Gardens of the Vatican, 1904 (catalogue reference: COPY 1/479)

26 June 2014


Historians exploring national identity in the 18th century have suggested that Protestantism was a central feature of being British. To be Catholic was to be the 'other' against which Protestant Britons understood and measured themselves. By examining the Continental Grand Tours of two English Catholic travellers - Sir Thomas Gascoigne and Henry Swinburne - this talk will challenge that thesis.

By examining how Gascoigne and Swinburne responded to and interacted with their Anglican compatriots and Catholic coreligionists in Europe, this talk will demonstrate how they easily maintained many identities and represented themselves specifically as loyal 'Englishmen' who practised a peculiarly English form of the Catholic faith.

Dr Alexander Lock is a post-doctoral researcher at the British Library where he is working on the post-medieval legacy of Magna Carta for a major exhibition in 2015. A specialist in 18th-century British political history, he has published work on the nature of religion, politics and national identity in the 18th century.     

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