DOI link for Introduction
A recurring problem in the traditional historiography of the post-Reformation English Church is the assumption that if there was, in the early modern period, any kind of coherent Catholic residual presence within it, then it was by and large a hidden one. If there was a mainstream public cultural reaction to the Catholic Counter-Reformation in England, then it often took the form of what historians tend to call anti-popery. In short, it is suggested that there was both an elite and popular rejection of what many English people regarded as essentially corrupt forms of worship, as well as a good deal else which they tended to identify with Catholic Europe. The English convents are significant in that there is no other similar group of females from the British Isles during the early modern period with such a collection of archival records, interests and priorities, organised modes of life and patronage of various kinds.