Contested Reformations in the University of Cambridge, 1535-1584

Contested Reformations in the University of Cambridge, 1535-1584

Ceri Law


Royal Historical Society



An important new perspective on this critical intellectual and religious community, and on the conflicted nature of religious change at the time.
The University of Cambridge has long been heralded as the nursery of the English Reformation: a precociously evangelical and then Puritan Tudor institution. Spanning fifty years and four reigns and based on extensive archival research, this book reveals a much more nuanced experience of religious change in this unique community. Instead of Protestant triumph, there were multiple, contested responses to royal religious policy across the sixteenth century. The University's importance as both a symbol and an agent of religious change meant that successive regimes and politicians worked hard to stamp their visions of religious uniformity onto it. It was also equipped with some of England's most talented theologians and preachers. Yet in the maze of the collegiate structure, the conformity they sought proved frustratingly elusive. The religious struggles which this book traces reveal not only the persistence of real doctrinal conflict in Cambridge throughout the Reformation period, but also more complex patterns of accommodation, conformity and resistance shaped by social, political and institutional context.

CERI LAW is a research associate at the University of Cambridge.


245 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
Hardback, 9780861933471, June 2018
eBook, 9781787442740, June 2018
Royal Historical Society
BISAC HIS037020, REL015000
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Table of Contents

The cradle of reformation? Cambridge, 1535-1547
'Lightes to shine': evangelical reform in Edwardian Cambridge
Restoration and reaction in the reign of Mary I
Re-establishing the Protestant university, 1558-1564
Patronage, control and religious order, 1564-1584
Conservatism and Catholicism in Elizabethan Cambridge
The process of religious change
Appendix 1. Departures of college Fellows, 1546-1575
Appendix 2. Former members of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford as identified in Anstruther, Seminary priests

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