Sunday, December 20, 2009

Question from Katlyn - Follow-up on previous research help question

Hello everyone! I'm Katlyn; I posted a question here a few months back with questions for preliminary research for a big Henry VIII-oriented paper I'm doing this year in college. Now, with Lara's leave, I would like to ask about sources again, but this time I am looking for more ideas about primary sources for my narrowed-down focuses.

My paper will be a comparison between the careers of Wolsey and Cromwell, comparing specific aspects of their careers and their relationship with Henry, and in the context of this I want to examine the downfall of each man and relate it to historiographical questions about faction and the king's displeasure.

So in general, primary sources that I already have include:
Life and Letters of Cromwell in 2 Volumes (Merriman)
Life and Death of Wolsey (Cavendish)
Tudor Royal Proclamations
Some letters from the Pilgrimage of Grace participants
Random accounts found in secondary source books.

Specific topics I want to examine in my paper include:
Wolsey: the nature of his ambition, his changing relationship with the king, his hand in foreign politics and his French persuasion (i.e. Field of Cloth of Gold), his participation in the Duke of Buckingham affair, the failure of the Amicable Grant, his extravagance, his failure in the Great Matter and his subsequent actions prior to the treason charges.

Cromwell: the way in which his career in government began, the nature of his service to the king, his relationship with and affinity to the king, his part in the fall of Anne Boleyn, his religious reforms - I would like to try to examine his religious persuasions but realize that this is probably out of my reach! - his efforts to find Henry a wife, his involvement in investigating the Pole conspiracy, and his very sudden disfavor and downfall.

In each case I want to examine the presence of political faction and what sort of role it played under the specific circumstances. From this I think I want to draw some conclusions about the political atmosphere, the presence of the New Men, the nature of Henry when it came to protecting or sacrificing an advisor, and whatever else seems to come up. (I realize I may not have enough room for all!)

So far I have been using the following secondary sources:
In the Lion's Court (Wilson), The Cardinal and the Secretary (Williams), Henry VIII and the Mask of Royalty (Baldwin Smith), The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s (can't remember the author), and plan to use Ives' biography of Anne Boleyn for the basis of Cromwell's involvement in her career). I have heard that McEntegart's book on the Cleves marriage would probably be useful. Should I maybe add Scarisbrick on Henry VIII?

Any suggestions for what primary sources I might be able to utilize for the topics listed above would be quite useful. In addition, if anyone knows where I might be able to find some of the rarer ones (chronicles, ambassadors' accounts - I don't read Italian, Latin or French, unfortunately), that would be useful as I am new to searching out such things. I'm sorry for asking so many questions! Feel free to just pick one and answer it if you have the time. I would appreciate the help so much. Thank you all!!


kb said...

Hi Katlyn,

Your narrow-downed focus is still fairly comprehensive. I think that as you start drafting and re-drafting you will start cutting topics out or down.

You should look at Letters and Papers of Henry VIII - printed primary source available in most large university libraries.

Have you looked at 'The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey' (Gwyn)? Might be a good secondary source. You also pretty much need to either quote or argue against Sir Geoffrey Elton. He has been the authority on the Henrician court. People have been debating his work for decades.

Also see if you can look at War, taxation, and rebellion in early 'Tudor England : Henry VIII, Wolsey, and the Amicable Grant of 1525' (Bernard). Also:
'The monarchical republic of early Modern England : essays in response to Patrick Collinson' edited by McDiarmid.

You might want to browse through the Camden Miscellany, various volumes. The Camden Society published a great deal of primary source material not included elsewhere. It's sort of a hodge podge so get a librarian to help you out. (I will admit to sitting on the library floor at my uni going through every single volume to make sure I hadn't missed anything important to my research) The Camden volumes will be in a large research university library.

For ambassadorial gossip, try the Calendar of State Papers relating to Venice, or Spain.

Scarisbrick is good. I would trade Elton for Scarisbrick if you are running out of time just because his work is the basis for so much of the recent historiography.

Good luck with your paper and do let us know how it's going.

Hope Walker said...

I agree with KB in terms of source materials. However, I am hesitant to give you more details, Katlyn, as your request feels more like someone asking others to do their research for them rather than a student asking a question about specific source material.

Part of your learning experience in college is learning how to conduct research. Im not convinced that our providing you with a monster list of sources and our thoughts about them does you that many favors. You haven't asked for scholars to interview. You've asked for sources and feedback about them and really, that is your job. Its your job to find them and your job to evaluate their pros/cons OR find published sources that do.

KB has more than given you the tools to fish. Now you need to start to cast for yourself.

- HW

kb said...


I would be happy to respond to further queries as you proceed. I agree with Hope that you have to do some digging - but I suspect you already are and part of that digging process includes - IMO - asking everyone you can think of where to dig.

Best of luck

Elizabeth said...

Also, be careful as to what you term a "primary source." Letters from the time period will be primary, but the book you mention on Wolsey is a secondary source. It will have primary sources in the reference page, but the book itself is not primary.

Speaking of reference pages, check these out in the books you have. They will lead you to a TON of primary and secondary sources for you paper.