a1 Magdalene College, University of Cambridge
This article analyses the records of 595 entrants to the English College, Rome, and 309 entrants to the English College, Valladolid. These Colleges, set up to train young English men as Catholic priests at a time when Catholicism was proscribed in England, required all entrants to complete questionnaires covering their social, educational, and religious background. The Responsa Scholarum are the autograph manuscripts of students at Rome; the Liber Primi Examinis consists of summaries of oral examinations written down by the interviewers. Through a combination of quantitative analysis and close reading of individual accounts, this article explores responses to the questionnaires, focusing on the engagement of young people with religion and religious identity. It argues that their self-writings shed important light on our understanding of both early modern religion and of early modern childhood and adolescence.
* I am grateful to Dr Gavin Jarvis of Queen's University, Belfast, for technical assistance in data analysis and in constructing the graphs, without which help this article could not have been written. I am also grateful to Eamon Duffy, Michael Questier, Simon Healy, and Laurence Brockliss for reading drafts.