Marian Reaction and Elizabethan England, #1

On the left, Cranmer at his burning (note his right hand); on the right, Elizabeth Regina at her coronation.

This week's email:
For next week, please read the following: Brigden, Chapter 6, "Rebuilding the Temple," on Mary I, pp. 197-212; Chapter 7, "'Perils many, great and imminent,'" on Elizabeth, 1558-70, pp. 213-38; Chapter 8, "Wars of Religion," on Elizabeth, 1570-84, pp. 239-73. For primary reading, please read the documents on Marian martyrs and the "Romish Holy League" at For the lecture outlines on the course website, be sure to read those for Mary and the Reign of Elizabeth; as additional resources, though, take a look at the excellent outlines Professor Sommerville also has for Elizabethan England at These lecture outlines offer a good deal of overlapping material, in detail.

When reading this material, try to keep track how much religion (in both England and mainland Europe) was in flux during this period, despite the solidification of Protestantism in England and Catholicism after the Council of Trent. With so much changing this way and that, it can be a little confusing at times! Notice also the instances of Protestant anxiety of a Catholic League and threat of conspiracy against Elizabeth and Protestant England. Try to think about why Protestants thought this way in 1558/9 and why such anxiety continued so far into the reign. After it became clear that Elizabeth wouldn't die right away (unlike her siblings), concerns for the royal succession didn't fade away and this constant concern for the royal line fed right into religious fears. As Brigden writes at p. 238, "the language of politics became the language of religion," and this development (as it had been relevant for Henry VIII) had far reaching repercussions.

For our discussion sections, come prepared to talk about these fears in religion and politics, and the manifestations of anxiety. Also, think about how and with what justification the "Church Militant" could kill in God's name in the Holy War against the Papal Antichrist. We have traveled some distance from the initial, peaceful notions of solifidianism and sola scriptura!