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Dr Anne Overell

Honorary Research Fellow (1 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2023)

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Honorary Research Fellow
(1 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2023) in the Department of Theology and Religion


I am a historian of religious reformers in the sixteenth century. Most of my published work highlights the (unexpected?) exchange of ideas between usually Protestant England and mostly Catholic Italy. In my recent book, Nicodemites: Faith and Concealment between Italy and Tudor England, I shifted the focus to concentrate on those who were evasive and tried to cover up what they believed: contemporaries called them ‘nicodemites’ after that hesitant Nicodemus in the New Testament who came to Christ ‘by night’. Among so-called nicodemites, the English Cardinal, Reginald Pole, and his friends among Italian spirituali are a special interest.

Recently I began new work on Italian radicals who fled to Basel expecting some sympathy in that great Swiss humanist centre. Even there, however, these troublesome incomers went too far, daring to suggest a merciful God, an ‘open Heaven’, and tolerance instead of persecution.

At Durham I am an Honorary Research Fellow, having worked at the Open University earlier in my career. In my current role I research and write, but the chance to collaborate with other scholars and doctoral students is always very welcome. I have been asked to be one of the co-convenors of the interdepartmental History of Christianity seminar as of the start of the 2020-1 academic year and I contribute regularly to other seminars and conferences in the UK and in Italy.


Authored book

  • Overell, M. Anne (2018). Nicodemites: Faith and Concealment between Italy and Tudor England. Leiden and Chicago: Brill.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2008). Italian Reform and English Reformations, c.1535–c.1585. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Chapter in book

  • Overell, M. Anne (2018). Books of Italian Spirituali in Tudor England. In Books and Bookmen in Early-Modern Britain: Essays Presented to James P. Carley. Willoughby, James M.W. & Catto, Jeremy Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. 199-216.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2012). ‘Soul Talk and the Reformation’. In Reforming Reformation. Mayer, Thomas F. Ashgate. 119-140.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2004). ‘Recantation and Retribution: “Remembering Francis Spira”, 1548–1638’. In Retribution, Repentance and Reconciliation. Cooper, Kate & Gregory, Jeremy Boydell. 159-168.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2004). ‘Bernardino Ochino’s Books and English Religious Opinion: 1547–1580’. In The Church and the Book. Swanson, Robert Boydell. 201-211.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2004). ‘A Nicodemite in England and Italy: Edward Courtenay, 1548–1556’. In John Foxe at Home and Abroad. Loades, David Ashgate. 117-135.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2002). ‘Edwardian Court Humanism and Il Beneficio di Cristo, 1547–1553’. In Reassessing Tudor Humanism. Woolfson, Jonathan Palgrave. 151-174.

Journal Article

  • Overell, M. Anne & Lucas, Scott C. (2012). ‘Whose Wonderful News? Italian Satire and William Baldwin’s Wonderfull Newes of the Death of Paul the III’. Renaissance Studies 26: 180-196.
  • Overell, M. Anne & Willoughby, James M.W. (2012). ‘Books from the Circle of Cardinal Pole: the Italian Library of Michael Throckmorton’. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 75: 111-40.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2012). ‘Pole’s Piety? The Devotional Reading of Reginald Pole and his Friends’. Journal of Ecclesiastical History (63): 458-474.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2009). ‘Cardinal Pole's Special Agent: Michael Throckmorton, c.1503–1558’. History 94: 265-278.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2006). 'An English Friendship and Italian Reform: Richard Morison and Michael Throckmorton, 1532–1538'. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 57: 478–493.
  • Overell, M. Anne (2000). 'Vergerio’s Anti-Nicodemite Propaganda and England: 1547–1558'. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 51: 296–318.
  • Overell, M. Anne (1999). 'The Reformation of Death in Italy and England: circa 1550'. Renaissance and Reformation 23: 5-21.
  • Overell, M. Anne (1995). ‘The Exploitation of Francesco Spiera’. Sixteenth Century Journal 26: 619–637
  • Overell, M. Anne (1984). Peter Martyr in England 1547–1553: An Alternative View. Sixteenth Century Journal 15: 87–104.
  • Overell, M. Anne (1978). Arthur Golding’s translation of the Beneficio di Cristo. Notes and Queries 25: 424-426.