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Straightening the Altars

The Ecclesiastical Vision and Pastoral Achievements of the Progressive Bishops Under Elizabeth I, 1559–1579

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Scott A. Wenig

One of the ongoing issues in the study of the English Reformation is how far and how fast Protestant thought and practice spread throughout the traditionally Roman Catholic realm during the sixteenth century. Straightening the Altars examines the efforts of four members of the initial Elizabethan episcopate to construct a genuinely Reformed church on the foundation of the Edwardian Reformation and the ashes of Marian persecution. Spanning the first twenty years of the new queen’s reign, it details both the failures and achievements of John Jewel, Richard Cox, Edwin Sandys, and James Pilkington to promote Protestant thought and practice at both the national and local levels. Although hindered in their efforts at several points by puritans, papists, and the Queen herself, these thoroughly Reformed prelates made significant progress in advancing the cause of Protestantism during the early decades of the Elizabethan era.