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The Anglo-Scottish war of 1558 and the Scottish Reformation

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The year 1558 was one of open war between England and Scotland. Previous scholarly accounts of this period have glossed over this conflict. This article first establishes the contours of the war. The failure of peace negotiations in the first portion of the year was linked to Scots’ hopes of an invasion of Berwick in the aftermath of the fall of Calais, and the tentative movements towards peace in October were disturbed by the death of Mary Tudor in November 1558. Beyond its implications for Anglo‐Scots relations, however, this conflict was significant in a domestic Scottish context. The second part of the article argues that the war interacted with better‐known factors such as the accession of Elizabeth I, anti‐French feeling and the growth of Protestant preaching to create the circumstances which made the Reformation Rebellion of 1559 possible. Increased mobility prompted by a national war effort, coupled with a governmental focus on defence, and reliance on reformers in the national army, simultaneously promoted the spread of reformed ideas and inhibited the authorities’ ability to contain them. The war of 1558 therefore helped to foster the growth of ‘heresy’, which in 1559 blossomed into full‐scale religious rebellion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-224
JournalHistory: The Journal of the Historical Association
Issue number350
Early online date21 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

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