Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Prof Marshall explains how Henry VIII's break with Rome led to a century of savagery

BBC coverWriting for BBC History magazine, Professor Marshall of Warwick's History department explains how Henry VIII's break with Rome led to a century of savagery,

"Fierce fighting raged all day on 4 August 1549 in the fields and lanes outside the Devon village of Clyst St Mary. By evening, royal forces had driven the rebels from the streets, and taken the bridge over the River Clyst. But even in the moment of victory, the King’s commanders feared a counter-attack. The order was given for soldiers to kill any prisoner in their custody: perhaps 900 men were, in the words of a chronicler, ‘slain like beasts’.

"This moment of shocking violence was an extreme but not anomalous occurrence in the course of England’s sixteenth-century Reformation. Recent scholarship on the changes taking place after Henry VIII’s break with the papacy tends to assert their relatively pacific character, and points to continuities across the Reformation divide."

Read more in this month's BBC History magazine where Professor Marshall has the cover story.

Read more about Professor Marshall's latest book: 'Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation' published by Yale University Press.


Alex Buxton
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166