Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Reign of Mary Tudor: Historiography and Research

  • David Loades


Mary made the unfortunate mistake of antagonizing her successor, without being able to impose any limitations upon her freedom of action. Writing in 1557 the Venetian ambassador, Giovanni Michieli, observed “although it is dissembled, it cannot be denied that [the queen] displays in many ways the scorn and ill will she bears her [Elizabeth]….” The younger woman reciprocated such feelings in full measure, and a few days before her accession, when there was no longer any need to be discreet, the Count of Feria reported, “She is highly indignant about what has been done to her in the queen's lifetime….” Such personal antagonism may not go far in explaining Elizabeth's decision to reverse so many of her sister's policies, but it certainly helps to account for the animus that the new queen's most trusted servants so quickly developed against their predecessors. In the last days of 1558 a royal commission was issued “to discover by what means the realm hath suffered great harm” under the previous regime, and soon came up with a long list of secular and ecclesiastical grants. Most of the latter were immediately resumed in the succeeding Parliament. It was to be another quarter of a century before Elizabeth finally emerged as the winner, and Mary as the loser, of the English reformation struggle, but those in power after 1558 did not wait to celebrate their victory.



Hide All

1 Calendar of State Papers, Venetian, ed. Brown, R., Bentinck, C., and Brown, H. (London, 1864-1998), VI, ii, 1058.

2 The Count of Feria's despatch to Philip II of 14 November 1558,” ed. Adams, S. and Salgado, M. J. Rodriguez, Camden Miscellany, 28, 320/329.

3 Public Record Office, SP 12/1/64.

4 Foxe, J.The Actes and Monuments of these latter and perilous days touching matters of the church, ed. Cattley, S.R. and Townsend, G. (London, 1839-1944), 8: 625.

5 Froude, J. A., The Reign of Queen Mary (London, 1856), p. 320.

6 Sander, N., De origine ac progressu schismatis Anglicani (1585); An epitaphe upon the death of the Moste excellent and our late vertuous Queene Marie (London, 1558).

7 The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria, by Henry Clifford, ed. Stevenson, J. (London, 1887).

8 Pollard, A. F., The History of England from the accession of Edward VI to the death of Elizabeth (London, 1913), p. 172.

9 Hughes, P., The Reformation in England, 3 vols. (London, 1953-1956), 2: 185.

10 Stone, J. M., Mary the first, Queen of England (London, 1901).

11 White, Beatrice, Mary Tudor (London, 1935), p. vii.

12 Prescott, H. F. M., Spanish Tudor (London, 1940); revised as Mary Tudor (London, 1952).

13 Waldman, Milton, The Lady Mary (London, 1972); Ridley, Jasper, Mary Tudor (London, 1973); Erickson, Carolly, Bloody Mary (London, 1978).

14 Muller, J. A., Stephen Gardiner and the Tudor Reaction (London, 1926); idem, The Letters of Stephen Gardiner (London, 1933).

15 Harbison, E. H., Rival Ambassadors at the Court of Queen Mary (Princeton, 1940); also idem, “French intrigue at the court of Oueen Mary,” American Historical Review 45 (1940): 533-51.

16 Rival Ambassadors, p. 330.

17 Elton, G. R., The Tudor Revolution in Government (Cambridge, 1953); Neale, J. E., Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments, 1559-1581 (London, 1953), and 1581-1603 (London, 1957); Elton, , England under the Tudors (London, 1955).

18 Hughes's study is by far the most detailed to have appeared to date. He argues that Mary's government was canonically wrong to execute as heretics those who had been born and baptized after the schism began; also that many of those burned were anabaptists who would have been executed by a protestant government (see above, n. 9).

19 Loades, , “Popular subversion and government security in England during the reign of Mary I” (Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge University, 1961).

20 Dickens, , The English Reformation (London, 1964) devoted two chapters to Mary's reign, in a study which virtually ended with 1559; Anglo, , Spectacle Pageantry and Early Tudor Policy (Oxford, 1969), discussed the entries and court festivities of the period as a distinctly down-beat appendix to the splendors of Henry VIII's reign; Knowles, , The Religious Orders in England, vol. 3, The Tudor Age (Cambridge, 1961), devoted part four to the Marian revival, presenting the fullest and most balanced account to have appeared to date. Blench, J. W., Preaching in England in the Late Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Oxford, 1964), also devoted a section to the revived Catholic tradition, suggesting that it was ornate and academic rather than popular and effective.

21 Loades, , “The press under the early Tudors,” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 4 (1964): 2950, and The enforcement of reaction, 1553-58,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 16 (1965): 5466.

22 Weikel, A., “Crown and Council; a Study of Mary Tudor and Her Privy Council” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1966); Lemasters, G. A., “The Privy Council in the reign of Oueen Mary I” (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1971); Braddock, R. C., ‘The Royal Household, 1540-1560” (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1971); Pogson, R. H., “Reginald Pole, Papal Legate to England in Mary Tudor's Reign” (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1972); Loach, J., “Parliamentary Opposition in the Reign of Mary Tudor” (D. Phil, thesis, Oxford University, 1974); among other relevant theses completed at the same time were: C. Erickson, G., “Parliament as a representative institution in the reigns of Edward VI and Mary” (Ph.D. diss., University of London, 1974); Bradshaw, B., “The Irish Constitutional Revolution, 1515-1557” (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1975), and Marmion, J. P., “The London Synod of Cardinal Pole” (M.A. thesis, Keele University, 1974).

23 Loach, , “Pamphlets and Politics, 1553-58,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 48 (1975): 3145; Pogson, , “Revival and Reform in Mary Tudor's church,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 25 (1974): 249-65; and Reginald Pole and the priorities of government in Mary Tudor's church,” Historical Journal 18 (1975): 321.

24 Loach, J. and Tittler, R., The Mid-Tudor Polity, c. 1540-1560 (London, 1980), containing “Conservatism and consent in parliament, 1547-59” (Loach); “The Marian Council re-visited” (Weikel); “The emergence of urban policy, 1536-58” (Tittler); “Social policy and the constraints of government, 1547-58” (Paul Slack); “The Legacy of Schism; confusion, continuity and change in the Marian church” (Pogson); “Public Office and private profit; the legal establishment in the reign of Mary Tudor” (Lewis Abbott); and Davies, C. S. L., “England and the French war, 1557-59.” Loach, J., Parliament and the Crown in the Reign of Mary Tudor (Oxford, 1986).

25 Davies, C. S. L., Peace, Print and Protestantism (London, 1977); Williams, Penry, The Tudor Regime (Oxford, 1979). Some of these ideas had been put forward a decade earlier by Fisher, F. J. in “Influenza and inflation in Tudor England,” Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 18 (1965).

26 In The Mid-Tudor Polity, see n. 24. See also Potter, D. L., “The Due de Guise and the fall of Calais,” English Historical Review 98 (1983): 481512.

27 Schenk, W., Reginald Pole, Cardinal of England (London, 1950); Crehan, J. H., “The return to obedience; new judgement on Cardinal Pole,” The Month, n. s. 14, (1955): 221-29; and St. Ignatius and Cardinal Pole,” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 25 (1956): 7298.

28 Fenlon, D. B., Heresy and obedience in Tridetine Italy (Cambridge, 1972).

29 Idigoras, J. I. Tellechea, “Bartolomé Carranza y la restauración católica inglesa (1553-58),” An-thologia Annua 12 (1964): 159282; Pole y Paul IV; una celébre Apologia inédita del Cardenal Inglés,” Archivum Historiae Pontificae 4 (1966); Una denuncia de los Cardenales Contarini, Pole y Morone per el Cardenal Francisco de Mendoza (1560),” Revista española de Teología 27 (1967): 3351; Pole, Carranza y Fresnada. Cara y cruz de una amistad y de una enemistad,” Dialogo ecuménico 8 (1974): 287293; Fray Bartolomé Carranza y el Cardenal Pole (Pamplona, 1977).

30 Garrett, C. H., The Marian Exiles (Cambridge, 1938; reprint ed., London, 1966); Mozeley, J. F., John Foxe and his Book (London, 1940); Haller, W., Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Elect Nation (London, 1963); Firth, K. R., The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain 1530-1645 (Oxford, 1979); Osen, V. N., John Foxe and the Elizabethan Church (Berkeley, 1973); Smart, S. J., “John Foxe and ‘The Story of Richard Hun, Martyr,’” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 37 (1986): 114. Facey, Jane, “John Foxe and the Defence of the English Church,” in Lake, P., ed., Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth-Century England (1987). Davies, Catherine and Facey, Jane, “A Reformation Dilemma: John Foxe and the Problem of Discipline,” Journal of Ecclesiatical History 39 (1988): 3766.

31 Loades, , The Oxford Martyrs (London, 1970).

32 Alexander, G., “Bonner and the Marian persecutions,” History 60 (1975): 374-92; Jagger, M., “Bonner's episcopal visitation of London, 1554,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 45 (1973): 306-11; Powell, K. G., The Marian Martyrs and the Reformation in Bristol (Bristol, 1972).

33 Haigh, C., Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (Cambridge, 1975); and subsequently The English Reformation Revised (London, 1987), reprinting articles originally published in 1982 and 1983. ProfessorDickens, A. G. has joined issue on this interpretation (“The Early expansion of protestantism in England,” Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 78 [1987]: 187222).

34 Baskerville, Edward J., A chronological bibliography of propaganda and polemic published in English between 1553 and 1558 (American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1979).

35 Tudor, P., “Religious instruction for children and adolescents in the early English Reformation,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 35 (1984): 391413. Took, P. M., “The government and the printing trade, 1540-1560” (Ph.D. thesis, London University, 1979).

36 Loach, J., “The Marian establishment and the printing press,” English Historical Review 100 (1986): 138-51.

37 Loades, , The Reign of Mary Tudor (London, 1979).

38 Clark, P., English Provincial Society from the Reformation to the Revolution: Religion, Politics and Society in Kent, 1500-1640 (Brighton, 1977); Thorp, M. R., “Religion and the Wyatt rebellion of 1554,” Church History 47 (1978): 363-80.

39 See above, n. 24.

40 Tittler, R., “The incorporation of boroughs, 1540-1558,” History 62 (1977): 2442; Pogson, see n. 24; Tittler, , The Reign of Mary I, Seminar Studies in History (London, 1983).

41 Collinson, P., The Birth Pangs of Protestant England (Cambridge, 1988).

42 Salgado, M. J. Rodriguez, The Changing Face of Empire (Cambridge, 1988), which supersedes earlier accounts of Philip's policies during these years.

43 Glasgow, T., “The navy in the French wars of Mary and Elizabeth, 1557-1564,” Mariner's Mirror 53 (1967): 321-42; 54 (1968): 23-37; The maturing of naval administration, 1556-1564,” Mariner's Mirror 56 (1970): 327.

44 Philip II and the government of England,” in Cross, C., Loades, D., and Scarisbrick, J., eds., Law and Government under the Tudors: Essays Presented to Sir Geoffrey Elton (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 177194.

45 Loades', The Tudor Court (London, 1986); Murphy, J. A., “The illusion of decline: the Privy Chamber 1547-1558,” in Starkey, D., ed., The English Court from the Wars of the Roses to the Civil War (London, 1987), pp. 119146.

46 Calendar of Stale Papers, Spanish, ed. Tyler, Royall, vols. 12 (London, 1949) and 13 (London, 1954). Other principal printed sources are: Madden, F., Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary (London, 1831): Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, J. R. (London, 1890-1907); Calendar of State Papers, Venetian (see n. 1); Calendar of State Papers, Foreign, ed., Turnbull, W. (London, 1861); Calendar of the Patent Rolb, Edward VI and Mary (London, 1924-1939); The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, ed., Nichols, J. G., Camden Society, o. s., 48 (1850); The Diary of Henry Machyn, ed., Nicholas, J. G., Camden Society, o. s. 42 (1848); de Guaras, A., The Accession of Queen Mary, ed., Garnett, R. (London, 1892); Statutes of the Realm, ed., Luders, A., et al. (London, 1810-1828); Tytler, P. F., England Under the Reigns of Edward VI and Mary (London, 1839); Hughes, P. L. and Larkin, J. F., Tudor Royal Proclamations, vol. 2 (New Haven, 1969).

47 A new edition by Dr. Charles Knighton is in preparation.

48 Donaldson, P. S., A Machiavellian Treatise by Stephen Gardiner (Cambridge, 1975).

49 Historical Journal 19 (1976): 1019.

50 The ‘Vita Mariae Angliae Reginae’ of Robert Wingfield of Brantham,” ed. MacCulloch, D., Camden Miscellany 28, Camden Society, 4th ser., 24 (1984).

51 See above, n. 2

52 Both Oxford, 1986.

53 London, 1988.

54 Barlett, K., “‘The Misfortune that is wished for him’: The Exile and Death of Edward Courtenay, eighth Earl of Devon,” Canadian Journal of History 14 (1979): 128; The English Exile Community in Italy and the Political Opposition to Mary I,” Albion 13 (1981): 223-41; Martin, J. W., “Miles Hogarde, Artisan and Aspiring Author in Sixteenth Century England,” Renaissance Quarterly 34 (1981): 359-83; The Protestant Underground Congregations of Mary's Reign,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 35 (1984): 519-59; Robison, W. B., “The National and Local Significance of Wyatt's rebellion in Surrey,” Historical Journal 30 (1987): 769-90; McCoy, R. C., “From the Tower to the Tiltyard: Robert Dudley's Return to Glory,” Historical Journal 27 (1984): 425-35; Tittler, R. and Battley, S. L., “The Local Community and the Crown in 1553: The Accession of Mary Tudor Revisited,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 57 (1984): 131-39.

55 The House of Lords in the Parliaments of Edward VI and Mary: An Institutional Study (Cambridge, 1981); see also Graves, , “The House of Lords and the Politics of Opposition, April-May 1554,” in W. P. Morrell: A Tribute, ed. Wood, G. A. and O'Connor, P. S. (Dunedin, 1973).

56 The Bishops of the Restored Catholic Church Under Queen Mary,” Miscellanea Historiae Ecclesiasticae 8 (1987): 343-55.

57 Ericson, see n. 22; Took, see n. 35; Boscher, P. G., “Politics, administration and diplomacy, the Anglo-Scottish border, 1550-1560” (Ph.D. thesis, Durham University, 1985), Redworth, G. R., “The political and diplomatic career of Stephen Gardiner” (D. Phil, thesis, Oxford University, 1985).

58 Hoak, D. E., ‘Two Revolutions in Tudor Government: The Formation and Organisation of Mary I's Privy Council,” in Revolution Reassessed, ed., Starkey, D. and Coleman, C. (London, 1986), pp. 87116. Loades, , Mary Tudor: A Life (Oxford, 1989).

59 The notes to this discussion do not pretend to mention everything of significance which has been published on the reign. In particular, there are a number of other biographies relating to important figures of the period, which it has not proved convenient to introduce into the text. For example: Emmison, F. G., Tudor Secretary [SirPetre, William] (London, 1971); Gammon, S. R., Statesman and Schemer, William, First Lord Paget, Tudor Minister (Newton Abbot, 1973); Bernard, G. W., The Power of the Early Tudor Nobility: A Study of the Fourth and Fifth Earls of Shrewsbury (Brighton, 1984).

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The Reign of Mary Tudor: Historiography and Research

  • David Loades


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.