So Great a Prince: England and the Accession of Henry VIII
The King is dead: long live the King. In 1509, Henry VII was succeeded by his son Henry VIII, second monarch of the house of Tudor. But this is not the familiar Tudor world of Protestantism and playwrights. Decades before the Reformation, ancient traditions persist: boy bishops, pilgrimage, Corpus Christi pageants, the jewel-decked shrine at Canterbury. So Great a Prince offers a fascinating glimpse of a country and people that at first appear alien - in calendar and clothing, in counting the hours by bell toll - but which on closer examination are recognisably and understandably human. Lauren Johnson tells the story of 1509 not just from the perspective of king and court, but of merchant and ploughman; apprentice and laundress; husbandman and foreign worker. She looks at these early Tudor lives through the rhythms of the ritual year, juxtaposing political events in Westminster and the palaces of southeast England with the liturgical and agricultural events that punctuated the year for the ordinary people of England.
'Lauren Johnson's social history-cum-biography as she focuses on the pivotal year is a more than welcome, thoroughly deserving addition to anybody's bookshelf' The Bookbag. 'I loved every page of this book ... Well written and easy to read, I can say with confidence this is one of the best books that I have ever read on the Tudor age' Queen to History. 'This is a gripping and important work from a very talented new writer' Dan Jones. 'Johnson is a fine historian. She will be at the forefront of British historical writing for a long time to come' Mathew Lyons. 'The political narrative is crisp ... an assured an eye-opening introduction to the England of 1409' Times Literary Supplement. 'It is refreshing to read a book that not only focuses on the upper echelons of society but also goes to lengths to describe the lives of 'ordinary' people ... [Johnson's] authoritative tone and passion for the subject made for a very enjoyable read' History of Royals.
Lauren Johnson is a historian and costumed interpreter with a first-class degree from Oxford University. Her first novel, The Arrow of Sherwood, appeared in August 2013.