Each age has used the debate about the English Reformation in its own way and for its own ends. This book is about the changing nature of the debate on the English Reformation, and is a study of Reformation historiography. It focuses the historiography of the Reformation as seen through the eyes of men who were contemporaries of the English Reformation, and examines the work of certain later writers from Thomas Fuller to John Strype. The book discusses the history of the sixteenth-century Reformation as written by modernist professional historians of the later nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. All through the Tudor times the tide of Reformation ebbed and flowed as the monarch willed. The book sets out modern debates concerning the role of Henry VIII, or his ministers, the Reformation and the people of England, and the relative strength of Protestantism or Catholicism. Catholics and Protestants alike openly used the historical past to support their contemporary political arguments. Additionally, the nature of religious identities, and the changes which occurred in the Church of England as a result of the Reformation are also explained. The history of the Reformation in the 1990s and 2000s has to be viewed within the context of research assessment and peer review. The book shows how persistent the threat of postmodernist theory is to the discipline of history, even as leading academic authorities on the Reformation have rejected it out of hand.
love or hatred, nor over-swayed by partiality
and corrupt affections’.45
JohnStrype’s narrative history of the Reformation
JohnStrype (1643–1737) shared Burnet’s desire to write a true
history of the Reformation, but with Strype, as with Burnet, the
4035 The debate.qxd:-
INTERPRETATIONS FROM FULLER TO STRYPE
attempt to write such a history has to be set within the context of
a contemporary debate.
The Reformation once again became the focus for heated
debate in the early years of the eighteenth century. The immediate
occasion was the
would subsequently develop an unstoppable momentum. The corpses of Pym
and Cromwell may have been removed from the Abbey, but the legacies of the
years of revolution were not so easily eliminated.
2 I plan to discuss these issues in more detail elsewhere.
3 JohnStrype, A survey of the cities of London and Westminster (2 vols, 1720), VI, bk i, p. 6.
, William Laud, even JohnStrype? Just where do we draw
the line? As will become apparent in the following pages, the idea
of a continuing reformation – the completion of a half-finished job
– remained with the English well into the nineteenth century and
4035 The debate.qxd:-
THE DEBATE ON THE ENGLISH REFORMATION
has resurfaced in modern times. The issues raised between 1525
and 1662 continued to matter. Englishmen – Catholic, ‘Anglican’
and Nonconformist – felt deeply. This state of affairs was, in part,
the result of the Elizabethan
Thomas Marsh, 1576 ).
Again, father Leonard appears as the author:
Leonard Digges, An arithmeticall militare treatise, named
Stratioticos, etc. (London: Henrie Brynneman, 1579 ).
Still an invaluable resource is JohnStrype
Reformation: reformulation, reiteration and reflection
? JohnStrype, in the early eighteenth
century, was caught up in a highly specific contemporary controversy regarding Sacheverell’s veiled attack in 1709 on Archbishop
Tenison and Whig upholders of religious toleration, which saw
Tenison and Queen Anne as counterparts of Archbishop Grindal
and Queen Elizabeth. Strype believed that the way of the Church
of England was pre-ordained by God and a history of the Church
in England would show that. He was also ambitious and allied
firmly to Tenison and the Whigs. But Strype was a scholar and an
antiquary, whose research
Hoskins, Local History, 26.
6 Rosemary Sweet, The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-Century
England (1997), 75–80; Peter Clark, ‘Visions of the urban community:
antiquarianism and the English city before 1800’, in D. Fraser and A.
Sutcliffe (eds), The Pursuit of Urban History (1983), 107.
7 Clark, ‘Visions’, 112.
8 M.J. Power, ‘John Stow and his London’, in Richardson, 30–51. Power
presents a relatively negative view of Stow’s achievements. JohnStrype
produced in 1720 what he called a ‘corrected, improved and very much
enlarged’ edition, and a 6th edition
of London – perhaps because even an ambiguous attack by Spenser on
an important clergyman was very daring. In this regard, it is important to note
that Aylmer's name was pronounced ‘Elmer’. JohnStrype, that
formidable church historian of bishops, thought that he might be a descendant
of Aylmer's and so does his best to sanitize Aylmer, including honouring his
preference for Aylmer over Elmer. In his ODNB article, the historian
Salmon drew attention to the unreliable and partisan nature of the
Frenchman’s account. Rapin, Salmon noted, had drawn extensively
on Camden’s Annales when discussing Elizabeth. However, in doing
so, he had deliberately ignored Camden’s detailed accounts of the
plots of the Presbyterians – referred to by Salmon as Rapin’s ‘Brethren
of the Geneva Stamp’ – to reduce ‘the whole Kingdom under their
Tyranny’.48 Modern History responded by putting these plots centre
stage and, through a series of borrowings from Camden and the
Church historian JohnStrype, provided full
Jeremy Collier, affected by the non-juring schism, wrote of the
beauty of holiness, of the apostolic succession, of the independence of the English Church in convocation, and of the ancient
church. John Foxe was representative of a virulently anti-Catholic
and providential Protestant history – a tradition continued, if
modified, by Gilbert Burnet and JohnStrype in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The Chronicle of Edward
Hall and the Annales of William Camden took a more nationalistic, political perspective. The providential and national