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Vol . I I I s s u e No . 1 Ma r c h 2 0 1 4

Uni v e r s i t yofS ou t hWa l e sS t u de ntHi s t or yJ ou r na l

Edi t e db y Ce r i Ca r t e r , S a ma nt haRi c k a r ds , Ma r i aDy k e s , Na t a l i eHu g he s , Da r r e nMa c e y , S e a nLoc k , Chr i s t ophe rMa t t he ws&S a mu e l S c a r i s br i c k

Editorial Team Lead Editors Ceri Carter Samantha Rickards Maria Dykes Natalie Hughes Co-Editors Darren Macey Sean Lock Christopher Matthews Samuel Scarisbrick Special Thanks Kris Carter

Contents Editorial Ceri Carter


Historical ‘States of matter’ Darren Macey


‘A new social model for men to share their lives’: Social Criticism in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club Miranda Burdett


A Debate of Demons or Innocents: How Christianity was implanted in the New World Samantha Rickards


Marx and Dickens: an Exploration of Historical Attitudes Toward the Victorian Slum Samuel Upton


‘City of the Hills’: A Study Of Urban Development In Brynmawr c.18501950 Adam Godfrey


John Dee and the Quest for a British Empire Ceri Carter


The Tudor Myth: How the Tudors dispelled their usurper status and consolidated power Siân Drew


Editorial Croeso and welcome to the second volume of the History from the Forest journal. We hope that you enjoyed our first volume and would like to thank all those who joined us for the launch of the printed edition. Since then we have had an eruption of interest from our students, including some of this year’s cohort, who have both joined our editorial team and submitted work to issue one of our new volume. The first article featured in this edition has been submitted by undergraduate and editor, Darren Macey. In his paper, Macey using a clever analogy to geological ice conditions, discusses oral testimony and memory as historical sources and assesses their value and validity in the study of recent history. Remaining with the theme of social history, third year student, Miranda Burdett analyses the social impact the nineties had on white, middle class American men and its portrayal within Chuck Palahniuk’s famous (or perhaps infamous) novel Fight Club. Our next article continues in the vein of social impact within the Atlantic world, but this time we are taken back to the settlement of the New World. Editor and second year student, Samantha Rickards looks at the consequences and methods of implanting Christianity in the New World. Transporting us both across the Atlantic Ocean and forward in time to Victorian London, undergraduate, Samuel Upton takes us on a tour of the Victorian slum. Guiding us through the existing historiography, Upton examines attitudes expressed by Charles Dickens and Karl Marx towards the living conditions of the poor in London. From the housing conditions of London to the housing conditions of Brynmawr, PhD student, Adam Godfrey investigates the impact of urban development and the emergence of civic identity within the small, Welsh town of Brynmawr during the period 1850 to 1950. The Welsh and the idea of Welshness is the continued theme within Ceri Carter’s investigation of Elizabeth I’s mystical advisor Dr John Dee and his obsession with creating a British Empire for his Queen. Analysing the same sources, postgraduate, Carter assesses Gwyn A. Williams’ claims about the ‘Welsh Wizard’. Finally, undergraduate student, Siân Drew takes a broader look at the Tudor Dynasty and evaluates how effectively the Tudor monarchs strengthened their claim to the throne by perpetuating myths surrounding their reigns. Thank you for your continued support, we hope you enjoy the issue. Ceri Carter Lead Editor


Historical ‘States of matter’ By Darren Macey Slices of ice core, drilled from the depths of the Earth’s ice sheets reveal details of the planets past …..Ice encloses small bubbles of air that contain a sample of the atmosphere — from these it is possible to measure directly the past. 1 Oral history, or more specifically the study of memory, reveals not one moment caught in time but rather illustrates the flow of history. The analogy of the ice core offers an interesting opportunity to investigate differing methods of conceptualising and interpreting the past. The geologist methods as described by the melting of the ice cores are rooted in scientific deconstructionism; conversely, the historian’s art is one of reconstruction. A historical reconstruction should attempt where possible to give not just a linear narrative but also a more rounded sense of the lived experience of a period. Oral history offers a useful source in illustrating that history is the study of transition and the processes of change. To understand historical transition - the fluidity of the past - we must investigate how historical evidence exists in differing forms. Just as traditional written sources could be described as fixed and solid - yet open to interpretation, similarly oral history could be described as ephemeral - changing yet by its very nature allowing us to understand the atmosphere of a period through memories. Memory often provides a fresh perspective on how history was lived but it is limited by the frailties and fallibilities of human physiology. Memories are not stagnant in an ice core; they are transient rather than fixed. They offer a tantalising insight into the atmosphere of the past; however, memories are a delicate source of information and can easily be tainted by the researcher or simply lost to future generations. The historical debates surrounding memory, strikes at the very heart of the question: ‘what is history?’ Paul Thompson asserted in his 1978 book, The Voice of the Past, that oral history is in fact ‘the first kind of history’. 2 Historians as far back as Herodotus have used critical analysis of oral sources in compiling historical accounts. 3 These oral histories and traditions existed long before the revolution in historical thinking, led by Leopold von Ranke in the early nineteenth century. The

Author Unknown, ‘Ice cores and climate change’, British Antarctic Survey, <> [accessed 14 December 2013]. 2Paul Thompson, The Voice of the Past: Oral History (London: Oxford University Press, 1978), p.1. 3 John Tosh, The Pursuit of History, Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History (London and New York: Longman, 1984) p.173. 1


Rankean approach emanating from his seminars at the University of Berlin led to a new generation of academic historians adopting his techniques, which centred on the critical evaluation of mainly primary archival sources. 4 He understood and explained history in terms of it exclusively being made by, and written about the elite sections of society. In an ever-evolving historical discourse surrounding oral history in the second half of the twentieth century these concepts have been challenged. Raphael Samuel contended that rather than a revolution, Rankean thinking represented a counter-revolution in historical methodology. 5 Samuel questioned the pedestrian pace in the expansion of historical boundaries and the reluctance to challenge the advances made by Von Ranke. 6 Continuing with his assault on conservative approaches he further suggested that subsequent historians, by ‘too strictly adhering’ to Von Rankean theories, had stifled innovative and creative thinking. 7 Samuel maintained that this approach had given rise to an artificial reverence for archival material. Often this reverence to the written word was achieved at the expense of ‘popular memory’ which he considered to be ‘on the face of it the very antithesis of written history’. 8 The 1960s saw a revival in oral history. 9 Set against the background of an awakening in social consciousness, the recordings of interviews and the documenting of the memories of a broad cross-section of society became seen as a valid source material by a section of the Historical academia. This offered a voice and some representation to women, the working class and other marginalized groups who had been disenfranchised by the elitist, ‘professional’ vision of history. Thompson gives an interesting description of oral history and its support for a ‘history from below’, he maintained that it ‘makes a much fairer trial possible: witnesses can now also be called from the under classes, the unprivileged, and the defeated’. 10Thompson pointed to the possible inaccuracies in other source material and emphasised that most written sources also relied on memory, questioning whether any source was more valid than another; Social statistics, in short, no more represent absolute facts than newspaper reports, private letters, or published biographies. Like recorded interview material, they all represent, either from individual standpoints or aggregated, the social perception of facts; and are all in

Tosh, The Pursuit of History, p.51 Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture v. 1, (London: Verso Books, 1996), pp. 3-6. 6 Ibid. 7Ibid. 8Ibid. 9Tosh, The Pursuit of History, p.172. 10 Thompson, The Voice of the Past, p. 7 4



addition subject to social pressures from the context in which they are obtained. With these forms of evidence, what we receive is social meaning, and it is this, which must be evaluated. 11 Thompson alludes to written sources as representing ‘the perception of facts’ from ‘above’ in historical terms. 12 Oral history is seen as a key source in addressing strata’s of society who leave few of the written traces Thompson describes. These are often the poor or those excluded from the written records of the elite by race, religion or gender. The evolution of oral history has continued since its resurgence. The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies has identified six different stages within the British Historical traditions of ‘people’s’ history or oral history alone. 13 Much of the early study in British oral history was focused on the working class, in many cases undertaken by groups sympathetic to their plight. These included a number of future influential historians belonging to the Communist Party Historians Group in the early post-war period. 14 This first wave of oral historians’ theories and methods were based in social history. It was thought by some of the pioneering oral historians that oral history should be approached in the same way as documentary sources. They maintained that it could be seen as factual evidence in revealing the past. However, reflections by historians in later years would question these assumptions. The 1970s witnessed a shift from using oral history as a source of factual evidence; Michael Roper described this as a shift from a ‘reconstructive’ to ‘interpretive’ mode. 15 Oral testimony can be seen as the perception of facts from ‘other’ sections of society or as a history from ‘below’. Cross-referenced with more traditional sources, oral accounts sometimes ask questions of the accepted historical view. Each source as ‘raw’ historical matter is unique and offers different challenges and rewards, however, care should be exercised in assessing its importance. No hierarchical assumptions should be made in source analysis, written and oral sources are not mutually exclusive nor necessarily more reliable than the other. They offer voices from differing classes, genders, races or religions, as well as perspectives from both the proletariat and politicians. Alessandro Portelli asserts that these sources ‘have common as well as autonomous

Thompson, The Voice of the Past, p.96. Ibid., p. 7. 13 Glenn Jordon, ‘Voices from below: doing people’s history in Cardiff Docklands’, in Writing History; Theory & Practice, ed. by Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner, et al (London: Hodder Headline Group, 2003), pp.299-320 (p.302). 14Ibid. p.302. 15Ibid. p.231. 11 12


characteristics and specific functions’. 16 Discrepancies between written and oral sources often represent differing perspectives but ‘together provide vital clues towards the true interpretation’. 17 There are however significant difficulties to overcome, as Hobsbawm described in 1985, ‘oral history is a remarkably slippery medium for preserving facts’. 18 There are inherent dangers in unsupervised amateur oral history projects. John Tosh describes these methodological issues by highlighting the interviewing and recording techniques of a group of local residents in London who record each other’s life histories. 19 This project the ‘People’s Autobiography of Hackney’ he points out could by interviewing within a social group give raise to a temptation for the interviewee to conform to the expected norms during interviews by peers. 20 Whether these norms come in the form of a ‘Blitz Sprit’ or ‘The Good old Days’, this type of cultural fog prohibits a deeper insight into the individual and the collective experience. The professional historian is armed with a ‘much wider range of evidence’ both empowering them with the background knowledge required to investigate and corroborate, coupled with a detachment required to evaluate. 21 The greatest strength of oral history is not the recording of facts but describing the flow of history - ‘living’ through a time period inevitably changes both the individual and the collective. For example, the generation of ‘Edwardians’ interviewed by Thompson in 1975, had during the intervening years become ‘Georgians’ and ‘Elizabethans’ before being interviewed. 22 How could the memories of this generation, which had seen arguably the most profound upheaval in social, political and technological changes in human history up to that point, not be coloured by their experiences? 23 Psychologist, George Johnson, argues that each new event changes our perception of the past, ‘in a matter of seconds, new circuits are formed that can change forever the way you think about the world’. 24 Every time we recall the past, it is filtered through our subsequent experiences. This is a vision of oral history, which has been championed by Italian historians such as, Alessandro Portelli and Luisa Passerini, among others. They maintain that oral history gives us access to a valuable

16 Alessandro Portelli, ‘What Makes Oral History Different’, in, The Oral History Reader, ed. by Robert Perks & Alistair Thomson, (London & New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 32-42. 17Ibid. p.33. 18 Anna Green and Kathleen Troup, The houses of history; A critical reader in twentieth-century history and theory, (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1999) p. 230. 19 Tosh, The Pursuit of History, p.179. 20 Ibid., p.179. 21 Ibid., p.179. 22 Ibid., p.178. 23 Paul Thompson, The Edwardians: The Remaking of British Society (New York: Routledge, 1992). 24 George Johnson, In the Palaces of Memory: How We Build the Worlds inside Our Heads (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), p.xi.


contemporary historical perspective even if that perspective is not based in pure fact. 25 This approach, though possibly more familiar to a social or cultural historian than the main stream of the historical profession, offers interesting possibilities. Passerini in her study of the working class in Turin found that subjects omitted the period of fascist control from 1925 up to the outbreak of the Second World War. 26 She saw this as demonstrating ‘a scar’ in the collective memory of the working class involved in the study. 27 By not mentioning the years of fascist control, they could be seen as subconsciously distancing themselves from the excesses of the regime. Portelli found a discrepancy in the oral accounts of the death of Luigi Trastulli and the recorded date of his death. 28 The oral testimony maintained that Trastulli was killed during a labour dispute over layoffs at the local steel plant in 1953. However, the actual incident took place in 1949 in a protest against the signing of the North Atlantic treaty. 29 It could be possible, for example, to extrapolate and explore a hypothesis that the memories of these events demonstrate the Italian working classes collective memories. A subconscious denial of the popular support for the fascist twenties and thirties, a change in attitudes towards NATO from 1949 to the time of interview and the eulogising of Trastulli as a socialist martyr. It would be interesting to investigate the apparent subconscious political shift from right to left in the ensuing years and how that has coloured the memories of these events. While this would all need a great deal more supporting evidence, the memories recorded give a starting point for further study. The content of the written source is independent of the researcher’s need and hypotheses; it is a stable text, which we can only interpret. The content of oral sources, on the other hand, depends largely on what the interviewer puts into it in terms of questions, dialogue, and personal relationship. 30 Portelli challenges traditional concepts of the historian’s role as a third person narrator; he sees an evolution in oral historians into a co-creator of a historical document. 31 In questioning the validity of transcripts, he maintains that the recording is the source for oral history. Portelli supports these assertions by pointing to the impact the insertion of punctuation by the transcriber has on the meaning and tone of the source. He goes on to explain how the speed of the interviewee’s speech

Alessandro Portelli, The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories: Form and Meaning in Oral History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991). 26Green and Troup, The houses of history, p.234. 27Ibid., p.234. 28 Portelli, The Death of Luigi Trastulli, p. 28. 29 Portelli, ‘What Makes Oral History Different’, in The Oral History Reader, ed. by Perks & Thomson p. 34. 30Ibid., p39. 31Ibid., p.41. 25


cannot be signified and the importance of pauses in speech, which can change the tone of the transcript. 32 There are also issues surrounding inflection, diction, problems with local accents and local and cultural connotations of words, which could be different for the researcher and the interviewee. While some of these issues are dealt with by agreeing the accuracy of the transcript with the interviewee after completion, even after reflection by interviewee and researcher, some issues will always remain. We must remember that it is above all their life and their memories; as American social historian, Studs Terkel puts it; ‘in their rememberings are their truths. The precise fact or precise date is of small consequence’. 33 As the case studies provided by both Alessandro Portelli and Luisa Passerini demonstrate it could be argued that inaccuracies and omissions are just as revealing as factually correct and corroborated accounts. Ice cores provide direct information about how greenhouse gas concentrations have changed in the past, and they also provide direct evidence that the climate can change abruptly under some circumstances. 34 While the geographer uses terms such as ‘direct information’ and ‘direct evidence’ such conclusions are more difficult in historical interpretations. History is not a succession of facts marching straight to a settled outcome. Memories reveal not one moment caught in time, but rather the flow of history. As historians strive to understand the motivations and minds of historical figures and the societies they lived in, memory while not providing a full factual picture, offers the intangible, an insight into a ‘lived’ history of its participants. The historical discourse would suggest that memory also gives us something less obvious, an insight into how living through subsequent events changes these figures and colours their memories. All of the raw materials of history remain flawed, it is the historians challenge however to interpret the fluctuations in these historical ‘States of matter’ and use them to offer the best insight possible.


p34. Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of The Great Depression, (New York: The New Press, New York 1986), p.3. 34 Author Unknown, ‘Ice cores and climate change’. 33


‘A new social model for men to share their lives’: Social Criticism in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club By Miranda Burdett Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is a book that will be remembered in history alongside that of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Books of this calibre act as warnings, and Fight Club is a scathing critique of the complex relationship between manhood and modern day consumerism. 1984 and Brave New World were written as futuristic novels which distinguishes them from Fight Club as it is set in modern times and can therefore provoke the reader into action. In this essay, I will construct a synopsis of the social model that Fight Club challenges, and will argue the merit of Palahniuk’s novel as a successful critique of American capitalist culture. I will also consider the limitations in the principle of Fight Club such as its blatant rejection of female considerations in resisting consumerism. The statement that will direct this paper is that Fight Club aims to promote ‘a new social model for men to share their lives’, this implies that the model is intended to encourage men to experience life together. For this to happen, men will have to absolve themselves of individualistic pride that consumerism has endorsed. As a consequence, individualistic social models are explored through Fight Club as well as collective social models but foremost, Palahniuk intended Fight Club to be directed as a ‘sharing’ model. Fight Club, also opens up a space for the discussion of how the excessive drive for self-realization correlates with the mass consumption of commodities. 1 I will observe this phenomenon through the character of Jack and his alter ego Tyler Durden. Paradoxically, Jack loses his self-identity because of the modern day ‘cult of the self’. 2 His aspirations to purchase furniture to restore his identity surmises the problem the modern consumer faces, and stresses the need for novels like Fight Club to emerge and challenge the social problems embedded in capitalism. Throughout the essay, I will refer to Fight Club firstly as a novel and secondly as the actual fight clubs featured in the book. The two definitions of Fight Club I am referring to will be evident when read in the context of the sentence as Fight Club will be italicised when I refer to it as a novel.

Lynn M Ta ‘Hurt So Good: Fight Club, Masculine Violence, and the Crisis of Capitalism’, The Journal of American Culture, 29.3 (2006), 265-277 (p.266); Omar Lizardo ‘Fight Club, or the Cultural Contradictions of Late Capitalism’, Journal for Cultural Research, 11.3, (2007), 221-243 (p.226). 2 Lizardo ‘Fight Club’, p.226. 1


The existing social model that Fight Club challenges is that of the service-orientated economy and partnering ‘attendant consumerist machine’. The novel addresses the concern that as women traditionally have been employed in service, it is effeminizing for men to participate in this sector alongside them. For this reason, the new social model that Fight Club presents is one in which the act of fighting (an activity not associated with femininity) is used to recapture men from the snares of consumerism. Fighting is seen as barbaric in modern culture because of its animalistic and uncivilised connotations. Fight Club attempts to restore the ‘fantasy of a pure, original and precapitalist masculinity’ through fighting to begin with. 3 The social space that Fight Club creates is one in which men can be men, in an arena devoid of female influence. Fight Club began because Marla invaded Jack’s safe haven which he found in support groups. Fight Club is solely for men. Therefore, Marla cannot attend. Paradoxically, Marla attends the support group for testicular cancer which is initially set up for men. However, she would not be accepted in Fight Club in the same way she was in the support group. Men behave differently in the outside world to how they behave in Fight Club. There is no great war for this generation of men to use as an outlet for aggression which has left them unsure of their self-worth. In addition, Lynn M. Ta argues that Fight Club’s exploration of the power of violence reveals the instability of gender identity. 4 Palahniuk has stamped out female influence so that it may not destabilise the masculine vibe that Fight Club nurtures. Violence forms Fight Club, but it progresses to sophisticated acts of rebellion as ‘Project Mayhem’ begins. The novel is not designed to glorify violence, rather it is written to dissuade the reader from acts of violence as Palahniuk describes, in graphic detail, the wounds sustained by the members of Fight Club. Fight Club attracts men to join as brothers, and after this they are remodelled into ‘space monkeys’ that carry out tasks to rebel against modes of consumerism. Fight Club’s proposed social model is one in which individuals are not affected by corporatization and ‘McDonaldization’. The extant social model is full of predetermined ‘stereotyped and choreographed’ social interactions induced by the ‘commodification of sociability’. Men cannot truly share their lives if communication consists of meaningless interactions. Fight Club gives men a purpose in life, as the workplace is ‘emptied of meaning and purpose’ by impersonal corporatization. 5 The American Dream of success being available to every American if they are willing to persevere is crushed by reality for the ‘space monkeys’ in Fight Club. They all hate their

Melissa Iocco ‘Addicted to Affliction, Masculinity and Perversity in Crash and Fight Club’, Gothic Studies, 9.1 (2007), 46-101 (p.49). 4 Ta, ‘Hurt So Good’, p.266. 5 Lizardo ‘Fight Club’, p.228. 3


jobs which is a requirement for members of Fight Club. There is little room for scope and innovation in the impersonal environment of capitalism. Yet, members of Fight Club continue to work in the same mundane jobs they possessed before Fight Club influenced them, partly out of necessity but also to cause havoc discreetly in their workplace. Deviance is represented as a healthy activity for an individual in a sick society. 6 Furthermore, as well as capitalism rendering the workplace impersonal, it has created discord between work and consumption. ‘Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.’ 7 Men are dissatisfied in the workplace, and they are working solely to purchase products they really don’t need to conform to the new ‘Capitalist’ notions of manhood. Adverts depict immaculate men; these men are free of imperfections and so untouched by the true essence of manhood. Fight Club transforms the appearance of its members as scars equate to experience for the ‘space monkeys’. ‘I just don't want to die without a few scars.’ 8 To die without scars, shows a lack of life’s true experiences. Fight Club reclaims the body, as it becomes a physical site that manifests the ‘meanings, limits and excesses of contemporary masculinity’ rather than a physical site that must be decorated by ornaments of consumerism. 9 The body is sculpted in Fight Club into that of a real man. Men that attend gyms solely to perfect their appearances into the men they see in adverts are cheating their bodies. Appearance classifies members of Fight Club and those who are unaffected by it. There is a marked difference in appearance between Jack and his boss. Jack’s body is bruised, bloody and ‘real’ from fighting whilst his boss’ body is ‘clean white, crisp, upright and suited’ and far less ‘real’. 10 Accordingly, consumerism forms the backdrop to Fight Club as its omnipresence tempts and undermines men. The actions of men are also governed by new values of manhood as previously mentioned. Specific products that are seen as the best on the market are modern requirements that fulfil men. If you cannot afford to partake in constructing your manhood by consumerist means then how do you become a man? Fight Club addresses this problem as it attracts service sector workers whose jobs are portrayed as mundane but essential in running the consumer-focused society. These jobs are less highly paid than others, so these men will have less money to style themselves as men.

Eduardo Mendieta, ‘Surviving American Culture: on Chuck Palahniuk’, Philosophy and Literature, 29, (2005) 394-408 (p.395). 7 Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, (London: Vintage Books, 2006), p.149. 8 Ibid., p.48. 9 Iocco, ‘Addicted to Affliction’, p. 47. 10 Ibid. 6


The brands we choose to wear have their own voices, thus the more we consume the more we lose our true voice and self-identity. Our self-concept is vulnerable if we rely solely on products to fulfil our spiritual needs and at the start of Fight Club Jack is in the process of styling his home space. Jack does not begin to find himself spiritually until he lives a life devoid of intrusive consumerism. Creature comforts strip men of masculinity, and are volatile representations of manhood. You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you. 11 The acquisition of furniture signifies stages in consumers’ lives, and acts as a form of security to consumers who are deeply involved in consumer society. As a consequence of this, self-identity is in crisis as we are bombarded with products to style our lives. The main character of the book, Jack, suffers with Multiple Personality Disorder, which is a ‘highly creative survival technique’ as it helps individuals to function normally in some parts of their brains. 12 With this in mind, we can appreciate that Jack may appear to be an average man but looks are deceiving. He is plagued by insomnia, which is a common symptom of depression. Through this disorder, Jack’s alter ego Tyler Durden is formed. The reader does not discover that Jack and Tyler are the same person until near the end of the book, but we are given hints throughout the novel by sentences such as ‘I know this because Tyler knows this.’ Jack is the submissive ego and Tyler is his superego, and represents the way Jack would like to be. Jack is bored with his life, he has all the furniture he needs and he has a stable job but he does not enjoy his life. It is interesting that Jack’s melancholia could be related to the loss of a ‘love-object’. 13 His Multiple Personality Disorder takes hold before the loss of his furniture and home caused by the explosion which indicates Jack’s ‘love-object’ is his ‘identity’. Tyler is untainted by consumerist thoughts and therefore acts as a remedy to Jack’s loss of self-identity. Tyler Durden represents the truly selfsufficient man, he is full of ‘useless knowledge’ that he uses to mastermind Fight Club.

Palahniuk, Fight Club, p.44. Ta, ‘Hurt So Good’, p. 271. 13 Ibid. 11



Fight Club claims that manhood has been debased by feminization and because of this, men are unsure of their social roles. The feminization of manhood is blamed on the lack of prominent male role models for young boys as they are growing up. Fight Club nurtures men in a way a father figure should have. ‘Maybe we didn’t need a father to complete ourselves.’ 14 The character of Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson, is Palahniuk’s role model of the state manhood has fallen to. Bob has ‘bitch tits’ that Jack is almost swallowed up by as Bob embraces him during a support group meeting. Bob is a sensitive soul and is particularly fond of Jack during the support group sessions. His character is transformed by his participation in Fight Club, and he is one of the more prominent ‘space monkeys’ who subsequently is killed. His death marks the end of ‘the sensitive new man’ and cements the dawn of the nihilistic, anti-consumerist man that Fight Club has moulded. 15 As Fight Club chooses not to include women, Palahniuk’s social criticism of consumerism is felt to not affect women negatively. Male and female experiences are separated. As previously mentioned, Marla is excluded from Fight Club and there are no other female characters that interfere with it. Chuck Palahniuk’s decision to separate the sexes, leads to the conclusion that consumerism is subjective to the gender it manipulates. Women revel in consumerism and the nesting effect that can be achieved with specific products. This is apparently natural behaviour for females. This interpretation does little to explain the addition of Marla’s character to the plot. Marla is the sole female character of the novel and yet her character is not one of a stereotypical caring woman. For example, she attends cancer support groups where she smokes and she worked in a funeral home to feel better about herself. Marla has an unhealthy fixation with death; the support groups she attends give her ‘a real experience of death’. 16 Marla’s haunting and deathly presence represents the death that female intervention could bring to Fight Club. Marla is frivolous in her appearances within the storyline of Fight Club as she is excluded and protected from all Fight Club related activities. She serves as an incidental character in the major storyline plot. Palahniuk’s inclusion of Marla as a character demonstrates how Fight Club interacts with women. In other instances, Tyler’s constant damnation of the matriarchal society is prevalent. Tyler’s father walked out on his mother, but he is not angered by his father’s actions, he is angered by the repercussions of growing up without a father figure. However, he does not completely cut himself off from the influence of women as he has sex with Marla. The fantasy depiction of manhood that Fight Club hopes to achieve does not allow for meaningful relationships with the other sex. The

Palahniuk, Fight Club, p.54. Lizardo ‘Fight Club’, pp. 221-222. 16 Palahniuk, Fight Club, p.38. 14



advent of the female contraceptive pill encouraged sexual relations devoid of moral meaning. Sex is a sector that has also become commercialised as Tyler and Marla have sexual relations that are meaningless. Pornography has normalised explicit images of sex, this is shown through the novel as Tyler splices images of penises into children’s films when he works as a projectionist. To conclude, Fight Club is a thought-provoking critique of American capitalism and consumerism. However, Fight Club does not offer a viable, long-term solution to the system it critiques. The freedom that Fight Club first promises becomes warped by the uniformity of the ‘space monkeys’. They have identical haircuts, uniform, lye burns, rules to follow and mantras. One restrictive social model is replaced by another model that also quashes individuality; as a result there is a blur between rebellion and conformity. 17 Jack has difficulty finding his true self amongst the varying masculine models available for him to pursue but it is clear that he cannot find it by engaging with capitalism. 18 Jack abandons his alter-ego Tyler when it becomes clear that ‘Project Mayhem’ is out of his control. ‘The first step to eternal life is you have to die.’ 19 After being absolved of consumerism in Fight Club (through loss of possessions), one is reborn into a community with futile fighting as bonding rituals. Violence is raw and physical, and in the fight one only thinks of the kill. Fighting absolves the mind of the pollution of consumerism but it also becomes an addiction. It is a liberating activity, but cannot be pursued in old age due to the physical deterioration of the body. Another social model would have to replace it to cater for men of all ages. Furthermore, Lynn M. Ta summarises the complexity of rectifying the capitalist system in saying ‘it is difficult for white men to rage against the machine when they themselves are the creators of that very machine’, 20 One can criticise the consumerist machine, but it is difficult to fight against an internal enemy that has intangible frontiers. Instead, all that can be done is to abandon the system, as one cannot fight it even as a collective force. Fight Club is a neutral space for men to socialise; there are no commercial influences in that space only a masculine-charged atmosphere. There is merit in Palahniuk’s construction of this male space; humans need neutral spaces to develop their self-identity and the novel calls for these spaces to be established. Palahniuk himself has stated how the group dynamics in Fight Club help individuals to build on their confidence and

Jesse Kavadlo ‘The Fiction of Self-Destruction: Chuck Palahniuk, Closet Moralist’, in You do not talk about Fight Club: I am Jack’s completely unauthorised essay collection, ed by Read Mercer Schuchardt, (Dallas: Ben Bella Books, Inc, 2008), pp.13-33, (p 23). 18 Iocco, ‘Addicted to Affliction’, p 55. 19 Palahniuk, Fight Club, p.11. 20 Ta, ‘Hurt So Good’, p 275. 17


abilities, and as individuals fully develop their own sense of strength, the organisation dies as it has done what it set out to do. 21 Fight Club is a temporary measure to the enhancement of male selfworth. Fight Club also raises awareness that we can survive without our Ikea furniture, and that building our image on the products we buy undermines our self-identity. The consumer can override consumerism by being aware of how they are being manipulated into buying products.

21 Chuck Palahniuk, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Fringe Is the Futureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, in You do not talk about Fight Club ed by Schuchardt, pp.711, (p 10).


A Debate of Demons or Innocents: How Christianity was implanted in the New World By Samantha Rickards The discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century brought interaction with new cultures and new peoples who had their own belief systems and rituals. These customs were seen by European eyes as almost satanic; both Puritans and Catholics alike believed Satan was the sovereign of the New World and that he had enslaved its indigenous inhabitants. 1 The different religions had their own answers to the question of what should be done with the natives: should they be treated as innocent brothers who required salvation? Or should they be seen as heathens, actively doing Satan’s bidding? Religion played an important role in the early modern period and its spread to the New World displays the different attitudes taken by different Christian denominations to evangelicalism; the individual's duty to spread the word of God. Where Catholics believed they had to educate and reform the indigenous societies, the Puritans of New England thought of themselves as God’s elected few. 2 This led to varying levels of success between the two denominations. Some even argue that religion was not taught purely because of evangelical thinking, religious teachings were also a form of obedience training; there is a possibility slave owners felt Christian slaves were more docile and easier to control than those who held onto their native religion. 3This article intends to access the different methods of Christian implantation in the new world and analyse how successful these practices were. Although the discovery of Central America did not appear to be motivated by religious aims, migration and settlement in the newly found areas did have some religious ambition. Upon their arrival and settlement in New Spain, Spanish Catholics believed that the new territories were utopic and endeavoured to convert the natives to Christianity. The Spanish envisioned a universal empire,

Jorge Cãnizares-Esguerra, ‘The Devil in the New World: A Transnational perspective’, in The Atlantic in Global History 1500-2000, ed. By Jorge Cãnizares-Esguerra and Erik R. Seeman, (Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007), pp.21-35, (p.23& 25). 2 Ibid., pp.22-23. 3 Sue Peabody, ‘“A dangerous zeal”: Catholic missions to slaves in the French Antilles, 1635-1800’, French Historical Studies, 21.1 (2002) 53-90 (p.68). 1


bringing all people together under the protection of the Lord. 4 Those who were struck down by the diseases that unintentionally followed the Spanish were seen as heathens, sinners deserving of God’s wrath. 5 But as time progressed, a debate developed about the purity of the natives, whether their souls were worth saving. Some argued that indigenous people were in thrall to the Devil, that they were possessed and that the Spanish should be wary of them, or even take a more hostile approach. On the other hand, many opposed this view, believing that the Amerindians were innocent and should be converted. A formal debate took place in Valladolid, Spain, in 1550 where the latter conclusion was reached, and evangelisation continued. Catholic clergymen crossed the Atlantic to convert the natives, and some religious reforms were put in place. Catholic churches were built on top of former religious structures, showing the dominance of the old world religion to both the indigenous people and the settlers. The Spanish missions in New Spain appear to have been successful in the long term, which may be seen in the high number of Roman Catholics who populate the former Spanish territories today; with 89% of Mexicans, 56% of Cubans and 80% of the population of Panama claiming to still practise the religion. 6 The Spanish were by no means the first to spread Catholicism to new lands, the Portuguese were the first to bring Catholicism to Africa then to the Americas, albeit by an indirect route. African Christianity was mainly located in central Africa in the Kingdom of the Kongo, though there were other incidents along the west coast in areas where the Portuguese landed. 7 Most of the early evangelisation of Africa occurred almost five hundred years before the first European voyage to America and was conducted by royal agents as well as private individuals. 8 African rulers showed a strong interest in Christianity at first, which encouraged the Portuguese monarchs to continue their missionary efforts by bringing a select few African nobles to Lisbon to be taught the practices of the religion, in a hope to send them back as native missionaries and increase conversion. 9The Portuguese may have seemed successful in their missions, however, some factors made the conversion to Catholicism more difficult than they appeared, leading to questions about the Allan Greer & Kenneth Mills, ‘A Catholic Atlantic’, in The Atlantic in Global History 1500-2000, ed. by Cãnizares-Esguerra & Seeman, pp.3-20 (p.7). 5 John H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), p.185. 6 Author Unknown, ‘Factfile: Roman Catholics around the world’, BBC News Website (April 2005), <> [Accessed 14 March 2013]: Author Unknown, ‘Religion in Panama’, Maps of the World, <> [Accessed 14 March 2013]. 7 John Thornton, ‘On the trail of Voodoo: African Christianity in Africa and the Americas’, The Americas, 44.3 (1988) 261-278 (p.262). 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid., p.263. 4


validity of the Portuguese accomplishment. Islam had already developed a strong foothold in western Africa, which John Thornton claims made all attempts to win a clear victory against the Moslems in Africa ‘bare no long range fruit’. 10Conversely, the Kingdom of the Kongo had no such Islamic connections, so was easily converted in 1491. 11 Successful conversion only appeared to have taken off in specific areas; and dramatic, formal conversions of rulers and states were both rare and insignificant after the episode in the Kongo. 12 Other issues developed as time went on, including a shortage of missionary priests to preach the gospel and perform conversions, as well as reluctance from some African rulers to accept formal conversion and baptism, even if they showed a vague interest in Christianity. 13 This means, in the long term, Portuguese success was limited to specific regions of Africa. Christianity was also spread through the institution of slavery, although it had varying success. A number of African slaves that arrived in the New World were baptised Christians, although this African Catholicism appears to be different to the European form. After the missionary efforts in Africa by the Portuguese, Afro-Christian practises emerged that were a mixture of the native, regional religions and Catholicism. 14 The two religions were similar enough that the Africans could pick up Christianity easily, both had a compatible hierarchy that allowed for interchangeable terms: the Christians allowed for the African word for God, ‘Vodu’ to be applied to the Christian God, and ‘Liza’ to Jesus. 15 Thornton argues that the emergence of this new, combined religion represents either a failure of Europeans to Christianize slaves fully or defiance on the part of the slaves to convert to the religion of their masters and oppressors. 16 He gives three reasons as to why this might have happened: firstly, there appears to have been a shortage of interested priests. Some of these men probably still believed that the natives were so corrupt they could not be redeemed, or it could have been that simply not enough had migrated to convert such a large number of people. 17 Secondly, the Catholic converters were not able to control every aspect of the African slave’s lives; what they chose to believe in their own minds and what they said they believed may have been entirely different. Their native religions’ ceremonies could be maintained in private,

Ibid. Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., p.264. 14 Ibid., p.261. 15 Ibid., p.267. 16 Ibid., p.261. 17 Ibid. 10 11


without acknowledgement by the authorities. 18 Finally, the powers of African religious concepts were strong, leading to a reluctance to completely abandon their old faith. 19 Despite this, the generally agreeable feeling towards Catholicism by African slaves played a big part in the actions of some in the British colonial region of South Carolina. In 1739, the largest rebellion of slaves against their oppressors occurred in this religion, and it is believed that the presence of Angolan Catholics could have allowed the Spaniards to entice slaves away from their British masters with promises of freedom once they crossed the border. 20 This shows that the presence of Christianity may have been stronger than it first appears, although whether to call this a success for Catholicism in the New World or not is still arguable. Roman Catholics travelled from France as well as Iberia to spread the gospel to the New World; the French Catholics felt evangelisation was also their duty, however, these efforts were not as successful as those of the Spanish and Portuguese. Sue Peabody argues that While the Catholic missions to Spanish and Portuguese America can point to widespread success with both indigenous peoples and African immigrants, the Carib Indians of the Antilles consistently and violently rejected the efforts of French missionaries. 21 Although most of the smaller islands in the French empire embraced Catholicism, the largest islands did not, including Saint-Domingue, known today as Haiti after they gained independence in 1804. 22 The effort to convert Africans began in the Caribbean and in French points of contact on the West African coast, much like the Portuguese efforts. 23 Again, by 1634, Islam was already present in some of these regions, as was the worship of localised deities and the remnants of Portuguese Catholicism; a religion which had been practised without the benefit of clergy for around thirty years. 24 Although Catholicism was already present, the migrated order of Capuchin friars were unsuccessful in establishing a permanent African mission in the areas of French contact and by 1639 they abandoned their mission in Senegal due to the climate of the area and the hardships encountered. 25 The French also faced problems with the English and the Dutch, who

Ibid. Ibid., p.262. 20 Ibid., p.268. 21 Peabody,â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A dangerous zealâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, pp.55-56. 22 Ibid., p.56. 23 Ibid., p.57. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. p.58. 18 19


in 1644 conspired with the Africans to undermine a French mission. 26 Capuchins also tried to convert people of smaller Caribbean islands that had avoided Spanish domination for over a century. This did not succeed at first; efforts to convert the Caribbean people did not take off until the 1630s when France challenged Spanish domination by establishing permanent settlements. 27 The Jesuits were the last major order to enter the French Caribbean by establishing a mission in Martinique in 1642. 28 Although the French did not have much success in the evangelisation of peoples within their lands, they had far more success in converting the enslaved. Given the French failures of conversion on the west coast of Africa, the slaves’ receptivity to baptism is seen as an area of interest by Peabody; she claims that most of the slaves that travelled to the French colonies were not Christian when they arrived; the majority of them originating in areas where Catholicism had been accepted. 29 Peabody states that this embrace of Catholicism which did not occur in the slaves homeland is due to the opportunities it offered in the slave colonies, such as instruction in common Creole language and customs, sacred and beautiful objects from the missionaries (which were given to those who advanced in their catechism) and a potential increase in social standing in the eyes of the slave owning class. 30 This advance in social hierarchy seems unrealistic; contemporary thinking always places owners above slaves, regardless of religion. However, as Peabody goes on to claim, conversion to their masters’ religion would no doubt win their praise. 31 Although the French failed in the conversion of the natives in their colonies, the conversion of their enslaved was a great success and ultimately led to the spread of Catholicism in the Caribbean. While the Iberian powers showed an interest in the conversion of Africans, the Dutch and British did not. 32 Slaves shipped from Africa to the New World would be evangelised into the dominant denomination of Christianity on arrival by those who ran the colonies; as envisioned by the sense of a universal empire felt by the colonists. There was one exception to the evangelistic ways of most Christian denominations; the Puritans of Boston, New England. This group of extremist Protestants thought of the old world as corrupt and tainted with sin. They believed God had chosen them to migrate and start a new life in the untouched lands of America, a place where they could build their own godly theocracy while the old world rotted. The view they held of being Ibid. Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid., pp. 63 & 66. 30 Ibid., p.66. 31 Ibid., p.67. 32 Thornton, ‘On the trail of Voodoo’, p.269. 26 27


God’s chosen people meant that conversion of the natives was not a priority, most British colonists of the seventeenth century made no mention of the ‘noble work’ of Christianising. 33 The Puritans believed they were in a hostile environment, the devil was always at work, and saw the natives as his minions. Therefore from an evangelical point of view, the Protestants of New England failed. Be that as it may, conversion of the native and slaves was not one of their aims, and in this respect, the protestant community appears to have been a success. On the whole, British America was highly diverse in its religions, although most of these appear to have been non-evangelical. For example, Pennsylvania was the home of the Quakers, who encouraged other ‘friends’ to migrate to the New World, either as indentured servants or free men, to join their community. Those who were not Quakers would not gain the same connections and help, making their transition more difficult. Another colony contained within the British regions of North America was owned by the Virginia Trading Company, which had no religious significance at all. No monks travelled with the traders so there was no one to convert the natives or the slaves. The company was purely there to make money and felt no personal need for large-scale conversion. In regards to the implantation of Christianity in the New World, it appears that different states had varying levels of success over their territories. The Portuguese Catholics had mixed success in Africa, with only a few regions becoming full converts, however, they laid down the foundations of Christianity that the colonies could work upon to spread the word of God. The Spanish Catholics seem to have been the most successful at converting natives rather than slaves; however, there are suggestions that Catholicism was used as a ‘shroud’ to hide real religious practices from the Luso-Hispanic authorities. 34 French Capuchins failed in their efforts to convert the indigenous people of Saint-Domingo and their other large Caribbean islands; this being said, the French did have greater success in converting the slaves brought to their colonies, although this achievement may not have been due to religious enlightenment. As a collective, the Catholics were successful to an extent, although mixtures of Catholicism and indigenous religions began to appear. The Dutch slave traders showed no interest in conversion and neither did the majority of British, so the implantation of Christianity was a failure in that aspect. Arguably the various Protestant British denominations did succeed in their own goals, they certainly did implant their form of Christianity in the New World, but they kept it to themselves as much as possible, with very few conversions of both native and imported peoples. With a long line of heritage following on from the conversion Greer and Mills, ‘A Catholic Atlantic’, in The Atlantic in Global History 1500-2000, ed. by CãnizaresEsguerra & Seeman, p.7. 34 Peabody, ‘A dangerous zeal’, p.66; Greer and Mills, ‘A Catholic Atlantic’ in The Atlantic in Global History 1500-2000, ed. by Cãnizares-Esguerra & Seeman, p.6. 33


of people in the Catholic regions of the Americas, it is clear that these missions were the most successful of those undergone in the early modern period, however for not having initial aims of evangelisation the colonies of the English Protestants were almost as accomplished as those of the Spanish, French and Portuguese Catholic worlds.


Marx and Dickens: an Exploration of Historical Attitudes Toward the Victorian Slum By Samuel Upton The history of the Victorian slum is one of conflict. We see an avid interest in this period from a great number of left wing historians who focus on class struggle and the idea of popular will versus abusive power. Although we see Marxist studies on instances such as the peasants' revolt of 1381, as a historiography they generally focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, starting from the 19th Century and the Industrial Revolution. 1 The Victorian ‘Slum’ is still largely present in current popular imagination, as when discussing with some friends the matter of its existence, one of the replies I received was ‘Well of course it exists, have you not read Oliver Twist’. We see in many of Dickens' books a fantastically painted world in which a criminal society is both organised and thriving under the noses of the middle-class. Examples of literature such as Oliver Twist could perhaps be considered products of this clash as they include various character stereotypes based upon the image of affluent classes. However, there is conflict over the existence of these criminal societies; some believe that criminal hierarchies actually existed, whereas others think the whole system was a romanticised interpretation created by the contemporary media. As many understand, in situations like this every argument must be considered speculation. ‘Proof’ only exists to support the argument of those who use it. As with most historical arguments we must take from this disagreement a collection of the most justified and supported points from both sides of the argument. This essay will discuss the existence of the Victorian slum, focusing on a new form of social commentary and exploration that was practised at the time. It was this practice of ‘social exploration’ by the middle-classes that has given rise to an argument about what the evidence they provide tells us about the slums of the 19th century. Most historians agree that during the rapid industrial growth and urbanisation of the nineteenth century a new type of poverty developed in which large numbers of people were concentrated together, living in poor conditions. This was reality for many lower-class citizens living in and around the larger cities of the world. Western Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth Jeremy Black., Donald M. Macraild, Palgrave Study Skills: Studying History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).



centuries observed a time of rapid growth in urban settlements as people moved off the land to take up work in the new manufacturing industries. Britain saw a rush of rural poor flooding into the coalfields and factories of newly industrialised areas such as South Wales, the Black Country, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Villages became towns and towns became cities at a rapid rate. 2 Andrew Lees called the time between 1750 and 1850 an ‘Era of Disruption’, using the transformation of Glasgow to illustrate how quickly the introduction of trading opportunities and new technology could change a city. 3 By the early 1830's forty-nine cotton spinning mills operated in Glasgow. This was a huge shift from the sparseness of industry that the area had previously. By the middle of the century a ring of nearby villages had to be incorporated into the industrial hub of mills to provide housing for the workers due to growth. 4 The middle-classes were forced into close contact with the ‘slum’ dwellers, as all involved in industry had to live within walking distance of the factories. There were no mass long-range transport systems as we see today to segregate the two. An industrial shift occurred in a number of towns throughout Britain, however, not one advanced as notably as London. Mass urban areas containing the workers, their families and the much feared ‘Criminal Class’ had sprung up in the newly developing city. It was here that we perceive a clash between 'High' and 'Mass' culture. The 'High' culture of this time refers to the bourgeois class that had grown in this period, the factory owners and their kin. 'Mass' culture refers to the activities and practises of the lower-classes, which were often considered to be trivial and intellectually lacking by the cultural class that mentally placed itself above all others. Alan Mayne's book The Imagined Slum opens with ‘Slums are myths. They are constructions of the imagination’. 5 However, while not denying the existence of the slum, Mayne questions the idea that many historians hold about the impoverished regions, claiming that the word 'slum' was used universally to summarize all forms of outcast society. He goes on to suggest that the word is used by entertainers looking to appease the middle-class and the especially targeted bourgeois society. 6 In Representing the Slum, Mayne looks at how it is difficult to use texts from the period between 1870 and 1914 to study the slums because of the stereotypes that were enforced through newspapers and pamphlets. The media would not just present evidence, but use exaggerations, labelling and terming to appeal to the idea of slums in the popular imagination. He suggests that the bourgeois

Andrew Lees, Lynn H. Lees, Cities and the Making of Modern Europe, 1750-1914, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp.43-44. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Alan J. C. Mayne, The Imagined Slum: Newspaper Representation in Three Cities 1870-1914, (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1993), p.1. 6 Ibid., p.3. 2


exploitation of the working-class poor was masked by the label of 'slum dwellers'. The term acts as a trigger word that conjures up images of animalistic outsiders who retain a love of filth and crime. 7 Mayne's book received quite a negative reaction from David Englander, who accused Mayne's work of being backed up by unauthentic evidence. Englander claimed that the slum his grandparents remembered isn’t represented in Mayne’s work, with his argument focusing on Mayne’s idea that the slum did not exist. 8 However, it can be argued that Mayne is not denying the existence of slums but rather that he supports the idea that the word slum has been corrupted by popular print, as previously discussed. We see a conflict arise between the sceptics and believers of what we might call the ‘criminal class’ of the Victorian slum. The idea that the Victorian slum was not a centre of crime and vice is indeed valid. This is because whatever accounts we have of people living in slums come either from middle-class observers who compare their lives to that of the ‘slum dweller’ or from biased newspapers, whose main motives will always be to sell as many papers as possible. To study a bourgeois representation of the slums is to study the development of modern city culture in general, as it reflects how the richer portion of the population viewed the poor, thus painting a picture of middle-class lifestyle. 9 Mayne has some powerful and convincing arguments, however throughout his work on the criminal class he only undermines evidence given by Victorian media, writings and statistics. While there doesn't seem to be much popular belief that directly opposes the idea of a criminal class, the case maybe that we are yet to find some. The Victorian era sees the birth of what we might call the 'Social Explorer', middle-class gentlemen who entered the slums to view the lives of the destitute first hand. Social explorers produced some of the key texts that form the basis of our knowledge on the Victorian slum. For example, Andrew Mearns wrote The Bitter Cry of Outcast London, which served as an inquiry into the living conditions of the poorer parts of London's urban sprawl. The pamphlet contained an account of exploration in an impoverished region of London by a member of the clergy, and as you can imagine, mostly involved observations being made on the area and its inhabitants. 10 The title of the pamphlet itself

Alan J. C. Mayne, Representing the Slum: Popular Journalism in a Late Nineteenth Century, (Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 1991) p.68. 8 David Englander, ‘Review of Alan Mayne “The Imagined Slum: Newspaper Representation in Three Cities 1870–1914’’’, Urban History, 21(1994), 309-311. 9 Ibid. p.81. 10 Revd. Andrew Mearns, ‘The Bitter Cry of Outcast London: An Inquiry into the Condition of the Abject Poor’, W. T. Stead Resource Site, (1883), <> [accessed 6 March 2014]. 7


triggers images of the lower-class calling out for help. He takes time to describe the layout of some of the houses: The houses are largely occupied by costermongers, bird catchers, street singers, liberated convicts, thieves and prostitutes. In some cases two of the houses are united by means of passage, which affords a ready method of escape in case of police interference. 11 This description suggests a wide belief in the idea of a criminal class because it depicts a contemporary assumption that the passage uniting the houses would be used as an escape route from police. The lack of statistical evidence to support this claim provokes questions of the validity of the pamphlet when used as a reflection on lower-class crime rates. What is clear from these accounts is that most of the ‘poor’ are working and trying their best to support themselves and their families, much like in modern times. Whilst there is very little doubt that some criminals did exist in these places, Mearns' account seems to merely be the observations of a middle-class clergyman walking through a place that he does not fully understand. The works of Henry Mayhew, another social explorer, can be seen as a more hands-on social commentary. In his book, London Labour and the London Poor, he divides society into four categories; those who will work, those who cannot work, those who will not work, and those who need not work. In this series he explores the living conditions and lives of the working class found in the suburbs of London. What makes his work more valid in some respects than other sources is that his research involves interviews with various slum dwellers that he himself conducted. He described London Labour as ‘the first attempt to publish the history of the people, from the lips of the people themselves’. 12 However, scepticism arises when you take the circumstances of the interviews into consideration. Mayhew would have most likely paid the interviewees, who would have been prone to exaggerate in these circumstances and tell Mayhew what he wanted to hear in order to obtain more money. Mayhew's enlightening interviews with ‘Swindling Sal’ and ‘Lushing Loo’ give historians a useful insight into more than just the life of a Victorian age prostitute. They also give us an example of middle-class observations of the working class people and supply a guideline to anyone studying gender roles during the Victorian era. Throughout the extract he hints at the differences between the deserving and undeserving poor, sticking to his theme of ‘moral degeneration’ which is frequently present in volume four of his London Labour and the London Poor. By reading Mayhew's words we can hear the voice of the middle-class musing about how women

11 12

Ibid. Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, (London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1985), p.xvi.


from any walk of life are dependent on men for survival, a typical frame of thought practised by middle-class, male, Victorians. We can identify Mayhew's personality from the pages of his books and his idea that society can be arranged into the four categories mentioned earlier; those that will work, those that cannot work, those that will not work, and those that need not work. 13 I repeat this statement to emphasize its importance to the understanding of Mayhew's writing. The statement in itself shows us that the intellectual elite did come into direct contact with the working class because it follows the Victorian tradition of systematising. When considering the authenticity of Mayhew's interview we once again fall upon Alan Mayne's argument. Although never directly confronting Mayhew we do see a relative point made in his The Imagined Slum: Newspaper Representation in Three Cities, 1870-1914. ‘All slumland depictions were mediated by the cultural milieux within which they were framed, and upon which their creators depended for comprehension and credibility’. 14 The way the interview is worded is influenced by Mayhew's assumptions of degeneration. For example, the second character that he interviewed the curiously named ‘Lushing Loo’ is almost immediately described as a habitual drunkard. Whilst the reasons for this assumption are clear, as writings show us that this was the general belief of the bourgeoisie society, it is nevertheless the assumption of a wealthy man. Mayhew touches on how the mood swings of ‘Lushing Loo’ that he witnesses often precede delirium tremens, a sort of drunk frenzy often used to label a Victorian woman's uncouth attitude. With ‘Lushing Loo’ we see the perfect representation of the Victorian ‘Social Evil’ and the idea of ‘The Fallen Woman’. 15 In the interview Mayhew does not express any clear contempt for her, perhaps reflecting the Victorian ideal that women in 'sinful' situations were often seen as victims of evil rather than perpetrators. Whilst the bourgeoisie idea that the only 'good' woman was a domesticated one remained as present and ignorant as ever in the Victorian era, the interview shows ‘Swindling Sal’ as a person who made an immoral choice due to ignorance and lack of education. This is shown within the language that she is said to have used. 16 She is portrayed as a person who, when faced with the choice between the semi-slavery of domestic servitude or prostitution, would take the 'easy option' despite its immoral attachments. The extract does in many ways provide evidence for Mayne's argument, in that it shows us people of the Victorian


p.451. Mayne, The Imagined Slum, p.3. 15 E. M. Sigworth and T. J. Wyke, ‘A Study of Victorian Prostitution and Venereal Disease’, in Suffer and be Still, Women in the Victorian Age Indiana, ed. by Martha Vicinus , (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1972), p.77. 16 Elizabeth Bernstein & Laurie Schaffner, Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 27. 14


lower-class through Mayhew's ‘Moral Goggles’. Mayhew's also conflicts with that of Marxist ‘structuralist’ historians who would often perceive people and their actions as personifications of economic relations. They would suggest the cause of the interviewees' choice of profession would be a product of the social and economic climate of that time, Seeing ‘Swindling Sal's’ choice as being rational rather than immoral. 17 This is an idea which could be generally supported, however any criticism on Mayhew’s writing should not reflect on its value as a social narrative. The piece reflects Mayhew's value as a study of how the bourgeois represented themselves and the working class. Despite criticism, this extract remains a golden example of the importance of Mayhew’s work. For one of the first times in recorded history we hear the voice of the people, and whether distorted or not it is still a revolution in terms of historiography. His writing should be interpreted in a way that sees past the influence of moral obligation, if this is done with success, we are presented with a fascinating portal into the lives of people from another time. What is important to remember is that historians will use a historiographical model that suits their purpose when writing a history. Therefore history can never be totally value free or invalid as we all work within the framework of our moral judgement, values that are greatly influenced by the profession, class and era that we exist in. As historians it is our duty not to reach conclusions without taking all evidence and arguments into consideration. As we see with Mayhew's interviews, the same sources can serve more than one purpose. The best we can do is to be honest and to provide the reader with as much narrative and varying opinion as possible.

17 S. H. Righby, Marxism and History: a Critical Introductions, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p.299.


‘City of the Hills’: A Study Of Urban Development In Brynmawr c.1850-1950 By Adam Godfrey For the town of Brynmawr, located along the northern edge of the South Wales Coalfield, the period 1850 to 1950 was one of incredible change. In the early nineteenth century the settlement comprised of a haphazard collection of houses built along a series of tram roads, but a century later it had developed into a fully-fledged civic community with a well-defined public space regulated by its own code of respectability. This article is not meant to be a full analysis of urban life in Brynmawr, but rather a detailed study of three key themes; health, class and gender identity, located within a narrative of urban history. These key themes have received considerable attention in their own right from Welsh historians, though few have acknowledged the influence that urban history has had on their work. 1 An analysis of how developments in the urban environment influenced social issues has much to offer Welsh historiography. The link between housing conditions, welfare and identity has already been identified by Welsh historians. Numerous works detail the unsanitary conditions and over-crowding of housing in coalfield settlements and the subsequent effects on infant mortality and life expectancy. 2 However, these studies tend to focus solely on housing and overlook wider developments in the urban environment. This article will highlight the benefits of using a micro study of the urban to explore the relationship between wider themes in Welsh history. Within Brynmawr the period 1850 to 1950 was one of general improvements in health, though progress was sporadic and depended largely upon the experience of the individual. Improvements in urban conditions benefited many of Brynmawr’s inhabitants; after the installation of basic sanitation in 1858 there were no further cholera pandemics like those of the late 1840s. However, the issue of improving the town’s housing stock was a far more protracted problem, and one that was made worse by the economic conditions of the 1920s and 1930s. Industrial cottages from the Gwyn A. Williams, When Was Wales?, (London: Black Raven, 1985), pp.183-192; Kenneth O. Morgan, Rebirth Of A Nation - Wales 1880-1980, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 68-72; John Davies, A History Of Wales, (London: Penguin Books, 2007), pp.392, 459,511, passim; Deirdre Beddoe, Out Of The Shadows - A History Of Women In Twentieth Century Wales, (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000), pp.1518. 2 Diane Green, 'Housing in Merthyr Tydfil', Merthyr Historian, 2 (1978), 57-65 (pp.57-59); also Kate Sullivan, '“The Biggest Room in Merthyr”: Working Class Housing in Dowlais 1850-1914', Welsh History Review, 17.1 (1994), 155-185 (pp.155-158); and Joseph Gross, 'History of Housing in Merthyr Tydfil', Merthyr Historian, 4 (1989), 151-161 (pp.151-153). 1


first half of the nineteenth century still constituted a considerable proportion of Brynmawr's housing stock after the First World War, by which time they were hazardous to health. A local housing survey showed that this type of housing was predominant in the central ward of Brynmawr. These properties were small, ill-lit and ill-ventilated and very few possessed a dampcourse; this contributed to the high rates of tuberculosis and other lung diseases often associated with slum housing. 3 This central ward contained at least 93 examples of back-to-back housing and the majority of the five hundred houses in Brynmawr which lacked their own separate lavatory facilities were also found in this ward. 4 When figures from the housing survey are compared with Census data from 1921 they reveal that improvements in health in Brynmawr were far from comprehensive; of a total of 1579 dwellings, nearly one third lacked their own separate lavatory. 5 By the 1920s the majority of Brynmawrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population experienced a positive change in their health as a result of improvements in their urban surroundings. The 1870s saw the construction of the basic two-up two-down terraced house which introduced moderate improvements in housing conditions which benefited the health of the occupants. 6 The provision of a dedicated yard at the rear of the property provided space for each house to have its own privy, and the rear yard also allowed ventilation throughout the property. 7 In the late-nineteenth century the construction of more affluent-type terraced housing marked a huge improvement in health conditions. These houses belonged to the upper-working and middle classes, and they emulated the housing of the elite. The larger dimensions and greater number of rooms eased over-crowding, but arguably the greatest benefit of this type of housing was the inclusion of an indoor bathroom, with lavatory, sink and bath. 8 This was a vital in Brynmawr where a large proportion of the population were employed in mining. Although few miners would have lived in the 'affluent-type' terraced house, the inclusion of an indoor bathroom established an expectation of a basic standard of living that would influence the attitudes of the wider working classes after the First World War. This trend is reflected in plans submitted to Brynmawr Council to add scullery extensions with a bath to basictype terraced houses in the inter-war period. 9 The demand for indoor baths and plumbing was reflected in contemporary literature; The Welsh Housing and Development Year Books (WHDYB) were published from 1916 until 1936, and issues were full of adverts for range cookers with built-in Morgan, Rebirth of a Nation, p.233. Hilda Jennings, Brynmawr â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A Study of a Depressed Area, (London: Allenson & Co., 1934), p.88. 5 Census Return for the County of Brecknock, 1921. 6 John Burnett, A Social History of Housing 1815-1985, (London: Methuen, 1993), pp.159-161. 7 Gwent archives, GA: A320 G16 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1899-1910. 8 GA: A320 G16 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1899-1910; GA: A320 G18 Plans For Alterations to Houses 1913-1914. 9 GA: A320 R13 Brynmawr Urban District Surveyors Reports 1914-1922. 3 4


boilers that could be used for cooking in the kitchen and for bathing in an adjoining scullery. 10 The health benefits offered by the indoor bathroom were most visible to women in the coalfield at large. The Coal Industry Commission in 1919 heard evidence from Elizabeth Andrews, the Woman’s Organiser for the Labour Party in Wales, concerning the hygienic conditions of miners' houses. 11 Andrews stated that premature births and other female ailments were often the result of the strain of lifting heavy tubs of water, and also that many children died from scalding after falling into the tubs when the mother was preparing the bath. 12 Whilst this evidence was used to support the campaign for pit-head baths it also serves to demonstrate the vital health benefits, particularly to women, afforded by improvements in housing. The First World War provided the impetus for major change in working-class housing. Before the War, housing supply in Brynmawr managed to keep pace with the expanding population, and as a general rule an individual family had its own house. 13 During the war house construction ceased, creating a dire shortage of housing nationwide with an estimated shortfall of 600,000 homes across the UK. 14 This housing shortage, combined with concerns over the health of future generations made housing the main issue for both the national government and local authorities, whose efforts shifted away from the grand public prestige projects of the Edwardian period. 15Health concerns relating to poor accommodation not only focused on physical aspects like ventilation, there were increasing concerns over the 'moral health' of the working classes. During the acute moral sensitivity of the Edwardian era, religious groups increasingly asserted that issues like overcrowding, and miners having to bathe in the family room of the house, were a cause of immorality and could lead to sexual assaults on women. As a result, the campaign for adequate housing took on a spiritual dimension; the Christian Conference on Politics, Economics and Citizenship Report on crime stated that poor housing conditions led ‘to immorality, incest, drunkenness, assaults, cruelty and marital unhappiness’. 16 These concerns were reflected in the design of local authority housing in the 1920s and 1930s; all housing constructed by Brynmawr Council in this period had a separate bathroom, and the majority had three bedrooms. 17 This illustrates how urban developments in South Wales were far more dynamic after World War One. The Welsh Housing and Development Year Book (Hereafter referred to as WHDYB), 1916. Coal Industry Commission Act 1919 Second stage Report, (June 1919), p.367. 12 J Lovat-Fraser, ‘Pithead Baths’, WHDYB, (1921), pp.69-72. 13 Jennings, Brynmawr, p.86. 14 Judy Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb - Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity, (Oxford: Berg, 2004), p.48. 15 Charles A Ruthen, ‘Municipalities and Housing Reform’, WHDYB, (1916), pp.48-49. 16 ‘The Churches and Housing’, WHDYB, (1924), pp.35-38. 17 GA: A320 G83 Housing Scheme Twyncynghordy (Park Crescent) 1926; GA: A320 G65 Plans For 3 Bedroom Houses North Aspect. 10 11


There was a growing awareness of the inadequacies of working-class accommodation amongst groups like the Church. The attempt to improve the moral and physical health of the working classes through housing was part of the ongoing drive to improve the 'respectability' of a town. The First World War merely shifted the focus of this drive; gone was the Edwardian fixation on improving public space, instead a more pragmatic approach was adopted tackling what was seen as the root causes of social problems – housing. In the 1920s and 1930s local authority housing projects were complemented by numerous slum clearance schemes. In 1920 Edgar Chappell, editor of the WHDYB, identified the Heads of the Valleys region as the area with the worst slum housing problems in the coalfield. 18 The health benefits of slum clearance to those who were re-housed in a new council house are clearly evident when reading the reports of the District Surveyor on the properties due for clearance. In 1935 a slum clearance programme led to the demolition of seventy properties in Brynmawr, including five houses in Post Office Lane. 19 The surveyor inspected Number eight Post Office Lane and found that the property had been formed by annexing two rooms from another building, the drainage for these properties ran beneath Number two Post Office Lane, which was situated directly in front of Number eight. The properties in Post Office Lane were very badly lit, ventilated and suffered acutely with damp. In total two hundred and fifty five people were displaced by this slum clearance programme alone, and they were relocated to the fifty two houses built at the Twyncynghordy site. However, the issue of slum housing was not an easy one to solve; many dilapidated properties were quickly re-occupied after the original tenant had found a council house. The original occupant of thirty nine Bailey Street was re-housed in Park View in 1927, as the house had long been condemned as unfit for habitation. But soon after the tenant from Number forty Bailey Street moved into Number thirty nine, leaving his lodger to live in Number forty. 20 This illustrates how efforts at slum clearance were frequently frustrated by people who were all too eager to move into recently vacated slum property due to the housing shortage. During the period 1850 to 1950 urban developments had a significant impact on definitions of class, and as a result class identity became far more complex and varied. The evolution of 'public' space in the nineteenth century helped shape class identity by locating it within a wider code of respectability. Hilda Jennings' study of Brynmawr contains recollections dating from the early nineteenth century which suggest that the town was a densely populated working-class settlement

18 19 20

Edgar Chappell, ‘The Housing Problem in Wales’, WHDYB, (1920), pp.33-36. GA: A320 AC117 Commissioner for Special Areas Correspondence 1934-1942. GA: A320 R14 Brynmawr UDC Surveyor Reports 1922-1927.


where the private space of the home spilled out onto the streets. People's lives were played out in the narrow courts and lanes where children played together, where women met at the wells for their daily water and where men socialised in beer houses. 21 This trend has been analysed by Chris Otter, who has argued that slum housing and street culture, which was based on working class needs for recreation and socialising, represented an 'anti-bourgeois visual environment'. 22 Otter's radical approach portrays the latter half of the nineteenth century as a middle class drive to create the model 'bourgeois visual environment' which consisted of clear, controlled public spaces based on wide streets, parks and squares. 23 Otter's analysis is useful in understanding how trends in the urban environment during the late Victorian and Edwardian period helped shape class identity. The creation of the 'bourgeois visual environment' led to the spatial segregation of Brynmawr with the creation of several new streets of 'affluent-type' terraced housing. 24 These new streets were much wider than those found in the centre of town, the houses were set back off the road in their own gardens and forecourts. These streets housed Brynmawr's upper-working and middle classes. Therefore, this region of Brynmawr was consciously linked with middle class identity. The development of these new streets directly impacted upon the class identity of the inhabitants in other older areas of Brynmawr; these new streets became the fashionable area in which to live whilst older areas lost prestige. This is reflected in the trend for middle-class shopkeepers to move away from maisonettes above their shops in Beaufort Street in the centre, to larger affluent type terraced housing on the edge of town. 25 An individual's class identity was not only influenced by the location of their house, size, style and layout also served to demonstrate the occupant's class identity. From the late Victorian period on, specific features signified the class status of the occupant; the best example of this is the parlour. The parlour became increasingly significant with the construction of large numbers of 'basic-type' housing which, with two rooms on the ground floor, afforded the opportunity for greater division of internal space. 26 Martin Daunton has argued that the parlour represented a controlled space where socialising could occur within the limits of established social conventions, and that the Jennings, Brynmawr, p.19. Chris Otter, 'Making Liberalism Durable: Vision and Civility in the Late Victorian City', Social History, 27.1 (2002), 1-14 (pp.3-7). 23 Ibid, pp.1-3. 24 Julie Light has noted that spatial segregation was limited in smaller towns, but it could still effectively take place; Julie Light, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Middle Class as Urban Elites in Nineteenth Century South Walesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Welsh History Review, 24.3 (2009), 29-55 (p.50). 25 Worrall's Directory of South Wales (1875), pp.58-62; Kelly's Directory of Monmouthshire and Wales (1895), pp.111-113; GA: A320 C361 Register of Electors 1914; A320 M5 Local Minute Book 1893-1896. 26 GA: A320 G16 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1899-1910; GA: A320 G18 Plans For Alterations to Houses 1913-1914. 21 22


parlour symbolised public life within the private space of the home. 27 The wider drive to create the 'bourgeois visual environment' in public space was mirrored in the design of people's homes. The parlour was vital to working class respectability, the absence of a parlour denied the occupant a space for 'respectable' socialising within the boundaries of contemporary social norms. John Burnett has also emphasised the role of the parlour as a space to publicly showcase luxury items that demarked an individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social status. 28 The ultimate status symbol was the piano, the instrument itself was expensive, but it also indicated to visitors that the owner had surplus time and resources for lessons. 29 Therefore, the parlour could dictate social status and class identity, both of which relied upon the individual being able to afford a home with a dedicated parlour, but also possessing enough resources to fill this room with expensive furniture. The First World War precipitated further developments in urban space across the UK, and Brynmawr was no exception. The unprecedented housing shortage motivated the government to implement local authority housing schemes as it feared that Britain could experience its own 'Bolshevik Revolution'. 30 Martin Daunton has argued that council housing was used by the government as a 'weapon' to combat political extremism and that as a result council housing was built to a high standard which had previously been reserved only for the middle classes. 31 However, Patricia Garside countered that this high standard council housing was reserved for a specific proportion of the upper-working and lower-middle classes; tenants of council housing were often returning servicemen who had skilled jobs and their needs would 'normally' have been catered for by the private sector. 32 Garside's analysis is useful as it indicates the social status attached to council housing in this period, and this is supported by Judy Giles who stresses that after 1918 ownership of a council house symbolised progress, modernity and citizenship. 33 There are a number of examples of tenants who fit this upper working-class profile of being given a council house at the Twyncynghordy site. For example, in 1927 a Mr. Preston of fifty one Warwick Road submitted plans to the council for the construction of a garage to house his motor cycle and sidecar. 34 The fact that tenants of council housing could afford their own personal motor M. J. Daunton, House and Home in the Victorian City - Working Class Housing 1850-1914 (London: Edward Arnold, 1983), p.280. 28 Burnett, A Social History of Housing, pp.172-174. 29 Daunton, House and Home, p.278. 30 Patricia Garside, 'Unhealthy Areas': Town Planning, Eugenics and the Slums, 1890-1945', Planning Perspectives, 3.1 (1988), 24-46 (pp.29-30) 31 Daunton, House and Home, p.297. 32 Garside, 'Unhealthy Areas', p.33. 33 Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb, pp.48-51. 34 GA: A320 G20 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1925-1935. 27


transport in the 1920s is indicative of the wealth of these individuals. During the 1920s and 1930s five plans were submitted to Brynmawr council for the construction of garages for motor vehicles, whilst council minutes show that in the mid-1920s both a Mr Thomas and a Mr Hodges applied for petroleum licenses, and permission to erect storage tanks and pump facilities. 35 Therefore, an appreciable number of people in Brynmawr owned motor vehicles. The presence of motor vehicle ownership in an economic ‘black spot’ like Brynmawr during the 1920s and 1930s contradicts the overwhelmingly bleak image of the coalfield that is often portrayed by ‘negative’ historians of the depression in Wales. 36 The period 1850 to 1950 also witnessed remarkable changes for gender identity and gender relations within urban space, and these changes were either a result of, or accelerated by, developments in the wider urban environment. The decline of the iron industry was a catalyst for the withdrawal of women from the labour market in Brynmawr, and the development of the concept of public space accelerated this process. 37 Historians have noted that working-class women were employed alongside men in the early nineteenth century, but the development of a domestic ideology from the mid-nineteenth century increasingly emphasised that a woman's role in society was rooted in the home. 38 Judy Giles' cultural analysis of urbanisation demonstrates that this rationale gained popularity, particularly with the middle classes. Giles' analysis of the binary oppositions within the symbolism of the town and home reveals that public space was seen as a modern, masculine space, whilst private space (the home) was seen as a refuge from modernity and a retreat into traditional values - it was a feminine space. 39 The association between public space and masculinity became deeply entrenched; women were largely absent from public life in Brynmawr, whilst those women who transgressed the social boundaries of public space were seen as a threat to respectability and therefore termed 'uncivilised'. 40 However, this does not mean that women passively accepted their domestic role; some women actively embraced it and used their homes as a medium through which to form an identity and exercise their power as consumers.

35 GA: A320 G19 Plans For Alterations To Houses 1918-1923; GA: A320 G20 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1925-1935; GA: A320 G21 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1936-1951; GA: A320 R14 Brynmawr UDC Surveyor Reports 1922-1927. 36 Matt Perry, Bread and Work: The Experience of the Unemployed 1918-1939 (London: Pluto, 2000); Martin Johnes has also identified the presence of a 'heroic undertone' of struggle in many historical accounts of the depression in Wales, Martin Johnes, 'For Class And Nation: Dominant Trends In The Historiography Of Twentieth Century Wales', History Compass, 8.11 (2010), 1257-1274 (p.1258). 37 Jennings, Brynmawr, p.32. 38 L. J. Williams and Dot Jones, ‘Women At Work In The Nineteenth Century’, Llafur, 13.3 (1982) 20-32; Williams, When Was Wales?, p.186. 39 Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb, pp.3-5. 40 GA: A320 M5 Local Minute Book 1893-1896.


Moira Vincentelli has analysed the significance of purchasing pottery and ceramics within Welsh feminine identity, and found that these artefacts not only contributed to an individual's identity, but also formed a distinct visual culture of Welsh femininity. Vincentelli uses the example of the 'Welsh tea-party' with its china cups and notions of respectability, and argues that this was as significant to notions of femininity as the spinning wheel. 41 The link between urban developments, gender identity and consumerism has received scant historical attention, particularly within a Welsh context, and far more research needs to be undertaken on the relationship between womensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; role as consumers and gender identity. 42 Male consumerism and gender identity has also been overlooked in the historiography. Whilst it is not within the scope of this article to provide an indepth analysis of consumerism and Welsh masculine identity, it is possible to hint towards the importance of such factors in Brynmawr. The fact that several men submitted plans to Brynmawr council for permission to construct garages for their motor vehicles hints at the value and pride invested in these possessions. 43 Garage construction also illustrates how the home adapted to incorporate masculine consumerism. Simon Morgan has established how the emergence of 'conduct' literature from the late eighteenth century onwards glorified the role of women in the home. 44 Increasingly feminine identity was associated with notions of a clean (and therefore respectable) home, and in particular a clean parlour. Yet, in the latter half of the nineteenth century the supposedly 'feminine' role of domestic labour was increasingly hidden from public view. Martin Daunton has emphasised that from the 1870s, the ideal layout of the middle class home consisted of a scullery for washing up, a kitchen for cooking, a dining room for eating and then a sitting room for resting after meals. 45 This layout was widely used throughout 'affluent-type' housing in Brynmawr, and the distinction between parlour and kitchen was even implemented in 'basic-type' housing too. 46 This created an unrealistic expectation of women; perceptions of feminine identity and respectability were based on the cleanliness of the parlour, and yet the physical process of cleaning, along with the other domestic Moira Vincentelli, 'Artefact and Identity: the Welsh Dresser as Domestic Display and Cultural Symbol', in Jane Aaron, Teresa Rees, et al. (eds.) Our Sister's Land - The Changing Identities of Women in Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1994), pp.228-235. 42 Judy Giles has analysed the link between consumer goods and individual identity/pride in twentieth century Britain, the experience of Welsh women in this period may differ from the Anglo-centric account offered by Giles, particularly in the coalfield with its rigid division of gender roles; Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb, pp.103-113. 43 GA: A320 G19 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1918-1923; GA: A320 G20 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1925-1935; GA: A320 G21 Plans For Alterations to Houses 1936-1951. 44 Simon Morgan, 'â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Sort Of Land Debatableâ&#x20AC;?: Female Influence, Civic Virtue, And Middle-Class Identity, c.1830-1980', Women's History Review, 13.2 (2004), 183-209 (pp.185-186). 45 Daunton, House and Home, p.281. 46 GA: A320 G16 Plans for Alterations to Houses 1899-1910. 41


tasks which constituted the 'feminine' role, had to be concealed to the rear of the home away from public gaze. Richard Rodger has noted that the division of the parlour and kitchen segregated the feminine role of domesticity from the 'public' rooms of the home where socialising took place. 47 This lack of visibility made it much easier for a woman's contribution to the family and home to go unacknowledged, whilst in contrast the male contribution through formal employment outside the home was much more visible. The emphasis on the parlour as a formal space for socialising within the home led to its use being reserved for special occasions. 48 This development was detrimental to the occupants of the home, particularly for those living in 'basic-type' housing, as it further exacerbated overcrowding by restricting day-to-day living to the kitchen and scullery. The stereotype of the seldom used parlour full of expensive furniture has been mocked by contemporaries and historians alike, yet it was an integral part of gender identity, signifying feminine 'respectability'. 49 This link between identity and the parlour was increasingly overlooked by housing planners after the First World War; in the 1930s a number of council houses were built in Brynmawr without a parlour. 50 Mr T. Alwyn Lloyd (an employee of the Welsh Town Planning and Housing Trust Limited - a public utility company that aimed to promote better housing conditions in Wales), writing in the WHDYB advocated the abolition of the parlour as it saved costs and led to a more effective use of space within the home. 51 However, Mr. Lloyd's wife - Mrs Alwyn Lloyd - also writing in the WHDYB argued the exact opposite; Mrs Alwyn Lloyd believed that women in general wanted a parlour in their homes, and therefore housing schemes should provide one. 52 This illustrates how, during the first half of the twentieth century women took greater interest in the planning of housing.Yet the fact that Mrs Lloyd is contradicted by her husband also demonstrates the struggle that women faced to get their views heard. Miss E. P. Hughes, writing in the WHDYB in 1918 stated that the First World War increased women's understanding of health issues and the importance of the home. As a result women wanted to be involved in the planning of new housing schemes, yet Hughes lamented the

47 Richard Rodger, 'Political Economy, Ideology and the Persistence of Working Class Housing Problems in Britain, 1850-1914', International Review of Social History, 32 (1987), 109-143 (p.110). 48 Daunton, House and Home, p.278. 49 For example John Burnett talks of the 'cult of cleanliness' and how women lavished hours of labour on cleaning their furniture and ornaments, whilst 'Matron' the woman's columnist from the Rhondda Socialist argued that women were making life difficult for themselves through collecting ornaments and furniture; Burnett, A Social History Of Housing, p.174; 'Matron', in Jane Aaron and Ursula Masson (eds.) The Very Salt Of Life: Welsh Women's Political Writings From Chartism To Suffrage (Dinas Powys: Honno Ltd, 2007), pp.215234, (pp.221-223). 50 GA: A320 G64 Plans 2 Bedroom Houses South Aspect. 51 T Alwyn Lloyd, ‘The Planning of Cottages’, WHDYB, (1917), pp.98-102. 52 Mrs Alwyn Lloyd, ‘Women and Housing’, WHDYB, (1921), pp.51-52.


fact that women were seldom consulted. Planners often excused this oversight by stating that they had asked their wives and female friends for their opinions when designing new homes. 53 The period 1920 to 1950 was one of rapid urban development, more so than the years before the First World War. Changes in the use of space within the home had a major impact on gender relations and how they functioned, and greater emphasis was placed on the home as both a masculine and feminine space. The trend of hiding femininity and domestic labour at the rear of the home, away from public view was reversed. In Brynmawr, houses on Llansbury Road at the Twyncynghordy site had the kitchen placed at the front of the property, with the living room to the rear. 54 Judy Giles has picked up on this trend and believes that it represented the 'valorisation' of the role of the housewife as domestic work was no longer hidden from public view but proudly displayed as a vital part of society. Giles has also noted how the home became a more masculine space in this period as men were encouraged to view the garden as their domestic domain, it was hoped that gardening would occupy men at home and therefore keep them out of the pub. 55 Whilst this highly idealised view of men actively embracing the garden as a masculine space and a substitute for the pub may not represent reality, there is some evidence to suggest that men took a greater interest in the home. A letter from T. Alwyn Lloyd to Brynmawr council in 1929 stated that many of the new tenants at Twyncynghordy had enthusiastically embraced gardening, and that many had erected sheds and chicken runs. 56 This is interesting as it shows how the garden was transformed into a masculine space, it helped men to fulfil their role as a provider of food. This is particularly important when considering the employment situation across south Wales in the 1920s and 1930s. Whilst gardening and allotments may have helped integrate masculinity into the home, it could also serve to preserve traditional gender roles. Neil Penlington has argued that during the depression allotments and gardening maintained the traditional masculine role of the breadwinner, and that power relations were merely transplanted from heavy industry to the garden. 57 The period 1850 to 1950 is an exciting era for historians of Welsh urbanisation, major developments transformed urban space into a civic space, and subsequently radically changed people's lives and the way in which they behaved. By exploring the impact that these developments had on the key issues of health, class and gender this article demonstrates the centrality of the Miss E. P. Hughes, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Housing Problems from the Standpoint of a Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, WHDYB, (1918), pp.106108. 54 GA: A320 G65 Llansbury Road. 55 Giles, The Parlour and the Suburb, p62. 56 Brynmawr Museum: Letter from T A Lloyd to Mr Quirk, 20th November 1929, (General) Box 12. 57 Neil Penlington, 'Masculinity and Domesticity in 1930s South Wales: Did Unemployment Change The Domestic Division Of Labour?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Twentieth Century British History, 21.3 (2010), 288-291. 53


urban as a topic of historical study. In terms of health this period was one of definitive change, the construction of sanitation systems improved health and the general urban environment as well as helping to foster civic identity. The improvements in housing in terms of both the 'basic' and 'affluent' types brought new standards of living to the inhabitants of Brynmawr. Whilst the construction of council housing schemes and slum clearance programmes brought levels of hygiene and luxury that had previously been reserved for the middle-classes, to a much wider proportion of the working class. Although these improvements in health were not comprehensive, they were enjoyed by the majority. Urban developments also had an impact upon definitions of class and social status. Working-class street culture declined as the middle class notion of public space led to the creation of the 'bourgeois visual environment'. Within the home itself the parlour was both a symbol of class status and a medium through which wealth could be displayed. After the First World War the modern council house became a status symbol, council housing came to signify the prosperous working classes, and for some, new luxuries like motor transport heralded the rise of affluence. The period 1850 to 1950 also witnessed an increasingly complex relationship between urban space and gender identity. During the last half of the nineteenth century the development of public space led to the masculine hegemony over civic life, strengthening the ideology that the feminine domain remained in the privacy of the home. Some women actively embraced this identity and used consumerism as a way of creating new identities within the domestic ideal. The First World War brought wider changes in gender relations, women developed greater confidence and began to express their views on issues concerning the home as this directly impacted their own lives. Domestic tasks were no longer hidden from public view and the work of the housewife received greater recognition, whilst the home itself began to incorporate elements of masculinity. The impact that urban developments had on the issues of health, class and gender identity illustrates the importance of urban history to wider studies of Welsh history in the period. Local based micro-studies of urbanisation can reveal a surprising array of trends that have the potential to radically challenge our understanding of society in the coalfield.


John Dee and the Quest for a British Empire By Ceri Carter Referred to as the ‘Arch Conjuror of England’, Dr John Dee was a polymath with many different faces; magician, mathematician and astrologer, to name a few. 1 Walter I. Trattner labels him simply ‘an Elizabethan’. 2 He was also a close advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, who dubbed him ‘hyr philosopher’. 3 Born in London with roots in Radnorshire, he became part of what Gwyn A. Williams christened ‘the London-Welsh’; a group of prominent Welshmen in London that included the like of William Cecil Lord Burghley. 4 Dee was at the forefront of the Elizabethan Renaissance, and Dee, the imperialist, became integral to Elizabeth’s claim to foreign lands, coining the term ‘British Empire’. 5 He took it upon himself to look through the history at past discoveries and ancient British Empires both real and mythical to establish the lands that Elizabeth could lay claim to as British Monarch. He also ensured that Elizabeth’s claim to these ancient Empires was cemented in her lineage. The age of discovery and conquering had been well established on the continent by the likes of the Spanish and Portuguese; Britain was left behind with nearly a century worth of catching up to do. Dee’s fascination with mathematics led to him developing an interest in navigation and he sought to prompt his fellow Britons into fulfilling their duties in the art of discovery. 6Dee knew that to stake a claim in the New World, he had to prove that Britons were there before. Gwyn A. Williams has often used Dee’s sources on empire to establish Dee’s Welshness and therefore the Welshness of the Tudor Dynasty and empire. This article will interrogate his approach to the question of Dee’s Welsh identity. Firstly, the sources that Williams’ used in his arguments will be outlined and then will be used to assess Dee’s priorities; Welsh Identity or British expansion.

Gwyn A. Williams, ‘Welsh Wizard and British Empire: Dr John Dee and a Welsh Identity’, in Gwyn A. Williams, The Welsh in Their History, (London & Canberra: Croom Helm Ltd, 1982), pp.13-30 (p.13); R. Julian Roberts, ‘Dee, John (1527–1609)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004), online edn, (May 2006), <>, [accessed 16 February 2012]. 2Walter I. Trattner, ‘God and Expansion in Elizabethan England: John Dee, 1527-1583’, Journal of the History of Ideas, (1964:1), 17-34 (p.18). 3 Williams, 'Welsh Wizard and British Empire’, p.13. 4Ibid., p.16. 5 Gwyn A. Williams, When Was Wales? A History of the Welsh, (London: Penguin, 1985), p.124. 6Trattner, ‘God and Expansion in Elizabethan England’, p.24. 1


The first source chronologically is ‘A letter dated 1577 from Mercator to John Dee’; which can be found in E.G.R. Taylor’s article in Imago Mundi. As the title alludes to, the source is a letter/notes sent from Gerardus Mercator to Dr John Dee regarding the ‘Northern Regions’ supposedly conquered and settled by King Arthur. The notes have been transcribed and translated by Taylor; some of the document had been written in Dutch and in Latin. Taylor explains that part of the document is missing due to fire damage. The original document can be found in the British Cotton MS. Vitellius C. VII. The source is a report of Mercator’s findings, as Dee had sent him into ‘divers[e] places beyond the sea’ to investigate claims that the Queen has to those lands so that she might reclaim them. The margin contains Dee’s notes and commentary on the text. Mercator has investigated the islands that King Arthur is accredited with conquering in the likes of the Gestae Arthuri, the Inventio Fortunatae, and an account by Jacobus Cnoyen; all of which are long since lost; in attempt to confirm claims to the lands. Secondly, John Dee’s General and Rare Memorials pertyning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation: Annexed to the Paradoxal cumpas, in Playne: now first published: 24 yeres, after the first Inuention thereof (1577). The document is available via Early English Books Online in digital format; both as a scanned document and transcribed text (the scanned document also contains notes in the margin by Dee). The document contains two prefaces, the main body of the document and three appendices. 7 The main body of the document is contained in the chapter headlined as ‘The Brytish Monarchie’. Here Dee puts forth his argument for the creation of a Pety Navy Royall, primarily to protect Britain’s coasts and fisheries and what it should contain. Thirdly is John Dee’s copy of Humphrey Llwyd’s ‘History of Cambria’; particularly the section on Lord Madoc. This copy can be found in the British Library’s Cotton Collection. 8 This document comes from an unfinished version of Humphrey Llwyd’s translation of a two hundred year old source (now lost) by an unknown author in the British tongue (Welsh). Unfortunately, he was ‘A BRIEF NOTE SCHOLASTICAL, FOR THE better understanding of the Decorum obserued, (or, at the least, regarded) in this present Two-fold Treatise, written vnder the Names of Three diuers Properties, States or Conditions of MAN’ Whereby yt may apere, that there are not scopae dissolutae: or, Du Coq à l’ Asne: But, by the will, and Grace of the Highest, thus Recorded’; ‘A necessary Aduertisement, by an vnknown freend, giuen to the modest, and godly Readers: who also carefully desire the prosperous State of the Common wealth, of this BRYTISH KINGDOM, and the Politicall SECVRITIE thereof’; ‘TO THE RIGHT WOR|shipfull, [1.] discreet, and singular fauorer, of all good Artes, and Sciences, M. Christopher Hatton Esquier: Captain of her Maiesties Garde, and Ientleman of her priuy Chamber’(headlined as ‘The Brytish Monarchie’); ‘GEORGII GEMISTI PLE|thonis de Rebus Peloponnesi, ORATIO. 1’; [the digested version] ‘GEORGII GEMISTI PLE|thonisad Principem Theodorum de Rebus Peloponnes: Oratio Posterior: GVLIELMO CANTERO, Interprete’ [the original oration]; and ‘TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVL M. CHRISTOPHER Hatton, Esquyer, Capitayn of her Maiesties Garde, and Ientleman of her Priuy Chamber.’ The last chapter is a verse addressed to Christopher Hatton. 8London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A VI, fol. 2–228. 7


unable to finish it before he died in 1568. The History of Wales was finished and published by another notable Welshman, Dr David Powel in 1584 as The historie of Cambria now called Wales: A part of the most famous Yland of Brytaine, written in the Brytish language above two hundredth years past. 9 Dee’s version of Llwyd’s original text and Powel’s completed print version are often treated the same in the historiography; the differences are not highlighted and this is particularly notable in Gwyn A. Williams’ Madoc, where the two sources are cited in the bibliography but he does not distinguish within the text which version of the document he is referring to. 10 Gwyn A. Williams dates Dee’s acquisition of the Llwyd document as between 1577 and 1578.His reasoning for this is because his writings from 1576 and 1577 have no mention of Madoc in them, despite being, what he calls, ‘Arthurian’ in nature. 11 The source is dated by the British Library as 1559. The source includes notes in the margin in another pen (identified as Dee’s) relating to the document; such as, ‘Madoc[,] sonne to Prince Owen sayled to the land west of Ireland which afterward above 400 year [sic] was judged to have byn first by the Spaniards (and others) discovered’. 12 On the preceding pages there are also attempts at working out family trees featuring Madocs in Dee’s pen; an interesting addition overlooked by Williams. Powel’s printed version contains more detail added in by Powel with the benefit of seeing George Peckham’s Trve Reporte (1583) the third chapter of which contains information relating to Madoc. 13 Both Powel and Peckham refer to David Ingram’s evidence of Welsh (British) words being used in the New World by natives; words such as pengwin (penguin- white head). These notes are not contained in Dee’s original version.

David Powel ed. Trans. By Humphrey Llwyd (London, 1584), The historie of Cambria now called Wales: A part of the most famous Yland of Brytaine, written in the Brytish language above two hundredth years past: translated into English by H. Lhoyd Gentleman: Corrected, augmented and continued out of Records and best approoued Authors by David Powel Doctor in Diuinitie. 10Gwyn A. Williams, Madoc: The Legend of the Welsh Discovery of America, (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1987). 11Ibid., p.55. 12MS Cotton Caligula A VI, fol. 2–228. 13 George Peckham, A Trve Reporte, Of the late discoueries, and possession, taken in the right of the Crowne of Englande, of the Newfound Landes: By that valiaunt and worthye Gentleman, Sir Humphrey Gilbert Knight Wherein is also breefely sette downe, her highnesse lawfull tytle there vnto, and the great and manifolde commodities, that is likely to grow thereby, to the whole realme in generall, and to the aduenturers in particular. Together with the easines and shortnes of the voyage. Seene and allowed. (London, 1583) Original document can be access via Early English Books online <> [accessed 26 April 2012] also in The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert Vol. II, ed. by David Beers Quinn (ed.), (London: Hakluyt Society, 1940), pp.459-460. 9


Fourthly are John Dee’s manuscripts that are referred to by historians as the Tytle Royall and Limits of the British Empire (1578).These are located in an edited collection of manuscripts known collectively as The Limits of the British Empire. 14 The collection was rediscovered in 1976 by the British Library after it was believed to have been lost. It was thought that there had been two versions of the document, one produced in 1578 and this one produced in 1580; this is an illusion that Williams was also working under when attempting to date Madoc’s introduction to John Dee. 15 Ken MacMillan and Jennifer Abeles, as first editors of the collection, claim that they have tried to ‘provide an annotated edition that is respectful of the form and function of the original manuscript while also attending to the needs of a modern and varied audience’. 16 The Tytle Royall is a document addressed directly to Queen Elizabeth I and outlines the following:1.

The clayme in perticuler


The reasons of the clayme


The credit of the reason


The value of the credit by force of law. 17

Dee outlines Elizabeth’s claims to foreign lands in the first paragraph. He then proceeds to describe in depth the reason for her claims by outlining the various explorers and Kings, both mythical and real, which have travelled to, conquered and/or settled the lands. This is done in seventeen points, describing the exploits of Lord Madoc (circa 1170); Mr Sebastian Caboto (circa 1494 & 1497); Mr John Caboto (circa 1494); 18 the Irish Brandan (circa 560); Martin Frobisher (1576 & 1577); King Arthur (circa 530); King Malgo (circa 583); the friar from Oxford, whom he thinks likely be Hugo of Hibernia, in his account Inventio Fortunatae (1360); and Mr Stephen Aborowgh (1556). He then goes on to plead with Her Majesty to proceed to reclaim those lands that have not been settled by Christian Princes to expand her kingdom. He explains that it is her duty as a Christian ruler to spread Christianity to those heathen lands.

14 Thusly named by the editors Ken MacMillan and Jennifer Abeles; they have also given the last document in this collection the same title. For the remainder of this dissertation, Limits of the British Empire will refer to the final document and the collection will be prefaced by or referred to as ‘the collection’. 15 Ken MacMillan & Jennifer Abeles (eds.), John Dee: The Limits of the British Empire, (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2004), pp.4-9. 16Ibid.,p.IX. 17 John Dee, Unto your Majesties Tytle Royall to these Forene Regions &Ilandes do appertayne 4 poyntes,[Known in short as Tytle Royall] (London, 1578), in MacMillan & Abeles (eds.) John Dee: The Limits of the British Empire, pp.43-49.(p.43). 18Caboto as spelt in John Dee’s document. In English it is commonly spelt Cabot. Both spellings are referred to in this paper.


Dee’s Limits of the British Empire goes on to explain that the lands he has described in the Tytle Royall, he has done so as not to cause offence to other Christian Princes. However, there are lands that Elizabeth can lay claim to that have been settled by Christian Princes. He recommends that the Queen avoids conflict in reclaiming these lands. Dee also explains the problems he faced in deciphering the facts of King Arthur from the myth and claims that enemies of the Britons (Saxons, Scots, Picts, Danes Norwegians and others) have attempted to discredit the legend of Arthur by creating untruths, but they have only succeeded in boosting his renown. Dee claims his reasons for persuading her Majesty to pursue these lands are for the ‘great good service of God, for your highness immortall fame, and the marvailous wealth publick of your Brytish Impire’. 19 The document lays out all of the evidence that he has gathered and the reasons why he believes that Elizabeth can lay claims to the lands. Madoc’s appearance in the Tytle Royall of 1578, allowing Williams to further narrow the date of Madoc’s earliest inclusion into English discourse as between July 1577 (‘when he was finishing his great imperial work’) and August 1578 (‘when he went to the Queen at Norwich’). 20 It is possible that Dee’s publication his General and Rare Memorials (1577) prompted an offer to give Llwyd’s manuscript to Dee. 21 John Dee’s Welsh identity has not been a subject for debate; however, there are varying schools of historical thought on his nationality. While there are historians who have said outright that he is Welsh and those who have gone further to suggest he was a Welsh patriot, there are also those who have acknowledged his Welsh origins and yet describe him as British, and there are those who refer to him in the English sense. 22 Historians appear not to be inclined to debate the subject. Dee’s Welsh links are condemned to be forgotten or not important enough for discussion. What is most interesting is Williams’ take on Dee’s Welshness; drawing upon these sources he has concluded in his lecture, ‘Welsh Wizard and British Empire: Dr John Dee and a Welsh Identity’, that Dee is most certainly a Welsh patriot. Whilst it is possible that Williams has drawn this conclusion from another source; these sources do not conclude the subject of Dee’s Welshness.

John Dee, Limits of the British Empire, (London, 1578), in John Dee: The Limits of the British Empire, ed. by MacMillan & Abeles, pp. 51-100. (p. 56). 20 Williams, Madoc, p.55. 21 It is not know who owned Llwyd’s manuscript after Llwyd’s death in 1568. 22 Williams, 'Welsh Wizard and British Empire’;Trattner, ‘God and the Expansion of Elizabethan England’, p.25. Though he does not say that Dee is English expressly, the Trattner’s writing uses the words English and England in reference with Dee. 19


The source frequently used by Williams to instil a strong Welsh identity on Dee is the Tytle Royall. Prior to this writing, Dee’s focus for Empire had been on the mythical King Arthur and his supposed Empire to the north of the British Isles. Sometime, in the above list of sources, between the 1577 letter from Mercator and the 1578Tytle Royall, Dee discovered the story of Madoc or at least reassessed the importance of Madoc to the Elizabethan claim to Empire. The Tytle Royall sees Madoc take primary place as evidence for Elizabeth to stake a claim on a broader Empire. Arthur does not make an appearance until his eleventh point. Williams argues that Madoc takes precedence over all other claims (even those that have no doubt hanging over them) because he is Welsh. 23Is it possible that Arthur takes a backseat because he does not conquer that all important land, America? It is possible that Madoc’s Welsh connection is what made Dee use Madoc as his primary evidence for a claim to America; after all, he has demoted the like of the Cabots, who sailed to America in 1494) and 1497, to second, third, fourth and ninth on the list. 24 Cabot is a much stronger link to the Americas simply because there is no doubt that this happened; there is no real evidence of Madoc prior to Humphrey Llwyd’s work (though much like Arthur there is evidence to suggest there might have been an oral tradition surrounding the story). Madoc and Arthur are not the only ancient myths to appear in his Tytle Royall, the Irish Brandan also appears, and above Arthur in the pecking order. If Welshness was truly Dee’s motivation, would not Arthur feature higher in his list of evidence? Dee was not looking back to a time when Wales and Welsh people had a greater importance in Britain; the importance for Dee appears to lay in Ancient Britain not in Wales. Wales is the land to which the Ancient Britons were forced to retreat after the Angles and the Saxons invaded their land. The language spoken in Wales is the language of the Ancient Britons. In Dee’s case, he is looking back to the Ancient Britons because they once held dominion over the whole of the British Isles, not because they now occupy the land from which he hails. It is understandable, however, for a section of historians to depict Dee’s nostalgia towards Ancient Briton as being a patriotic act towards his Welsh brethren. Uncovering stories of Ancient Britons who had made discoveries (real or not) predates any discoveries made by rival Empires. Arthur initially captured Dee’s interest with stories of discoveries and conquests made North of Britain, outlines in the letter from

Williams, 'Welsh Wizard and British Empire’, p.16. Francesco Tarducci, Trans. by Henry F. Brownson, John and Sebastian Cabot: Bibliographical Notice, (Detroit: Henry F. Brownson Publishers, 1893), <> [accessed 26 April 2012]; Dee, Tytle Royall, pp.44-45. 23 24


Mercator. 25 Arthur still plays a role in his evidence to Elizabeth for the re-establishment of Empire, but it is evident from his Tytle Royall that the main focus/goal was to establish America as rightfully British. Brandan’s inclusion in Dee’s list of evidence seems to suggest that Dee acknowledge Henry VIII’s sovereignty over Ireland (1541); this suggests that Dee’s allegiance was that to British monarchy and not to Wales. Arthur’s empire did not include the New World that we can identify, though it did take in mystical/mythical lands that we cannot place today; these lands can be seen on the map published by the Venetian Xeno (or Zeno) brothers of the North Atlantic in 1558. Dee’s Tytle Royall alone shows that Dee’s priority was not Welshness and the importance of Wales; this is evident from the wide range of evidence be brings forward. What makes Arthur and Madoc significant (and in particular Arthur as he is earlier in time) was the fact that they were ancient Britons or (in Madoc’s case) their lineage could be tied to the Ancient Kings of Britain; not because they were Welsh. John Dee had an interest in King Arthur long before he had even heard of the legend of Madoc. It is possible that, through Arthur, Dee could find a claim to the New World, or maybe he felt that Arthur was his only hope of re-establishing an ancient empire. However, after his discovery of Madoc, Arthur seems to take up a secondary (even tertiary if you consider his inclusion of the Irish Brandan) role in Dee’s plan to map an ancient British Empire in the Tytle Royall. Arthur does not appear until his eleventh point of evidence; Recorded Circa Anno 1060. In Priscis Anglorum Legibus, the famous ilande called Groenland & Island &c are accorded to be {Appurtenances of the British Crown}, as of Kinge Arthur his conquest. 26 Dee uses the Priscis Anglorum Legibus in a couple of different ways to make his case for a British Empire. 27 The Priscis enables Dee to show that Britain had come together under one crown: It was at this time [under King Edward] that due to God’s mercy the whole people of Britain came under one universal monarchy. From this time on, what was previously referred to as the British [Welsh] Kingdom was referred to as the Kingdom of the English.... 28 E.G.R. Taylor, ‘A letter dated 1577 from Mercator to John Dee’, Imago Mundi, 13.1, (1956), 56-68. is his first point and Brandan appears as points five to eight; This is William Lambarde, Achaionomia, sive de priscis anglorum legibuslibri (London, 1568) commonly known in Dee’s time as De Priscis Anglorum Legibus (‘the ancient laws of England’);Dee, Tytle Royall, p.45. 27 Dee provides a translation of part of the Priscis Anglorum Legibus in the Limits of the British Empire, pp.5658. 28 Extract from Lambarde, Priscis Anglorum Legibus: p.137. 25



This allowed Dee to claim Arthur for the British Monarchy if there were any doubt over the legitimacy of using the Welsh king. This together with the 1536 Act of Union under Henry VIII, uniting Wales and England under one law, could leave little doubt over Elizabeth’s claim to Arthurs Empire. Dee’s other purpose in referencing the Priscis is to establish what Elizabeth can and cannot lay claim to. In his Limits of the British Empire he warns Elizabeth against pursuing claims to lands that have long since been settled by Christian Princes. By this he is referencing the law established in the Priscis acknowledging that the Kingdom of Norway, though once belonged within King Arthur’s Empire, had been granted concession. So at length King Edward, our last king (who was a great peacemaker) came to an agreement, and granted them concessions through the common council of the whole realm, such that in future they should be able, and have the right, to live alongside us, and [32] remain in the kingdom as our sworn brothers. 29 In incorporating this part of the Priscis into his Limits of the British Empire he is specifying that this matter of not upsetting Christian Princes is only in relation to the like of Norway. This clears the way for the later Madoc claim. Madoc supposedly settled down in Florida which had been a Spanish colony since the early sixteenth century. It is clear that he is not concerned about upsetting the Spanish; the claim predates the Spanish claim therefore the Spanish should not be upset about Elizabeth laying claim to that land. He is careful to ensure that the lands covered in his Tytle Royall have strong claims that cannot be undermined by a previous claim by the Spanish or any other Kingdom with ambitions of empire: ‘no other prince of potentate els in the whole world beinge able to alledge therto any claime the like’. 30 The focus on Madoc, rather than Arthur, is interesting as there is a claim to be made with John Cabot and his sons. One can assume that the reason Madoc takes pole position is because he predates the Spanish discovery of America by a considerable time; not as Gwyn A. Williams suggests, because of his Welsh Identity. Why, therefore, does someone like the Irish Brandon; who supposedly landed in America prior to Madoc; take a back seat? Possibly because Dee could trace (or fabricate) a direct line from Madoc to Elizabeth; it is understood that Dee had traced Elizabeth’s lineage back to the Ancient British Kings though these sources are now missing, tying Elizabeth to Ancient Britain is legitimising her claim to an ancient empire. Henry VII had also had

to King Edward, the Confessor; From Dee’s translation of the Priscis Anglorum Legibus in the Limits of the British Empire, p.58. 30 Dee, Tytle Royall, p.48. 29Referring


his lineage traced back to the Ancient Kings and Princes of Britain, though in Henry’s case, he was more interested that these Kings were ancestors of the Welsh. 31 The first appearance of Madoc in Dee’s literature is in his Tytle Royall where he has taken pride of place at number one in the list of evidence for the British Empire: Circa Anno 1170. The Lord Madoc, sonne to Owen Gwynedd prince of North Wales, leaving his brother in contention and wars for their inheritance, sought by sea (westerly from Irland) for some forein and apt region to plant hymselfe in with soverainty. Which region when he had found, he returned to Wales againe & furnished hymselfe with shipps, victuals, armour, men, and women sufficient for the colony which spedely he leed into the province named Iaaquaza (but of late Florida) or into some of the provinces and territories neere ther aboutes, as in Apalchen, Mocosa, or Norombega, eache od these 4 beinge notable portions of the ancient Atlantis, not longe synce nowe named America. 32 Much of this is taken in verbatim from Dee’s copy of Humphrey Llwyd, Williams, however, does not address this in his analysis of the documents: And at this tyme another of Owen Gwyneths sonnes named Madock left the lands in contention betwixt his brethren, and prepared certayne shippes wth men and munition and sought adventure by the seas, and sayled west leaving the coast of Ireland north. 33 Ultimately, Dee saw that Britain was a hundred years behind Spain in Empire building. Spain had already claimed much of the New World to the South. Although the English monarchy had sponsored exploratory voyages and had laid claim to lands to the north, they had yet to successfully lay claim to ‘Atlantis’-as Dee dubbed America. Dee’s preoccupation with the Spanish is evident in his copy of Llwyd’s account. One of the differences between this version and Powel’s printed version of the Historie of Cambria is that it contains notes in the margin and underlining by Dee; this tells us what Dee felt was important in the document. Dee has noted: Madoc sonne to prince Owen sayled to the land west of Ireland which afterward above 400 year [sic] was judged to have byn first by the Spaniards (and others) discovered. is evidence in Dee’s copy of Llwyd’s Historie of Cambria, on the page previous to the Madoc account, that Dee had made attempts at working out family trees featuring Madocs; again these sources are long since lost. Gutun Owain was part of the commission set up to establish Henry Tudor’s Welsh Pedigree. He is also cited by Powel in the Historie of Cambria as writing of Madoc prior to the Columbus discovery. 32 Dee, Tytle Royall, p.44. 33MS Cotton Caligula A VI, fol. 2–228. 31There


In this, Dee has found the perfect candidate to front his list of great British Explorers that have conquered lands for the British Empire; more precisely, he had the perfect candidate to undermine the Spanish. Perhaps this goes someway to explaining why there was a lack of emphasis placed upon the Cabot discoveries. John Cabot and his sons Sebastian, Lewes and Sacius were granted permission by Henry VII in 1497 to sail under the Tudor flag to discover new lands. 34 The letter of patent that was granted by Henry VII also granted the Cabots and their descendants exclusive right of settlement wherever they landed. They had already sailed in 1494 where, according to Dee, Sebastian discovered the ‘Baccalalaos Ilandes’. 35 Also in 1494, Dee attributes John and Sebastian Cabot, along with Robert Thorns and Mr Eliot, with the discovery of ‘Newfound Lande’ and ‘Sainct Iohns Iland’. 36 In 1497, Sebastian Cabot has been credited with the rediscovery of Newfoundland and lands ‘so far northerlie’, that he also discovered the ‘greate square Goulf, otherwise called the Goulf of Merosre’.It was not enough that the Cabot’s discoveries in America allowed them to claim parts of America under the Elizabethan Crown. 37Despite the fact that the Spanish had not reached that area of America, Dee wanted to ensure that Elizabeth’s Empire was more powerful; establishing a claim prior to Spain’s allows this. Sebastian Cabot’s defection to the Spanish in the early sixteenth century may also be a factor in Dee’s decision to downplay the importance of their discoveries. That, along with Henry VII’s Letters of Patent granting the Cabots and their descendants exclusive right of settlement, may have strengthened the Spanish claim rather than the British claim. However, their discoveries of Newfoundland, Labrador and other surrounding islands were too important to leave out. Therefore, it is not a Welsh identity that drove Dee in his pursuit of a British Empire but a need to establish the origins of empire before Spain’s expansion. The Spanish were the main rivals to beat in the game of empire building. Madoc effectively denies the Spanish the right to claim finder’s rights on the New World. Dee’s motivation seems to be to elevate Britain’s standing in the world to an Empire. John Dee’s sense of Welshness was a matter of convenience as it was with Henry VII, though in slightly different ways. Henry played on his Welsh ancestry to gain support in Wales to usurp the throne of England; in doing so he drew upon the myth of Arthur and the prophecy that one day Arthur would return to reclaim the throne for Ancient Britons (now the Welsh). To

Letter of Patent granted by Henry VII, (1497) <> [accessed 29 January 2014]. 35 Dee, Tytle Royall, p.44. 36Ibid., p.44. 37Ibid., p.45. 34


Dee on the other hand, Wales was a place rife with antiquity that he could draw upon to further the British crown. On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that some of Dee’s contemporaries were aware of his Welshness. Sir Philip Sidney, in a letter replying to Hubert Languet, warns that by deriding Humphrey Llwyd’s apparent Welsh patriotism he might anger Dee. Sidney claims that by mocking his Welsh brethren Dee might ‘in his anger may wield against you his hieroglyphical monad, like Jove's lightning’. 38 I t is possible that Dee felt a strong sense of Welsh Identity; however, from the evidence that Gwyn A. Williams presents tells us about Dee’s Welshness, it is not clear that Dee felt any strong connection to his Welsh roots.

Philip Sidney in a letter to Hubert Languet (February, 1574) in William Aspenwall Bradley (ed.) The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney and Herbert Languet, (Boston: Merrymount, 1912), p.38. Also mentioned in Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p.78. 38


The Tudor Myth: How the Tudors dispelled their usurper status and consolidated power By Siân Drew The reigns of the Tudor Monarchs were spent constantly trying to maintain a strong image to display to their people, due to how they acquired the throne of England in 1485. The Tudors acquisition of the throne undermined their authority owed to the nature in which they claimed it; the Battle of Bosworth saw the House of Lancaster take the crown although the House of York had the equal right to rule. However, through a political marriage and adjustment of the date he started his reign, Henry VII was able to consolidate his power. Throughout the Tudor period, Britain passed through some extreme changes which affected how they were perceived both throughout their own country and internationally through their foreign policy. Henry VIII unknowingly gave his children an option on the legacy that they continued; Henry VIII’s or Henry VII’s. The main theme throughout the myths that were created by each reigning monarch was one of power; which can be seen in different forms depending on the King or Queen. The Tudor myth changed as it was passed on to a new monarch, highlighting similarities but also many discrepancies between them, creating conflicting views for both their internal and external affairs. The conflicts that arose from the Spanish threat were a constant source of tension for each of the Tudors, therefore affecting their illusion of personal and dynastic authority. This paper discusses the relationship between each of the Tudor monarchs and how they interacted with both international and internal affairs to create their personal myths. However, Edward VI has been omitted due to his short reign and that control was with his advisors and not solely his, unlike his two sisters. The myth is an important aspect of the Tudor Dynasty as it altered how they were perceived at both the time and now. The Tudor period began with Henry VII, having taken his crown at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Although Henry had a right to the throne he was a usurper, consequently creating paranoia around the stability of his throne and forcing him to put measures in place to secure the succession for generations come. Through Henry VII’s foreign policy he was able to gain Scotland and Spain as allies. The marriage of his oldest son, Arthur, to Catherine of Aragon ensured the alliance of the Spanish Empire, which allowed him to have a stronger grip of his kingdom. This, alongside the alliance with Scotland through his daughter Margaret Tudor’s marriage to James IV, meant that Henry was able to secure his right to the crown. Henry created the illusion of power for


himself through alliances abroad and consolidation at home. His power was shown through his ability to create peace with Europe and prevent others who held a claim to throne from talking the crown. Internally, Henry VII did not make any radical changes to his economic and political policies, allowing the country to run smoothly after the civil war. However, he was forced to make changes due to the number of deaths within his immediate family. The death of his two sons and his wife at the turn of the century left the ‘continuance of the Tudor Dynasty’ on the shoulders of his eleven year old son Henry VIII. 1 The death of Arthur also led to the abrupt end of the new matrimonial alliance with Spain. Henry VII rectified this by marrying his second son Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon preserving the alliance. However, this new union came with stipulations; Spain pressed for more in compensation in the form of an alliance against France if they were to invade Spanish territory. This would have gone against Henry VII’s policy to avoid conflict, so the problem was resolved after bargaining for a treaty that would not jeopardise his new found relationship with the French King Louis XII. 2 Henry VII’s need for control is clearly indicated in the Spanish treaty which connects to the myth of power that was created by the Tudor Monarch; this myth continued throughout the Tudor dynasty and was often looked to in times of trouble. From an international perspective, Henry VII highlighted a religious and political change across Western Europe and how the combination of political, social and cultural circumstances enabled the change to take place. 3 Henry was part of the expansion in both France and Spain, creating the ‘modern national state’ as suggested by A.F. Pollard. 4 He believed that the new monarchies within Europe had taken advantage of the crumbling imperial and papal influence surrounding the civil wars. 5 The political changes in England and the papal reforms across Europe allowed him to ‘appeal to England’s awakening patriotism’, permitting him to reconsolidate both his personal and dynastic authority. 6 The reconciliation of his authority enabled Henry VII to enhance the myth of power that was starting to take form. The crumbling papal authority was due to tensions that were building with Spain, further increased through the reforms put in place by Henry VIII, leading to the eventual collapse of relations with Rome.

R.B.Wernham, Before the Armada: The growth of English Foreign Policy 1485-1588 (Oxford: University of Oxford 1966), p.51. 2 Ibid., p.50. 3 Steven Gunn, ’Politic history, New Monarchy and state formation: Henry VII in European perspective’ Historical Research, 82.217 (2009), 380-392 (p.384). 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 1


The myth of dynastic and personal authority was emphasised by Henry VIII when he introduced drastic reforms to suit his personal needs. He is remembered as the King who changed Britain; the religious reformation created uproar across the country and led to a change in the myth that had been set by his father Henry VII. Henry argued that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon ‘was against the laws of God and null and void’. 7 The break from Rome and the declaring himself as head of the Church of England was the first of many reforms to divide the country. Between the years of 1531 and 1536 Henry changed the myth that had been created by his father. This can be clearly seen by his break with Rome and introduction of an Anglican State, as opposed to the Catholic state that had previously been in place. However Henry still practised the Catholic religion he no longer saw the Pope as the head of the church, instead he saw himself. The Henrician Reformation affected how Britain interacted with the rest of Europe, especially the Roman Catholic countries. The Act of Supremacy in 1534 ensured that both Henry and his successors would be seen as the only acting ‘supreme head on earth of the Church of England’. 8 The reforms in turn ended alliances that had been made under Henry VII and created many enemies for Henry VIII and his heirs to face, in particular the Spanish. The next section will consider the later ruling monarchs of the Tudor Dynasty and not only how the two Tudor Queens struggled against their father’s reforms, but also each other. The myths created around them both differ, yet continue the idea of power and authority. Mary and Elizabeth had very different relations with the Spanish Empire, which in effect created the myth that we know of them today. The relationship between the Tudor Dynasty and the Spanish crown was temperamental from the start. After the death of Arthur in 1502, the relationship became unstable and struggled to recover. The Henrician Reforms caused further unrest; Spain and England were at a religious war. Even with Mary Tudor’s attempt to reconcile by marrying Phillip II, the relationship was always a danger to England’s international relations. The contemporary myth of the Tudor Dynasty highlights the tensions that were rife between the two ruling monarchs. The Spanish issue however can be traced back to Mary’s grandfather, Henry VII, with it continuing to plague the Tudor Dynasty up until its end in 1603. Henry VII’s successors have dealt with the threat in different ways. Mary decided to marry into the Spanish crown in an attempt to restore order in England, whereas Elizabeth went against the Catholic power and used her predecessors’ strength to translate a message across to her people.

‘Tudor dynastic problems revisited’ Historical Research 81.212 (2008) 255-279 (p.257). A.G. Dickens, The Reformation in England to the Accession of Elizabeth (London: Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd, 1969), p.65. 7E.W.Ives 8


Elizabeth reflects on her grandfather’s reign and speaks highly of him when giving speeches to promote morale to her troops. She also briefly discusses her father, Henry VIII, who was known for having a taste for war. This can be seen in Elizabeth’s speech at Tilbury in 1588. The build up to the Spanish Armada threat also forced Elizabeth to change her policies on international relations and internal affairs. The Spanish threat reignited English fears of invasion, as along with the internal religious changes, Elizabeth had to travel around the country to show her support to the troops. The Tilbury speech emphasised Elizabeth’s similarities to her father, shown in the statement ‘I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of a King’, this quote highlights how much she valued her country and her predecessors, in particular her father and his war ethic. 9 The speech was written by Elizabeth herself and was used to motivate troops who were lining up to fight the Spanish Armada sent by Phillip II. The speech was well rehearsed as she would have repeated it many times to increase morale throughout Tilbury, reflecting on her father’s war image. In her speech she states that she would be willing to risk her crown in battle, saying that ‘I am among you at this time…in the midst and heat of the battle to live or die among you all, and to lay down for my God, My kingdom and for my country’. 10 The speech also implies that Elizabeth believed that she had God on her side against the Spanish, meaning that the Spanish threat would have been seen as a religious war. The Armada was a threat to Protestantism, it needed to be eliminated. This is made clear by Elizabeth at Tilbury, ‘we shall shortly have a famous victory over the enemies of my God’, and it is clear from this that she strongly believed that the removal of the Spanish threat once and for all was possible. 11 Elizabeth’s myth, however, was not continued by her successor, James VI, in the way in which she had intended. This could have been for a number of reasons, in particular Elizabeth’s treatment of Mary Queen of Scots, his mother. The tombstone that was commissioned by James Stuart dismissed Elizabeth’s religious views and gives a brief overview of her achievements both at home and on international soil, as well as thanking her for the empire that he inherited. 12 James was able to focus the script on himself and emphasise how he was the rightful heir to the throne of England as well as Scotland. It could be argued that Elizabeth’s tomb almost mocks the Tudor Dynasty, as even without the inscription, the idea of James placing two opposing queens in the same tomb would have contradicted the contemporary myths of the two Queens. The inscription ‘partners in throne and grave.’ 13 This immediately highlights a problem, as Elizabeth and Mary were not ‘dual’ Elizabeth I, ‘Tilbury Speech’, (July 1588), <> [accessed 6 March 2014]. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Inscription on the tombstone of Elizabeth I, Westminster Abbey. 13 Ibid. 9


Queens. They both ruled with very different ideas and there was a forty year gap between their deaths. The tomb also undermined both of their wishes, when they were alive they were sworn enemies due to religious differences. The inscription on Elizabeth’s tomb changed the myth that she had exerted; the contrast between the inscription and her speech at Tilbury highlight how James tried to manipulate her myth and remove the internal successes that she achieved during her reign. Mary and Elizabeth had a religious rift between them; the religious reforms under Henry VIII continuing to plague the country even after his death in 1547. The only similarity shared by Mary I and Elizabeth masculine qualities when it came to war. The Queens both used their masculine traits to promote leadership to their troops, with Elizabeth appearing at Tilbury in armour and a skirt to show both her masculine and feminine qualities. 14 Mary was also known to show her masculine characteristics through cross dressing, thus moving the social boundaries for women. This, however, implies that there were similarities to the way in which they chose to rule their country. It should not be underestimated how polarised the Queens were. This can be demonstrated through numerous factors, for example, how their difference in religious beliefs strongly influenced the way in which they controlled England. Mary’s reign was cut short due to her sudden death in 1558, however whilst she was on the throne she was able to counteract the religious changes made under her father and attempted to reconcile with Rome. She began a campaign to remove Protestantism from her kingdom through the execution of those who would not return to the Catholic faith. Her attempts to abolish her father’s religious rule and the removal of the act of supremacy left the country in a confused state, which was only enhanced when Elizabeth took the throne in 1558. Mary had survived ‘threats of execution, exile and matrimony’ suggesting that the myth that she created during her reign was not favoured amongst her council. 15 Her dynastic authority was constantly questioned and potentially undermined by her marriage to Phillip II; a devout Catholic who made England his campaign against Luther and Protestantism. She also surrounded herself with Catholic families who had survived the Henrician reforms, further suggesting that she was trying to change the image that had been put out by her father and return England to a pure Catholic state. Elizabeth’s personal and dynastic authority intertwined towards the end of her reign, up to the Spanish threat in 1588 and had been focussing on retaining Protestantism in her kingdom. A clear yet brutal example of this was the incarceration of her cousin Mary Queen of Scots in 1567. Mary

Mary E. Burke, Women, Writing and the reproduction of culture in Tudor and Stuart England, (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2000), p.109. 15 David.M.Loades, The Reign of Mary Tudor, (Kent: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1979), p. 458. 14


posed a Catholic threat and was found guilty of inspiring a plot to murder Elizabeth in 1586, known as the Babington Plot. 16 The discovery of this plot led to Mary’s execution in 1587. This event suggests that Elizabeth wanted to continue the personal and dynastic authority of her father, which was the polar opposite to Mary Tudor who had tried to reassert her grandfather’s religious authority by recognising the Pope as the head of the church and not herself; going against her father’s reforms. James did not make any Catholic reforms and kept part of the contemporary Tudor Myth alive. The Virgin Queen was, however, reprimanded by her government as ‘it was seen as a natural move to dramatize questions concerning royal marriage and succession’. 17 Nevertheless, she felt that her marriage was a personal issue and not a state matter. She had dedicated her life to her country and righting the wrongs that she believed had occurred under Mary. The Tilbury speech defines the moment that she confirmed her marriage to her country and not to any man; if she had married her betrothed would have become a King of England. This is also implied through her tombstone inscription; James’ decision to highlight the fact she ruled by herself was used it to his advantage by thanking her for the strong empire that he now held. In conclusion, the Tudors were able to create an effective and coherent myth of personal and dynastic authority due to how they related to each other; good or bad. Elizabeth was able to build on her father’s work and revive his reforms after Mary’s death in 1558. The myth however was altered by Elizabeth’s successor James I, made clear by the on the inscription seen on her tombstone. James does not mention the Tudor name, highlighting that he was the start of a new dynasty, creating his own personal myth based on the victories of Elizabeth and the successful reigns of the other Tudor monarchs. It is clear that during the Tudor Dynasty, the monarchs sent out conflicting views on what their kingdom and foreign counterparts should have thought about them. Unfortunately for Henry VII, his plans and original foundations for the family’s dynastical power were overshadowed by his son’s arrogance and almost tyrannical reign between 1531 and 1536, leaving his grandchildren to decide upon which legacy they wanted to pick up and fashion into their own.

Plowden, Two Queens One Isle The deadly relationship of Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots, (Sussex: The Harvester Press Ltd, 1984), p.207. 17John N King, ‘Queen Elizabeth I: Representations of the Virgin Queen’, Renaissance Quarterly, 43. 1 (Spring, 1990), 30-74 (p. 43). 16Alison


History from the Forest  

University of South Wales Student History Journal Volume II: Issue 1.

History from the Forest  

University of South Wales Student History Journal Volume II: Issue 1.