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5. How were women involved in the Reformation?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the extent to which women were involved in the Reformation, focusing in particular on: (i) the evangelicalism of Anne Boleyn, and her influence on Henry’s decision to break with Rome; (ii) the figure of Elizabeth Barton, the ‘nun of Kent’, and the extent to which she was supported by women close to Catherine of Aragon, e.g. Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter; (iii) Catherine’s Parr’s support for the evangelical cause, both in her own writings and in her patronage of writers such as John Bale and John Foxe; (iv) the figure of Anne, Lady Bacon; (v) the extent to which Protestantism, as a confession, reduced the status of women; and (vi) the extent to which it was women who were responsible for the continuation of Catholicism in England after 1558.
In this course, we think about the importance of women in politics in the Tudor period (1485-1603). In the first module, we think about how women were viewed in the Tudor period, including both the religious and medical ‘explanations’ for their inferiority to men, and the importance of texts such as Juan Luis Vives’ ‘The Education of a Christian Woman’ in dictating how women should behave. After that, in the second module, we think about the extent to which royal women were able to exercise political power and influence in the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII, before turning in the third module to consider the impact of the monarch’s (female) gender in the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth. In the fourth module, we explore the various ways that noblewomen could exercise political influence at the court, before turning in the fifth to think about the extent that women were involved in the Reformation. Finally, in the sixth module, we consider the role that women played in protests and rebellions, including the Pilgrimage of Grace and the Rising of the North, as well as in smaller-scale acts of dissent.
Dr Nicola Clark is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Chichester. Her research focuses primarily on women’s dynastic and political roles across the late medieval and early modern period. Her first book, Gender, Family, and Politics: The Howard Women, 1485-1558 was published by Oxford University Press in August 2018.
Cite this Lecture
Clark, N. (2021, February 16). The Tudors – Women and Politics, 1485-1603 - How were women involved in the Reformation? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-tudors-women-and-politics/how-were-women-involved-in-the-reformation
Clark, Nicola. "The Tudors – Women and Politics, 1485-1603 – How were women involved in the Reformation?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-tudors-women-and-politics/how-were-women-involved-in-the-reformation