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Title: Young people and religious change in Reformation England, c.1530-c.1580
Author: Clayton, Ryan
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis will offer a re-evaluation of how young people experienced religious change in the English Reformation. In her pioneering article 'Youth and the English Reformation', Susan Brigden highlighted the religious disorder of young people due to the emergence of Protestantism. Although this seminal work consciously offered numerous research possibilities regarding the religious behaviour of young people, its conclusions have seeped into the historiography largely unquestioned. Therefore, this study will advance the historiography by demonstrating that, in order to understand how the young responded to religious change in the English Reformation, it is necessary to analyse the messages for, and depictions of, young people in the writings of both conservative and reformed writers. Currently, the reformers' messages for young people have been underutilised and, consequently, this thesis will analyse the religious catechisms, sermons, interludes and John Foxe's Acts and Monuments in order to develop a more nuanced explanation for the religious behaviour of young people which moves beyond circular explanations based on stereotypes for the life-cycle stage of youth. In particular, it will be argued that the Edwardian reformers' focus on religious education for young people, and the methods that were implemented to achieve this, allowed the young an opportunity to acquire a role in society that would otherwise be unobtainable. There are numerous examples and depictions of young people providing religious education for their elders both directly and indirectly. The role of young people as "educators" enabled them to invert the social hierarchy but this existed within an environment that was controlled by adults. By tracing the theme of religious education through the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, it would seem that the Edwardian model offered a novel and unique interaction with young people. Therefore, the overarching aim of this thesis is to understand better the relationship between young people and Protestantism by moving beyond, although not discounting, the current historiographical orthodoxy based on the alleged appeal of riot and disorder.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available