Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Question from Jenny - To what extent was England a Protestant nation in 1603

Hi! I have got an assignment on who the 'most memorable' monarch of the period 1558-1667 was, and so I have chosen Elizabeth I. I am in Year 13 (final year at school) and I am 17. One of my focussing questions is:To what extent was England a Protestant nation by 1603? (I have decided on this question because she changed the religion and I wanted to see what the result of this question is because then I can truly see how much the people of England obeyed her laws etc.)
Of course, I do have a lot of information on my other two questions but this question I am finding harder to answer. If you could help me that would be fantastic.
Thank you.

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

I have the impression from your question that you are not in the US school system, so I will answer accordingly (US state-supported secondary schools tend to be much less advanced than European ones). Legally, the "official" state church in England was thoroughly Protestant by 1603. The degree to which the population was Protestant in its doctrinal beliefs and ritual practices by 1603 remains a hot topic of debate among historians. Thus there is no simple answer. I might suggest a few important books to scan through, however, each of which should help you to form your own opinion. Eamon Duffy's "Stripping of the Altars" is a perfect starting place, since it attempts to address people's individual beliefs and practices instead of the official state-church position. Other prominent scholars in the field include Norman Jones, who studies secret English Catholics (recusants) at that time. You might also look at the books of Peter Marshall, John N. King, and/or Patrick Collinson, each of whom is a leading scholar in the study of the English Reformation during the late Tudor period.