Anticlericalism and the Early Tudor Parliament
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Cavill, P. (2015). Anticlericalism and the Early Tudor Parliament. Parliamentary History, 34 14-29. https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-0206.12115
This essay reconsiders one aspect of Christopher Haigh’s influential article ‘Anticlericalism and the English Reformation’. The article argued that anticlericalism in early 16th-century England had been exaggerated, mislabelled and (in effect) invented as a scholarly construct. Dr Haigh proceeded to dismantle the foundations of anticlericalism in literature, in litigation, and in legislation. Evidence of anticlericalism in parliament, he maintained, was discontinuous, opportunistic and unrepresentative. This essay suggests, however, that Haigh’s claim makes insufficient allowance for the scarcity of the sources, underestimates the degree of continuity before and after 1529, and fails to take into account the inherently public character of parliamentary petitioning. It proposes instead that the challenging of the Church’s wealth, the criticizing of clerical abuses, and the questioning of ecclesiastical jurisdiction recurred in early Tudor parliaments, and that the significance of such thwarted attempts at legislative reform crossed sessions and became cumulative.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-0206.12115
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/246115