Conferences Attended / Research Papers

2017 has been a busy year but, sadly, with little time to write on this blog. I will update this page very soon – not least with details about #AIR2017!


20 Years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

On 29 November 2016 a 1-day event was held in Brussels to celebrate 20 years of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. I am honoured to have been part of this event, giving a presentation on my research into print and propaganda.


Since 1996, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) have provided grants to train excellent researchers at all stages of their careers – be they doctoral candidates or highly experienced researchers – while encouraging transnational, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The programme is named after the double Nobel Prize winner Marie Skłodowska-Curie to honour and spread the values she stood for. To date, 98 000 researchers have benefited from the programme – among them five Nobel laureates and an Oscar winner. (Read more here: MSCA Factsheet)

My talk’s title was ‘Text and Image: what are they good for?’ and I explored the use of text and image historically, and their use during the lead up to the EU Referendum in the UK and the American election in 2016. I also referenced the outreach work embedded into my fellowship, where I have worked with schoolchildren and young adults, to tackle stereotyping in the media. Questions afterwards stimulated some vibrant discussion about how to help young people navigate real/fake news in the media.

The event was live-streamed and tweeted under the hashtag #MSCA20; videos of individual talks will be available on the Commission’s webpage shortly:

Twenty Years of Marie Curie Actions

[And there was cake! Cut by Tibor Navaracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.]


Blog post: summer conferences, 2016

In July 2016 I will be presenting a plenary paper on my research into and editing of a play performed at the court of Dom Sebastian.

Paper title: ‘Elizabeth, Sebastian and the Drama of Court Politics’: plenary lecture at ‘Iberian Literature and Culture in Tudor England’ conference to be held at Newcastle University, 16-18 July 2016

Conference Website:

Plenary speakers:


Blog post: Cambridge and Oxford seminars, Hilary Term, 2016

This year I’ve turned my conference paper topics towards my research into Arthurian history in early modern England, Portugal and Spain. I gave two seminar papers during Hilary term. The first was at Cambridge, focusing on printed editions of Arthuriana and their connection with English exile communities:

‘Printers, exiles, and exchanges between England and Iberia’ at the Comparative Cultural and Social History Seminar, University of Cambridge, 2 February 2016.

The second considered how Arthurian materials were used by authors in their discussions of British history and in their polemical exchanges in print:

‘King Arthur in Iberia: English and Continental responses to Arthurian history before and after the Reformation’ at Keble College Advanced Studies Centre Cluster for Medieval and Renaissance History seminar, 9 March 2016.

In the coming weeks I intend to create a series of blog posts considering the role of Arthuriana in Anglo-Iberian exchanges.

In Hilary Term this year I also presented an address at the CRASSH conference in honour of Archbishop Matthew Parker at Corpus Christi College Cambridge:

Archbishop Matthew Parker. Copyright: Creative Commons.

Paper title: ‘Matthew Parker and Arthurian romance in Early Modern Europe’ at a CRASSH conference on Archbishop Matthew Parker held at Corpus Christi College Cambridge, 16-18 March 2016.

My paper examined Parker’s use of Arthurian materials in his justification of the English Church, and of the next generation of Catholic and Protestant interest in Arthur and Arthuriana.


Blog post: Catholic Record Society Conference 2015: Marian Catholicism and its legacy (20-22 July 2015)

A lovely summer's day in Cambridge, looking across the grass at Downing, while heading to dinner on Day 2.
A lovely summer’s day in Cambridge, looking across the grass at Downing, while heading to dinner on Day 2 of the conference.

This year’s Catholic Record Society (CRS) Conference was held at beautiful Downing College, Cambridge, during 20-22 July 2015. I was part of a panel on Marian Catholicism and its legacy, with Fred Smith (University of Cambridge,@Fred_E_Smith) and Ceri Law (Queen Mary, University of London,@Ceri_Law). It proved to be three days of vibrant and stimulating discussion, and was organised with great efficiency by Liesbeth Corens (University of Cambridge,@onslies) and Hannah Thomas (Durham University,@HannahJane85). Our abstracts are outlined below and full details of the conference and the Society can be found here:

(You can also follow the CRS on Twitter:@CatholicRS.)


Dr Elizabeth Evenden – Catholicism under Philip and Mary: English and Spanish perspectives and the Elizabethan propaganda machine

It is hard to escape the influence of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments on the history of English religious history; its perception of events persists, even in the media and heritage industries of England today. Perhaps the most provocative piece of propaganda of its age, Foxe’s narrative of the reign of Philip and Mary was relentless in its depiction of the alleged evils of Catholicism. At the apex of this evil practice was Spanish Catholicism. This paper will consider what Foxe had to say about the Spanish but also what the Spanish clerics and courtiers in England at the time had to say about the English (a viewpoint inevitably ignored by Foxe).

By examining Foxe and other contemporary printed sources, this paper sets them in the context of the manuscript sources available for those who were at the heart of the Spanish contingent in England. It considers the events in England that involved Spanish clerics – what influence they had in catholic practices and the notorious burning of heretics – and it considers why Foxe used certain tactics to discuss their involvement. It reveals how Foxe’s original remit for discussing the Spanish changed during the writing of the 1570 (second) edition, and consider the reasons why this was so.

Fred Smith – Pillars of Consciences: Deprived

Whereas an older generation of scholars saw the Marian restoration as a half-hearted attempt to resuscitate a dying breed of Catholicism, historians such as Eamon Duffy have recently opened our eyes to the vibrancy, zeal and strength of the Marian Church. This church was already developing the heightened interiority, stricter regulation and greater reverence for the papacy which were to become the hallmarks of Counter-Reformation Catholicism in the wake of the Council of Trent.

Despite this revolution in our understanding of the Marian Church, no similar reinterpretation of early-Elizabethan Catholicism has followed. The 1560s continues to be regarded as a decade of confusion and chaos in which English Catholics suffered a crisis of leadership, direction and identity. In the face of such uncertainty, most settled for a muddled compromise with the Elizabethan regime – finding ways of demonstrating their religious identity whilst still attending the services of their parish church.

Through examining the activities of a group of clergymen who were the vanguards of Marian spirituality, the cathedral clergy, this paper explores how an alternative view of 1560s Catholicism is possible. The large number of these clergymen deprived upon Elizabeth’s accession remained dedicated to the faith they had helped build under Mary, and worked to spread their understanding of what it meant to be Catholic amongst the English laity through print and preaching. An analysis of these printed tracts, as well as the opinions of laypeople who came into contact with these clergymen, reveals that they were in no way confused following the death of their queen. On the contrary, they seem to have been united in a firm ‘Marian’ understanding of the faith – an understanding which had no place for ‘lukewarm’ Catholics who conformed with the demands of Protestants.

Dr Ceri Law – Elizabethan memories of the Marian regime

The restoration of Catholicism in England under Mary I was only brief, but historians now increasingly recognise the deep cultural impact that it had upon English Catholicism.  However, the way that subsequent generations of English Catholics recalled, constructed and used the memory of this period has received very little attention.  This paper focuses upon the way that Elizabethan exile writers of Catholic polemics invoked both Mary I and her reign.  Taking the works of Nicholas Sander and Robert Persons as central case studies, it argues that we can see a shift in how these later writers sought to explain the apparent failure of Marian attempts to restore Catholicism.  In examining these Elizabethan constructions of the recent past, it is apparent how deeply these accounts are shaped by later circumstance, and how far this has affected their and subsequent judgements of Mary’s reign.
My interest in the Spanish clerics who came to England during Mary’s reign was sparked by work for the British Academy John Foxe Project (, when I was writing mini-biographies of everyone mentioned by Foxe in his accounts of the reign of Mary I. (I cross-referenced the first four English editions, printed by John Day during Foxe’s lifetime – 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583.) My work with Spanish sources for the period, as part of my current research project, has afforded me the opportunity to explore this topic further.
Although Foxe mentions Philip and his retinue on occasion throughout his narrative of Mary’s reign, he never places them centre-stage (not even Philip, as Consort); they remain on the periphery of his discussion. If you only read Foxe’s account of the return to Catholicism under Mary, you could be forgiven for thinking that Philip’s involvement was minimal and that the involvement of his Spanish clerics was negligible.

Then would she needes bryng in kyng Philip, and by her straunge Mariage with him, make the whole Realme of England subiect unto a straunger … With kyng Philip also came in the Pope and his Popishe Masse: with whom also her purpose was to restore agayne the Monkes and Nonnes vnto their places, neither lacked there all kynd of attemptes to the uttermost of her abilitie: and yet therin also God stopt her of her will, that it came not forward.

From ‘The unprosperous successe of thinges under Q. Marie’, in John Foxe, The ecclesiasticall history contaynyng the actes and monumentes of thynges passed in euery kynges tyme in this realme, especially in the Church of England principally to be noted: with a full discourse of such persecutions, horrible troubles, the sufferyng of martyrs, and other thinges incident, touchyng aswel the sayd Church of England as also Scotland, and all other foreine nations, from the primitiue tyme till the reigne of K. Henry VIII  (London, 1570) STC 11223, p. 2297.

This is, perhaps, to be expected. While Foxe could have chosen to attack them for their involvement in the restoration of Catholicism in England, they were not his primary target. Nor was his paper supply infinite (particularly in the case of the second edition, where Foxe expanded his text considerably). His primary targets were the English clerics and English nobility who assisted in the ‘persecution’ of English Protestants.
Yet despite their shadowy appearance in Foxe’s text, several Spanish clerics were involved in the dismantling of Edwardian Protestantism and the revival of Catholicism under Mary and Philip. Many of them arrived with Philip in England on 20 July 1554, just five days before Philip’s marriage to Mary at Westminster Cathedral.
Prior to Philip’s arrival, the marriage treaty made it abundantly clear that he could not involve foreigners in key decisions and positions in England, during his time as Consort:

he shall not promote, admit, or receive to any office, administration or benefice in the said realm of England and the dominions thereunto belonging any stranger or person not born under the dominion and subjection of the said most noble lady, Queen of England. [Paul L. Hughes, and James F. Larkin (eds), Tudor Royal Proclamations, 3 vols (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964–69), II, p. 25.]

But that is not to say that Philip’s Spanish clerics were not in England in some quasi-official capacity, to assist in the restoration of Catholicism, and that Philip could not aid this restoration. The research of John Edwards (University of Oxford, has done much to reveal the extent to which Fray Bartolomé Carranza was involved in that restoration; indeed, he was pivotal in the reintroduction of the old heresy law ‘On the burning of heretics’ (of 1401) in England. (Carranza’s Comentarios, written during his time in England, is detailed elsewhere on this blog.) He was consulted not only on the day-to-day running of parishes but also on how to deal with English heretics. (Carranza had previously worked as a consultor to the Spanish Inquisition in Valladolid.)
Two Dominicans, Fray Pedro de Soto (Confessor to Charles V) and Fray Juan de Villagarcía, were among those who had made the journey to England, and they were both involved in the questioning of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer after his arrest. [For Foxe’s interpretation of the events leading up to Cranmer’s execution see Foxe, A&M [1563], pp. 1129–33. On the role of Villagarcia and de Soto, see Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 584–99.]
Carranza would later confirm that he was central in ensuring that the former archbishop be condemned as a heretic. [See John Edwards, Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen (Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 261–3 and John Edwards, ‘The Spanish Inquisition Refashioned: The Experience of Mary I’s England and the Valladolid Tribunal, 1559’, Hispanic Research Journal, 13 (2012): 46.]
The paper I presented at the CRS Conference was something of a ‘taster’ for my forthcoming chapter in Catholic Renewal and Protestant Resistance in Marian England (see below), which explores in greater detail this involvement of Spanish clerics in the revival of Catholicism in England. It also considers the Spanish perspective on events at the time, by detailing accounts written by Spaniards who traveled amongst Philip’s retinue, and who witnessed events first-hand.

We thoroughly enjoyed delivering our panel on Marian Catholicism and its legacy at the Catholic Record Society Conference. It seemed to go down well…

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 8.21.18 PM

Suggested further reading / listening

John Edwards, Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen (Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 261–3
_____, ‘The Spanish Inquisition Refashioned: The Experience of Mary I’s England and the Valladolid Tribunal, 1559’, Hispanic Research Journal, 13 (2012): 46
Elizabeth Evenden, ‘Spanish Involvement in the Restoration of Catholicism during the Reign of Philip and Mary’ in Catholic Renewal and Protestant Resistance in Marian England, ed. Elizabeth Evenden and Vivienne Westbrook (Ashgate, forthcoming 2015)
Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 584–99

Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’: Podcast about Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs’, featuring Diarmaid MacCulloch, Justin Champion and Elizabeth Evenden as guest experts


Previous blog post about a 3-day conference at Ushaw College: Early Modern Catholics in the British Isles and Europe: Integration or Separation (1-3 July 2015)

Ushaw College, Durham. The College was founded in 1808 by scholars from the English College, Douai, who had fled France upon that college's closure during the French Revolution. Ushaw was the principal Roman Catholic seminary in the north of England for the training of Catholic priests. It closed in 2011 and is now part of Durham University.
Ushaw College, Durham. The College was founded in 1808 by scholars from the English College, Douai, who had fled France upon that college’s closure during the French Revolution. Ushaw was the principal Roman Catholic seminary in the north of England for the training of Catholic priests. It closed in 2011 and is now part of Durham University.

This week I attended a conference at Ushaw College in Durham. This three-day international and interdisciplinary conference was on the theme of Early Modern Catholics in the British Isles and Europe: Integration or Separation and was organised by two academics at Durham University: Dr James Kelly and Dr Hannah Thomas. The conference’s main sponsors were the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University and by the University of Notre Dame. It really was an excellent conference – and it was a particular joy to see so many grad students discussing their work. Two of them, Georgina Moore (Bath Spa) and Liam Temple (Northumbria), have blogged about the conference:

See: and

This was my first visit to Ushaw, and it certainly won’t be my last. The library and archive are magnificent and, if you study English and/or Iberian history, it needs to be on your ‘must visit’ list. There is, inevitably, a heavy emphasis on the 18th and 19th centuries in its collections but there are significant holdings for the early modern period as well.

Information about their holdings can be found here:

It should be noted, however, that their holdings are not yet fully catalogued online and, as I have discovered during my first (brief) visit, there are many gems yet to be fully revealed at Ushaw. I am looking forward to making a detailed study of their Anglo-Iberian holdings in the coming months and will detail some of my findings in this blog from time to time.

One particular delight I discovered during my visit to the library this week was a copy of the first edition of Bartlomé Carranza’s Comentarios (1558).


Bartolomé Carranza (1503-76) was a Spanish Dominican, who traveled to England as part of Philip of Spain’s retinue in 1554, on the occasion of Philip’s marriage to Mary I. Until recently, Carranza’s career and, in particular, his involvement in the rooting out of heresy during the reign of Philip and Mary, had been almost entirely overlooked by all but a handful of English-language scholars. Carranza was central to plans for restoring and maintaining Catholic worship in England.

The English Synod of 1555-56 identified the need to examine closely what was happening in the parishes, and to find suitable ways in which they could re-establish uniform worship. Carranza was commissioned to investigate current English religious practices and to write an official response. His research led him to produce the ‘Comentarios sobre el catechismo christiano’.

Mary I died before the  ‘Comentarios’ was completed, and it was not published until 1558 (in Antwerp). But the work remains important for understanding how the Marian Church sought to establish and maintain Catholic worship, since Carranza’s ideas were formulated – and presumably tested – while he was in England. His commentaries reveal much about his opinions on clerical responsibility, on how the laity should be expected to behave, and on how order could – and should – be maintained in England.

Carranza’s work in England appears to have been an extension of his previous activities as an inquisitor in Valladolid. As John Edwards has noted, it was this inquisitorial experience that provided him with a ‘blueprint’ for how to deal with heretical behaviour and heretical belief in England. (See John Edwards, ‘Fray Bartolomé Carranza’s Blueprint for a Reformed Catholic Church in England’ in Thomas F. Mayer [ed.], Reforming Reformation [Ashgate, 2012], pp.141-162.)

In the same year that his Comentarios were produced, Carranza fell foul of the Inquisition, who smelled more than a whiff of heresy in his commentaries. Carranza spent years languishing in prison, bereft of aid from Philip II, and his commentaries were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (‘Index of Prohibited Books’). Eventually, Carranza would be cleared of heresy but compelled to abjure sixteen errors. After doing so, he was ordered to remove himself to the Dominican cloister of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (in Rome), where he would live in seclusion; within a week of this judgement he was dead.

The copy of Bartolomé Carranza’s Comentarios (1558) at Ushaw College

The early provenance of the copy remains obscure but a later owner’s details can be found inside. Before making its way to Ushaw, it was previously owned by Dom José Maria de Mello, Bishop of the Algarves and Inquisitor General of Portugal (1756-1818). He was famously accused of being responsible for the mental decline of Queen Maria I of Portugal. He was also notorious for wanting the entire population of France to be excommunicated. (See Simão José da Luz Soriano, História de el-rei D. João VI, Primeiro rei constitucional de Portugal e do Brazil, em que se referem os principaes actos e occorrencias do seu governo, bem como algumas particularidades da sua vida privada [Lisbon: Typographia Universal, 1866], pp.15-17.) Quite a book, with quite a provenance then. I look forward to seeing what else can be found in the Iberian holdings at Ushaw.

You may also be interested to know that José Maria de Mello also owned a copy of the so-called Carey Bible, which is now housed in the John J. Burn’s Library at Boston College. His Bible bears the same provenance slip as that in the Ushaw copy of Carranza, which is pasted in a comparable position in both books. The Carey Bible was the first Catholic Bible printed in the USA, and was printed by Mathew Carey, an Irish immigrant and former journalist. Carey had lived and worked in France for a time, before relocating to Philadelphia. In the 1780s he first began printing copies of the King James Bible, before deciding to produce an edition of the 1582 Douay-Rheims Bible for the American market. It appears that fewer than 500 copies were printed.

If you have $2,250.00 to spare, José Maria de Mello’s copy of the first edition of Philipp van Limborch’s Historia inquisitionis (Amsterdam, 1692) is currently available for purchase from the American book dealer, Eric Chaim Kline:

For José Maria de Mello’s copy of the Carey Bible in the John J. Burn’s Library see:

On the John J. Burns Library see:

Suggested further reading

John Edwards and Ronald Truman (eds.) Reforming Catholicism in the England of Mary Tudor. The achievement of Friar Bartolomé Carranza (Ashgate, 2005)

John Edwards, Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen (Yale University Press, 2011), chapters 9 and 10

____, ‘Experiencing the Mass anew in Mary I’s England: Bartolomé Carranza’s ‘Little treatise in Reformation and Renaissance Review 9:3 (2007), pp.265-276

____, ‘Bartolomé Carranza de Miranda’s “Little treatise on how to attend Mass” (1555): a translation’, Reformation and Renaissance Review 11:1 (2009), pp. 91-120

____, ‘Fray Bartolomé Carranza’s Blueprint for a Reformed Catholic Church in England’ in Thomas F. Mayer (ed.), Reforming Reformation (Ashgate, 2012), pp.141-162

Elizabeth Evenden, ‘Spanish Involvement in the Restoration of Catholicism during the reign of Philip and Mary’ in Elizabeth Evenden and Vivienne Westbrook (eds.), Catholic Renewal and Protestant Resistance in Marian England (Ashgate, forthcoming in 2015)

José Tellechea Idígoras Tellechea (ed.), Bartolomé Carranza, Comentarios sobre el catechismo christiano, 2 vols (Madrid: Editorial Católica, Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1972)

____ (ed.), Fray Bartolomé Carranza. Documentos históricos, 7 vols (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1962-94)

A Portuguese blog on ‘As Invasões Francesas’ (‘The French Invasions’), detailing Dom José Maria de Mello’s role during the Peninsular War (which cites the text by Simão José da Luz Soriano mentioned above):

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