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.
Rediscovering early modern
Westminster is the greatest City in England next London, not onely in Position, but
by the Dimensions thereof . . . it filleth as much ground (not to say containeth more
reasonable souls) then any City in the Land. But as a proper man seemeth a Dwarfe,
when placed next to a Giant; such the infelicity of Westminster, whose due greatness,
devoured by the vicinity of London, is insensible in the eyes of the Beholders.1
O wrote ThomasFuller in 1662. These words were also prophetic of the later
study of early
forms of worship;
the wealth of the Church; the historical forms of Church government. Probably much criticism of Heylyn as an unscrupulous
polemicist derives from the fact that his views were so influential.
Heylyn’s book appeared in print just seven years after ThomasFuller’s The Church History of Britain (1655),39 which has
recently been described as the first comprehensive Protestant
history of the English Church, and must have seemed to be a
response to it. Fuller’s work, which was in its turn a reply to the
various Catholic detailed versions of English Church
This book investigates the ways in which the crusades have been observed by historians from the 1090s to the present day. Especial emphasis is placed on the academic after-life of the crusades from the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries. The use of the crusade and its history, by humanists and other contemporary writers, occupied a world of polemic, serving parochial religious, cultural and political functions. Since the Renaissance humanists and Reformation controversialists, one attraction of the crusades had lain in their scope: recruited from all western nations, motivated by apparently transcendent belief systems and fought across three continents. From the perspective of western Europe's engagement with the rest of the globe from the sixteenth century, the crusades provided the only post-classical example to hand of an ideological and military world war. Remarkably, the patterns of analysis of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century have scarcely gone away: empathy; disapproval; relevance; the role of religion; materialist reductionism. Despite the explosion of literary attention, behind the empathetic romanticism of Michaud or the criticism of Mills and Scott, the themes identified by Thomas Fuller, Claude Fleury, David Hume, Edward Gibbon and William Robertson persisted. The idea of the crusades as explicit precursors to modern events, either as features of teleological historical progress or as parallels to modern actions remains potent. The combination of ideology, action, change, European conquest and religious fanaticism acted as a contrast or a comparison with the tone of revolutionary and reactionary politics.
, 1872), II, p. 38; Thomas Carlyle,
Historical Sketches (2nd edn, 1898), p. 274.
5 R. Baxter, Church-History of the Government of Bishops and their Councils Abbreviated
(1680), sig. a4r.
6 ThomasFuller, An Appeal of Injured Innocence (1659), iii. p. 33; EV, ii. sig. A3r; Hamon
L’Estrange, The Observator Observed (1656), p. 22.
7 N. Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: the Rise of English Arminianism, c. 1590–1640 (Oxford, 1987),
chapter 8; A. Foster, ‘Church policies in the 1630s’ in R. Cust and A. Hughes (eds),
Conﬂict in early Stuart England (1989); K. C. Fincham, ‘The
officials, and fourteen out of the
twenty-four members of Westminster’s quasi-local government, the Court of
Burgesses.12 Perhaps the most significant names, though, are those of Edward
Wardour and John Castle and, on a later membrane, of the clergymen ThomasFuller and Richard Dukeson. These four men, along with John Chichley (of
Covent Garden) and Laurance Lisle were all involved in taking the peace
petition to the king in the name of Westminster two and a half weeks later.
The peace petition to the Lords was presented by six people, of whom Wardour
was one, and it
of the problem has been that, as one of Westminster’s inhabitants ThomasFuller wrote in 1662, its proximity to London has meant that Westminster
has been obscured, ‘as a proper man seemeth a Dwarfe, when placed next
to a Giant’.1 But Westminster has its own history. My earlier monograph The
Social World of Early Modern Westminster (2005) sought to demonstrate the
importance of Westminster as an area of study in its own right. This uniquely
important urban centre was one of the largest towns in early modern England,
encompassing a complex local society and
; in which, as yet we are amongst the last. 104
Milton’s call for further reform was challenged by ThomasFuller, a Church of England clergyman and historian who responded in print. 105 Fuller was given personal access to John Foxe’s private papers, and his historical writing owes much to Acts and Monuments . 106 When writing The church-history of Britain (1655), years after his rebuttal of Milton’s pamphlet, Fuller was fully aware of Milton’s arguments about Wyclif when he repeated Foxe’s warning that due to the dark age Wyclif had
southern subjects’ speech. According to Francis Bacon,
James’s speech was ‘swift and cursory, and in the full
dialect of his country’, while ThomasFuller observed that:
‘His Scotch tone, [James] rather affected than declined; and
though his speaking spoiled his speech in some English ears, yet the
masculine worth of his set orations commanded reverence if not
admiration in all judicious hearers; but in
form of self-justification can still be found much later, in ThomasFuller’s History of the Worthies of England (1662), which generally devotes very little space to poets. One of the few exceptions is Chaucer, and to justify his inclusion, Fuller particularly stresses Chaucer’s ‘laureate’ status, which provided the poet with a royal seal of approval. 41 He is also eager to point out that this and ‘many other boons’ were a reward because ‘ Chaucer , besides his poetical accomplishments, did the King service both in war and peace, as Souldier and Embassadour’. 42