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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Dr Anne Overell

Honorary Fellow
(1 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2020) in the Department of Theology and Religion

Contact Dr Anne Overell (email at


I am a historian of sixteenth-century religious reform - in its ‘catholic’ and ‘protestant’ varieties, and others in between. The main theme of my published work is that English reformers picked up ideas from Italy – and ran with them. Also, I study religious misfits, those marooned, unconvinced or evasive: contemporaries called them ‘nicodemites’. Among so-called nicodemites, Cardinal Reginald Pole and his friends are a special interest: I have studied their book collections, their piety and the virulent propaganda against them, and against all who hid their beliefs.


I worked at the Open University for many years but I am now an Honorary Research Fellow at Durham. In that role I research and write, and collaborate with graduates and other scholars in Britain and in Italy. I contribute regularly to seminars and conferences at Durham and elsewhere.


Authored book

  • Overell, Anne (2017). Nicodemites between Italy and Tudor England. Brill.
  • Overell, Anne (2008). Italian Reform and English Reformations, c.1535–c.1585. Ashgate.

Chapter in book

  • Overell, Anne (2012). ‘Soul Talk and the Reformation’. In Reforming Reformation. Mayer, Thomas F. Ashgate. 119-140.
  • Overell, Anne (2004). ‘A Nicodemite in England and Italy: Edward Courtenay, 1548–1556’. In John Foxe at Home and Abroad. Loades, David Ashgate. 117-135.
  • Overell, Anne (2004). ‘Bernardino Ochino’s Books and English Religious Opinion: 1547–1580’. In The Church and the Book. Swanson, Robert Boydell. 201-211.
  • Overell, Anne (2004). ‘Recantation and Retribution: “Remembering Francis Spira”, 1548–1638’. In Retribution, Repentance and Reconciliation. Cooper, Kate & Gregory, Jeremy Boydell. 159-168.
  • Overell, Anne (2002). ‘Edwardian Court Humanism and Il Beneficio di Cristo, 1547–1553’. In Reassessing Tudor Humanism. Woolfson, Jonathan Palgrave. 151-174.

Journal Article

  • Overell, M. Anne & Willoughby, James M.W. (2012). ‘Books from the Circle of Cardinal Pole: the Italian Library of Michael Throckmorton’. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 75: 111-40.
  • Overell, Anne (2012). ‘Pole’s Piety? The Devotional Reading of Reginald Pole and his Friends’. Journal of Ecclesiastical History (63): 458-474.
  • Overell, Anne & Scott, Lucas (2012). ‘Whose Wonderful News? Italian Satire and William Baldwin’s Wonderfull Newes of the Death of Paul the III’. Renaissance Studies 26: 180-196.
  • Overell, Anne (2009). ‘Cardinal Pole's Special Agent: Michael Throckmorton, c.1503–1558’. History 94(315): 265-278.
  • Overell, Anne (2006). 'An English Friendship and Italian Reform: Richard Morison and Michael Throckmorton, 1532–1538'. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 57: 478–493.
  • Overell, Anne (2000). 'Vergerio’s Anti-Nicodemite Propaganda and England: 1547–1558'. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 51: 296–318.
  • Overell, Anne (1999). 'The Reformation of Death in Italy and England: circa 1550'. Renaissance and Reformation 23: 5-21.
  • Overell, Anne (1995). ‘The Exploitation of Francesco Spiera’. Sixteenth Century Journal 26: 619–637