D.G. Paz1
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  • 1 University of North Texas
The Chartists and the English Reformation
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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This article addresses three topics. It describes Chartisms creation of a ‘peoples history’ as an alternative to middle-class history, whether Whig or Tory. It locates the sources, most of which have not been noticed before, for the Chartist narrative of the English Reformation. William Cobbetts reinterpretation of the English Reformation is well known as a source for the working-class narrative; William Howitts much less familiar but more important source, antedating Cobbetts History of the Protestant Reformation in England, is used for the first time. The article reconstructs that narrative using printed and manuscript lectures and published interpretations dating from the first discussions of the Peoples Charter in 1836 to the last Chartist Convention in 1858. The manuscript lectures of Thomas Cooper are an essential but little-used source. The article contributes to historical understanding of the intellectual life of the English working class.

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