Tudor period’ misleading

News University News

By Matt Stokes

History lessons spent learning about the Tudors may have been misleading, according to new research by a historian based at Wadham.

Cliff Davies has searched through papers, chronicles, poems, plays and pamphlets from the 16th century and concluded that the idea of a “Tudor period” is only a modern construct.

Davies believes that the term Tudor is used nowadays to add a “period flavour” and creates a misleading image of unity in a period in which there is “very little distinctive or in common between the [successive] governments”. He also argues that the word, which is of Welsh origin, was “considered an embarrassment in England”. 

He added: “‘Periods are artificial constructions by historians. What makes the concept of the ‘Tudor period’ so seductive is that we believe it to have been current at the time. This was not the case.  We need to revise our concepts.”

“More generally, all historical ‘periods’ are artificial constructs and people should be aware of this.”