Dr Lucy Wooding

Featured Publication

Henry VIII (2nd edition, 2015)

Henry VIII - Lucy Wooding


The best general biography of Henry VIII in nearly half a century: comprehensive in coverage, judicious in analysis, and pleasurable to read. - Peter Marshall, University of Warwick

An excellent book that is up-to-date and wide-ranging, from policy-making and faction to visual display and material culture. It is packed with illuminating evidence and orientates the reader effectively through the complex historiographical debates. Dr Wooding provides a well-balanced biography of Henry, paying as much attention to his early years as to the 1530s and 1540s. Essential reading for students and other scholars. - Natalie Mears, Durham University


  • Reformation history
  • Tudor politics, religion and culture
  • Visual and material culture in late medieval and early modern England

My research centres on the Reformation in England, and the intersections between politics, religion and popular culture. My first book argued for the variety and variability within English Catholic thought during the sixteenth century, taking issue with the unexamined assumptions behind the use of the label ‘Catholic’, and with the long-standing categorization of English Catholicism in terms of either medieval survival or recusant intransigence. I argued there, and in subsequent work, that Catholicism between the 1520s and the 1570s was undergoing its own form of reformation, and that the customary polarities used in writing English Reformation history need to be re-evaluated in the light of this. I have continued to work on English Catholicism, particularly during the reign of Mary I, because it is in this aspect of Reformation history that some of the most common misconceptions are most clearly evident. I have long felt sceptical about the religious labels used to claim, codify, and politicize human experiences of faith which were in truth much more fluid and multi-faceted than such classifications would allow. I am also fascinated by the mixture of political expediency, humanist idealism and religious fervour which began the process of Reformation in England, and it was this which led me to research the reign of Henry VIII, and produce a biography of this most alarming and yet deeply interesting ruler. The fluctuations in Henry’s reputation over the last hundred years illustrate very well the changing historical perspectives on both Tudor history in particular, and religious and political history more generally. More recently I have been working on the transmission of religious ideas, through sermons and printed books, but also through visual  and material culture, between the fifteenth and the early seventeenth century. My latest research project looks at the interaction of word, image, memory and emotion in pre-Reformation religious culture, and examines how the relationship between those different elements was recalibrated during the ‘long Reformation’ period. I am also completing a book entitled Tudor England for Yale University Press, which interweaves the political history of the period with some of the most recent insights into social and cultural history.





History of the British Isles III: 1330-1550

History of the British Isles IV: 1500-1700

General History III: 1400-1650

Optional Subject 8: Witchcraft and witch-hunting in early modern Europe

Optional Subject 9: Making England Protestant, 1558-1642



History of the British Isles III: 1330-1550

History of the British Isles IV: 1500-1700

General History VII: 1409-1525

General History VIII: 1500-1618

Literature and Politics in Early Modern England

Special Subject 10: The Trial of the Tudor State: politics, religion and society 1540-1560


  • John Jewel, Elizabethan Religion and the Invention of the Church of England

  • 'So sholde lewde men lerne by ymages': Religious Imagery and Bible Learning

  • Erasmus and the Politics of Translation in Tudor England

  • Henry VIII

  • Reading the Crucifixion in Tudor England