Scotland, England, and the Reformation, 1534-1561

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CLAIRE KELLAR. Scotland, England, and the Reformation, 1534-1561. Oxford Historical Monographs. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pp. xi + 257, introduction, bibliography, index. £47.00.

At one time, those interested in early modern history usually studied England, but often not Scotland or Ireland. This has changed. Indeed, it is now axiomatic that the Scots and the Irish be included too. Enter Claire Kellar's Scotland, England, and the Reformation, 1534-1561, a revision of the author's Oxford D. Phil, thesis. Her thesis, as in "main point," is that during these years "English and Scottish experiences of reform were more thoroughly intertwined than traditional accounts might imply," and that "interactions between Scottish and English reformers and laypeople had important mutual influences upon the proceedings of both churches" (3). This "dynamic interplay," she also notes, was profoundly important in "shaping contemporary religious and political thought" (5).

Kellar explains how the political fallout from Henry VIII's break with the church was complicated by Scotland's decision not to follow suit. By willingly taking in rebels, Scotland further angered the king. Despite this, Henry wanted improved diplomatic relations with Scotland's King James V, but James refused to cave in to Henry's demands to arrest refugees who escaped to Scotland for religious reasons. When Cardinal Beaton took over as regent after James' death, the animosity continued, as Scotland established an even more pro-French foreign policy. Those used to studying English foreign policy primarily from the viewpoint of Henry VIII, Cromwell, Somerset, and other mid-Tudor figures, and not from the perspective of Scotland, will find Kellar's approach stimulating.

The later chapters depart from diplomacy and instead emphasize religious and intellectual connections. Kellar notes that although Edward VI's Protestant England and Scotland's Kirk had little in common doctrinally, both countries embraced the reforming and educational qualities of humanism and looked abroad to the continent for support and, indeed, inspiration. …