Popular Politics and the English Reformation

By Ethan H. Shagan | Go to book overview

2
The anatomy of opposition in early
Reformation England

the case of
Elizabeth Barton, the holy maid of Kent

On 20 April 1534, Elizabeth Barton and five of her associates died traitors' deaths at Tyburn, their heads afterwards displayed on pikes along London Bridge as a deterrent to other malcontents. According to the authorities, they had committed the most heinous of crimes. Not only had they promoted 'blasphemy of almighty God, whereby a great multitude of people of this realm were … induced to idolatry', but they had also 'brought in a murmur and grudge amongst themselves, to the great peril of the destruction of our said sovereign lord and his succession, and to the jeopardy of a great commotion, rebellion, and insurrection in this realm'.1 In short, they had publicly manoeuvred to incite opposition against Henry VIII, his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and the break with Rome. The government, fearful not only of Barton and her co-conspirators but also of the effect their agitation was having in the countryside, supplemented their executions with a remarkable propaganda blitz. Sermons against Barton and her associates were preached, proclamations against their activities were read throughout the realm, and subjects were given forty days to surrender any books concerning Barton in their possession or else face the law's fury themselves.2

What is so strange about this incident is not the execution of the traitors, nor the regime's obvious fear of their activities, but rather the identity of the main protagonist: Elizabeth Barton hardly fit the typical profile of Public Enemy Number One in sixteenth-century England. She was, first of all, a woman, and thus according to contemporary beliefs was virtually incapable of the sort of mental activity necessary to devise and hatch a rebellion. Moreover, she was a poor woman, first as a household servant and then as a nun, who died with virtually no possessions of her own.3 She was less than twenty years old when her public 'career' began and she had a history of severe illness

____________________
1
Statutes, vol. 3, 25 Hen. VIII. c. 12, p. 450.
2
Ibid., p. 451.
3
An inventory of Barton's possessions is in Three Chapters of Letters Relating to the Suppression of Monasteries. Edited from the Originals in the British Museum, ed. Thomas Wright, Camden Society 1st series, 26 (London, 1843), p. 26. 61

-61-

Notes for this page

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 book

This book 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 book

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

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 page

Bookmark this page
Popular Politics and the English Reformation
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 341

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.