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English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors [Paperback]

Christopher Haigh
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 32.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 April 1993
English Reformations takes a refreshing new approach to the study of the Reformation in England. Christopher Haigh's lively and readable study disproves any facile assumption that the triumph of Protestantism was inevitable, and goes beyond the surface of official political policy to explore the religious views and practices of ordinary English people. With the benefit of hindsight, other historians have traced the course of the Reformation as a series of events inescapably culminating in the creation of the English Protestant establishment. Dr Haigh sets out to recreate the sixteenth century as a time of excitement and insecurity, with each new policy or ruler causing the reversal of earlier religious changes. This is a scholarly and stimulating book, which challenges traditional ideas about the Reformation and offers a powerful and convincing alternative analysis.

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English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors + The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England,1400-1580
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Product details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; Reprint edition (22 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198221622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198221623
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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English Reformation: Religion, Politics and Society under the Tudors.'

His style is very readable, forceful, and compelling...This is not a facile account of a complicated Reformation. Haigh knows what the complications are and does not hesitate to discuss them. (The Thomist)

About the Author

Haigh is the editor of The English Reformation Revised and author of Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (CUP 1987, 1975)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Haigh argues there were Reformations rather than one Reformation and that the process was interrupted and difficult. That implies that the populace held to Catholicism - which Haigh argues was a functioning framework - through choice. England already had an anti-Catholic underground in the form of the Lollards but they lacked credibility after the Oldcastle Rebellion (1414).

English Lollardy and imported Lutheranism came out of the closet under the protection of Cromwell, Crammer and Anne Boleyn. The two Universities did most of the legwork through Cardinal's College in Oxford and the White Horse Tavern in Cambridge. The arrival of Bucer from Strasburg and Martyr from Italy (a defender of Zwingli) accentuated this. Stereotyping early critics of the religious regime helped to unify opposition. Bilney was characterised by the authorities as `Lutheran' whilst only sharing some common ground with them such as the prohibition of veneration of images. Although found guilty, Tunstall kept the case open as Wolsey wanted a repentant conformer not a martyr. Facts about his relapse and subsequent burning in 1531 are confused.

Haigh argues that the preaching of Protestantism remained `limited and patchy'. We need to deal with one of the most contentious claims head-on. According to Haigh, Protestantism did not appeal to women. 30% of men could read but only 10% of women. Why should it be a surprise that there were more male Protestants than female? Certainly, Protestantism had a spatial bias, being concentrated in the Kent, London, Essex and around the Universities. Haigh claims that even in Colchester in 1553, Protestants were a minority.

England's `Reformation' began in Henry VIII's reign through political accident.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars invaluable 23 April 2003
By A Customer
I am currently studying History at Exeter College, Oxford, and I very much doubt I would be here without the aid of this book. Clearly set out, well written and with a fantastic overview of events, Haigh describes the changes that took place in Tudor England with finesse and style. However, this is not just a work for those studying the period - Haigh's informal style of writing and the fluency of his essays means that it is also an excellent resources for the more casual reader. An invaluable book to any studying or interested in the Reformations.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Protestantism for the Few 6 Jan 2003
Another very satisfying book which I read just after Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars". Interestingly it confirms Duffy's thesis of the robustness and resilience of late medieval piety and does even more to expose the political motives and accidents of timing which underpinned enforced institutional change to religion in England. If his reading is right the Edwardine period becomes a virtual aberration based on cynical power-hunger on the part of Somerset and Northumberland. Of particular interest is his analysis of the start of Elizabeth's reign and her sharply radical opening push which came unstuck with the bishops and conservative peers. It is a pity that one cannot - as Haigh rightly accepts - put any reliable figure on the number of protestant believers through the period or make any sensible judgment on the extent of pressure on would-be protestants to conform. What is clear is that the Whig theory of an ineluctable and historically necessary English Reformation is entirely exploded.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Readable Reformation 3 July 2014
By Jeannie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well researched and presented with easily readable prose.
Should suit all scholars interested in the Reformation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best read on the subject I found as yet 30 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
fantastic book, work of a true historian, unbiased, informative, well written, a good read.

recommend it to anyone who wishes to find out about this period and issues.

true to the title, but much more interesting than it would suggest ;)
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