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The Politics of Religion in the Age of Mary, Queen of Scots: The Earl of Argyll and the Struggle for Britain and Ireland

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"Early modern historians have theorised about the nature of the new 'British history for a generation. This study examines how British politics operated in practice during the age of Mary, Queen of Scots, and it explains how the crises of the mid sixteenth century moulded the future political shape of the British Isles." A central figure in these struggles was the 5th earl of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell and leading Lowland aristocrat, who was the most powerful magnate not only at the court of Queen Mary, his sister-in-law, but throughout the three kingdoms. His domination of the Western Highlands and Islands drew him into the complex politics of the north of Ireland, while his Protestant commitment involved him in Anglo-Scottish relations. During the British crises of 1559-60, 1565 and 1567-73 his actions also helped determine the Protestant allegiance of the British mainland and the political and religious complexion of Ireland. Argyll's career therefore demonstrates both the possibilities and the limitations of British history throughout the early modern period.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a valuable and accessible study which sheds useful further light on the dimensions of the British problem in early modern Scotland, England, and Ireland." Renaissance and Reformation

"Dawson's thorough research and clear writing style makes reading this biography easy, as well as a joy. Her book is a worthwhile addition to Cambridge University Press's long-running series on early modern British history, and is essential reading on early modern Scotland." Anglican and Episcopal History

"A welcome addition to Scottish Reformation studies, this work sheds new light on the murky politics in Scotland at the time of the Queen of Scots. Upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

"A key aim of Jane E.A. Dawson's book is to explore the 'new British history'—the history of the mutual influences of the three kingdoms—via the career of a man who linked all three. It succeeds triumphantly. This is a work of mature scholarship, rooted in a wide range of manuscript and printed sources and in deep reflection on the early modern 'British problem'.... This book deserves to be widely influential in sixteenth-century studies.... succinct and masterful." American Historical Review

"This book is a valuable contribution to the study of a crucial period in the formation of what became known as the British Isles. Too often this period is discussed in separate studies of England and Scotland, and England and Ireland. Dawson's work should ensure that the interconnectedness of all three areas, long before 1603, cannot be ignored in the future." Sixteenth Century Journal

"Dawson's recent work is a noteworthy addition to early modern Scotland and British studies." Canadian Journal of History

"This is a valuable book in its own right, and a fine example of how "British history" can be written." Journal of Modern History

"Dr. Dawson is to be congratulated for her well-researched and masterly study of Argyll as a 'Britis' statesman, exploring his triple role as Gaelic chief, Scottish statesman, and British strategist. The volume is agreeably produced...The work is a welcome contribution to the 'new' approach to early-modern British history." The Catholic Historical Review James Kirk, University of Glasgow

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jane Dawson is John Laing Senior Lecturer in the History and Theology of the Reformation, University of Edinburgh

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Table of Contents

List of figures
List of abbreviations
Prologue: 1560: British policies and the British context 1
1 Argyll's life and character 11
Education and formation 14
Marriage and divorce 27
Character and beliefs 35
2 Semi-sovereign prince 48
Military strength 51
Legal jurisdiction 56
Clan Campbell 59
Land and wealth 68
Argyll's court 73
The 5th earl's affinity 81
National office and influence 83
3 The creation of a British policy: 1558-1560 86
The Reformation in Scotland 87
The forging of the Anglo-Scottish alliance 96
British policy in Ulster 104
4 The collapse of amity: 1561-1565 111
Mary's personal rule 112
The failure of British policy in Ulster 126
The fracturing of Anglo-Scottish friendship 137
5 The reconfiguration of British politics: 1566-1568 143
The disintegration of Mary's rule 144
Shane's death and the Ulster marriages 155
Bargaining with the English 165
6 The withdrawal from British politics: 1569-1573 170
The Scottish civil wars 171
The creation of a client state 191
Re-establishing the MacDonalds 199
Conclusion: The earl of Argyll and British politics in the age of the three kingdoms 209
Chronology, 1558-1573 220
Bibliography 230
Index 244
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