

*Collinson, Patrick, ‘The Politics of Religion and the Religion of Politics in Elizabethan England’, Historical Research, 82 (2009)

de Lisle, Leanda, After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth and the Coming of King James (London, 2005)

Doran, Susan, '1603: A Jagged Succession?', Historical Research, 93 (2020), 443–65

Doran, Susan and Kewes, Paulina (eds), Doubtful and Dangerous: The Question of Succession in Late Elizabethan England (Oxford, 2014), esp chaps in Part II

Durston, Christopher, ‘ Edward Fisher and the Defence of Elizabethan Protestantism during the English Revolution’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 56 (2005).

*Fincham, Kenneth, ‘Ramifications of the Hampton Court Conference in the Dioceses 1603-1609’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 36 (1985).

Fincham, Kenneth and Lake, Peter, ‘The Ecclesiastical Policy of King James I’ Journal of British Studies, 24 (1985)

Fraser, Antonia, The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 (London, 1996)

Hunt, Arnold, ‘Tuning the Pulpits: The Religious Context of the Essex Revolt’, in Lori Anne Ferrell and Peter McCullough, eds, The English Sermon Revised: Religion, Literature and history, 1600-1700 (Manchester, 2000),

Jones, Norman, Living the Reformations: Generational Experience and Political Perception in Early Modern England’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 60 (1997)

Lake, Peter ‘The King (the Queen) and the Jesuit: James Stuart’s True Law of Free Monarchies in Context/s’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser., 14 (2004).

Marshall, Peter, Reformation England 1480-1642 (London, 2003), chap. 8

Okines, A. W. R. E., ‘Why was there so little Government Reaction to Gunpowder Plot?’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 55 (2004)

*Questier, Michael, ‘The Politics of Religious Conformity and the Accession of James I’, Historical Research, 71 (1998)

Spurr, John, English Puritanism 1603-1689 (Basingstoke, 1998), chap. 5

Tyacke, Nicholas, ‘Puritan Politicians and King James VI and I, 1587-1604’, in Thomas Cogswell, Richard Cust and Peter Lake, eds., Politics, Religion and Popularity in Early Stuart Britain: Essays in Honour of Conrad Russell (Cambridge, 2002)

*Walsham, Alexandra, ‘The Reformation of the Generations: Youth, Age and Religious Change in England, c. 1500–1700’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 21 (2011)

Williamson, Philip and Natalie Mears, 'James I and Gunpowder Treason Day', Historical Journal, 64 (2021)

Wormald, Jenny, ‘Ecclesiastical vitriol: the kirk, the puritans and the future king of England’, in John Guy, ed., The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (Cambridge, 1995)


Episode of BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ on ‘The Death of Elizabeth I’ (2009), available to listen on BBC i-player at



‘Extract from Robert Persons’ Conference on the Next Succession, 1595, EHD, pp. 1268-9


‘Accounts of the death of Elizabeth I: Camden, Carey, Manningham, Southwell’, EHD, pp. 1282-7


‘The Millenary Petition, 1603’, J. P. Kenyon, ed., The Stuart Constitution: Documents and Commentary (Cambridge, 1966), pp. 132-3. Click HERELink opens in a new window


‘James’s proclamation enjoining conformity to the Prayer Book, 1604’, J. P. Kenyon, ed., The Stuart Constitution: Documents and Commentary (Cambridge, 1966), pp. 134-7. Click HERELink opens in a new window


‘Bishop Richard Vaughan’s Articles for London Diocese, 1605’, K. Fincham (ed.), Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church, Church of England Record Society, vol 1 (1993), pp. 26-38


‘An Act for the discovering and repressing popish recusants, 1606’ AND ‘An Act to prevent dangers which may grow by Popish recusants, 1606’, G. W. Prothero, ed., Select Statutes and Constitutional Documents Illustrative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I (4th ed., Oxford, 1894), pp. 256-268. Available here: opens in a new window