4035 The debate.qxd:-
The Tudorrevolution in religion:
the twentieth-century debate
The figure of Henry VIII stands astride the Reformation century –
a man of moods, at one moment terrifying and at another wooing
his subjects, but always in command of the situation. But was he?
At the very heart of the modern debate about the English
Reformation lies the question – how far was the official
Reformation the creation of the monarch?
During the past 100 years many historians have turned their
attention to this question
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.
reforming zeal brought real disturbance to the
people at large. Never content merely to decree, always conscious of
the need to apply and make real, Cromwell continued to bombard the
country with exhortations to act.
How far all this was a success cannot be determined, but it is
clear that the policy and propaganda concerning the Tudorrevolution of the 1530s implemented enormous changes in the behaviour
and thought of Englishmen. Despite Cromwell’s execution in 1540,
Henry VIII had launched a revolution in the hearts and minds of
his subjects that was to be completed by
is expresly proued and shewed
out of the statutes and Parliament rolles by Maister Iewell, Maister Nowell, Maister
Fox, Maister Bilson, and Maister Lambert, a learned lawier of Lincolns Inne.108
Here we have a brilliant conceit: a tract besting the dean of Exeter’s ecclesiological and political thought using entirely legitimate readings of arguments drawn from the key establishment defences of Supremacy and civil
Since the days of Geoffrey Elton’s ‘Tudorrevolution’ historians have recognised that the Break with Rome established
P. L. Ward (Cambridge, MA, 1957); P. Beal, In Praise of Scribes: Manuscripts
and Their Makers in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford, 1998), pp. 15–18, 219,
J. Scott-Warren, ‘Was Elizabeth I Richard II?: the authenticity of Lambarde’s
“conversation”’, Review of English Studies, new ser., 64 (2013), 208–30.
V. Harding, ‘Monastic records and the dissolution: a Tudorrevolution in the
archives?’, European History Quarterly, 46 (2016), 480–97; C. W. Brooks,
Pettyfoggers and Vipers of the Commonwealth: The ‘Lower Branch’ of the Legal
Profession in Early