Monday, July 27, 2009

Question from Mark - Additional sources on the last two years of Henry VIII's reign

I am studying, in depth, the last two years of Henry VIII's reign. I've exhausted secondary sources and the main primary sources, such as Letters and Papers. Where else should I look? I'm particularly interested in the role of Catherine Parr and her relationship with, and influence on Henry VIII, and the truth about her possible arrest. Thanks in advance for any answers.


PhD Historian said...

I strongly suggest the two books on Katherine Parr written and published by Dr Susan James, if you have not already read them. The first is titled Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen, published by Ashgate Publishing in 1999. The second is Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love, published by History Press for Tempus Publishing in 2008.

The first is an academic book published for historians specializing in Tudor history. The second is a re-write of the first and intended for a more general reading public, so it is less academic in tone.

Both contain excellent footnoting and bibliographies that will provide reference to all of the available relevant primary and secondary sources on Parr and her marriage to Henry VIII. As far as I am concerned, Dr James's books are the definitive studies of Parr. James offers extensive analysis of Parr's relationship with Henry and her influence (or lack of influence) on him and his policies.

You might also read Derek Wilson's new "brief biography" of Henry VIII for its alternative interpretation of the Henry-Parr relationship.

kb said...

The best treasure hunt for primary sources is to go back to your secondary sources and study their bibliographies and footnotes (if any).

The online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry includes the following sources you may not have looked at as yet:
Calendar of Patent Rolls 1547-53
The Calendar of State Papers Domestic and Spain.
Foxe, Acts and Monuments
Strpe, Ecclesiastical Memorials,
Haynes, Collection of State Papers...
and several others.

For primary sources the author, Susan James who PhD Historian has already directed you to, lists documents in the National Archives (PRO) and the British Library if you are in England. There are more listed if you can get access to the ODNB via your library or nearby university.

kb said...

Sorry - I meant to say that this was the ODNB entry for Katherine Parr

Gareth Russell said...

For a particularly fast-paced narrative on the period in question, Robert Hutchinson's "The Last Days of Henry VIII" is a particularly gripping "populist" account of the end of the King's reign, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.