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English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors Paperback – June 24, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0198221623 ISBN-10: 0198221622

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English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors + The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 24, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198221622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198221623
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"It is a tribute to the worth of Dr. Haigh's positive evidence, as well as to his skill in debate, that on the whole the balance of probability seems usually to be on his side....It is significant that it is Dr. Haigh's view which has become the best known and has now provided what is likely to become the standard textbook."--Times Higher Education Supplement

"A significant work...An important study that professional historians will need to read."--istory: Reviews of New Books

"Readers of this book...will find the most convincing account yet available of how the majority of the English people received the Reformations of the sixteenth century."--Albion

"This book deserves high commendation as a grassroots religious history of England in the sixteenth century...Beyond being an exemplary presentation of history, the book has implications well worth the attention of readers whose interest in religion is not simply historical."--Journal of Religion

"[V]ery readable, forceful, and compelling."--The Thomist

About the Author

Haigh is the editor of The English Reformation Revised and author of Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (C.U.P. 1987, 1975)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
In this book Christopher Haigh puts the 16th century religious reformations in England into their true perspective. He sees the religious reformations not as 'The Reformation' nor the 'English Reformation' but as 'English Reformations' and that they were part of an ongoing movement which encompassed the 18th century religious reformations. Previous historians,e.g, Dickens and Elton believed that the Protestant reformation was a swift affair and complete by the time of the Religious Settlement of 1559. With the Reformation out of the way the natural next stage of study was 'The causes of the Civil War'.Haigh challenges this perspective and argues that the protestant reformation was less than inevitable and gradually enforced through parliament and by a slow but important process of evangelisation. For him Protestantism was not established in England until the end of Elizabeth I's reign. His arguements are compelling and sensible and, certainly for British undergraduates, his has become essential reading for the student of 16th century England. If there is one book on the reformation worth having then this is it. It is clear, well ordered and lays out the Parliamentary reforms as well as assessing the success of Protestant preachers. His final conclusion is that by the end of Elizabeth's reign England was indeed a Protestant nation, but without being a nation of Protestants.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark Marshall on December 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
For some months, I've been educating myself about Anglicanism. In so doing, I've discovered the hard way that Anglican histories are sometimes not the most readable or well written books around. English Reformations is a happy exception to that.

That it's written by Christopher Haigh, a self-described "kind of Anglican agnostic," yet was recommended and given to me by a very orthodox professor illustrates its broad appeal among Anglicans. And as this amateur student of history and of historiography read, it soon became clear the book is exceedingly well researched. And the research is very well presented in a lucent and approachable manner. I even devoured the bibliography!

Haigh pointedly chose to use the plural "reformations" in the book's title. For, as he documents well, the direction of the Church of England went back and forth even under Henry VIII and all the more so under Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth. There was indeed more than one reformation in the Church of England. In reading, I could sense the awkwardness (to say the least) of Britons in every walk of life being caught in the middle of the struggle between Catholics and Protestants. One on the "right" side could all too easily be on the wrong side in a matter of weeks even. And to raise the stakes (Pun intended.), the struggle was often as much political as religious, a frequent theme of Haigh's.

I can't emphasize enough how well written English Reformations is. Haigh never writes down to his audience nor waters down his presentation. At the same time, the book is really a fun read. Even details, such as his frequent citing of church warden records, are set forth in a manner that is actually entertaining, often with delightfully dry humor.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Ries on June 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Christopher Haigh's book, English Reformations, begins by showing that before 1530 there was no strong undercurrent for the Protestant Reformation in England in fact the exact opposite was true as Catholic England was going strong. Unlike the general historical belief that once Henry VIII broke with Rome a Protestant England would be the result, Haigh shows it was never the case especially when documenting the reign of Mary I when the majority of the English welcomed a return to the Roman Catholic Church.

Haigh presents that development of a Protestant minority in England started when Thomas Cromwell brought Protestant elements little-by-little into Henry's decision to break with Rome then promoted them even after Henry's natural conservative religious views came into play. The Protestant minority truely came into being during the reign of Edward VI when his Protectors and Council systematically made the Church of England more Protestant. After surviving the reign of Mary, the Protestants overreached at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign when they tried to overhaul the Church of England in one-fell swoop instead of the step-by-step approached used by Crowmell and under Edward, and it was this overreached that most likely created the mixture of Reformed Protestant and Catholic beliefs that are present in the Anglican Church.

Haigh's conclusions and the evidence he presents shows that after all these "reformations" England was Christian, it just wasn't really majority Protestant or Catholic. And when considering the religious and political developments in Great Britain from 1603 to 1714 under the Stuarts along with the various colonies on the eastern coast of North America, this conclusion seems to be correct.
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