John Lingard: historians and contemporary politics 1780-1850

O'Day, Rosemary (2004). John Lingard: historians and contemporary politics 1780-1850. In: Phillips, Peter ed. Lingard remembered: essays to mark the sesquicentenary of John Lingard's death. Monograph Series (6). London, UK: Catholic Record Society, pp. 82–104.



The essay sets John Lingard's historical work about the English Reformation of the sixteenth century in the context of contemporary discourse about the place of Catholicism in British life. Lingard's work was important not only because of what it said about the role of Catholics in the English Reformation but because of what it provoked among nineteenth-century Protestants. His careful marshalling of documentary evidence in the character assassination of Thomas Cranmer and Anne Boleyn and in the questioning of Henry VIII's motivations forced Protestant historians to review the origins of reformation. Moreover, he made assumptions about changing historical context and values that marked an advance in historical scholarship. His work is set in the context of the broader debates of his age.

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