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The post-reformation catholic community in the North of England

Hilton, John Anthony (2016) The post-reformation catholic community in the North of England. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis demonstrates that I have made a sustained, original, coherent, and significant contribution to scholarly research on post-Reformation English Catholicism by presenting and discussing a series of publications that cover the period from the Elizabethan Reformation to the eve of the Second Vatican Council. The Introduction argues that although English Catholics became a separate recusant community that increased, it was never more than a small minority. The Introduction also outlines my contributions to the field. It goes on to discuss the historiography of the subject: Bossy’s contribution, the emphasis on Church Popery by Walsham and Questier, and the Ultramontane and Liberal approaches to the later modern period. The Critical Essay demonstrates my contribution to the study of the emergence and development of recusancy in much of the North of England. My work was used by other historians of Catholicism. I pioneered and developed the study of popular Catholicism, and made an important contribution to the understanding of the development of its spirituality, using familiar sources to answer new questions. I also argued that the failure of the policies of King James II demonstrated the weakness of English Catholicism after a century of persecution. The Critical Essay then goes on to discuss emancipated Catholicism’s continued growth in the later modern period, subject to the Industrial Revolution and its social effects. It shows that I led the way in the study of the priest and historian, John Lingard, and made a significant contribution to the study of the Catholic congregationalism. Finally, I broke new ground in both Catholic and Ruskin studies by showing how the Catholic community adopted the artistic and social teaching of Ruskin. The Conclusion discusses my work’s limitations in the light of recent research, and goes on to suggest ways in which it might be further developed.

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