The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England

1st Edition

By Darren Oldridge


176 pages

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The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England reflects upon the boundaries between the natural and the otherworldly in early modern England as they were understood by the people of the time. The book places supernatural beliefs and events in the context of the English Reformation to show how early modern people reacted to the world of unseen spirits and magical influences. It sets out the conceptual foundations of early modern encounters with the supernatural, and shows how occult beliefs penetrated almost every aspect of life.

Darren Oldridge considers many of the spiritual forces that pervaded early modern England: an immanent God who sometimes expressed Himself through ‘signs and wonders’ and the various lesser inhabitants of the world of spirits including ghosts, goblins, demons and angels. He explores human attempts to comprehend, harness or accommodate these powers through magic and witchcraft, and the role of the supernatural in early modern science.

This book presents a concise and accessible up-to-date synthesis of the scholarship of the supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England. It will be essential reading for students of early modern England, religion, witchcraft and the supernatural.


"Darren Oldridge's subtle and lively book is a 'must read' for all students and scholars of early modern supernatural beliefs. The book brings to life a vibrant world of supernatural agents that entertains and instructs in equal measure." Sasha Handley, University of Manchester, UK

"Darren Oldridge provides a much-needed comprehensive study of the prevalent and diverse strands of early modern English belief in the supernatural in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Students and scholars alike will find the work a richly detailed and thoughtful study that brings together recent scholarship and introduces readers to the complex yet fascinating worldviews of early modern people. From the ministrations of angels and subtle workings of divine providence to the malevolent designs of demons and witches, the early modern cosmology and everyday lived experience is brought to life."

Janine Rivière, University of Toronto, Canada

"Darren Oldridge's The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England is a clear, accessible survey full of enjoyable detail. Covering manifestations from ghosts to fairies, witches to angels, it provides a fascinating introduction to the early modern English supernatural."

Marion Gibson, University of Exeter, UK

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction 2. The Foundations of Supernatural Belief 3. Divine Interventions 4. The Devil and Demons 5. Angels 6. Ghosts and Goblins 7. Human Interventions Reflections and Conclusions Index

About the Author

Darren Oldridge is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Worcester. His previous publications include Strange Histories (2005), The Devil: A Very Short Introduction (2012) and (as editor) The Witchcraft Reader (second edition 2008).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century