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The Outbreak of the Wars of Religion: a Franco-British History (1547-1572)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FRANCOBRIT (The Outbreak of the Wars of Religion: a Franco-British History (1547-1572))

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31

This project began with the hypothesis that the origins of the French Wars of Religion (1560-98) must be traced to events in Scotland between 1557 and 1560 when Scottish Calvinists (Lords of the Congregation), with the support of their allies in England, overthrew the French Catholic regency of Mary of Guise. The Outbreak of the Wars of Religion: a Franco-British History (1547-72) analysed the interactions between Scotland, France and England as Calvinist militancy reached a peak and civil war broke out, first in Scotland and then France.

i) Using under-explored and under-utilized French sources, it examined Henri II, King of France's, ideal of and potential for an Anglo-French empire. It analysed the nature of the French regency in Scotland (1547-60) in order to explain why, despite the fact that the regime tolerance of Protestantism, it was so unpopular. The attitude of the French ruling elites to Protestantism in both France and Scotland in the 1550s was compared and contrasted.

ii) It was the first study to take full account of the impact on France of the Calvinist revolution in Scotland. In 1559 Henri II died and was succeeded by his weak-minded son, François II, who was controlled by his wife Mary Stuart and his Guise uncles. In many respects policy in France was dominated by the civil war in Scotland, which drained the treasury and inspired conspirators hostile to the Guise. Crucial to this project was the attempt to identify the role of both the Scots and English in anti-Guise propaganda and to explore how opposition to the Guise operated across the channel.

iii) This project also considered the solutions that were available to French policy makers in 1561-2 in attempts to deal with the spread of Protestantism and the division of the kingdom. The policy of toleration that was adopted by Catherine de Medici in 1562 is well known. Less well known is the alternative possibility of some form of liberty of conscience, which had first been offered by the French in Scotland in 1560.

The project is important for society by highlighting the transnational and European dimensions of politico-religious crisis into a historical perspective.
The Project has involved an intense period of activity.

Eric Durot is the organiser of the Conference Transnational Approaches to the French Wars of Religion (University of York, 6-7 July 2018): 13 speakers coming from Northern America and Europe; with the support of Marie-Curie Actions and the European Commissions;
Organiser of the ‘Panel’ Rethinking the French Wars of Religion: A transnational approach, for the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of French History (Glasgow, 26-27 June 2017);

He curated an exhibition of pamphlets at the York Minster entitled 'England and the French Wars of Religion, 16th century Pamphlets held at the Old Palace' (York Minster, 17 Oct. – 21 Nov. 2017). The digitized pamphlets were put on-line [soc.sh/nCr1vWjaJ3].

He disseminated his finding in the following communications. This includes papers in the USA and outreach talks to non-academic audiences through the Alliance Française.

• June 2018 University of York – Conference “Transnational Approaches to the French Wars
of Religion”: The First War of Religion was Transnational (1559-63)

• Mar. 2018 Sorbonne-Université – Conference “Servir le Prince, servir la République”:
‘I do love the contrary parts and the Religion both’: des agents écossais très spéciaux au début des guerres de Religion

• Mar. 2018 New Orleans – Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting:
A French Renaissance Dream: the Franco-British Empire of the Valois

• Mar. 2018 York – Monthly talks of Alliance française de York:
Traduire et imprimer les pamphlets calvinistes français dans l’Angleterre
d’Elizabeth I

• Feb. 2018 University of York – Seminar of the department of History:
The Outbreak of the French Wars of Religion: the Anglo-Scottish dimension

• Nov. 2017 Sorbonne-Université – Seminar “franco-britannique d’Histoire”:
Empire franco-britannique et premières guerres de Religion en France: une approche transnationale

• Sept. 2017 U. of Edinburgh – Workshop “Pamphleteering Culture, 1558-1702”:
An Anglo-Scottish blast on the First Huguenot libels

• Jul. 2017 Durham University – Conference “Sedition: Subversive and controversial literature in Europe, 1500-1700”:
John Knox’s ‘Subversive Literature’ and the French Wars of Religion

•June 2017 U. of Strathclyde – Society for the Study of French History:
The Scottish Reformation Rebellion (1559-60): The First French War of Religion

• June 2017 U. de Versailles-Saint-Quentin, Rambouillet – Conference “Mary of Guise”:
A too free conduit? When the flow of men and ideas turned against Mary

• May 2017 U. Pablo de Olavide, Seville – International Conference “Sediciones y revueltas en la reflexión política de la Europa moderna”:
L’Écosse révoltée: un laboratoire politique pour le royaume de France au tournant des guerres de Religion

• Mar. 2017 York – Monthly talks of Alliance française de York:
Ambitions des rois de France au milieu du XVIe siècle: Écosse française et
empire franco-britannique?

He will disseminate research in the following publication and according the Article 29.2 of the Grant Agreement:

• “ ‘I do love the contrary parts and the Religion both’: des agents écossais très spéciaux au début des guerres de Religion”, in Servir le Prince, servir la République (Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthcoming 2019).

• “The role of John Knox and his writings in the outbreak of the French Wars of Religion”, in Sedition: Subversive and controversial literature in Europe, 1500-1700 (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2019).

• “L’Écosse révoltée: un laboratoire politique pour le royaume de France au tournant des guerres de Religion”, in Sediciones y revueltas en la reflexión política de la Europa moderna / Séditions et révoltes dans la réflexion politique de l’Europe moderne (Paris: Classiques Garnier, forthcom
Two major publications are expected within two years that go beyond the state of the art. In particular, the collection in French History that looks to break down traditional national histories of Europe and foreground the importance of trans-national approaches will progress the subject beyond the state of the art.

• Under review after modifications requested in December 2018: “Valuable Scottish agents on both sides of the Channel at the outbreak of the French Wars of Religion”, for Sixteenth Century Journal.
• Preparation of Transnational Approaches to the French Wars of Religion Conference proceedings, for a project with French History (special issue).

Durot, PDRA, will continue to work on the monograph based on the project which will rethink the Wars of Religion and European History in the sixteenth century.

THe project enhanced the possibilities to apply for a post as Lecturer at university.
Seal of Mary Stuart, Queen of France, England, Ireland & Scotland