Lawford, Tori (2017) Differing Experiences of Iconoclasm, 1532-1603: A Comparison of the Cathedrals of Canterbury, Durham, Ely and York Minster. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Modern conceptions exist about each Tudor monarch. Henry VIII was a domineering king who turned England Protestant, Edward VI was a radical Protestant who oversaw a violent regime, Mary I was “Bloody Mary” and Elizabeth reigned over the “Golden Age”. This thesis attempts to dismantle some of these ideas and show how methods of religious change merged throughout the Tudor reigns. Henry’s Reformation was actually much more political than religious, and whilst Edward VI stimulated radical reform, it was the Elizabethan clergy who transformed England into a generally Protestant nation. The exploration of the high politics of religious reform leads to the assessment of Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, Ely Cathedral and York Minster. The analysis of Tudor iconoclasm within these religious buildings simultaneously poses the question of geographical variances. Whilst the North of England was generally slower in implementing religious reform, the notion of a “conservative” North of England, versus a “reformist” South of England proves not to be so clean cut in terms of iconoclasm, and indeed image preservation, in English Cathedrals. The major iconoclastic missions undertaken by the Tudors started with the dismantling of shrines and the subsequent tarnishing of the reputations, miracles and cult of saints. Often regarded as merely a money-making scheme during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, this thesis will attempt to show the underlying political motivations of these attacks. Iconoclasm spanned further as the Tudor reigns progressed and increasingly included imagery, decoration, statues, relics and altars. The cathedrals and Minster offer an interesting, and varied, insight into which laws were implemented in each area; the aim of this thesis being to differentiate how far this reflected the monarch’s beliefs, individual cathedral personnel beliefs or the beliefs of the wider diocese. Ultimately a study of high politics rather than societal beliefs, the thesis aims to analyse how far cathedral personnel obeyed their monarch and the extent to which their respective cathedrals became model institutions for their diocese.

FINAL THESIS - Lawford.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email