Silke MuylaertJun 8, 2021
Shaping the Stranger Churches
Migrants in England and the Troubles in the Netherlands, 1547–1585
During the mid-sixteenth century, English reformers invited a group of continental Protestant refugees to London and surrounding provinces. The ecclesiastical authorities allowed them liberty to establish their own churches with relatively little oversight by the English church. These "Stranger Churches," many of whom still maintained close ties to their friends and families in the Low Countries, faced internal tensions about how to relate to the political and religious upheavals that would transform the Netherlands. In Shaping the Stranger Churches: Migrants in England and the Troubles in the Netherlands, 1547–1585 (Brill, 2020), Silke Muylaert traces the saga of how tensions back home agitated internal conflicts among these refugee churches. In her expertly researched study, Muylaert challenges the existing narratives of the Strangers' relations to the Dutch revolt and reformation. By paying closer attention to the disagreements among the Strangers in England, Muylaert suggests that these Protestant refugees were far from united or "radicalized" in their attitudes toward religious Reformation and political violence.
Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.