Richard Morison

(c. 1510—1556) humanist and diplomat

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(also Morrison and Moryson; c.1510–1556), English humanist, politician, and reformer. Educated at Eton, Oxford (where he obtained his B.A. in 1528 at Thomas Cardinal Wolsey's new humanist college, later renamed Christ Church), and perhaps Paris, Morison first gained prominence on the fringes of Reginald Pole's establishment in Padua. While there Morison studied law and languages. His fortune was made when he won Thomas Cromwell's favor, probably in early 1536. Morison made the most of his first assignment as secretary to the committee that read Pole's Pro ecclesiasticae unitatis defensione, shortly after his return to England; he summarized the work adroitly, minimizing the damage Pole had done without entirely whitewashing the savagery of his attack on Henry VIII. This rhetorical skill typifies Morison's chief attraction to Cromwell. Shortly thereafter Morison tried his hand at theological controversy, drafting a reply to Johannes Cochlaeus's attack on royal supremacy. Morison's Apomaxis calumniarum was not published until 1538, having been delayed by more urgent business in the form of two polemical works against the Pilgrimage of Grace, A Lamentation in Which Is Showed What Ruin and Destruction Cometh of Seditious Rebellion and A Remedy for Sedition (both 1536). These tracts developed a highly Italianate, hierarchical view of the kingdom that may have owed something to Morison's familarity with Machiavelli's writings.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).

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