The author thanks Charles Donahue, Paul Halliday, Mark Kishlansky, Ian Williams, Nicholas Popper, Louis Knafla, Ann Blair, Darryl Dee and John McDiarmid for their comments and advice on this article. Thanks are also due to Suzy Nelson for her support and to Harvard University for the financial aid needed to undertake the archival research. The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Remembering usurpation: the common lawyers, Reformation narratives and the prerogative, 1578–1616†
Version of Record online: 24 JUN 2013
Copyright © 2013 Institute of Historical Research
Volume 86, Issue 234, pages 619–637, November 2013
How to Cite
Smith, D. C. (2013), Remembering usurpation: the common lawyers, Reformation narratives and the prerogative, 1578–1616. Historical Research, 86: 619–637. doi: 10.1111/1468-2281.12018
- Issue online: 14 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 24 JUN 2013
In a number of historical accounts Sir Edward Coke and other lawyers claimed that the common law had been a bulwark against popish encroachment prior to the Reformation. Anxiety over a renewal of clerical usurpation and a desire to preserve royal authority continued to inform their attitudes to the reformed English church courts. Although the common lawyers who wrote these histories shared several underlying assumptions, they nonetheless reached very different conclusions. By exposing these divisions and explaining common law attitudes towards the church courts and the prerogative, this article challenges received views on the ‘common law mind’.