Two renaissances: urban political culture in post-reformation England reconsidered

Philip Withington

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    This review reconsiders the place and importance of urban political culture in England between c1550 and c1750. Relating recent work on urban political culture to trends in political, social, and cultural historiography, it argues that England's towns and boroughs underwent two 'renaissances' over the course of the period: a 'civic renaissance' and the better-known 'urban renaissance'. The former was fashioned int he sixteenth century: however, its legacy continued to inform political thought and practice over 150 years later. Similarly, although the latter is generally associated with 'the long eighteenth century', its attributes can be traced to at least the Elizabethan era. While central to broader transitions in post-Reformation political culture, these 'renaissances' were crucial in restructuring the social relations and social identity of townsmen and women. They also constituted an important but generally neglected dynamic of England's seventeenth-century 'troubles'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-267
    Number of pages28
    JournalThe Historical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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