Harry Spillane

PhD Student

I am a PhD candidate at Peterhouse, studying the creation, production and reception of the Bishops’ Bible in Elizabethan England.

I completed by undergraduate degree at Oxford (Merton College) in 2017 before moving to Cambridge (Peterhouse), on a Newton Scholarship, where I completed my MPhil in 2018, supervised by Dr. Arnold Hunt.

I am supervised by Prof. Alexandra Walsham and advised by Mr Scott Mandelbrote and have been the History Faculty Cranmer Award Scholar for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

My research explores the difficulties and practicalities of producing English Bibles under Elizabeth I with a particular focus on how Archbishop Matthew Parker and his bishops produced the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 – and then revised it in 1572. I wish to challenge perceptions that it was a universal failure and understand more fully how it shaped the Elizabethan Church and English Protestant identity from the 1570s. This project seeks to use methodologies that have been developed by Historians of the Book to understand how bibles were created and purchased whilst considering the social and cultural impact of the Bishops’ Bible on Elizabethan Protestant culture.

More broadly, I am interested in the development of different Protestant ‘identities’ in post-Reformation England, the ways in which the English Reformations shaped the English book trade and the attempts by writers and polemicists on either side of the confessional divide to rewrite the history of the Church for their own purposes.

I offer supervisions in the following papers in the Historical Tripos:

Paper 4 - British political history, 1485-1714

Paper 9 - British economic and social history, c. 1500-1750


Tags & Themes


Peterhouse, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RD


Key publications


'Eucharistic devotion and textual appropriation in post-Reformation England', in The Seventeenth Century. Forthcoming, 2021.


Book Reviews

Review of Stuart Succession Literature, Moments and Transformations, P. Kewes and A. McRae (ed.), in The Journal of Royal Studies, 6:1 (July, 2019), 123-125.

Review of Elizabethan Publishing and the Making of Literary Culture, by K. Melnikoff, in The Sixteenth Century Journal, 50:4 (Winter, 2019), 1304-1306.

Review of Five London Parishes in the Reformation, by G. Gibbs, in Reformation and Renaissance Review, 23:3 (November, 2020), 256-257.

Review of Edwin Sandys and the Reform of English Religion, by S. Bastow, in The Sixteenth Century Journal. Forthcoming, 2021.