This timeline shows how my research has developed from postgraduate research at the University of Sheffield to the present based upon my publication record.
Rectifying the ‘ignoraunce of history’: John Foxe and the Collaborative Reformation of England’s Past
PhD Thesis (2009: unpublished)
The sixteenth-century Acts and Monuments by John Foxe was more than a martyrology, which memorialised the persecutions of Mary I’s reign. It was also an ecclesiastical history which saw the Christian past as a battle between the church of Christ and the church of Antichrist. This thesis identifies the sources that Foxe and his collaborators used to compile the pre-reformation account in the first two editions of the Acts and Monuments (1563 and 1570 respectively). Foxe was producing a revisionist history that saw the past as revelation of prophecy and Scripture. So many of his sources – chronicles and annals written by monks and clergy – were suspected witnesses, no longer considered truthful or accurate. Foxe needed to sift through these texts to find `God’s truth’ as he understood it, and to rehabilitate certain authorities over others. Central to this thesis is the contention that Foxe did not do this alone. He worked as part of an extended network of scholars, printers, and reformers. His predecessor and mentor, John Bale was a vital foundation for his research; the German ecclesiastical history usually entitled the Magdeburg Centuries was an enormous influence; and the `circle’ of scholars focused around Archbishop Matthew Parker, proved to be an invaluable source for rare or hard to find chronicles and annals. This study of Foxe’s pre-reformation sources helps us to understand this collaborative context and to explore
how he came to conceptualise the past and to redefine the interpretation of events and historical characters. It will, in particular, focus upon the significance of Foxe’s pioneering role in the survival and transmission of manuscript materials relating especially to the English medieval and Anglo-Saxon past.
John Bale, John Foxe and the Reformation of the English Past
Article in Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 101 (2010) co-written with Professor Mark Greengrass
Part of a ‘focal point’ series examining the Renaissance sense of the past called ‘The Protestant Reformation and the Middle Ages’. This article examines how both John Bale and John Foxe tackled England’s history as redefined by the English reformation. The first half of the article focuses on the re-gathering of England’s manuscript heritage after its removal and partial destruction caused by the dissolution of the monasteries. Bale is crucial to this story in the first instance, then Archbishop Matthew Parker much later. Both men were strongly influenced by the German Magdeburg Centuriators and John Leland, both of which suggested a way forward for England’s history as a means to support current religious policy. John Foxe fits into the picture in the second half, by providing the polemical argument required to make England’s manuscript heritage usable again.
The articles slots into the wider discussion with Mark Greengrass and Matthias Pohlig providing the overarching framework of the argument in a preface, Harold Bollbuck focusing in on the Magdeburg Centuries and the Melanchthon School, Matthias Pohlig examining Matthias Flacius and Simon Goulart, and Irena Backus looking at religious biography.
Anglo-Norman and Plantagenet kingship in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
Prefatory essays, John Foxe, Acts and Monuments […], The Variorum Edition [online] (hriOnline, Sheffield, 2009) (http://www.johnfoxe.org/) (2011)
A study of the sources used to compile and make the argument for the corruption and ‘fall’ of the Roman Catholic Church between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. This is a study specifically of Book Four of the 1570 edition of the Acts and Monuments, looking at the types of argument John Foxe made and how he made that argument based on the sources that he had available.
The compilation of a sixteenth-century ecclesiastical history: the use of Matthew Paris in John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments
Article in The Medieval Chronicle VII (2011)
Historians who defended the Elizabethan religious settlement for a Protestant England used medieval chronicles to reinterpret English ecclesiastical history. They perceived that the Catholic Church had deteriorated and fallen to the Antichrist over a period of some 1,000 years. This study examines how the chronicles written by Matthew Paris in the thirteenth century were recalled by sixteenth-century scholars as exempla to use against the papacy and its allies. It is argued that the use of these chronicles, especially by the historian and matyrologist John Foxe, help us to further understand the methodology and truth claims with which sixteenth-century historians examined their historical texts.