Over the past decade growing numbers of students have undertaken research into the religious dimension of the recent history of the British Isles, and in doing so have expanded its agenda away from the traditional focus on the history of doctrine and ecclesiastical institutions.
This is a timely collection of essays that sets out to address a key relationship in early modern historiography.
Callum Browns excellent book on the historical origins and contemporary significance of Up-helly-aa, Shetlands winter fire festival, has recently won The Frank Watson Prize awarded by the University of Guelph, Canada, for being the best book of its year on Scottish history and no comment here will detract in any way from that impressive achievement; superlatives come to the
Joseph P. Huffmans Family, Commerce and Religion in London and Cologne: Anglo-German Immigrants, c.1000-c.1300: (Cambridge 1998) is the most recent contribution to a burgeoning field of historical scholarship, i.e. the study of Anglo-German relations in the Middle Ages. Over the last fifteen years a number of studies have appeared on the subject.
As David Nash correctly observes in the opening sentence of his stimulating study of the history of blasphemy in modern Britain, 'In modern British society each successive generation complacently congratulates itself that blasphemy is a curious and even fascinating anachronism.' Yet each generation, including our own, is apt to discover that, far from
Worshippers at the main dominical services of the Church of England have, with greater or lesser frequency according to usage, custom, or personal inclination from 1549, and until the revision of the prayer book in 1980, publicly and collectively asserted their belief in 'The Resurrection of the body and the life everlasting'.
In early twelfth-century Durham the body of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne was still enshrined in its seventh-century coffin with its iconic images of the Virgin and Child, saints and archangels. Associated with the shrine were two magnificent manuscripts from early eighth-century Northumbria, the Lindisfarne and Stonyhurst Gospels.
Two anti-Trinitarians shared the distinction in 1612 of being the last persons to be burned for heresy in England. The execution of Oliver Plunkett in 1681 was the last martyrdom of a Catholic on English soil. A Scottish student hanged for blasphemy in 1697 was the last person in the British Isles to be executed for his religious views.
Christopher Durston has produced here the sort of history which my generation of school students was brought up to regard as the norm, taking a celebrated episode of political and constitutional history and setting out to re-evaluate it by reading a broader and deeper collection of sources for it than ever before, in both local and national archives.
William Harrison was a prominent Elizabethan intellectual, best known for his ‘Description of Britain’, included in the second edition of Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587).