The end of the summer brought quite a few productive weeks, if I do say so myself.  While I was waiting for various things to do with the book manuscript to come together, I was also working on my Pilgrimage of Grace article.  It looks at a cluster of references to ballads and rhymes in the state papers around that time, which suggests to me that they were of particular interest to Thomas Cromwell.  I submitted the finishe for peer review on the day I sent the book to the publisher!  The other day I heard that the article had been turned down by that first journal – not altogether a surprise – but I’ve got some really positive feedback.  It shouldn’t take me long to make some revisions and get it sent somewhere else.

I’m going to write a talk based on it too, not least because it might be of interest to local history societies around here – it’s quite a coincidence that I live so close to Whalley and Sawley, where so much of the article is based.


Came across this interesting ballad post while I was looking for something else.

Source: The Earliest Surviving Song in Praise of Queen Elizabeth I?

Sadly, I can’t make this event at the John Rylands, but I’d be interested to hear all about it.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

Source: European Dimensions of Popular Print Culture (EDPOP)

A gem of a post on Protestantism in popular English culture.

the many-headed monster

Mark Hailwood

It’s not every day the Protestant Reformation gets to celebrate its 500th birthday – well, only on one day, really. And it’s no surprise that yesterday’s anniversary of that fateful day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door of Wittenberg – the first ever blog post, perhaps? – was accompanied by a slew of comment pieces and blog offerings. It would be remiss of us here at the monster, as a gaggle of early modern bloggers, not to post up a few thoughts of our own of course. But what angle to take that hasn’t already been covered in the #Reformation500 media frenzy?

Well, as readers will be well aware, we like to look at history from the bottom-up. For us, the most interesting question about the Reformation is the extent to which it changed the religious beliefs and practices of ordinary…

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Just a quick post to say that normal service will be resumed shortly – I’ve got lots of things on my list to write posts about, but I simply haven’t got the time at the moment to write them because I’m busy writing lectures and marking.  Normally I write a stack of posts and schedule them, but since I completed the book text, the demands of other work have stepped up and the posts that were already scheduled have run out.

When the blizzard abates, I’ll be back.

I’m singing ballads at this event in Manchester.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The 31st October is a date which you might notice in the diary – perhaps an evening you mark with a ghoulish costume, or by taking the children trick or treating, or even staying in and watching a film that makes you want to hide behind the sofa. Hallowe’en has been marked for centuries as the feast of All Hallow’s Eve, preceding All Souls Day in the Christian Church calendar, absorbing the Celtic festival of Samhain.

A woodcut image of Luther being played, as an instrument, by the devil. A contemporary image showing a monk (possibly Luther) as a literal instrument of the devil: popular print shows both fierce opposition and support on all sides during the Reformation. (Woodcut pasted into R9935)

This year, Hallowe’en marks an extra special date. 500 years ago, according to tradition on 31st October, Martin Luther chose this festival to publicise his complaints about the Roman Catholic Church as part of an argument for reform. His actions…

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Lately, I’ve been in the final stages of putting together the manuscript for the book.  As I came to the very end of the project, I spent a couple of days writing a few new bits for a reworked introduction.  I’d never been entirely comfortable with the fact that the first chapter was the introduction, and on the advice of a couple of people who had read the whole manuscript, I made a (rather last minute decision to) change!

Then there were the fiddly bits of things that needed sorting out – making sure that the figure numbers were correct on the files; cutting the manuscript up into its constituent parts; checking that the footnotes were consistent.  All done…

I’m pleased to say that I managed to send the manuscript to the publisher two weeks ahead of schedule.

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