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John Prestall: A Complex Relationship with the Elizabethan Regime

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dc.contributor.advisor Parry, Glyn
dc.contributor.author Devine, Michael
dc.date.accessioned 2010-08-12T23:55:12Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-12T20:37:45Z
dc.date.available 2010-08-12T23:55:12Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-12T20:37:45Z
dc.date.copyright 2010
dc.date.issued 2010
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/21889
dc.description.abstract This thesis is the biography of John Prestall (c.1527-c.1598) an unsavoury, nefarious, spendthrift, Catholic gentleman from Elizabethan England. A conspirator, opportunist informer, occult conjurer, conman and alchemist, Prestall's biography provides an alternative perspective from which to view Elizabethan history, exposing the dark fringe of the Elizabethan Court and the murky political underworld it attracted. In the polarised politico-religious ferment of late Tudor England, Prestall perennially in debt, utilised his occult powers for his own ruthless self-interest and preservation. Always looking for the best deal, he oscillated between using sorcery and astrology in conspiracies against both Mary I and Elizabeth I, and then traded alchemical promises with members of the Elizabethan establishment for patronage, pardons, and returns from exile. Through an examination of the surviving manuscript correspondence and contemporary print material, this thesis situates Prestall in the broader context of Elizabethan England and uses his life as a conduit linking together a sequence of previously unrelated plots, conspiracies and patronage relationships. Prestall's life, as documented in the manuscripts, was not primarily directed by his Catholic faith which played a secondary role to his search for the best deal and cure for his debt-ridden circumstances. This presents an interesting contrast to members of the Elizabethan regime whose Protestant ideological view of the Catholic-Protestant clash directed many of their actions. This biography explores Prestall's use of conjuring and alchemy to demonstrate the important influence magic had in Elizabethan political conspiracies and Court politics. Within a society whose belief system held magic to be an inherent part of the natural world, Prestall unscrupulously used his astrological and alchemical talents to whatever ends he thought would provide him the biggest payoff. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Conspiracy en_NZ
dc.subject Magic en_NZ
dc.subject Patronage en_NZ
dc.title John Prestall: A Complex Relationship with the Elizabethan Regime en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.marsden 430109 History: British en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline History en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Master of Arts en_NZ

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