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Title: Sir Thomas Tresham (1543-1605) and early modern Catholic culture and identity, 1580-1610
Author: McKeogh, Katie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 5891
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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What did it mean to be a Catholic elite in Protestant England? The relationship between the Protestant crown and its Catholic subjects may be examined fruitfully through a study of an individual and his world. This thesis examines this relationship through the example of Sir Thomas Tresham, who has often been seen as the archetypal Catholic loyalist. It is argued that the notion of Catholic loyalism must be reconfigured to account for the complexities inherent in the relationship between Catholics and the government. The duty to honour the monarch's authority was bound up with social and national sentiment, but it often accompanied criticisms of the practice of that authority, and the ways in which it encroached on personal experience. Intractable tensions lay behind expressions of loyalty, and this thesis travels in these undercurrents of cultural, social, religious, and political conflict to investigate the nuanced relationship between English Catholics and English society. Political resistance as classically understood - actions which directly opposed and undermined government policy - risks the exclusion of culture and identity, through which resistance was redefined. It is argued that Tresham's participation in elite activities became vehicles for resistance in the Catholic context. Book-collecting, reading, and the donation of books to an institutional library are framed as forms of resistance which countered the spirit of government legislation, and provided for the continuation of a robust tradition of Catholic scholarship on English soil. Through artistic and architectural projects, Tresham found ways to participate in elite culture which were not closed off to him, and in which Catholicism and gentility could sit side by side. These activities were also avenues for resistance, whereby the erection of stone testaments to Tresham's faith defied the government's attempts to redefine Englishness and gentility in Protestant terms, to the devastation of Catholicism. These artistic works combined piety, gentility, and resistance, and, together with Tresham's two Catholic libraries, they were to be his legacy.
Supervisor: Marshall, Peter ; Brigden, Susan ; Gajda, Alexandra ; Heal, Felicity Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tresham, Thomas, Sir ; Early modern history: C 1450/1500 to C 1700 ; Libraries ; Sixteenth century ; England ; Tresham family ; Church history ; Political participation ; Vaux family ; Religion and politics ; Manuscripts ; Aristocracy (Social class) ; Architecture ; Biography ; England--Northamptonshire ; Catholics ; History ; Anti-Catholicism ; Heraldry ; Identity ; Library History ; Religious History ; Cultural History ; History of the Book ; Early Modern Catholicism ; Gentry