The ACTS OF SUPREMACY are two acts of the Parliament of England
passed in 1534 and 1559 which established King Henry VIII of England
and subsequent monarchs as the supreme head of the
Church of England .
Prior to 1534, the supreme head of the English Church was the Pope of
* 1 First Act of Supremacy 1534
* 1.1 Irish Act of Supremacy, 1537
* 2 Second Act of Supremacy 1559 * 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 External links
FIRST ACT OF SUPREMACY 1534
The first Act of Supremacy was passed on 3 November 1534 (26 Hen.
VIII c. 1) by the
Parliament of England . It granted King Henry VIII
The act declared that the king was "the only supreme head on Earth of
the Church of England" and that the
English crown shall enjoy "all
honours, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges,
authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said
dignity." The wording of the act made clear that Parliament was not
granting the king the title (thereby suggesting that they had the
right to withdraw it later); rather, it was acknowledging an
established fact. In the Act of Supremacy, Henry abandoned Rome
completely. He thereby asserted the independence of the _Ecclesia
Anglicana _. He appointed himself and his successors as the supreme
rulers of the English church. Henry had been declared "Defender of the
Fidei Defensor _) in 1521 by
Pope Leo X for his pamphlet
The 1534 Act marks the beginning of the English Reformation . There were a number of reasons for this Act, primarily the need for a male heir to the throne. Henry tried for years to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon , and had convinced himself that God was punishing him for marrying his brother's widow. But Pope Clement VII was under the control of Charles V , the Holy Roman Emperor and Catherine's nephew; he refused to grant the annulment because, according to Roman Catholic teaching, a validly contracted marriage is indivisible until death, and thus the pope cannot annul a marriage simply because of a canonical impediment previously dispensed . The Treasons Act was later passed: it provided that to disavow the Act of Supremacy and to deprive the King of his "dignity, title, or name" was to be considered treason . The most famous public figure to resist the Treason Act was Sir Thomas More .
IRISH ACT OF SUPREMACY, 1537
In 1537, the Irish Supremacy Act was passed by the Parliament of Ireland, establishing Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church of Ireland, as had earlier been done in England.
SECOND ACT OF SUPREMACY 1559
Main article: Act of Supremacy 1558
Henry's Act of Supremacy was repealed in 1554 in the reign of his
staunchly Roman Catholic daughter, Queen Mary I . It was reinstated by
Mary's Protestant half-sister, Queen
Elizabeth I , when she ascended
the throne. Elizabeth declared herself
Supreme Governor of the Church
Historian G. R. Elton argues that, "in law and political theory the
Elizabethan supremacy was essentially parliamentary, while Henry
VIII's had been essentially personal." Supremacy was extinguished
under Cromwell, but restored in 1660. The Stuart kings used it as a
justification for controlling the appointment of bishops. Richard
Hooker put it in a nutshell: "There is not any man of the Church of
The Act was passed in 1559, but is dated 1558 because until 1793 legislation was backdated to the beginning of the session of Parliament in which it was passed.
* Anglicanism portal
* ^ Kinney, Arthur F; Swain, David W; Hill, Eugene D.; Long,
William A. (17 November 2000). _Tudor England: An Encyclopedia_.
Routledge. p. 132. ISBN 9781136745300 . Retrieved 3 November 2016.
* ^ "Henry VIII\'s Act of Supremacy (1534)- original text" English
History. David Ross and Britain Express
* ^ _ Thurston, Herbert (1913). "Henry VIII". In Herbermann,
Catholic Encyclopedia _. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
* ^ _ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Defender of the Faith".
Encyclopædia Britannica _. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
* ^ David Loades, _Henry VIII and His Queens_ (1994) p 179
* ^ To marry Catherine in the first place, Henry had requested and
received a special dispensation from
Pope Julius II