421. With Such Perfection Govern: English Political Thought

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The evolution of ideas about kingship and the role of the “three estates” in 15th and 16th century England, with a focus on John Fortescue and Thomas Starkey.



Further Reading

• D.M. Brodie (ed.), Edmund Dudley: Tree of Commonwealth (Cambridge: 2014).

• S. Lockwood (trans.), Sir John Fortescue: On the Laws and Governance of England (Cambridge: 1997).

• T.F. Mayer (ed.), Thomas Starkey: A Dialogue Between Pole and Lupset (London: 1989).


A.L. Beier, Social Thought in England, 1480-1730 (London: 2016).

• S.A. Chavura, Tudor Protestant Political Thought 1547-1603 (Leiden: 2011).

• S.B. Chrimes, English Constitutional Ideas in the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge: 1936). 

• P.A Fideler and T.F. Mayer (eds), Political Thought and the Tudor Commonwealth: Deep Structure, Discourse and Disguise (London: 1992).

S. Hindle, The State and Social Change in England, 1550-1640 (Basingstoke: 2000).

• W.R.D. Jones, The Tudor Commonwealth 1529-1559 (London: 1970).

• T.F. Mayer, Thomas Starkey and the Commonweal: Humanist Politics and Religion in the Reign of Henry VIII (Cambridge: 1989).

• M. Peltonen, Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought, 1570-1640 (Cambridge: 1995).

• J. Woolfson, “Between Bruni and Hobbes: Aristotle’s Politics in Tudor Intellectual Culture,” in J. Woolfson (ed.), Reassessing Tudor Humanism (Houndsmills: 2002), 197-222.


mehmet on 18 May 2023

British Scholasticism

Hi, Will we have an episode on British scholasticism?

In reply to by mehmet

Peter Adamson on 18 May 2023

British scholasticism

Indeed we will! It will focus especially on John Mair, I think, but also look at John Case for instance. This is scheduled to come along in autumn after a mini-series on British literature, in which several themes will be pursued in connection with Shakespeare's plays (e.g. witchcraft and Macbeth).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

mehmet on 21 May 2023

Whew!! That's good news.. I…

Whew!! That's good news.. I thought we would skip it..

In reply to by mehmet

Peter Adamson on 21 May 2023


Oh yes quite a bit actually - the next episode is on Hooker, something I hadn't originally planned on, and there will be more Shakespeare than originally advertised.

dukeofethereal on 7 June 2023

Theme of Law missing as a tag

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 7 June 2023

Law tag

Thanks, you are paying more attention to my podcast than I am myself! I'll add those. To be honest I think I sort of forgot I had set this up as a theme.

Dave Lavery on 11 July 2023

Robert Stillington

Hello Peter, which of the references shown here are the one to investigate more on robert stillington Bishop of bath 1467 quote on "justice"? I found this an interesting sermon, and would like to read some further. 

In reply to by Dave Lavery

Peter Adamson on 11 July 2023


I got that from S.B. Chrimes, English Constitutional Ideas in the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge: 1936), 121. Interesting passage!

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