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Frederick Smith

Frederick Smith

Department: History

Supervisor: Alexandra Walsham

College: Clare

AHRC Subject Area: History

Title of Thesis: Catholic Exile and the Origins of English Roman Catholic Identity, 1533-1553 (Provisional)


After completing an undergraduate degree in History at the University of Warwick, I enrolled in the Teach First program. I worked for two years as a year 6 teacher in a large primary school in north Kent before beginning an MPhil at Cambridge in Early Modern History. My research focused upon the activities and beliefs of a group of clerics at the heart of the restoration of Catholicism under Mary I – the cathedral clergy. I used my analysis of this group’s actions both under Mary and Elizabeth I in order to challenge the current consensus regarding the origins of post-Reformation recusant Catholicism in England. Having completed my MPhil, I am continuing on to a PhD investigating the origins of English Roman Catholic identity in England. I will be concentrating on the activities of those individuals who left the country during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI on account of their religious beliefs. It is my belief that a greater understanding of what these individuals believed, and how they acted whilst abroad, will shed light on the origins of an English Catholic identity which identified more strongly with Rome and was responding to pressures to reform within the sixteenth century Catholic Church abroad.

Other academic interests

Early modern religious co-existence and inter-confessional sociability; lay agency in religion during the Reformation; religious propaganda, how it functions and modes of dissemination – particularly the use of music and song as propaganda; non-belief/atheism in the early-modern world; religion and visual culture, particularly architecture; religion and memory.