Obituary: Patrick Collinson
Patrick Collinson, Emeritus Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and one of the finest historians of early modern England, has died. He was 82.
Collinson's 1967 study, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement, profoundly changed our understanding of radical English Protestantism and remains of immense influence.
Hugh Trevor-Roper, not a man given to effusive praise, wrote this of Collinson’s opus in the Sunday Times:
‘His erudition is unrivalled, his industry indefatigable. He has traced the Puritan underground movement in detail, identified its agents, discovered its local centres and secret workings.’
In the March 1986 issue of History Today Collinson wrote 'A Chosen People? The English Church and the Reformation', in which he asked if the Protestant Church of Elizabeth was the catalyst for a new patriotism, based on a special sense of English destiny and divine guidance. He produced a great deal of other work on the subject, but those new to him should probably begin with his short, erudite summation, The Reformation, published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 2003, and now available in paperback.
In an interview published on The Conventicle website, Patrick Collinson explains the factors that led him to research the puritans and why the publication of The Elizabathan Puritan Movement marked 'a watershed moment for the contemporary study of post-Reformation English religious history'.
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