The study of the Reformation in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland has usually been treated by historians as a series of discrete national stories. Reformation in Britain and Ireland draws upon the growing genre of writing about British history to construct an innovative narrative of religious change in the four nations. Felicity Heal uses a broadly chronological framework to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-reformation churches, the political crises of the break with Rome, the development of Protestantism, and changes in popular religious culture. The tools of conversion—the Bible, preaching, and catechism—are accorded specific attention, as is doctrinal change. Heal argues that political calculations did the most to determine the success or failure of reformation, though the ideological commitment of a clerical elite was also of central significance.
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Felicity Heal is a lecturer in modern history at the University of Oxford and fellow of Jesus College.