Ralph Houlbrooke

in The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199565757
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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This chapter, which discusses William Harrison's accounts of England in the Chronicles, begins by setting the description of England in its British context. It explores Harrison's ideas about the extent to which ancient British ethnic stock, religion, and laws had survived subsequent invasions, and reviews Harrison's accounts of the English Church, laws, and legislature in his own day. Harrison saw England as the fitting portion of Brutus's eldest son, to which supremacy over the island of Britain had been inseparably annexed. His religious convictions informed his critical view of English society, and his vocation as a Christian minister gave him the confidence to expose its shortcomings. However, Harrison repeatedly confessed his ignorance of the details of law and administration, and his understanding of commercial and industrial processes was limited.

Keywords: William Harrison; Chronicles; England; English history; church; law; legislature; religion; society

Article.  8575 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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