J. E. Neale
Neale was trained by the political historian A. F. Pollard. 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. 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. From 1956, Neale was Professor Emeritus, but continued to do some academic teaching at University College London.
Neale was the leading Elizabethan historian of his generation. In the opinion of fellow historian, and Neale's own graduate student, Patrick Collinson, Neale's biography of Elizabeth I "has yet to be bettered".
His painstaking research uncovered the political power of the gentry in The Elizabethan House of Commons (1949), whilst his 1948 Raleigh Lecture on ‘The Elizabethan political scene’ greatly expanded our knowledge of the politics of the reign. The two volumes on Elizabeth I and her Parliaments (1953 and 1957) explored the relationship between the Queen and her Parliaments. These were criticised by Sir Geoffrey Elton who claimed that the main preoccupation of these parliaments was the forming of Bills and the passing of Acts, not conflict between Crown and Parliament. Neale's claims that these parliaments were a landmark in the evolution of Parliament was criticised by medievalists such as J. S. Roskell. However Collinson notes that the conflicts which Neale wrote about did take place and that Neale's retelling of them made an exciting and unforgettable chapter in English history.
Neale 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's hand on many policy issues throughout her reign, including at the start. Neale is also recognised for his work in bringing to light new sources on Tudor England, and developing different ways of studying the period.
Other positions held
- Trustee of the London Museum
- Member of the Editorial Board of the History of Parliament
- Fellow of the British Academy
- Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Queen Elizabeth (1934)
- The Elizabethan Political Scene (1948)
- The Elizabethan House of Commons (1949)
- Elizabeth I and her Parliaments (1953 and 1957)
- Essays in Elizabethan History (1958)
- The Age of Catherine de Medici (1963)
- Short biography of Neale, in Neale, J. (1971) Queen Elizabeth I. Pelican.
- "Neale lecture tonight". University College London. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- "Marries Student". Singapore Daily News. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- Patrick Collinson, ‘Neale, Sir John Ernest (1890–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 17 May 2015.
- Patrick Collinson, ‘Elizabeth I (1533–1603)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2012, accessed 17 May 2015.
- G. R. Elton, 'Parliament in the Sixteenth Century: Functions and Fortunes', The Historical Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Jun., 1979), pp. 255-278.
- J. S. Roskell, 'Perspectives in English Parliamentary History', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, XLVI (1964), pp. 448-475.
- "Neale, Sir John Ernest (1890–1975)". Making History. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- Patrick Collinson, "Neale, Sir John Ernest (1890–1975)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (2004) online, accessed 24 Aug 2011
- Harold Hulme, "Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments: The Work of Sir John Neale," Journal of Modern History Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 1958), pp. 236–240 in JSTOR
- Headstone in Harrogate Cemetery