Early Modern British Religious History

Looking Forward

in Church History and Religious Culture
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This article reviews the recent trajectories in the study of early modern British religious history, arguing that the modes of cultural history and the rejection of a teleological narrative have opened up new topics and rejuvenated perennial debates while putting older ones to rest. Consequently, a fuller understanding of the long reach and fundamental place of reform within British society has precipitated a “religious turn” within early modern British studies. The article ends with a look at two promising trends: the use of new types of primary sources and a wider geographical scope.

Church History and Religious Culture

Formerly: Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis



Felicity Heal, “Appropriating History: Catholic and Protestant Polemics and the National Past,” in The Uses of History in Early Modern England, ed. Paulina Kewes (San Marino, CA, 2006), 105–128.


Alexandra Walsham, “History, Memory, and the English Reformation,” Historical Journal 55 (2012), 899–938.


Caroline Bowden, “Who Were the Nuns?: A Prosopographical Study of the English Convents in Exile 1600–1800,” 2008, accessed 15 February 2017, https://wwtn.history.qmul.ac.uk; Liesbeth Corens, “Saints Beyond Borders: Relics and the Expatriate English Catholic Community,” in Exile and Religious Identity, 1500–1800 (London, 2014), eds. Jesse E. Spohnholz and Gary K. Waite, 25–38; Katy Gibbons, English Catholic Exiles in Late Sixteenth-Century Paris (Woodbridge, 2011); Christopher Highley, Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford, 2008), 23–53; James Kelly, “Creating an English Catholic Identity: Relics, Martyrs and English Women Religious in Counter-Reformation Europe,” in Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation (Leiden, 2017), eds. James E. Kelly and Susan Royal, 41–59.


Robert Harkins, “Elizabethan Puritanism and the Politics of Memory in Post-Marian England.” Historical Journal 57 (2014), 899–919.


Anne Overell, “Vergerio’s anti-Nicodemite propaganda and England, 1547–155,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 51 (2000): 296–318; Andrew Pettegree, Marian Protestantism: Six Studies (Aldershot, 1996), 86–117.


Diarmaid MacCulloch, “The Myth of the English Reformation,” Journal of British Studies 31 (1991), 1–19, quote at 3, and “The Latitude of the Church of England,” in Religious Politics in Post-Reformation England: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Tyacke, eds. Kenneth Fincham and Peter Lake (Woodbridge, 2006), 41–59; Nicholas Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c. 1590–1640 (Oxford, 1987).


G.W. Bernard, ‘The Church of England, c. 1529–c. 1642’, History 75 (1990), 183–206; cf. Nicholas Tyacke, “Anglican Attitudes: Some Recent Writings on English Religious History, from the Reformation to the Civil War,” Journal of British Studies 35 (1996), 139–167.


Ken Jackson and Arthur F. Marotti, “The Turn to Religion in Early Modern English Studies,” Criticism 46 (2004), 167–190.


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