J. E. Neale

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Sir John Ernest Neale, FBA (7 December 1890, Liverpool – 2 September 1975) was a British historian who specialised in Elizabethan and Parliamentary history.

Academic career[edit]

Neale was trained by the political historian A. F. Pollard.[1] His first professional appointment was the chair of Modern History at the University of Manchester, and he was then to succeed his old mentor A. F. Pollard as Astor Professor of English History at University College London in 1927. He was to hold this post until 1956.[2] In 1955, Neale was knighted, and on 17 November 1958 he delivered a lecture in Washington, D.C. commemorating Elizabeth I's accession to the English throne four hundred years previously.[1] From 1956, Neale was Professor Emeritus, but continued to do some academic teaching at University College London.

Sir John Neale's grave, Harrogate Cemetery

He died in 1975 and was buried in Harrogate Cemetery.[1] He had married Elfreda Skelton of Harrogate [3] with whom he had a daughter, Stella.

Historical views[edit]

Neale is viewed (along with A. F. Pollard) as a traditionalist historian, whose views have been subsequently undermined by later generations of revisionist historians (for example Norman L. Jones). He is well known for his thesis on the Elizabethan Puritan Choir, in which he claimed that a group of Puritan MPs successfully managed to force Elizabeth I's hand on many policy issues throughout her reign, including at the start. Neale also saw the roots of the English Civil War in what he perceived to be the obstructive and rebellious nature of Elizabeth I's Parliaments, a view questioned by later historians. Neale is also recognised for his work in bringing to light new sources on Tudor England, and developing different ways of studying the period.[4]

Other positions held[edit]


  • Queen Elizabeth I (1934)
  • The Elizabethan Political Scene (1948)
  • The Elizabethan House of Commons (1949)
  • Elizabeth I and her Parliaments (1957)
  • Essays in Elizabethan History (1958)
  • The Age of Catherine de Medici (1963)


  1. ^ a b c Short biography of Neale, in Neale, J. (1971) Queen Elizabeth I. Pelican.
  2. ^ "Neale lecture tonight". University College London. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  3. ^ "Marries Student". Singapore Daily News. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  4. ^ "Neale, Sir John Ernest (1890–1975)". Making History. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]