(10 August 1929 – 28 September 2011) was an English historian, known as a writer on the Elizabethan era
, particularly Elizabethan Puritanism
. He was emeritus Regius Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge
, having occupied the chair from 1988 to 1996. He once described himself as "an early modernist with a prime interest in the history of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."
Collinson was born in Ipswich
, the son of William Cecil Collinson and Belle Hay Patrick. His father came from a Yorkshire Quaker
family, and both Patrick's parents were Christian missionaries. He later wrote that his childhood home was "an evangelical hothouse where the second coming was expected daily". Before he was 20, he was baptised at Bethesda Chapel in Ipswich.
After a short spell at Goudhurst School for Boys
and Huntingdon Grammar School
, Collinson was educated at King's School, Ely
, and Pembroke College, Cambridge
from 1949 to 1952. He was also trained as a radar mechanic during his national service in the RAF
. He became a postgraduate student at the University of London
in 1952 under the supervision of the Tudor historian J. E. Neale
, who handed him some notes on East Anglian Puritanism; in 1957 Collinson completed his doctorate on Elizabethan Puritanism, its 1,200-page size causing the administration to impose a word limit on future dissertations; it was published in 1967 as The Elizabethan Puritan Movement
, which showed Puritanism to be a significant force within the Elizabethan Anglican Church instead of merely a radical group of individuals, becoming a standard work.
Collinson was a lecturer at the University of Khartoum
, and from 1961 assistant lecturer in ecclesiastical history at King's College London
(where he taught Desmond Tutu
). In 1960 he married Elizabeth Albinia Susan Selwyn, a nurse. He thought about becoming an Anglican minister but in the end chose not to.
In 1969 Collinson emigrated to Australia to become chair of the history department of Sydney University
. Although he appreciated a more open-minded approach favouring interdisciplinary studies, he opposed what he termed the "fungus" of postmodernism
and so returned to England in 1976 as professor of history at the University of Kent
. He was President of the Ecclesiastical History Society
(1985-86). He was chair of modern history at the University of Sheffield
from 1984 to 1988 before he succeeded Sir Geoffrey Elton
as Cambridge Regius Professor of History
, where his attempt to reform the tripos failed due to opposition from within; his inaugural lecture was entitled "De Republica Anglorum: Or, History with the Politics Put Back."
By the time of his retirement in 1996, Collinson was one of the doyens of English Reformation history. His short summation of the period, The Reformation
, was published in 2003. Collinson's work laid the foundations, in many ways, for what historians of the English Reformation currently term the 'Calvinist Consensus' in the latter decades of the 16th century and during the reign of James I/VI
. As such, the belief that Puritanism was anything but religiously radical in relation to English, and indeed British, culture stands as one of his great achievements as an historian.
In July 2000 Collinson was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex
. In 2011 Boydell Press
published Collinson's memoir The History of a History Man Or, the Twentieth Century Viewed from a Safe Distance: The Memoirs of Patrick Collinson
as part of its Church of England Record Society Series
. Collinson was the founding president of the society in 1991.
Collinson's political views were left-wing; he was a republican
and a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
He died of cancer.
Letters of Thomas Wood, Puritan, 1566–1577 (ed.) (1960)
'A Mirror of Elizabethan Puritanism: The Life and Letters of Godly Master Dering'' (London: Dr. Wiliams's Trust, 1964) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002863866 search online]
The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (Methuen, 1967) [https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Elizabethan_Puritan_movement.html?id=O8c9AAAAIAAJ read online]
Archbishop Grindal, 1519–1583: The Struggle for a Reformed Church (London: J. Cape, 1979) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000023872 search online] [https://books.google.com/books/about/Archbishop_Grindal_1519_1583.html?id=hREq8H5DDRUC read online]
The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society, 1559–1625 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000311505 search online]
English Puritanism (London: Historical Association, 1983) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007108061 search online] [https://books.google.com/books/about/English_Puritanism.html?id=whwTAQAAIAAJ read online]
Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism (London: Hambledon Press, 1983) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000246127 search online] [https://books.google.com/books/about/Godly_People.html?id=EXWCEhxY0M0C read online]
The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Third Anstey Memorial Lectures in the University of Kent at Canterbury, 12–15 May 1986 (Macmillan, 1988) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001093508 search online]
Andrew Perne: Quartercentenary Studies: Patrick Collinson, David McKitterick, Elisabeth Leedham-Green, edited by David McKitterick (Cambridge University Library, 1991) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011806742 search online]
Elizabethan Essays (London: Hambledon Press, 1994) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002863866 search online]
A History of Canterbury Cathedral, edited by Patrick Collinson, Nigel Ramsay, and Margaret Sparks (Oxford University Press, 1995) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003000691 search online]
Belief and Practice in Reformation England: A Tribute to Patrick Collinson from His Students, edited by Susan Wabuda and Caroline Litzenberger) (Aldershot, Hants, 1998) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003998960 search online]
Short Oxford History of the British Isles: The Sixteenth Century (editor) (Oxford University Press, 2002) [https://www.jstor.org/stable/20061368?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents review]
Lady Margaret Beaufort and Her Professors of Divinity at Cambridge: 1502 to 1649 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) [https://books.google.com/books?id=4qhtEQKAMrEC read online]
Elizabethans (London: Hambledon and London, 2003) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/004331598 search online] [https://books.google.com/books/about/Elizabethans.html?id=LS74CFBPqt8C read online]
The Reformation: A History (Modern Library, 2003) [https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Reformation.html?id=c2Qk_0eyD0kC read online]
Elizabeth I (Very Interesting People Series, 2007) [https://books.google.com/books/about/Elizabeth_I.html?id=_h1hxiukLPkC read online]
From Cranmer to Sancroft: Essays on English Religion in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007) [https://books.google.com/books?id=Hdg-KQXtEmAC&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s&hl=es-419 read online]
The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain, edited by Polly Ha and Patrick Collinson (Oxford University Press, 2010) [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/010391480 search online] [https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Reception_of_Continental_Reformation.html?id=GCwoAQAAMAAJ read online]
The History of a History Man; Or, the Twentieth Century Viewed from a Safe Distance: The Memoirs of Patrick Collinson (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2011) (Church of England Record Society Series). . [http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/retrospectives/issues/10.pdf review] [http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=13590 review]
Richard Bancroft and Elizabethan Anti-Puritanism (Cambridge University Press, 2013) [http://ehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/129/541/1488.extract review]