The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

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The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

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THE REFORMATION LANDSCAPE

OF THE

Praise for The Reformation of the Landscape

'This brilliant book ... is a major reinterpretation of Christian faith and practice in Britain and Ireland over the centuries from 1500 to 1800 and beyond ... [It] draws on imn1ense learning, wearing it lightly ... Its grace and authority will conunend it to theologians, anthropologists, geographers and a mass of general readers besides acaden1ic historians. Its compelling argun1ent nukes the book required reading for all concerned with early modern Britain and Ireland. 711e R~formation of the Landscape confirms Alexandra Walsham's place in the very front rank of British historians.' Anthony Fletcher, Times Literary Supplement 'A superb work of synthesis, full of fascinating detail, animated by an astringent intelligence and abounding in original insights.' Keith Thomas, London Review of Books 'The overall picture is vivid, astoundingly detailed and deeply compelling in its conceptual range and its forthright analysis. This book nrnves with both grace and authority over a vast tract of tin1e and space, giving a whole new dimension to the Refornution debate, and contributing to several other related discussions as it goes ... Charting the topography of religious conviction and the panorama of magic and memory, [Walsham] has reconfigured a landscape of her own, contributing an outstanding landmark to the scholarly terrain.' Lucy Wooding,

Times HiR,her Education

'The interweaving of religious and local history in this book produces a n1ost stinmlating effect. Based on research as broad as it is deep, it conveys an understanding of the habits of belief and desire that drove generations of men and women all over these islands to feats of destruction and preservation in the cause of religion.' Graham Parry, The Guardian 'Magisterial ... [Walsham] cements her reputation as the finest Reformation historian of her generation ... a landmark of Reformation studies.' Alec Ryrie, The Tablet 'A fascinating study of the place oflandscape in English religious sentiment during the century and a half after the Reformation, a work of stunning originality.' Jonathan Sumption, The Spectator

THE REFORMATION OF THE LANDSCAPE Religion) Identity) and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland

ALEXANDRA

W ALSHAM

OXFORD UNIVERSITY

PRESS

OXFORD UNIVERSITY

PRESS

Great Clarendon Street, Oxford ox2 6oP Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide in Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries Published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc., New York 1:) Alexandra Walsham

2011

The moral rights of the author have been asserted Database right Oxford University Press (maker) First published 20 1 1 First published in paperback

20 12

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose the same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Data available Typeset by SP! Publisher Services, Pondicherry, India Printed in Great Britain on acid-free paper by MPG Books Group, Bodmin and King's Lynn ISBN 978-0-19-924355-6

(Hbk.)

ISBN 978-0-19-965438-3

(Pbk.)

2

4 6 8

10

9 7 5 3

I

To my friends, colleagues, and all the students I taught in Exeter

Acknowledgements

The Reformation efthe Landscapemarks the culmination of a journey that has lasted longer and extended in different directions from those anticipated at the beginning. Its origins lie in a sn1aller project on holy wells and healing springs in post-Reforn1ation England on which I began serious work in 2002. As I neared the end of my research on this topic in January 2004, I sat down to write what was intended to be a short article on a cognate theme. However, the essay gathered an irresistible momentum of its own. Three weeks and 120 pages later I realized to my surprise that I had laid the foundations for a substantial book. A further period of gathering additional niaterial followed, in the course of which I niade several n1ore discoveries. The first was that in order to understand the impact of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations on the landscape it would be necessary both to investigate the tangled layers of religious significance that had been deposited upon it over the preceding two millennia and to stretch beyond my original end point of r 700 to encompass the later phases of these religious transformations. The second was that the richness of evidence from Scotland, Wales, and Ireland made it desirable to extend the geographical scope of my enquiry to the British Isles in its entirety. While there have certainly been moments when I have earnestly wished that I had confined myself within less ambitious parameters, I cannot regret the shape that the book has eventually taken or the intellectual challenges that I have been compelled to confront along the way. Inevitably, I have accunmlated numerous debts of gratitude in the process. I owe thanks to many scholars and friends for providing bibliographical advice and suggesting lines of enquiry. Andrew Spicer has generously passed on many references and guided my research on Scotland; Raymond Gillespie, Bernadette Cunningham, and Robert Armstrong did the same for Ireland and were immensely helpful and hospitable in Dublin. Joanna Mattingly supplied interesting leads and n1aterial on Cornwall and John Blair, Ronald Hutton, and Ute Lotz Heumann have graciously allowed me to read their work prior

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Vll

to publication. Jeremy Harte stimulated my thinking in conversation and kindly sent me a copy of his excellent sourcebook on English holy wells, which enabled me to eliminate some serious mistakes. Julia Crick, Sarah Hamilton, and Catherine Rider initiated me into the relevant primary and secondary literature on the pre-Refom1ation period and carefully scrutinized Chapter I to ensure that it would pass muster among medievalists. Lyndal Roper cast a sharp editorial eye over the introduction and conclusion. Others have been kind enough to carve out time to read the whole text and supply constructive comments from which it has benefited greatly. Here I must thank Jonathan Barry, Patrick Collinson, John Craig, Anne Dillon, Michael Duffy, Andrew McRae, John Morrill, and Andrew Spicer, together with the reader for the press. Although I have not embraced all of the latter's reconm1endations, I hope it will be apparent that I have profited from reflecting on them in preparing the final version. My fom1er postgraduate students Tom Blaen and David Davis saved n1e much tin1e by proofreading, checking footnotes and place nan1es, correcting inconsistencies, and preparing a preliminary draft of the bibliography. Harriet Raff prepared a draft of the index of place names. More generally, I am extremdy grateful to my colleagues in the Department of History at the University of Exeter for their friendship and support. I write this in the knowledge that I shall be leaving them to take up a new post in Can1bridge in September 2010 and the dedication records my appreciation for the fourteen happy and fruitful years I have spent here in Devon. I owe particular thanks to Andrew Thorpe, who stepped in at a critical point to give me a short period of relief fron1 my heavy duties as Head in May 2009, without which this book would have taken even longer to con1plete. Anne Dillon, Patrick Collinson, Michael Duffy, and John Morrill deserve special mention for providing much needed encouragement during the spasms of self-doubt to which I am periodically prone. My mother and sister have been listening ears on the end of the phone in Melbourne; my father and stepmother have provided a safe haven in Devon; and my neighbour Olive Millward has supplied boundless reserves of enthusiastic interest and kindness closer to home. I am indebted to the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, and the University of Exeter for funding periods of study leave that facilitated various stages of the research and writing of this book. A term as Derek Brewer Visiting Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in Michaelmas 2005, enabled me to gather a considerable body of the material on which it is based and I am very grateful to the Master and Fellows for welcoming me

Vlll

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

back into their midst. Papers derived from my research on The R~formation of the Landscape have been presented to various audiences in Birminghan1, Bristol, Dublin, Exeter, Norwich, London, Melbourne, Sheffield, and York and I have learnt much from the comments and questions raised on these occasions. I must also thank the n1any libraries and archives that I have used and visited in the course of this enquiry, notably the British Library, London; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, York; Cambridge University Library; the Devon and Exeter Institution; Exeter Cathedral Library; Exeter University Library; the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC; the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California; the National Library of Ireland, Dublin; the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin; the Society of Antiquaries of London; and the library of Trinity College Dublin. I wish to express particular gratitude to the staff of the Rare Books Roon, in the Cambridge University Library, who have always greeted me with a smile after long periods of absence and fetched large numbers of requests swiftly and efficiently. The cost of purchasing and reproducing the illustrations has been subsidized by a small grant from the British Academy. Finally, I rnust acknowledge Oxford University Press and the various editors with whom I have worked during the prolonged period over which this book has evolved: Ruth Parr, Rupert Cousens, Seth Cayley, Stephanie Ireland, and Christopher Wheeler. I fear I have tested their patience to the limit with the multiple delays and reincarnations this project has experienced. I hope that the end product will repay the trust they have placed in n,e. Exeter, Christmas Eve

2009

Contents

List of Illustrations Abbreviations and Conventions Introduction

r Loca sacra: Religion and the Landscape before the Reformation Shrines and Sanctuaries: The Sacred Geography of Paganism Footprints of the Saints: The Christianization of the Landscape Miracles and Pilgrims: The Later Middle Ages The Delusion of the People: The Struggle against Superstition 2

Idols in the Landscape: The Impact of Protestant Reformation A Teacher of Lies: The Theological Assault upon the Sacred Landscape Rernoving Stumbling Blocks: Iconoclasm, Official and Clandestine Wars against the Idols: The Civil Wars and Later Phases of the Long Reformation Remembrancers of the Refom1ation: Desecrated Places

3 Britannia sancta: Catholicism, Counter-Reformation, and the Landscape Spiritual Medicine for Heretical Poison: Pilgrimage as Confessional Polemic Bare Ruined Choirs and Mass Rocks: Catholic Piety and the Landscape Islands of the Saints: Missionaries, Laypeople, and the Revival of Medieval Holy Places The Very Stones Would Cry Out: Martyrs and the Making of a New Geography of the Sacred

x1

xv I

r8 19 26

49 66

80 81

94 125 147

153 156 166 189 217

x

CONTENTS

4 The Religious Regeneration of the Landscape: Ritual, Rehabilitation, and Renewal Gadding to Sennons and Creeping in Corners: Lollards and Protestants in the Landscape Beating the Bounds and the Beauty of Holiness: Liturgical Rites, Laudianism, and the Resacralization of Space The Chiefillemish of the Refonnation: Monastic Ruins, Sacrilege, and the Reassessment of the Medieval Past Monuments, Fountains, and Follies: Archaeology, Architecture, and Gardening

5 God's Great Book in Folio: Providence, and the Natural Environment

Waters:

Religion, Medicine,

234 252 273 296

Science, 327

The Wonderful Workmanship of the World: Creation and Providence Extraordinary Preachers: Prodigious Nature and Catastrophic Events Britannia Baconica:Religion and Natural History The Sacred Theory of the Earth: Physico- Theology

6 Therapeutic

233

and the Landscape

Reforming the Waters: From Holy Wells to Healing Springs? New Found Spaws: Chemical Testing, Cold Bathing. and Commercialization The Largess of Heaven: Medicine and Piety at the Watering Places Errours of the People in Matter of Physick: Wells beyond the Medical Mainstream

7 Invented Traditions: Legend, Custom, and Memory Popish Survivals? Miracles, Monks, and Saints Reformed Fables? Divine Judgements and the Devil's Exploits Protestant Traditions: Persecution, Patriotism, and Rites of Purification Innocent Pastimes: Ritual, Recreation, and Pilgrimage in the Post-Reformation

328 340 3 57 3 76

395 397 414 43 1 455

471 476 497 51 5 53 1

Conclusion

55 5

Bibliography of Primaiy Sources General Index Index efPlaces

568

607 62 7

List

ofIllustrations

I. l Rudston monolith, Yorkshire

31

I.2 Norman church inside a Neolithic henge at Knowlton, Dorset

31

1.3 St Martin's high cross, Iona

33

r.4 Well chapel of St Cleer, Cornwall

57

1.5 Roche Rock and chapel: John Norden, Speculi Britanniaepars. and historicaldescriptionof Cornwall (London, 1728) A topo}traphical

58

r.6 St Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg: Sir Jan1es Ware, T11eAntiquities and History of Ireland (London, 1705)

74

2.l Malmesbury Abbey: Roger Dodsworth and William Dugdale, MonasticonAnglicanum, 3 vols. (London, 1655-73)

ll5

crudelitatum 2.2 Iconoclasm in England: Richard V erstegan, T11eatru111 haereticorumnostri temporis(Antwerp, 1592 edn.)

118

2.3 The destruction of Cheapside Cross, 1643, and the burning of

the Book of Sports: John Vicars, A sight of the transactions (London, 1646) 2.4 Churchyard cross at Silverton, Devon

131 132

2.5 The rocking stone of Main Amber, Cornwall: John Norden,

Speculi Britanniaepars. A topographicaland historicaldescription of Cornwall (London, 1728)

139

2.6 William Stukeley, 'An Abury Atta da Fe, May 20 1724': Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Gough Map 23 1

143

3.1 Our Lady of Montaigu (Scherpenheuvel): Antonius Sanderus, ChorographiasacraBrabantiac,2 vols. (Brussels, 16 59-68)

160

3.2 The Lady Chapel and well of Mount Grace Priory, Osmotherly, Yorkshire: British Library, MS Landsdowne 914 (W arburton's

Yorkshire Collections)

168

3.3 Pilgrims circuniambulating the ruined shrine of Our Lady

ofRunxputte near Heiloo in the Netherlands: engraving by Frederik de Wit, first publ. Amsterdam c.1690

170

Xll

3 .4

LIST

OF ILLUSTRATIONS

'The Lady Well near Dundalk, round which the Catholicks do pennance 9 Sept. annually being ye Patron Day': Thonus Wright, Louthiana: or, an introductionto the antiquities of Ireland (London, 1748)

172

3.5

Memorial cross, Balrath, Co. Meath

185

3 .6

The martyrdoms of St Decuman, St Cleer, and St Juthwara: Giovannia Battista de Cavalleriis, EcclesiaeAnglicanae Trophaea (Rome, [1584])

210

3. 7

The image of a crucifix discovered in the trunk of an ash tree blown down in Glamorganshire, 15 59: Nicholas Harpsfield, Dialogi sex contrasummi pontificatus, monasticaevitae, sanctorum,sacrarumimaginum oppugnatores,et pseudomartyres(Antwerp, 1573 edn.)

219

3. 8

Memorial nuss rock commemorating the death of Fr Nicholas Mayler, 1653, Tomhaggard, Co. Wexford

229

4. I

4.2 4.3

4.4 4. 5

4.6

4. 7

4.8

4.9

'The Orthodox True Minister' and 'The Seducer and False Prophet': T. C., A glassefor the times by which accordingto the Scriptures,you may clearlybehold the true Ministers of Christ, howfarre differingfrom false teachers(London, 1648) 'A Protestants Meeting': John Bunyan, The life and death of Mr Badman (London, 1696 edn.) 'Fons Sacer': King's Newton well, Derbyshire, restored by Robert Harding 1660: Robert Charles Hope, The Legendary Lore of the Holy Wells of England includingRivers, Lakes, Fountains and Springs (London, 1893) The ruins of Fountains Abbey: Roger Dodsworth and Willian, Dugdale, MonasticonAnglicanum, 3 vols. (London, 1655-73) 'The prospect of Glasenbury Abbey', Somerset: William Stukeley, Itinerarium curiosum. Or an accountl!{ the antiquitys and remarkablecuriositysin nature or art (London, 1724)

245 248

271 280

281

'Stonhing', print of 1575: Lemon Collection, Society of Antiquaries, London

299

Inigo Jones, The most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vul_garlycalledStone-heng an Salisbury Plain, ed. John Webb (London, 1655)

300

'An Antient Heathen Temple': Charles Smith, The antient and present state of the county and city c!fCork, in four books, 2 vols. (Dublin, 1750) The tolmen in Constantine parish, Cornwall: William Borlase, Observationson the antiquities historicaland monumental, of the county of Cornwall (London, 1769 edn.)

4. IO The White Horse ofUffington: Francis Wise, A letter to Dr Mead concerningsome antiquities in Berkshire, particularly

303

307

LIST

OF ILLUSTRATIONS

shewing that the WHITE HORSE, which gives name to the vale, is a monument of the west-Saxons, made in memory of a great victory obtained over the Danes A.D. 871 (Oxford, 173 8)

Xlll

3ro

4. r r Bird's-eye view of the garden of Wilton House, Wiltshire, as laid out by Isaac de Caus, depicted c.1645 4.12 Enstone waterworks, Oxfordshire: Robert Plot, The natural history t?{Oxfordshire (Oxford, 1705 edn.) 5. r

The miraculous earth n1oven1ent at Wester ham, Kent, 1 596: John Chapnian, A most true reportof the miraculousmoving and sinking of a plot o.fground, about nine Acres, at Westram in Kent (London, 1597)

342

5.2

Landscapes devastated by floods: Gods warning to his people of En,(;land.By the great oveifiowingo.fthe waters orfloudes lately hapncd in South-Wales, and many otherplaces (London, 1607)

347

5.3

The groaning tree near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire: [Nathaniel Crouch], Admirable curiositiesraritiesand wonders (2nd edn., London, 1684)

352

5.4

The Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland: Samuel Foley, 'An Account of the Giants Caus-way in the North oflreland', PhilosophicalTransactionsof the Royal Society, 18 (1694), fold-out plate

5.5

The Cheese Wring, Cornwall: Williarn Borlase, Observationson the antiquities historicaland monumental, o.fthe county of Cornwall (London, 1769 edn.)

5.6

Thon1as Burnet, The sacredtheory of the earth (London, 1684)

6.1

The city of Bath, with illustrations of the King's Bath and the Cross Bath: John Speed, T11etheatreo.fthe empire o.fGreat Britaine (London, 1611)

400

6.2

St Anne's Well, Buxton: John Speed, The theatreof the empire o.f Great Britaine (London, 1611)

402

6.3

The healing spring at Utkinton: G. W., Newes out (?f Cheshire o.fthe newfound well (London, 1600)

6.4

Cold spring at Kinghorn Craig: Patrick Anderson, The coldespring o.fKinghorne Cra(r.;,his admirableand new triedproperties,sofarfoorth as yet arefound true by experience (Edinburgh, 1618)

418

6.5

A mineral spring: engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar (c.r627-77)

421

6.6

Holywell in the late seventeenth century: St Winefrids Well usually calledHoly Well, near Flint in North Wales (London, c.1675-95)

LIST

XIV

OF ILLUSTRATIONS

cross at Glastonbury: Here begynneth the lyfe o_fJoseph(f Armathia (London, 1520)

493

Speculi Britanniaepars. A topo,'?raphical and historicaldescriptionof Cornwall (London, 1728)

503

7. l Burgeoning

7.2 The Hurlers, Cornwall: John Norden,

7.3 The Devil's Arrow es: John Aubrey, 'Monumenta Bodleian Library, MS Top. gen. c. 24 7.4 The burning ofWyclif's (London, 1563)

Britannica', 505

bones: John Foxe, Actes and monuments

[Nathaniel Crouch], Admirable curiositiesraritiesand wonders(2nd edn., London, 1684)

517

7.5 The Oak of Reformation:

525

7.6 The monument to the Great Fire of London: print by Willian, Lodge dated c.1676

527

7.7 Early eighteenth-century ceramic plate commemorating Charles II's escape after the battle of Worcester by hiding in the Boscobel Oak

529

7.8 'A Pattern Day': Philip Dixon Hardy, The Holy Wells o_fIreland (Dublin, 1840)

546

Abbreviations and Conventions

APC

Acts of the Privy Council of England, NS 1542-1631, ed. John Roche Dasent et al., 46 vols. (1890-1964)

BL

British Library, London

Bodl.

Bodleian Library, Oxford

CRS

Catholic Record Society

CSP Dom

EETS

Calendarof State Papers,Domestic Series, of the Re(it11sof Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and James I, 1547-1625, ed. R. Lemon and M.A. E. Green, 12 vols. (1856-72); Calendarof State Papers, DomesticSeries, of the Reign o_fCharlesI, 1625-1649, ed.]. Bruce et al., 23 vols. (1858-97); Calendarof State PapersDomestic: Commonwealth 164()-1660, ed. Mary Anne Everett, 13 vols. (London, 1875-86). Cambridge University Libra1y Early English Text Society

EHR ESTC

Er~itlishHistoricalReview English Short Title Catalogue (http:/ I estc.bl.uk)

HEHL

Hemy E. Huntington Libra1y, San Marino, California

HJ HMC

HistoricalJournal Historical Manuscripts Con1n1ission

JBS

Journal o_fBritish Studies

JEH JMH L&P

Journal of Ecclesiastical History Journal o_fModern History

CUL

NLS

Letters and Papers,Fore(qnand Domestic, o_fthe Reign of Henry VIII, 150()-47, ed.]. S. Brewer et al., 21 vols. and Addenda, 2 vols. (London, 1862-1932) National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

NLW

National Libra1y of Wales, Aberystwyth

NS

New Series

ODNB

Oxford Dictionaryof National Biography(http://www.oxforddnb.com) Oxford English Dictionary (http:/ I dictionary.oed.com)

OED

XVI

ABBREVIATIONS

AND

CONVENTIONS

OS

Old Series; Original Series

P&P

Past and Present

PL

Patrologia Latina, ed. Jacques-Paul

Migne, 217 vols. (Paris,

1844-55)

PS

Parker Society

PT

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (London, 166578, 1683-1775)

RH

Recusant History

SAL

Society of Antiquaries of London

SCH

Studies in Church History

SCJ

Sixteenth Century Journal

SP

State Papers

TCD

Trinity College, Dublin

TNA

The National Archives, London

TRHS

Transactions of the Royal Historical Society

VCH

Victoria County History

Original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are retained in all quotations, with occasional exceptions in the interests of clarity. The use of i and j, u and v, however, has been rnodernized. In citations from manuscript sources, standard abbreviations and contractions have been silently expanded. Greek letters have been transliterated. For the sake of consistency, signature numbers are cited in arabic numerals throughout. Dates are given in Old Style, except that the year is reckoned to begin on 1 January. The place of publication is London, unless otherwise stated. All biblical citations are from the Authorized Version of r6rr. Contemporary county names have generally been employed rather than modern ones.

Introduction What a pleasing variety is here of Townes, Rivers, Hills, Dales, Woods, Medowes; each of then, striving to set forth other; and all of them to delight the eye? So as this is no other then a naturall; and reall Landscip drawne by that Almightie, and skilfull hand, in this table of the Earth, for the pleasure of our view; no other creature besides Man is capable to apprehend this beautie; I shal doe wrong to him that brought mee hither, ifl doe not feed my eyes, and praise my Maker ...

s

o wrote Joseph Hall, bishop of Exeter, in a spiritual reflection 'upon a faire Prospect' penned during one of the 'short ends of time' he stole from 'his continuall and weighty imployments' in the 'large & busie Diocesse' over which he presided. Discovered amongst other muddled papers in his study, it was published by his son Robert in 1630, together with more than a hundred other Occasionall meditations on animals, birds, insects, plants, nrnndane events, and quotidian objects. 1 The precise location Hall described in this short essay cannot be identified, but the scene he evokes suggests it n1ay well have been somewhere in the mid-Devon countryside. Then, as now, this was a patchwork of fields, hedges, and thickets of trees, dotted with villages and market towns that nestled in the dips of its rolling hills and clustered in the green valleys that ran alongside its meandering rivers and streams. The panorama he glimpsed from his unknown vantage point inspired him to remember the power and benevolence of the God who had created the world for the benefit of the hunian beings He had nude in His own image. This delightful vista had been sculpted by the deity at the beginning of tin1e and then embellished and altered by the people who occupied, cleared, cultivated, and settled it over the course of several millennia. Hall characterized this as 'a naturall; and reall Landscip' drawn by the hand of the Almighty. Employing a technical term that had only recently

r.

Joseph Hall, Occasionall111cditations, ed. R[obert] H[all] (1630), pp. 12-13 and sig. A2'-3v.

2

INTRODUCTION

entered the English language from the Dutch vernacular, he compared the prospect he beheld with a pictorial representation-with a genre of painting and engraving that was just becoming fashionable across the English Channel. The seemingly superfluous adjectives with which he qualified it alert us to the significant shift that has taken place in the n1eaning of the word 'landscape' in the centuries since. Originally it meant not a physical tract of land with its distinguishing features and characteristics, but rather an artistic depiction of this, as seen from a particular perspective and through the lens of an individual spectator. Only gradually did it come to be used to denote actual places rather than the subjective simulacra of them that artists produced on canvas and paper.2 Joseph Hall was invoking it as a n1etaphor for the exquisite piece of craftsmanship that was the joint creation of the Lord and the species that He had accorded sovereignty over it. The sight provoked him to wonder at the majesty and mercy of the God who had made the universe and who providentially sustained all life and human endeavour on earth. As he wrote in the preface: 'Every thing that we see, reades us new lectures ofWisdome, and Pietie ... I desire, and charge my Reader, whosoever hee be, to make mee, and hin1selfe so happie, as to take out my lesson; and to learne how to read GODs great Booke, by mine.' 3 Hall's devout n1editation opens just one ofn1anypossible windows onto the subject of this book: the connection between religion and the landscape in early modem Britain and Ireland. As we shall see, his sanguine confidence that the physical world supplied an emblem of divine love coexisted with a range of alternative responses: with a tendency to see it as a reservoir of soul-destroying error, as a source of temptation to backslide to the superstition of a benighted Catholic past, and as a lingering reminder of the dark and distant ages of heathen sacrifice. The chapters that follow examine how religious assumptions influenced contemporary perceptions of the physical environment, and how in turn that environment shaped the profound theological, liturgical, and

2. OED (accessed 25/8/2008). In its German form landschaftor lantschaft,however, it was used to denote a geographical area defined by political boundaries. On the etymology of 'landscape', see John Brinckerhoff Jackson, Discoueringthe VernacularLandscape(New Haven, 1984), 3-8. On the emergence of the genre, see Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing:Dutch Art in the Scuenteenth Century (1983), ch. 4; Christopher S. Wood, Albrecht Altdorfcr and the Origins of Landscape(1993); Malcolm Andrews, Landscapeand WesternArt (Oxford, 1999), chs. 1, 2; Kim Sloan, 'A Noble Art': Amateur Artists and Drawing Mastersc.1600-1800 (2000), ch. 3. 3. Hall, Occasional!meditations,sig. A11r-12r.

INTRODUCTION

3

cultural transfom1ations that marked the era between c.1500 and 1750. They explore how senses of place and space were implicated in the series of interlinked initiatives to reform belief and behaviour that historians call the Reformation. Driven by a varying combination of popular fervour and official policy, the origins of this n1oven1ent can be found in the medieval period; its progress was uneven, protracted, and contentious, and its consequences farreaching. Stretching well beyond the tumultuous events of the mid-sixteenth century, it engendered factions and conflicts that played no small part in precipitating the bitter civil wars that engulfed the kingdoms that comprised the British Isles in the r64os and r65os, and which continued to disrupt their equilibrium_ for decades to come. Its n1ost lasting legacy was the creation of societies comprised of people self-consciously divided by faith-societies in which Catholics, Protestants, and the n1ernbers of dissenting minorities coexisted in an uneasy mixture of ham1ony and tension. The dramatic impact that these movements had upon the material fabric of ecclesiastical buildings and liturgical furniture has been well documented. We possess many important and powerful studies of the public directives and private actions that reduced dissolved and abandoned monasteries to hollow shells and permanently branded cathedrals and parish churches with the visible marks of the reformers' war against the idols. Scholars have traced the stripping of the altars and the holocaust of hallowed images and objects that marked its successive phases in revealing detail; they have also devoted considerable attention to the presence and development of contrary currents that fostered a drive to restore the 'beauty of holiness' and to refurbish church interiors in an effort to befit them for reverent worship. Interest in the architectural and aesthetic dimensions of the shift in theological temperature that became conspicuous in England in the r63os has deepened; the influence and effect of these trends in Scotland and Ireland is now beginning to be more fully delineated, alongside their resurgence and gradual entrenchment within the ecclesiastical mainstream after the Restoration. More recently, the manner in which traditional conceptions of the sanctity of space were challenged and refashioned by the religious changes of the period has become the subject of sustained research. 4 4. For just a sample of writings on these topics, see: ]. R. Phillips, The Reformation of Images: Destructionof Art in England 1535-1660 (Berkeley, 1973); David Knowles, Bare Ruined Choirs: The Dissolution ~f the English Monasteries(Cambridge, 1976); Margaret Aston, England's Iconoclasts,i: Laws againstImages(Oxford, 1988); Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400-1580 (New Haven and London, 1991); Julie Spraggon, Puritan

INTRODUCTION

4

Yet historians have rarely ventured beyond the doors, porches, and walls of churches or the inner precincts of abbeys, priories, and convents. There has been surprisingly little scrutiny to date of the impression that the Refom1ation left upon the wider natural but also partly man-made environment within which these structures were situated. With the honourable but partial exceptions of Keith Thomas's acclaimed Man and the Natural World (1983) and Simon Schama's lyrical survey of Landscape and Memory (1995), few studies have considered how it affected attitudes and practices associated with the world of trees, woods, springs, rocky outcrops, caves, mountain peaks, and other striking topographical features of this geographically diverse cluster of North Atlantic islands. 5 Nor has there been systen1atic analysis of the ways in which it altered assumptions about prehistoric monuments and other remnants of ancient civilizations that littered the rural landscape, or about the landmarks more recent generations had erected in the cities, towns, and villages that were extending growing tentacles into the countryside. Most scholars of early n1odem Britain and Ireland have tended to treat the landscape as an inert and passive backdrop to the momentous events that accompanied the advent of Protestantisn1 and the energetic attempts of the Ron1an Catholic faith to resist annihilation by the Tudor and Stuart state. This book seeks to bring the places and spaces in which these struggles occurred into the foreground and to focus a spotlight on them not merely as sites and locations, but also as agents of change.

Iconoclasmin the Eit~lish Civil War (Woodbridge, 2003); and for Scotland, David McRoberts, 'Material Destruction Caused by the Scottish Refomution', Innes Reuiew, 9 (1958), 126-72; James Kirk, 'Iconoclasm and Reformation', Recordsof the Scottish Church History Society, 24 ( I 992), 366-83. For initiatives for refurbishment, see Graham Parry, The Arts of the Anglican Counter-Rcfonnation: Glory, Laud and Honour (Woodbridge, 2006); Kenneth Fincham and Nicholas Tyacke, Altars Restored: The Changing Face of E1wlish Rcl(~ious Worship, 1547-c.1700 (Oxford, 2007); Andrew Spicer, Caluinist Churchesin Early 1\!Iodern Europe (Manchester, 2007), ch. 2. More generally, see Martin S. Briggs, Goths and Vandals: A Study,![ the Destructionand Preseruation,ifHistoricalBuildings in England (1952). On sacred space, see John Sommerville, The Secularizationof Early 1\!IodernEngland: From Rel(~iousCulture to Rel(~iot1sFaith (New York and Oxford, 1992), ch. 2; Andrew Spicer and Sarah Hamilton (eds.), Defining the Holy: SacredSpace in ]\;[edicvaland Early 2\!IodcrnEurope (Aldershot, 2005); Will Coster and Andrew Spicer (eds.), SacredSpace in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2005); David A. Postles, Social Geographiesin (Washington, DC, 2007); Amanda Flather, Gender and Space in Early E1~~land(1200-1640) 1\;[odern England (Woodbridge, 2007), ch. 5. 5. Keith Thomas, 2\!lanand the Natural World: ChangingAttitudes in England 150(}-1800 (Hannondsworth, 1983). Thomas's main focus is the shift in sensibilities about man's relationship with other species and the natural environment across the period. Simon Schama, Landscapeand

Me111ory (1995).

INTRODUCTION

5

Its aim is to underline the importance ofintegrating an awareness of the spatial context in which hun1an interactions take place into our understanding of the Refonnation. It investigates the role that the religious revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries played in the making of the early modem landscape, and vice versa. In what follows, I shall not draw a rigid distinction between natural landmarks and the architectural structures that were an outgrowth of them. It would be both artificial and anachronistic to do so. This was an era in which the boundaries between these categories were conceptually hazy and blurred. Contemporaries from all sections of the social spectrum chronically confused geological phenon1ena with edifices erected by the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles. They thought that many strange rock formations were the work of mythical creatures like giants, native druid priests, or foreign invaders such as the Saxons, Nom1ans, and Danes. Moreover, they conceived of the physical environment they occupied as the work of the deity, as a sculpture designed by the Lord, which bore the marks of His continuing intervention, as well as the desperate efforts of the devil and his band of demons to lead men and women to spiritual damnation. Steeped in the theology of Creation and providence, they did not share our aptitude to polarize the raw matter of nature and the products of human culture. With Joseph Hall, the people of early modern Britain and Ireland approached the landscape as a supplementary source of revelation, as a medium of heavenly instruction and admonitory warning. Like their medieval predecessors, they saw it as a moral guide and as a book of holy doctrine and divinity, albeit secondary to the canon of Scripture. In the words of Martin Bucer, later Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, 'the whole frame of this world' was 'a n10nun1ent and token to put us in ren1embrance of god', while Sir Thomas Browne spoke of it as 'that universall and publique Manuscript, that lies exposed to the eye of all'. 6 In thinking of the landscape as a text and an artefact, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers anticipated an insight that lies at the centre of current academic discourse on this topic. An earlier generation of scholars tended to treat it as primordial: as an empirical object that had an independent existence beyond the realm of hun1an apprehension. For the French Annalistes, notably Femand Braudel, the environment exercised a fomutive and 6. Martin Bucer, A treatisedeclaring& shewi{nJg dyvers causestaken out of the holy scriptures,of the sentencesof hol1,faders,& of the decreesof devoutcmperours,thatpictures& otherpnages in no wise to be si1ffredin the templesor churches,!{ Christen men, trans. William Marshall ( r 53 5), sig. 136r; Thomas Drowne, Reli,~iomcdici(1642), 26.

6

INTRODUCTION

even deterministic influence on the evolution of the societies that occupied it. It was an inm1obile entity and aln1ost irresistible force that constrained individual action and shaped historical causation.7 Now, by contrast, the landscape is conventionally understood as a cultural construction. Geographers, archaeologists, and anthropologists have taught us to regard it as the biography or autobiography of society, as a fom1 of iconography, and as a visual ideology. The landscape is conceptualized not merely as a by-product of the economic and social activities and processes that unfolded upon it, but also as a dense and complex system of signs and symbols that can be decoded and deciphered. It is widely compared with a parchment and palimpsest, a porous surface upon which each generation inscribes its own values and preoccupations without ever being able to erase entirely those of the preceding one. It is a surface onto which cultures project their deepest concerns and recurring obsessions, a medal struck in the image of their mental structures. 8 W. G. Hoskins described it as 'the richest historical record we possess', while Oliver Rackham speaks of the countryside as a historic library, the contents of which are in a constant state of flux. 9 These commonplaces are closely linked with the notion that the landscape is a repository of the collective memory of its inhabitants, a 7. Especially in the work ofFcmand Braudcl, The lvlediterraneanand the .MediterraneanWorld in the Age ,2fPhilip II, trans. Sian Reynolds, 2 vols. (London, 1975; first pub!. 1949), pt. r. See Samuel Kinser's discussion of this issue in 'Annaliste Paradigm? The Geohistorical Structuralism of Fernand Brandel', American HistoricalReview, 86 (]()81), 63-105. 8. The literature is extensive. See especially Carl Sauer, 'The Morphology of Landscape', University of California Publicationsin Geography,2 (1925), repr. in]. Leighley (ed.), Land and Life: A Selectionfromthe Writi11~sof Carl Otwin Sauer (13erkeley, 1963), 315-50; Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (eds.), The Iconographyof Landscape:Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environtnents (Cambridge, 1988); Alan R. H. Baker and Gideon Biger (eds.), Ideologyand Landscapein HistoricalPerspective:Essays on the Meanin,~sof Some Placesin the Past (Cambridge, 1992); Barbara Bender (ed.), Landscape:Politicsand Perspectives(Providence, RI, and Oxford, 1993); Denis Cosgrove, Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape (1994); Christopher Tilley, The PhenomenologyofLandscape:Places,Paths and ,Monuments (Oxford and Providence, RI, 1994), esp. ch. 1, and The ,Materiality of Stone: Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology (Oxford and New York, 2004); Eric Hirsch and Michael O'Hanlon (eds.), The Anthropology ,2fLandscape:Perspectiveson Placeand Space (Oxford, 1995); Peter]. Ucko and Robert Layton (eds.), The Archaeol