The sixteenth-century represents a period in which important alterations to the understanding of the distant past occurred. First, the Reformation cut contemporary England off from its traditional telling of its past, and therefore many cleric-scholars sought to rectify this problem by revising English history and the sources upon which it was based. Second, scholastic education and scholarship was increasingly replaced by the new humanist approaches which sought to re-establish the primacy of knowledge obtained from classical scholarship. Third, the invention and popularisation of the printing press enabled scholarship to move beyond the time-consuming chore of copy-editing. The sixteenth-century was the first era in which scholars could share relatively ‘standardised’ texts and begin to both build upon the established corpus and question its authenticity, viability, and truth-claims.

My research into this area, begins with my PhD, in which I sought to understand the use and interpretation of sources by John Foxe and his colleagues to compile the first two editions of the Acts and Monuments (Book of Martyrs). After its completion in late 2009, I spent the next five years adding to my knowledge on this subject. The result of these studies are a variety of blog posts on the wider topic of sixteenth-century scholarship and several articles published between 2010-2011, which look at specific case studies. Several more articles are on their way.

In addition, I am currently writing a monograph that places all of this research on John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments within an epistemological framework.

  1. A few thoughts on Martin Luther (1/19/2017)
  2. Robin Hood, Doctor Who, and the emergence of the a modern rogue! (5/11/2016)
  3. The first tales of Robin Hood (4/12/2016)
  4. The legend of Robin Hood (3/15/2016)
  5. The popularity of William of Malmesbury in the sixteenth-century (2/15/2016)
  6. John Joscelyn’s Old English dictionary – its construction (10/14/2015)
  7. The origins of Anglo-Saxon studies: John Joscelyn – the forgotten Anglo-Saxonist (11/20/2014)
  8. Laurence Nowell (3/26/2014)
  9. The Anglo-Saxon Laws in Sixteenth Century Histories (3/12/2014)
  10. The corruption of history II – some further thoughts (2/26/2014)
  11. The corruption of history I – The English Reformation and revised history (2/12/2014)
  12. Coherence and truth in the Acts and Monuments (1/16/2014)
  13. Three aspects to the reputation of Polydore Vergil in the sixteenth-century (1/9/2014)
  14. Tracing the reputation of Polydore Vergil: scholarly debates and cultural change during the English Reformation (12/2/2013)
  15. Who was Polydore Vergil? (10/29/2013)
  16. Polydore Vergil – tracing a reputation (10/24/2013)
  17. What do Matthew Parker and George Orwell have in common? (10/15/2013)
  18. Blogs, Histories, and Social Media – My Events October-December 2013 (10/11/2013)
  19. The Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham (10/9/2013)
  20. Papermaking and the materiality of books (9/26/2013)
  21. Belief in and reassessment of origin stories in the sixteenth-century (8/21/2013)
  22. John Foxe and the overload of books (8/8/2013)
  23. The Marian Martyrs (2): Holinshed’s Chronicles (6/20/2013)
  24. The Marian Martyrs (1): John Foxe (6/6/2013)
  25. Tradition in the Sixteenth Century (5/8/2013)
  26. The premise of the Acts and Monuments in John Foxe’s words (2/14/2013)
  27. Thomas Stapleton’s Bede – fighting back against Foxe and Bale (11/12/2012)
  28. Jonathan Swift and the Battle of the Books (6/19/2012)
  29. Courtly love and Elizabethan politics (6/12/2012)
  30. The Battle of the Books: A seventeenth century war of words and ideas (5/14/2012)
  31. Ancient and Early Modern Martyrs: A Reformation reappraisal of Britain’s Roman heritage as told by John Foxe (Abstract) (4/30/2012)
  32. Ancient or Modern religion? – Foxe’s opening gambit (3/2/2012)
  33. Ancients and Moderns: How to fit John Foxe into the picture? (2/16/2012)
  34. Inflation in William Harrison’s Description of England (1/24/2012)
  35. History Today: Student Page on the Protestant Reformation (1/10/2012)
  36. Patrick Collinson’s final publication (1/6/2012)
  37. Annabel Patterson, Reading Holinshed’s Chronicles (Chicago Press: Chicago, 1994) (12/15/2011)
  38. Fact and Fiction in sixteenth century history and the rise of the historical novel (11/30/2011)
  39. The John Foxe Project (10/24/2011)
  40. John Bale (10/24/2011)
  41. The Courtenay conspiracy (10/17/2011)
  42. The use of sources (9/15/2011)
  43. PhD Thesis: Rectifying the ‘ignoraunce of history’: John Foxe and the Collaborative Reformation of England’s Past (9/7/2011)