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Susan Brigden

Susan Brigden book on London and the Reformation was published in 1989. She is a fellow in history at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Homage to the Old Religion

Susan Brigden, 27 May 1993

At the Reformation a world was lost that could never be recovered. The images and altars, the dooms and roods of the parish churches, the towers and cloisters of the religions houses were desecrated. But the loss and profanation of the treasures donated over centuries was nothing compared to the shattering of the beliefs they had symbolised. For Catholics, the desecration threatened the end of mediation, propitiation and spiritual solace: the loss of community between the dead and the living. It is this lost physical and mental world, as well as this desolation, which Eamon Duffy discovers and, wishing it had been otherwise, movingly describes.

Up and doing

Susan Brigden, 6 August 1992

This book charts a kind of revolution: the building of a new Jerusalem, ‘a city on a hill’, in Dorchester, Dorset, in the early 17th century. The story of a little country town, in habited, like others, by ordinary sinners and recidivists, which, for a time, aspired to godliness is a remarkable one, and is here well and enjoyably told. Professor Underdown seeks to explain ‘who the reformers were, whom they were reforming, how and why they did it, and why in the end they failed’. Crucial to the transformation of Dorchester into ‘the most puritan town in England’ was the fire of 1613 which might have destroyed it, as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and the arrival in 1605 of a man with a mission: John White, known to posterity as the ‘patriarch of Dorchester’.

Thomas Wyatt

Katherine Rundell, 6 December 2012

Before Anne Boleyn laid her head on the executioner’s block, she bent and wrapped the hem of her dress around her feet. She thereby ensured that, if in her death throes she were to...

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The Tudors

Patrick Collinson, 22 March 2001

What, for the British Isles, is the shape, scope and character of that rich slice of history which was the 16th century? The titles of the textbooks which have defined the period for the late...

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Smelling the Gospel

Patrick Collinson, 7 March 1991

Since the Second World War, the cutting edge of English historical studies has been not ‘world history’ but English local history, a fact by no means adequately reflected in the...

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