The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640

Marshall, Peter
Date published: 
May 1997

The English Reformation remains deeply controversial. While there is a growing perception that the English experienced a 'long Reformation', that it was a protracted process rather than an 'event', very significant historiographical differences remain over the pace of change, the means of implementation, and the degree of enthusiasm with which the English people experienced the dismantling of their medieval Catholic culture. How widespread was the appeal of early Protestantism in England, and what, if anything, did it owe to native roots? How effectively was religious change enacted in the localities, and how did local communities react to the swings of official policy? In what sense was England a 'Protestant nation' by the early seventeenth century? How much continuity remained with the Catholic past? The contributions in this book identify and, in different and sometimes contradictory ways, attempt to resolve these and other questions. It is structured in three sections that combine a thematic focus with an overall sense of chronological development, exploring the English Reformation in terms of its origins, implementation, and outcomes.