Thursday, February 19, 2009

New essay just out

The complementary copies arrived a few days ago: Catholic Communities in Protestant States: Britain and the Netherlands, c.1570-1720. One of the essays that the volume contains, "The Southern Netherlands Connection: Networks of Support and Patronage", is by no means the best, but is drawn to your attention solely as having been written by me.

It's about the way that the area that's now Belgium (plus a bit around Lille and Douai that the French nicked in the 1660s) served as the single most important point of contact with Catholic Europe for the Mission Churches of, as you have no doubt already guessed, Britain and the Netherlands - back in the days when it was illegal to do anything vaguely Catholic in these Protestant states (not, we hasten to add, that it was illegal to be Catholic - that was fine; it was just illegal to do Catholic stuff, or to be a Catholic priest, or to help a Catholic priest in any way). There were English and Scottish seminaries in Douai, Irish and Dutch seminaries in Leuven; refugees in positions at the Brussels court, in the Army of Flanders, and in the chapters of several Belgian churches; exile convents and monasteries (only one of them Dutch, but then the Dutch could happily join Flemish monasteries - and eminent priors in historic houses like Affligem or Sint-Pieters were Northerners); government subsidies for individuals and institutions; diplomatic pressure on behalf of Catholic minorities; special exemptions from the laws on publishing for the production of anonymous and pseudonymous books for export. Probably other things too, that escape me. Anyway, I'm particularly pleased with this publication because of the circumstances in which it came about: it derives from a paper I gave at the Anglo-Dutch Historical Conference in 2006. Possibly only people who do research in Anglo-Dutch history can know what that means. Oh, and the picture on the cover is a Dutch painting of a Catholic family picnic (complete with ruined monastery).

1 comment:

Janet said...

Oh, you should put one of those in my package. That looks particularly interesting.