Faith, Families, and Rebellion in Sixteenth-Century South-West England

Pamela Stanton

Abstract


The questioning of"the English Reformation" as both a definable entity and a usable term by revisionist scholars, provides a timely platform from which to engage in a re-examination of one event which occurred daring that period of profound religious change in sixteenth-century England. The 1549 rebellion in the south-west of England has been studied using 'traditional* analytical categories of religion, politics, economics, and militarism. However, a new perspective on the rebellion is possible when the kinship ties of a group of leading gentry families in the south-west are examined. Although some historians recognize the close relationships which existed within the group, the focus is on the men of the families as local government officials without placing them in the wider context of their families. A close examination of the connections between the Arundell, Edgecombe, and Grenville families reveals a confused genealogical picture; one that suggests, however, that close kinship ties may have played an important part in the participation or lack of involvement of the family members in the rebellion.

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