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The Catholic gentlemen of the North: Unreformed in the age of Reformation

Bastow, Sarah L. (2004) The Catholic gentlemen of the North: Unreformed in the age of Reformation. In: Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, UK, pp. 206-221. ISBN 0708318851

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Studies of gender in medieval culture have tended to focus on femininity; however, the study of medieval masculinities has developed into an important area of enquiry in the last few years. This collection is the first to concentrate on the ways in which varieties of medieval masculinity intersected with concepts of holiness. Individual essays in this volume explore differing notions of holiness which had currency in the Middle Ages, understood variously as religious, saintly, sacred, pure and morally perfect. They also consider the ways in which the performance of both holiness and masculinity was affected by other categories such as monasticism, kingship, mysticism, social status, body and age.

For some men the practice of holiness embodied the masculine capacities of self-control and intellectual decision, but for others it involved identities that challenged conventional ideas of masculine autonomy. Therefore masculinity could either be a source of validation, or a matter for anxiety – an issue explored in several of the essays. Others consider holy masculinity alongside holy femininity and the ways in which both could sometimes be achieved by men and women.

Topics include sanctity and martyrdom, eunuch saints, meanings attached to the tonsure, mystical marriage, models of ideal conduct and virginity. The volume as a whole deals with a wide variety of texts and sources drawn from Byzantium, Syria, Germany, France, Anglo-Saxon and later medieval England

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: UoA 62 (History) © The Contributors 2004 Paper of the same name delivered at Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages Conference held at University of Huddersfield, 12 - 13 July 2001
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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References: I A. Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500-1800 (London, 1995), p. 28. 2 M. Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1996); Breitenberg, 'Anxious masculinity: sexual jealousy in Early Modern England', Feminist Studies, 19 (1993), 377-98; Fletcher, Gende/; Sex and Subordination, pp. 28-9 . 3 C. Haigh, RejiJrmation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (Cambridge, 1975), p. 63. 4 This is an argument made by Christopher Haigh in several books and articles, but most forcibly in 'The Church of England, the Catholics and the people', in C. Haigh (ed.), The Reign o{ Elizabeth 1(London, 1984), p. 202, and in 'From monopoly to minority: Catholicism in early modern England', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series (1981), 129-47.5 Thelma Fenster, 'Preface: why men?', in C. E. Lees (ed.), Medieval Masculinities: Regarding Men in the Middle Ages (Minneapolis and London, 1994), pp. ix-xiii, discusses the wider prevalence of this correlation between women and gender. 6 G. R. Elton, The Tudor Constitution (Cambridge, 1975),329-68. 7 Mary reigned for only five years (1553-8) and the restoration of the Catholic religion came to an abrupt end with the re-establishment of the Protestant religion and royal supremacy over the church in 1559. H Elton, Tudor Constitution, pp. 401-4. 9 A. Fletcher and D. MacCulloch, Tudor Rebellions (London, 1997). 10 C. Cross, 'The third earl of Huntingdon and trials of Catholics in the north 1581-1595', Recusant History, 8 (1965-6), 136-46; A. Dures, English Catholicism 1558-1642 (London, 1984). II North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO), Northallerton, ZQG/MIC 1456, fo. 2; The Memoranda Book of Richard Cholmley of Brandesby 1602-1623 (NYCRO, 44, Northallerton, 1988), p. 29. 12 J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire Gentry from the Reformation to the Civil War (London, 1969), p. 128. 13 F. Heal and C. Holmes, The Gentry in England and Wales 1500-1700 (London, 1994), p. 365. 14 J. C. H. Aveling (ed.), 'Recusancy papers of the Meynell family', in Miscellanae, CRS, 56 (1964), pp. 42-3. 15 Ibid.,p.41. 16 See Heal and Holmes, Gentry, p. 352, for the trend towards private chapels. 17 Aveling, 'Recusancy papers', p. xv. 18 E. Foyster, 'Male honour, social control and wife beating in late Stuart England', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th Series (1996), 215-24. 19 Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination, p. 205. 20 P. Lake, 'Feminine piety and personal potency: the emancipation of Mrs Jane Radcliffe', Seventeenth Century, 2 (1987), 147-9. 21 D. R. Woolf, 'A feminine past? Gender, genre, and historical knowledge in England, 1500-1800', The American Historical Review, 102 (1997), 645-79 (657). 22 S. L. 8astow, '''Wilful and worth nothinge": the Catholic recusant women of Yorkshire', Recusant History, 25 (2001), 591-603. 21 E. Peacock (ed.), A List of the Roman Catholics in the County of York in 1604: Transcribed from the Original MS in the Bodeleian Library (London, 1872), p. 17. 24 Ibid., p. 64. 25 W. Palmes, 'The life of Dorothy Lawson of St. Antony's, near Newcastleupon- Tyne in Northumberland', in J. Fenwick (ed.), Local Tracts: Tracts Relating to the Counties of Northumberland and Durham and the Borough and County of Newcastle-upon- Tyne, vo!. 3 (Newcastle-upon- Tyne, 1856), pp. 17,32.26 Discussion of the feme covert can be found in J. Eales, Women in Early Modern England, 1500-1700 (London, 1998), p. 79. 27 P. Caraman, Margaret Clitherow (York, 1986); R. Connelly, Women of the Catholic Resistance in England 1540-1680 (Durham, 1997), pp. 48-52. 28 David Hugh Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford and New York, 1978; this edn 1987), p. 92. 29 Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination, pp. 68-74; S. Mendleson and P. Crawford, Women in Early Modern England 1550-1720 (Oxford, 1998), pp. 18-30. 30 C. Talbot (ed.), Miscellanea: Recusant Records, CRS, 53 (1960), p. 279. 31 P. J. Holmes (ed.), Elizabethan Casuistry, CRS, 67 (1981), pp. 6-7. 32 Ibid., p. 119. 33 Ibid., p. 29. 34 J. S. Purvis, The Elizabethan High Commission of York: The Act Book 1561/2-1580 (York, 1979), pp. 68, 79 (68" 96V and 97). 35 J. Binns (ed.), The Memorials of Sir Hugh Cholmley of Whitby /600-1657, YAS RS, 153 (2000), p. 61. 36 R. N. Swanson, 'Angels incarnate: clergy and masculinity from Gregorian Reform to Reformation', and P. H. Cullum, 'Clergy, masculinity and transgression in late medieval England', both in D. M. Hadley (ed.), Masculinity in Medieval Europe (London, 1999), pp. 160-77, 178-96. 37 The focus on Catholic priest martyrs has been a constant theme of Catholic historiography. The most notable Yorkshire priest martyr was Nicholas Postgate who died in York in 1679. 38 J. S. Purvis (ed.), Tudor Parish Documents of the Diocese of York (Cambridge, 1948), p. 80. 39 Palmes, 'Life of Dorothy Lawson', p. 45. 40 Ibid., p. 46. Palmes also stated that Dorothy was involved in the more conventional lay Catholic activities, placing special emphasis on the seven works of charity. 41 J. C. H. Aveling, Northern Catholics: The Catholic Recusants of the North Riding of Yorkshire 1558-1790 (London, 1966), pp. 58-60, 136-7. 42 Heal and Holmes, Gentry, pp. 250-61, provides a discussion of the formative nature of early education in determining the future of the gentleman's son. This section relates to practical matters, but does indicate that informal education was designed to train young men in gentlemanly activities which were often designed to illustrate the differences between themselves and their female siblings. 43 Aveling, 'Recusancy papers', p. 73. 44 M. C. E. Chambers, Life of Mary Ward, vols I and 2 (London, 1882) provides an account of both Mary Ward and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 45 For a similar attitude to the roles of men and women within more recent scholarship see, for example, J. C. H. Aveling, Post Reformation Catholicism in East Yorkshire, 1558-1790 (York, 1960), pp. 21-46; The Catholic Recusants of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1558-1790 (Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, 10,6 (1963», pp. 211-29; Northern Catholics, pp. 112-98; Catholic Recusancy in the City of York, 1558-1791, CRS, monograph series, 2, 1970), pp. 14-76; The Handle and the Axe: The Catholic Recusants in England .trom the Reformation to Emancipation (London, 1976). Aveling places great emphasis on the role of Catholic men in all three of his studies of Yorkshire. The idea that women should be enclosed and passive, rather than in the world and active, was a theme inherited from medieval Catholicism, as Meri Heinonen's essay in this volume demonstrates.
Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 23:27


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