On October 31 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the cathedral in Wittenberg, thus setting into motion a chain of events that would forever change Christianity. The Reformation took on many forms as these new ideas spread, with the help of a new technology – the printing press – and the particular circumstances in each country affected the way Protestantism found expression. In England, events overtook the church when Henry needed a divorce, and the reformers found a way to provide it. England never saw the same amount of bloodshed as other European countries did – there was never an Inquisition, or a St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, or a 30 Years War. But there was a unique roller coaster in the mid 16th century, bookended on either side by two strong monarchs who tried to please everyone, and find compromises.
This past October the podcast looked at how the Reformation expressed itself in England with four episodes focusing on the state of the Medieval English church prior to the 1520’s, the Henrican Reformation, the previously mentioned roller coaster, and then the Elizabethan Settlement. Each of those episodes is below, as well as other episodes I’ve done over the years that deal with religion, which I’d recommend listening to after these four – namely, the Catholic experience in Elizabethan England, Mary Queen of Scots, and Francis Walsingham, the Protestant spymaster.
The sources I used for Reformation Month are all listed below, too…
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The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy is the seminal book on the state of the Catholic church in England during this period.
In The Voices of Morebath he looks at one particular village, and how it dealt with the changing religious laws.
Also, there’s Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants, and the Conversion of England in which Duffy challenges the idea that Protestantism was on the “right” side of history.
Peter Marshall’s Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation is a sweeping survey of the Reformation in England.
I also read Diarmaid MacCulloch’s All Things Made New: Writings on the Reformation collects essays from all the leading scholarship and interprets it for the wider audience.
Catholics in Elizabethan England
Throwback Episode 26: Catholics in Elizabethan England
Throwback Episode 027: Francis Walsingham, Spymastera
REFORMATION MONTH EPISODES
Episode 087: The English Church on the Eve of Reformation
Episode 088: The Henrican Reformation
Episode 089: Edward, Mary, and Religious Whiplash
Episode 090: The Elizabethan Settlement
(Again, if you like this podcast, there are two main ways you can support it. First (and free!) you can leave a review on iTunes. It really helps new people discover the show. Second, you can support the show financially by becoming a patron on Patreon for as little as $1 episode. Also, you can shop in my Tudor Store where I have Six Wives leggings, Tudor Rose bags, Christmas decor, planners, and more great gifts!)