Elizabethan England, Wales and Ireland

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    Abstract

    Across the Elizabethan period, the fortunes of Catholics in England, Wales, and Ireland were transformed in different ways and to varying extents. Catholics in all three realms faced what appeared to be a shared dilemma: how to survive as Catholic subjects of a Protestant queen whose government, and the international situation, were continually altering the context in which they lived, a situation further complicated by Catholics being unable to agree upon a shared response. Whilst all Catholics ‘hoped for better times’, some went beyond traditionalism and survivalism and to push for outright regime change. The latter group in most cases were a numerical minority but their presence determined the responses of the Protestant regime towards all Catholics as potential, if not already proven, traitors. Within that shared dilemma, however, the positions of Catholics in England, Wales, and Ireland were markedly specific due to a number of factors. This chapter will offer a chronological overview of English, Welsh, and Irish Catholics in the reign of Elizabeth, in the process suggesting the ways in which the situations in the three realms were distinct but connected. Before embarking on this overview, however, it is worth pausing to address three aspects of political, legislative, and ecclesiastical difference. These aspects informed the shape and character of Catholicism as it emerged in response to national and international contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism, Volume I
    Subtitle of host publicationEndings and New Beginnings, 1530-1640
    EditorsJames E. Kelly, John McCafferty
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Chapter3
    ISBN (Print)9780198843801
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2023

    Publication series

    NameOxford History of British and Irish Catholicism
    PublisherOxford University Press

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