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H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-Albion@h-net.msu.edu (October, 2004) Clare Kellar. _Scotland, England, and the Reformation, 1534-1561_. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. xi + 257 pp. Notes, bibliography, index. $72.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-19-926670-0. Reviewed for H-Albion by Arthur Williamson, Department of History, California State University, Sacramento. The Invention of Great Britain Early modern historiography during the last three decades of the previous century has been characterized by romantic nationalism, a preoccupation with "identity," and a fierce revisionist conservatism. In some respects at odds with these powerful intellectual currents has emerged a new British history. From this perspective, the story of the British Isles becomes an interactive process in which the inhabitants continually redefined themselves and one another, where essentialist notions of destiny and nation were utterly anachronistic, where "identity" itself was far from a stable category, and where mission, always universal, defined peoplehood rather than social purpose deriving from any national "genius." Clare Kellar's new study arises from this kind of concern and treats the English and Scottish reformations as an intertwined, pan-British phenomenon. These years, running from Henry VIII's break with Rome to the triumph of the Reformation in both realms and the problematic arrival of Mary Stewart in Scotland, she claims, were truly revolutionary. Long-standing hostility became transformed, for leaders and many others in both realms, into a broad, if conflicted sense of common cause and a broad, if variously imagined vision of political union. English leaders had always been concerned about the problem from the "rear" that Scotland posed for the southern realm's diplomacy and wars on the continent. But this problem became acute with the Henrician Reformation. Threatened by the great Catholic powers, with papal crusades being organized, it became imperative to secure the northern frontier. Henry's remarkable minister, Thomas Cromwell, Kellar tells us, made it a top priority to form a political and religious alliance--"broother and broother"--with the Scottish kingdom. At Edinburgh James V received a succession of English embassies politely but remained consistently non-committal. To Rome he proclaimed his fervent loyalty to the Catholic Church and shook down the pope for all sorts of favors as a result. In fact James did seek reform, but he adamantly opposed schism. The situation was further complicated as disaffected Catholic priests fled north, while a still greater number of Scottish reformers and anti-clerical intellectuals escaped to the south. According to Kellar, the English government was severely exercised by the English clergy being harbored by the Scottish hierarchy. The religious issue and the opening it gave European powers was not simply one element leading to war in 1542--as earlier historians such as Jamie Cameron have claimed--but the "root cause" of English insecurity (p. 77). Moreover, in the war context England's position hardened: the language of brotherhood was discarded in favor of the medieval claims for the English crown's historic superiority. Why did the English government find renegade priests in Scotland to be so troubling? More Protestants--and far more significant individuals--went south. If the Scottish hierarchy protected disaffected southerners, the English government patronized and promoted disaffected northerners. Refugees in Scotland did not maintain significant connections with their brethren in England, but radical Scots were often activists in both realms. Yet James seems only to have complained about the latter in 1539. It is likely that London was most concerned about Galfridian prophecy (that is, from Geoffrey of Monmouth's _Galfridus Monemutensis_), apocalyptic visions, and popular ballads that poured over the border, de-legitimating the regime and promoting social upheaval--a phenomenon that Kellar notes but declines to examine. Similarly, Kellar was unwise to dismiss Protestant apocalypticism as "hackneyed rants" (p. 106). Further, both James and his court in the 1530s were more conflicted about reform and relations with England than Kellar allows, and it is unfortunate that she barely notices such defining figures as Hector Boece, John Bellenden, and George Buchanan. The king is said to have encouraged Buchanan to write his great anti-clerical and at moments proto-Protestant poem, _The Franciscanus_--and to have assisted his subsequent escape to England. It is noteworthy that the two realms paralleled one another in their oscillation toward reaction at the end of the decade. The Henrician regime, Kellar believes, adopted a fundamentally defensive attitude towards Scotland and lacked any larger political vision. That changed under the Protector Somerset during the brief but hugely important reign of Edward VI. The English struggle to secure the marriage of Edward and Mary Stewart, and thereby the union of the realms, failed, eventually but completely. Yet it also developed the language of British union and linked it with a powerful spirituality. The result would prove both enduring and decisive. The role of the Scots was large, and the project was genuinely British. The Edwardian experience contrasts tellingly with the period of Catholic restoration, 1551/1554-1558/1560. If Thomas Cranmer, the Edwardian archbishop of Canterbury, in fact endorsed the theology of the Swiss Reformation, the overriding need was to create as comprehensive a Protestant church as possible, and he began by reworking the conservative materials of the late Henrician period in order to achieve it. Efforts at Catholic reform in the 1550s, Kellar argues, were curiously parallel. John Hamilton, the archbishop of St. Andrews, and even Edmund Bonner, the bishop of London during Mary Tudor's murderous regime, also sought to construct similarly comprehensive churches on a Catholic basis. Working before the impact of the Council of Trent, Hamilton and Bonner--like Cranmer before them--drew on late Henrician sources. Humanist (specifically Erasmian) attitudes featured prominently and led to an emphasis on scripture and preaching. What distinguishes their efforts from his, beyond the altogether different religious commitments, is the lack of a British dimension. Obviously, the Hapsburg-Valois rivalry precluded close cooperation, but Kellar suggests that Catholicism involved a political disconnect between the two realms quite unlike its Protestant rival. Something similar seems to have occurred within the Protestant world that triumphed after 1560. Conservatism found it difficult to make common cause, as Patrick Adamson discovered when he attempted to join forces with his English counterpart John Whitgift in the 1580s. So too would the Jacobean and Laudian bishops in the following century. Radicalism, by contrast, would underwrite Britain. Kellar illustrates this point in what is the most insightful chapter of her book, "Protestant Alliances: The Privy Kirks and the Marian Exile." In it she shows that the more resolutely reformist an Englishman or Scot turned out to be, the more likely he would adopt an egalitarian British perspective. Englishmen fled to the "private churches" that existed under the less repressive rule of French-dominated Scotland. No less significant, Kellar finds that the exiled communities on the continent were almost without exception Anglo-Scottish--sometimes with occasional Welsh, French, or still other Protestants. The Marian exile was a British phenomenon, and never more so than at Geneva. There Englishmen and Scots were prepared to innovate without special reference to either realm. Seen in this light, John Knox emerges neither as the figure of fun nor as the "loud-mouthed bigot" of recent historiography, but as a great Britisher. What caused contention between the radicals and their more conservative colleagues was the expression of solidarity with the Edwardian bishops--Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley--who were facing martyrdom in England. The instruments of 1552 were the law and the standards for which these men were prepared to die. Even if Ridley conceded that "things indifferent" might be adapted to local circumstances, the conservatives saw the Edwardian order as the necessary basis for any legitimate worship within the exiled communities. At the end of the exile, John Aylmer founded his critique of Knox's _First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women_ (1558) on English common law--for which the civil law and the customs of other realms were irrelevant. Kellar's analysis is surely on target, yet its implications can be overdrawn. Cranmer and his colleagues did not see 1552 as the final answer. Had Edward lived longer, there undoubtedly would have been further prayer books, further reform. Many, perhaps most, conservatives agreed. Nor did the conservatives dismiss the prospect of Britain. The important English martyrologist, John Foxe, would describe his great narrative to Heinrich Bullinger as a "British history" (p. 169). As Kellar notes, the letters of the Marian martyrs would be collected and read in Edinburgh. Knox himself was greatly affected by the martyrs, such that, as Patrick Collinson comments, he might have changed "his name from Knox to Foxe." Kellar's study with its heavily British orientation bears important implications for much recent scholarship. In the regnant view, originating from Jane Dawson and developed by Roger Mason, there were really two John Knoxes: the English Knox who saw England as having broken its covenant with God and the Scottish Knox for whom the northern realm had never made such a covenant and was therefore a qualitatively different political entity. Scotland might be idolatrous and require reform, yet it did exist in the same state of sin, and a more moderate approach was required. Although Kellar does obeisance to the "two Knoxes" thesis, the entire thrust of her book utterly demolishes it. Both realms had failed and lost a providential opportunity, and Kellar joins Jenny Wormald in noticing that Knox did indeed "revert" to the language of the covenant with Scotland (p. 180). Any differences were tactical rather than theological, responding to Mary of Guise's less repressive and potentially more hopeful regime. In the end Kellar's Knox emerges as British rather than bifurcated, and, it is clear, she has gotten him right. This study is an important and seminal work. Whatever its shortcomings--it posits a peculiarly English "xenophobia" without ever analyzing it; the discussion of Ireland is woefully inadequate--this book nevertheless reshapes our thinking about the Anglophone reformations and foundations of the British state. It directs us away from contemporary conservatism and promises exciting vistas. Notes . P. J. McGinnis and A. H. Williamson, eds., _The British Union: A Critical Edition and Translation of David Hume of Godscroft's "De Unione Insulae Britannicae"_ (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002). . The words are Roger Mason's. R. A. Mason, ed., _John Knox and the British Reformations_ (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 1998), p. 3; James Kirk, "John Knox and the Historians," in _John Knox and the British Reformations_, pp. 7-26. . Aylmer, _An Harborowe for Faithfull and Trewe Subiects..._ (Strassbourg, 1559). . Collinson, "Knox, the Church, and the Women of England," in _John Knox and the British Reformations_, p. 87. . J. E. A. Dawson, "The Two John Knoxes: England and Scotland and the 1558 Tracts," _Journal of Ecclesiastical History_ 42 (1991): pp. 555-576; R. A. Mason, ed., _John Knox: On Rebellion_ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. xvi-xxii. Purchasing through these links helps support H-Net: http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/partner?partner_id=28081&cgi=product&isbn=0199266700 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0199266700/hnetreview-20?dev-t=mason-wrapper%26camp=2025%26link_code=xm2 http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/0199266700/hnetreview-21 http://service.bfast.com/bfast/click?bfmid=2181&sourceid=41034484&bfpid=0199266700&bfmtype=book Copyright © 2004 by H-Net, all rights reserved. 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