Jessie Childs

Speaker: Jessie Childs

Topic: God’s Traitors: Treason and Faith in Elizabethan England

Venue: Ondaatje Lecture Theatre, Radcliffe Centre

Time: 14:00-15:00 Sunday 28 April

Talk Summary:

Award-winning historian Jessie Childs explores the dilemmas of faith and allegiance in Elizabeth I’s England. The new queen’s establishment of a Protestant state church left Catholic adherents of the ‘old religion’ increasingly marginalised. Their Mass was banned, their priests were outlawed, their faith was criminalised. In an age of assassination and Armada, those Catholics who clung to their faith were increasingly seen as the enemy within. ‘God’s Traitors’ is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. From clandestine chapels and side-street inns to exile communities and the corridors of power, it exposes the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Elizabeth I as ‘Gloriana’. Above all, it is a timely story of courage and frailty, repression and reaction, and the terrible consequences when religion and politics collide.

Jessie Childs is a prize-winning author and historian of the early modern period in England. Her latest book, God’s Traitors – on treason in the Elizabethan world – won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Her first book, Henry VIII’s Last Victim, won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. She frequently appears on radio and TV (most recently in the RTS award-winning Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents for the BBC & PBS), and has written and reviewed for many publications, including The Sunday Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Telegraph, Literary Review, TLS and LRB.