Christianity in England from Roman Times to the Reformation

By ord, William S. | Anglican and Episcopal History, March 2004 | Go to article overview

Christianity in England from Roman Times to the Reformation


ord, William S., Anglican and Episcopal History


KENNETH HYLSON-SMITH. Christianity in England from Roman Times to the Reformation. Volume III: 1384-1558. London: SCM Press, 2001. Pp. xxii + 354, preface, introduction, appendices, bibliography, notes, index. £19.95.

The third volume of Kenneth Hylson-Smith's survey of English Christianity sets out from the latter part of the fourteenth century, gingerly steps through the fifteenth century, looking for whatever sound footing is available, and then strides through pre-Elizabethan Tudor developments with considerably more confidence. Like its predecessor, this volume depicts the church from the top down: reign by reign, the character and policy of monarchs and archbishops, their relation to Europe-wide and insular developments, leading to a more general account of the secular and religious clergy and then of the religion of the people. If that narrative structure is conventional and even oldfashioned, it has the virtue of moving from the better-known and better-documented to the less fully studied, and it requires the integration of politics and religion. Written for a wide audience, the volume assumes a rudimentary knowledge of English political and social history and of the Christian religion.

Hylson-Smith acknowledges the uneven state of scholarship on the fifteenth-century English church. He still succeeds in offering a measured if somewhat tentative account, giving considerable ground to catholic revisionists against the Whig view of a decadent and corrupt medieval church overcome by increasing modern progress. His fifteenth-century church is not moribund or rotten, but one in which Christianity held the deep loyalty of society, particularly on the parish level. The church was reasonably effective by medieval standards. Yet practical royal supremacy over the church and the sophistication of an increasingly literate laity were growing significantly. The royal servants filling the bishops' bench were unlikely to offer the vivid spiritual leadership that could raise the church's sights and deal creatively with the coming spiritual and political challenges. The church was perhaps somewhat disspirited and dull, but strong enough to crush public Lollardy and deep enough to shape the culture.

When Hylson-Smith gets to the early Reformation, he is on much surer ground. His view is that there were two forces that got the English Reformation into motion. The first was a small but extremely committed group of fervent partisans of Protestant ideas and goals, beginning in the 1520s and making some contact with the remains of Lollardy. That group made significant progress in some towns and among certain families, and even at court. The second was the royal Reformation, in which the political needs and personal opinions of the court and its servants dominated the national scene. When Elizabeth took the throne, the creation of England as a Protestant country was only beginning, but both fervent Protestants and royal reformers had significantly changed the landscape. This is a plausible and balanced interpretation, using increasingly rich secondary studies in a judicious and well-informed way.

Some of the strengths and weaknesses of the volume reflect the state of the scholarship on which Hylson-Smith depends. For example, his careful treatment of Lollardy makes good use of the excellent work done in that field over the last fifty years (although omitting G. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christianity in England from Roman Times to the Reformation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.