Professor F. J. Fisher wrote in 1940 that the twentieth century has been ‘busily recreating the sixteenth century in its own image’. Historical re-evaluation is always in part narcissistic. Two world wars have left their scars on our view of history and, if nothing else, have given us insights into the Tudor age which, like our own, faced ideological wars of survival. The quest for economic and military security and the dream of the welfare state have led the twentieth century to forsake not only the ethical and institutional standards of the nineteenth century but also to deny its interpretation of history. The ancient shibboleths, the familiar landmarks of Tudor history, and the comfortable generalizations about despotism, mercantilism, and ‘new monarchy’ are all being swept aside by a generation of historians who claim greater understanding of the past.