English Reformation
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The English Reformation took place in
16th-century England The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in History of England, England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in Englan ...
when the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
broke away from the authority of the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, 'father'), also known as supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome (or historically the patriarch of Rome), head of the worldwide Cathol ...
and the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
. These events were part of the wider European
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
in
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska Western is a village in Saline County, Nebraska, Saline County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 224 at the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census. History Western was laid out in 1 ...
and
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) between Catholic Church, Catholicism and Protestanti ...
. Ideologically, the groundwork for the Reformation was laid by Renaissance humanists who believed that the
Scriptures Religious texts, including scripture, are Text (literary theory), texts which various religions consider to be of central importance to their religious tradition. They differ from literature by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, m ...
were the only source of Christian faith and criticized religious practices which they considered superstitious. By 1520, Martin Luther's new ideas were known and debated in England, but
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
s were a religious minority and
heretic Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
s under the law. The English Reformation began as more of a political affair than a theological dispute. In 1527,
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his Wives of Henry VIII, six marriages, and for his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) ...
requested an annulment of his marriage, but
Pope Clement VII Pope Clement VII ( la, Clemens VII; it, Clemente VII; born Giulio de' Medici; 26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 November 1523 to his death on 25 September 1534. Deemed "the ...
refused. In response, the Reformation Parliament (1532–1534) passed laws abolishing papal authority in England and declared Henry to be head of the Church of England. Final authority in doctrinal disputes now rested with the monarch. Though a religious traditionalist himself, Henry relied on Protestants to support and implement his religious agenda. The
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the ...
and
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public ritual of worship performed by a religious group. ''Liturgy'' can also be used to refer specifically to public worship by Christian, Christians. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal r ...
of the Church of England became markedly Protestant during the reign of Henry's son
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. He was crowned on 20 February 1547 at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour ...
(1547–1553) largely along lines laid down by Archbishop
Thomas Cranmer Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's ...
. Under
Mary I Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, and as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents, was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from July 1553 and Queen of Sp ...
(1553–1558), Roman Catholicism was restored and England was briefly under papal jurisdiction. The
Elizabethan Religious Settlement The Elizabethan Religious Settlement is the name given to the religious and political arrangements made for England during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603). Implemented between 1559 and 1563, the settlement is considered the end of the E ...
reintroduced the Protestant religion but in a more moderate manner. Nevertheless, disputes over the structure, theology, and worship of the Church of England continued for generations. The English Reformation is generally considered to have concluded during the reign of
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last of the five House of Tudor monarchs and is ...
(1558–1603), but scholars also speak of a "Long Reformation" stretching into the 17th and 18th centuries. This time period includes the violent disputes over religion manifested in the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
s and the execution of
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
. After the
Stuart Restoration The Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland took place in 1660 when Charles II of England, King Charles II returned from exile in contine ...
, the Church of England remained the
established church A state religion (also called religious state or official religion) is a religion or creed officially endorsed by a sovereign state. A state with an official religion (also known as confessional state), while not secular state, secular, is not n ...
, but a number of nonconformist churches now existed whose members suffered various
civil disabilities Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' political freedom, freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and ...
until these were removed many years later. A substantial but dwindling minority of people from the late 16th to early 19th centuries remained Roman Catholics in England. Their church organization remained illegal until the Relief Act of 1829.


Competing religious ideas

England began the 16th century as a Roman Catholic nation.
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
taught that contrite persons could cooperate with
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
towards their
salvation Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its c ...
by performing
good works In Christian theology, good works, or simply works, are a person's (exterior) actions or deeds, in contrast to inner qualities such as Grace in Christianity, grace or faith in Christianity, faith. Views by denomination Anglican Churches The ...
(see
synergism In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Chris ...
). God's
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
was given through the seven
sacrament A sacrament is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is recognized as being particularly important and significant. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments ...
s—
Baptism Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost i ...
,
Confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism, confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant (religion), covenant created in baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. For adults, it is an wikt:affirmation, affirma ...
,
Marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between t ...
, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick,
Penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of Repentance (theology), repentance for Christian views on sin, sins committed, as well as an alternate name for the Catholic Church, Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox s ...
and the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
. The Eucharist was celebrated during the
Mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity of matter in a Physical object, physical body, until the discovery of the atom and par ...
, the central act of Catholic worship. In this service, a
priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in p ...
consecrated bread and wine to become the
body Body may refer to: In science * Physical body, an object in physics that represents a large amount, has mass or takes up space * Body (biology), the physical material of an organism * Body plan, the physical features shared by a group of animal ...
and
blood of Christ Blood of Christ, also known as the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Christian theology refers to (a) the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ primarily on the Christian Cross, Cross, and the salvation which Christianity t ...
through
transubstantiation Transubstantiation (Latin language, Latin: ''transubstantiatio''; Greek language, Greek: μετουσίωσις ''metousiosis'') is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance ...
. The church taught that, in the name of the congregation, the priest offered to God the same sacrifice of Christ on the cross that provided atonement for the
sins In a religion, religious context, sin is a transgression against divine law. Each culture has its own interpretation of what it means to commit a sin. While sins are generally considered actions, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, ...
of humanity. The Mass was also an offering of prayer by which the living could help
soul In many religious and philosophical traditions, there is a belief that a soul is "the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being". Etymology The Modern English noun '':wikt:soul, soul'' is derived from Old English ''sāwol, sāwel''. The ea ...
s in
purgatory Purgatory (, borrowed into English language, English via Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman and Old French) is, according to the belief of some Christianity, Christian denominations (mostly Catholic), an intermediate state after physical death ...
. While penance removed the guilt attached to sin, Catholicism taught that a penalty still remained. It was believed that most people would end their lives with these penalties unsatisfied and would have to spend time in purgatory. Time in purgatory could be lessened through
indulgence In the teaching of the Catholic Church, an indulgence (, from , 'permit') is "a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins". The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' describes an indulgence as "a remission before God of ...
s and prayers for the dead, which were made possible by the
communion of saints The communion of saints (), when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church In ecclesiology, the Christian Church is what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christi ...
.
Lollardy Lollardy, also known as Lollardism or the Lollard movement, was a proto-Protestantism, proto-Protestant Christianity, Christian religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century until the 16th-century English Reformation. It was initial ...
anticipated some Protestant teachings. Derived from the writings of
John Wycliffe John Wycliffe (; also spelled Wyclif, Wickliffe, and other variants; 1328 – 31 December 1384) was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, Catholic Church, Catholic priest, and a seminary professor at th ...
, a 14th-century theologian and Bible translator, Lollardy stressed the primacy of scripture and emphasised
preaching A sermon is a religious discourse or oration by a preacher, usually a member of clergy. Sermons address a scriptural, theological, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. El ...
over the Eucharist, holding the latter to be but a
memorial A memorial is an object or place which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person or a historical, Tragedy (event), tragic event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objec ...
. Though persecuted and much reduced in numbers and influence by the 15th century, Lollards were receptive to Protestant ideas. Renaissance humanists, such as
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; ; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus, St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Rote ...
(who lived in England for a time),
John Colet John Colet (January 1467 – 16 September 1519) was an English Catholic priest and educational pioneer. John Colet was an English scholar, Renaissance humanist, theologian, member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and Dean of Old St Paul's ...
and
Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), veneration, venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He also served Henry VII ...
, called for a return ''
ad fontes ''Ad fontes'' is a List of Latin phrases, Latin expression which means " ackto the sources" (lit. "to the sources"). The phrase epitomizes the renewed study of Greek literature, Greek and Latin literature, Latin classics in Renaissance humanis ...
'' ("back to the sources") of Christian faith—the scriptures as understood through textual and linguistic scholarship—and wanted to make the Bible available in the vernacular. Humanists criticised so-called superstitious practices and clerical corruption, while emphasising inward piety over religious ritual. Some of the early Protestant leaders went through a humanist phase before embracing the new movement. The
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
was initiated by a German monk named
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...
. By the early 1520s, Luther's views were known and disputed in England. The main plank of Luther's theology was justification by faith alone rather than by good works. In this view, God's unmerited favour is the only way for humans to be justified—it cannot be achieved or earned by righteous living. In other words, justification is a gift from God received through
faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religion, one can define faith as "belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often ...
. If Luther was correct, then the Mass, the sacraments, charitable acts, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, pilgrimage, and the veneration of relics do not mediate divine favour. To believe otherwise would be
superstition A superstition is any belief or practice considered by non-practitioners to be irrational or supernatural, attributed to fate or magic (supernatural), magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly app ...
at best and
idolatry Idolatry is the worship of a cult image or "idol" as though it were God. In Abrahamic religions (namely Judaism, Samaritanism, Christianity, the Baháʼí Faith, and Islam) idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other than the Go ...
at worst. Early Protestants portrayed Catholic practices such as confession to priests,
clerical celibacy Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religions that some or all members of the clergy be unmarried. Clerical celibacy also requires abstention from deliberately indulging in sexual thoughts and behavior outside of marriage, because thes ...
, and requirements to fast and keep
vows A vow (Latin language, Lat. ''votum'', vow, promise; see vote) is a promise or oath. A vow is used as a promise, a promise solemn rather than casual. Marriage vows Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other ...
as burdensome and spiritually oppressive. Not only did purgatory lack any biblical basis according to Protestants, but the clergy were also accused of leveraging the fear of purgatory to make money from prayers and masses. Catholics countered that justification by faith alone was a "licence to sin". The publication of
William Tyndale William Tyndale (; sometimes spelled ''Tynsdale'', ''Tindall'', ''Tindill'', ''Tyndall''; – ) was an English biblical scholar and linguist who became a leading figure in the Protestantism, Protestant Reformation in the years leading up ...
's English New Testament in 1526 helped to spread Protestant ideas. Printed abroad and smuggled into the country, the
Tyndale Bible The Tyndale Bible generally refers to the body of Bible translations, biblical translations by William Tyndale into Early Modern English, made . Tyndale's Bible is credited with being the first Bible translation in the English language to work ...
was the first English Bible to be mass produced; there were probably 16,000 copies in England by 1536. Tyndale's translation was highly influential, forming the basis of all later English translations. An attack on traditional religion, Tyndale's translation included an epilogue explaining Luther's theology of justification by faith, and many translation choices were designed to undermine traditional Catholic teachings. Tyndale translated the Greek word ''charis'' as ''favour'' rather than ''grace'' to de-emphasize the role of grace-giving sacraments. His choice of ''love'' rather than ''charity'' to translate ''
agape In Christianity, agape (; ) is "the highest form of Greek words for love, love, Charity (virtue), charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". This is in contrast to philia, Brotherly love (philosophy), brotherly love, or philautia ...
'' de-emphasized good works. When rendering the Greek verb '' metanoeite'' into English, Tyndale used '' repent'' rather than ''do penance''. The former word indicated an internal turning to God, while the latter translation supported the sacrament of confession. Protestant ideas were popular among some parts of the English population, especially among academics and merchants with connections to continental Europe. Protestant thought was better received at
Cambridge University The University of Cambridge is a Public university, public collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the world' ...
than
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
. A group of reform-minded Cambridge students (known by moniker "Little Germany") met at the White Horse tavern from the mid-1520s. Its members included Robert Barnes,
Hugh Latimer Hugh Latimer ( – 16 October 1555) was a Fellow A fellow is a concept whose exact meaning depends on context. In learned or professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who works in a specified professional a ...
, John Frith,
Thomas Bilney Thomas Bilney ( 149519 August 1531) was an English Christian martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', Word stem, stem , ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, or refusi ...
,
George Joye George Joye (also Joy and ) (c. 1495 – 1553) was a 16th-century Bible List of Bible translators, translator who produced the first printed Bible translations, translation of several books of the Old Testament into English (1530–1534), as well ...
and Thomas Arthur. Nevertheless, English Catholicism was strong and popular in the early 1500s, and those who held Protestant sympathies remained a religious minority until political events intervened. As
heretics Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
in the eyes of church and state, early Protestants were persecuted. Between 1530 and 1533,
Thomas Hitton Thomas Hitton (died February 1530) is generally considered to be the first English Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on th ...
(England's first Protestant
martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', Word stem, stem , ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, or refusing to renounce or advocate, a religious belief or other cause as demanded by a ...
), Thomas Bilney, Richard Bayfield, John Tewkesbury, James Bainham, Thomas Benet, Thomas Harding, John Frith and Andrew Hewet were burned to death.
William Tracy William Tracy (December 1, 1917 – June 18, 1967) was an American character actor A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or Eccentricity (behavior), eccentric character (arts), characters.28 April 201 ...
was posthumously convicted of heresy for denying purgatory and affirming justification by faith, and his corpse was disinterred and burned.


Henrician Reformation


Annulment controversy

Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his Wives of Henry VIII, six marriages, and for his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) ...
acceded to the English throne in 1509 at the age of 17. He made a dynastic marriage with
Catherine of Aragon Catherine of Aragon (also spelt as Katherine, ; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533. She was previousl ...
, widow of his brother
Arthur Arthur is a common male given name of Brittonic languages, Brythonic origin. Its popularity derives from it being the name of the legendary hero King Arthur. The etymology is disputed. It may derive from the Celtic ''Artos'' meaning “Bear”. An ...
, in June 1509, just before his coronation on Midsummer's Day. Unlike his
father A father is the male parent of a child. Besides the paternal bonds of a father to his children, the father may have a parental, legal, and social relationship with the child that carries with it certain rights and obligations. An adoptive fathe ...
, who was secretive and conservative, the young Henry appeared the epitome of chivalry and sociability. An observant Roman Catholic, he heard up to five masses a day (except during the hunting season); of "powerful but unoriginal mind", he let himself be influenced by his advisors from whom he was never apart, by night or day. He was thus susceptible to whoever had his ear. This contributed to a state of hostility between his young contemporaries and the
Lord Chancellor The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking traditional minister among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in Scotland and England in the United Kingdom, no ...
, Cardinal
Thomas Wolsey Thomas Wolsey ( – 29 November 1530) was an English statesman and Catholic bishop. When Henry VIII became King of England in 1509, Wolsey became the king's Lord High Almoner, almoner. Wolsey's affairs prospered and by 1514 he had become the ...
. As long as Wolsey had his ear, Henry's Roman Catholicism was secure: in 1521, he had defended the Roman Catholic Church from Martin Luther's accusations of heresy in a book he wrote—probably with considerable help from the conservative
Bishop of Rochester The Bishop of Rochester is the Ordinary (officer), ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury. The town of Rochester, Kent, Rochester has the bishop's seat, at the Rochester Cathedral, Cathedral Chur ...
John Fisher John Fisher (c. 19 October 1469 – 22 June 1535) was an Catholic Church, English Catholic Bishop (Catholicism), bishop, Cardinal (Catholic Church), cardinal, and theologian. Fisher was also an academic and Chancellor (education), Chancellor o ...
—entitled ''The Defence of the Seven Sacraments'', for which he was awarded the title "Defender of the Faith" (''
Fidei Defensor Defender of the Faith ( la, Fidei Defensor or, specifically feminine, '; french: Défenseur de la Foi) is a phrase that has been used as part of the full Royal and noble styles, style of many English, Scottish, and later British monarchs since the ...
'') by
Pope Leo X Pope Leo X ( it, Leone X; born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, 11 December 14751 December 1521) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 March 1513 to his death in December 1521. Born into the prominent political an ...
. (Successive English and British monarchs have retained this title to the present, even after the Anglican Church broke away from Roman Catholicism, in part because the title was re-conferred by Parliament in 1544, after the split.) Wolsey's enemies at court included those who had been influenced by
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Cathol ...
ideas, among whom was the attractive, charismatic
Anne Boleyn Anne Boleyn (; 1501 or 1507 – 19 May 1536) was List of English royal consorts, Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the Wives of Henry VIII, second wife of King Henry VIII. The circumstances of her marriage and of her execution by behe ...
. Anne arrived at court in 1522 as
maid of honour A maid of honour is a junior attendant of a queen in royal households. The position was and is junior to the lady-in-waiting A lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a Royal court, court, attending on a royal wom ...
to Queen Catherine, having spent some years in France being educated by
Queen Claude Claude of France (13 October 1499 – 20 July 1524) was Queen of France by marriage to King Francis I. She was also ruling Duchess of Brittany from 1514 until her death in 1524. She was a daughter of King Louis XII of France Louis XII (27 ...
of France. She was a woman of "charm, style and wit, with will and savagery which made her a match for Henry". Anne was a distinguished French conversationalist, singer, and dancer. She was cultured and is the disputed author of several songs and poems. By 1527, Henry wanted his marriage to Catherine annulled. She had not produced a male heir who survived longer than two months, and Henry wanted a son to secure the
Tudor dynasty The House of Tudor was a royal house of largely Welsh and English origin that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. They descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd and Catherine of Valois, Catherine of France. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdo ...
. Before Henry's father ( Henry VII) ascended the throne, England had been beset by civil warfare over rival claims to the English crown. Henry wanted to avoid a similar uncertainty over the succession. Catherine of Aragon's only surviving child was Princess Mary. Henry claimed that this lack of a male heir was because his marriage was "blighted in the eyes of God". Catherine had been his late brother's wife, and it was therefore against biblical teachings for Henry to have married her ( Leviticus 20:21); a special dispensation from
Pope Julius II Pope Julius II ( la, Iulius II; it, Giulio II; born Giuliano della Rovere; 5 December 144321 February 1513) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomi ...
had been needed to allow the wedding in the first place. Henry argued the marriage was never valid because the biblical prohibition was part of unbreakable divine law, and even popes could not dispense with it. In 1527, Henry asked
Pope Clement VII Pope Clement VII ( la, Clemens VII; it, Clemente VII; born Giulio de' Medici; 26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 November 1523 to his death on 25 September 1534. Deemed "the ...
to annul the marriage, but the Pope refused. According to
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or chur ...
, the pope could not annul a marriage on the basis of a
canonical impediment In the canon law (Catholic Church), canon law of the Catholic Church, an impediment is a legal obstacle that prevents a sacraments of the Catholic Church, sacrament from being performed either Validity and liceity (Catholic Church), validly or lic ...
previously dispensed. Clement also feared the wrath of Catherine's nephew,
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanorum, german: Kaiser der Römer) during the Middle Ages, and also known as the Roman-German Emperor since the early modern period ( la, Imperator ...
Charles V Charles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1500–1558) * Charles V of Naples (1661–1700), better known as Charles II of Spain * Charles V of France (1338–1380), called the Wise * Charles V, Duke of Lorraine (1643–1690) * Infant ...
, whose troops earlier that year had sacked Rome and briefly taken the Pope prisoner. The combination of Henry's "scruple of conscience" and his captivation by Anne Boleyn made his desire to rid himself of his queen compelling. The indictment of his chancellor Cardinal Wolsey in 1529 for
praemunire In English history, ''praemunire'' or ''praemunire facias'' () refers to a 14th-century law that prohibited the assertion or maintenance of papal jurisdiction, or any other foreign jurisdiction or claim of supremacy in England England is ...
(taking the authority of the papacy above the Crown) and Wolsey's subsequent death in November 1530 on his way to London to answer a charge of high treason left Henry open to both the influences of the supporters of the queen and the opposing influences of those who sanctioned the abandonment of the Roman allegiance, for whom an annulment was but an opportunity.


Actions against clergy

In 1529, the King summoned
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
to deal with the annulment and other grievances against the church. The Catholic Church was a powerful institution in England with a number of privileges. The king could not tax or sue clergy in civil courts. The church could also grant fugitives
sanctuary A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred space, sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sa ...
, and many areas of the law―such as family law―were controlled by the church. For centuries, kings had attempted to reduce the church's power, and the English Reformation was a continuation of this power struggle. The Reformation Parliament sat from 1529 to 1536 and brought together those who wanted reform but who disagreed what form it should take. There were common lawyers who resented the privileges of the clergy to summon
laity In religious organizations, the laity () consists of all Church membership, members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-Ordination, ordained members of religious orders, e.g. a nun or a lay brother. In both religious and wi ...
to their
ecclesiastical court An ecclesiastical court, also called court Christian or court spiritual, is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the Middle Ages, these courts had much wider powers in many areas of Europe than be ...
s, and there were those who had been influenced by Lutheranism and were hostile to the theology of Rome. Henry's chancellor,
Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), veneration, venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He also served Henry VII ...
, successor to Wolsey, also wanted reform: he wanted new laws against heresy. Lawyer and member of Parliament
Thomas Cromwell Thomas Cromwell (; 1485 – 28 July 1540), briefly Earl of Essex, was an English lawyer and statesman who served as List of English chief ministers, chief minister to King Henry VIII from 1534 to 1540, when he was beheaded on orders of the kin ...
saw how Parliament could be used to advance royal supremacy over the church and further Protestant beliefs. Initially, Parliament passed minor legislation to control ecclesiastical fees, clerical pluralism, and sanctuary. In the matter of the annulment, no progress seemed possible. The Pope seemed more afraid of Emperor Charles V than of Henry. Anne, Cromwell and their allies wished simply to ignore the Pope, but in October 1530 a meeting of clergy and lawyers advised that Parliament could not empower the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally resp ...
to act against the Pope's prohibition. Henry thus resolved to bully the
priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in p ...
s. Having first charged eight bishops and seven other clerics with praemunire, the King decided in 1530 to proceed against the whole clergy for violating the 1392 Statute of Praemunire, which forbade obedience to the Pope or any foreign ruler. Henry wanted the clergy of
Canterbury province The Canterbury Province was a province of New Zealand from 1853 until the abolition of provincial government in 1876. Its capital was Christchurch Christchurch ( ; mi, Ōtautahi) is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand ...
to pay £100,000 for their pardon; this was a sum equal to the Crown's annual income. This was agreed by the
Convocation of Canterbury The Convocations of Canterbury and York are the synodical assemblies of the bishops and clergy of each of the two provinces A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives ...
on 24 January 1531. It wanted the payment spread over five years, but Henry refused. The convocation responded by withdrawing their payment altogether and demanded Henry fulfil certain guarantees before they would give him the money. Henry refused these conditions, agreeing only to the five-year period of payment. On 7 February, Convocation was asked to agree to five articles that specified that: # The clergy recognise Henry as the "sole protector and supreme head of the English Church and clergy" # The King was responsible for the souls of his subjects # The privileges of the church were upheld only if they did not detract from the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the monarch, sovereign and whic ...
and the laws of the realm # The King pardoned the clergy for violating the Statute of Praemunire # The laity were also pardoned. In Parliament, Bishop Fisher championed Catherine and the clergy, inserting into the first article the phrase "as far as the word of God allows". On 11 February,
William Warham William Warham ( – 22 August 1532) was the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversigh ...
, Archbishop of Canterbury, presented the revised wording to Convocation. The clergy were to acknowledge the King to be "singular protector, supreme lord and even, so far as the law of Christ allows, supreme head of the English Church and clergy". When Warham requested a discussion, there was silence. Warham then said, "He who is silent seems to consent", to which a bishop responded, "Then we are all silent." The Convocation granted consent to the King's five articles and the payment on 8 March 1531. Later, the Convocation of York agreed to the same on behalf of the clergy of York province. That same year, Parliament passed the Pardon to Clergy Act 1531. By 1532, Cromwell was responsible for managing government business in the House of Commons. He authored and presented to the Commons the '' Supplication Against the Ordinaries'', which was a list of grievances against the church, including abuses of power and Convocation's independent legislative authority. After passing the Commons, the ''Supplication'' was presented to the King as a petition for reform on 18 March. On 26 March, the Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates mandated the clergy pay no more than five percent of their first year's revenue ( annates) to Rome. On 10 May, the King demanded of Convocation that the church renounce all authority to make laws. On 15 May, Convocation renounced its authority to make canon law without royal assent—the so called Submission of the Clergy. (Parliament subsequently gave this statutory force with the Submission of the Clergy Act). The next day, More resigned as lord chancellor. This left Cromwell as Henry's chief minister. (Cromwell never became chancellor. His power came—and was lost—through his informal relations with Henry.)


Separation from Rome

Archbishop Warham died in August 1532. Henry wanted
Thomas Cranmer Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's ...
—a Protestant who could be relied on to oppose the papacy—to replace him. The Pope reluctantly approved Cranmer's appointment, and he was consecrated on 30 March 1533. By this time, Henry was secretly married to a pregnant Anne. The impending birth of an heir gave new urgency to annulling his marriage to Catherine. Nevertheless, a decision continued to be delayed because Rome was the final authority in all ecclesiastical matters. To address this issue, Parliament passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals, which outlawed appeals to Rome on ecclesiastical matters and declared that This declared England an independent country in every respect. English historian Geoffrey Elton called this act an "essential ingredient" of the "Tudor revolution" in that it expounded a theory of
national sovereignty Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is a principle in international law that each Sovereign state, state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory. The principle underlies the modern International relations, international system of so ...
. Cranmer was now able to grant an annulment of the marriage to Catherine as Henry required, pronouncing on 23 May the judgment that Henry's marriage with Catherine was against the law of God. The Pope responded by excommunicating Henry on 11 July 1533. Anne gave birth to a daughter, Princess Elizabeth, on 7 September 1533. In 1534, Parliament took further action to limit papal authority in England. A new Heresy Act ensured that no one could be punished for speaking against the Pope and also made it more difficult to convict someone of heresy; however,
sacramentarian The Sacramentarians were Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, li ...
s and
Anabaptist Anabaptism (from New Latin language, Neo-Latin , from the Greek language, Greek : 're-' and 'baptism', german: Täufer, earlier also )Since the middle of the 20th century, the German-speaking world no longer uses the term (translation: "Re- ...
s continued to be vigorously persecuted. The
Act in Absolute Restraint of Annates The Appointment of Bishops Act 1533 (25 Hen 8 c 20), also known as the Act Concerning Ecclesiastical Appointments and Absolute Restraint of Annates, is an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of England. This Act remain ...
outlawed all annates to Rome and also ordered that if
cathedral A cathedral is a church (building), church that contains the ''cathedra'' () of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, Annual conferences within Methodism, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral ...
s refused the King's nomination for bishop, they would be liable to punishment by praemunire. The Act of First Fruits and Tenths transferred the taxes on ecclesiastical income from the Pope to the Crown. The
Act Concerning Peter's Pence and Dispensations The Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533 (25 Hen 8 c 21), also known as the Act Concerning Peter's Pence and Dispensations, is an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of England. It was passed by the English Reformation Parl ...
outlawed the annual payment by landowners of
Peter's Pence Peter's Pence (or ''Denarii Sancti Petri'' and "Alms of St Peter") are donations or payments made directly to the Holy See of the Catholic Church. The practice began under the Saxons in England and spread through Europe. Both before and after the ...
to the Pope, and transferred the power to grant dispensations and licences from the Pope to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This Act also reiterated that England had "no superior under God, but only your Grace" and that Henry's "imperial crown" had been diminished by "the unreasonable and uncharitable usurpations and exactions" of the Pope. The First Act of Supremacy made Henry
Supreme Head of the Church of England The title of Supreme Head of the Church of England was created in 1531 for King Henry VIII when he first began to separate the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denomina ...
and disregarded any "usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign authority rprescription". In case this should be resisted, Parliament passed the
Treasons Act 1534 The Treasons Act 1534 (26 Hen. 8. c. 13) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of England passed in 1534, during the reign of Henry VIII of England, King Henry VIII. Background This Act was passed after the Act of Supremacy 1534, which ...
, which made it high treason punishable by death to deny royal supremacy. The following year, Thomas More and John Fisher were executed under this legislation. Finally, in 1536, Parliament passed the Act against the Pope's Authority, which removed the last part of papal authority still legal. This was Rome's power in England to decide disputes concerning
Scripture Religious texts, including scripture, are Text (literary theory), texts which various religions consider to be of central importance to their religious tradition. They differ from literature by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, m ...
.


Moderate religious reform

The break with Rome gave Henry VIII power to administer the English Church, tax it, appoint its officials, and control its laws. It also gave him control over the church's doctrine and ritual. While Henry remained a traditional Catholic, his most important supporters in breaking with Rome were the Protestants. Yet, not all of his supporters were Protestants. Some were traditionalists, such as
Stephen Gardiner Stephen Gardiner (27 July 1483 – 12 November 1555) was an English Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Mary I of England, Queen Mary I and Philip II of Spain, K ...
, opposed to the new theology but felt
papal supremacy Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, the visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful, and as pastor of the ...
was not essential to the Church of England's identity. The King relied on Protestants, such as Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, to carry out his religious programme and embraced the language of the continental Reformation, while maintaining a middle way between religious extremes. What followed was a period of doctrinal confusion as both conservatives and reformers attempted to shape the church's future direction. The reformers were aided by Cromwell, who in January 1535 was made
vicegerent Vicegerent is the official administrative deputy of a ruler or head of state: ''vice'' (Latin for "in place of") and ''gerere'' (Latin for "to carry on, conduct"). In University of Oxford, Oxford colleges of the University of Oxford, colleges, ...
in spirituals. Effectively the King's
vicar general A vicar general (previously, archdeacon) is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ...
, Cromwell's authority was greater than that of bishops, even the Archbishop of Canterbury. Largely due to Anne Boleyn's influence, a number of Protestants were appointed bishops between 1534 and 1536. These included Latimer, Thomas Goodrich, John Salcot, Nicholas Shaxton, William Barlow, John Hilsey and
Edward Foxe Edward Foxe (c. 1496 – 8 May 1538) was an English churchman, Bishop of Hereford The Bishop of Hereford is the Ordinary (officer), ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Hereford in the Province of Canterbury. The episcopal see is c ...
. During the same period, the most influential conservative bishop, Stephen Gardiner, was sent to France on a diplomatic mission and thus removed from an active role in English politics for three years. Cromwell's programme, assisted by Anne Boleyn's influence over episcopal appointments, was not merely against the clergy and the power of Rome. He persuaded Henry that safety from political alliances that Rome might attempt to bring together lay in negotiations with the German Lutheran princes of the
Schmalkaldic League The Schmalkaldic League (; ; or ) was a military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement between nations concerning national security. Nations in a military alliance agree to active participation and contribution to the defens ...
. There also seemed to be a possibility that Emperor Charles V might act to avenge his rejected aunt (Queen Catherine) and enforce the pope's excommunication. The negotiations did not lead to an alliance but did bring Lutheran ideas to England. In 1536, Convocation adopted the first doctrinal statement for the Church of England, the Ten Articles. This was followed by the '' Bishops' Book'' in 1537. These established a semi-Lutheran doctrine for the church. Justification by faith, qualified by an emphasis on good works following justification, was a core teaching. The traditional seven sacraments were reduced to three only—baptism, Eucharist and penance. Catholic teaching on praying to saints, purgatory and the use of
images An image is a visual representation of something. It can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or somehow otherwise feed into the visual system to convey information. An image can be an artifact, such as a photograph or other two-dimensiona ...
in worship was undermined. In August 1536, the same month the Ten Articles were published, Cromwell issued a set of Royal Injunctions to the clergy. Minor
feast days The calendar of saints is the traditional Christianity, Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in thi ...
were changed into normal work days, including those celebrating a church's patron saint and most feasts during harvest time (July through September). The rationale was partly economic as too many holidays led to a loss of productivity and were "the occasion of vice and idleness". In addition, Protestants considered feast days to be examples of superstition. Clergy were to discourage
pilgrimage A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, aft ...
s and instruct the people to give to the poor rather than make offerings to images. The clergy were also ordered to place Bibles in both English and Latin in every church for the people to read. This last requirement was largely ignored by the bishops for a year or more due to the lack of any authorised English translation. The only complete vernacular version was the
Coverdale Bible The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycl ...
finished in 1535 and based on Tyndale's earlier work. It lacked royal approval, however. Historian
Diarmaid MacCulloch Diarmaid Ninian John MacCulloch (; born 31 October 1951) is an English people, English academic and historian, specialising in ecclesiastical history and the history of Christianity. Since 1995, he has been a fellow of St Cross College, Oxford ...
in his study of ''The Later Reformation in England, 1547–1603'' argues that after 1537, "England's Reformation was characterized by its hatred of images, as
Margaret Aston Margaret Evelyn Buxton (; 9 October 1932 – 22 November 2014), known by her first married name Margaret Aston, was a British historian and academic specialising in the Late Medieval Period and ecclesiastical history __NOTOC__ Church histo ...
's work on iconoclasm and iconophobia has repeatedly and eloquently demonstrated." In February 1538, the famous Rood of Grace was condemned as a mechanical fraud and destroyed at
St Paul's Cross St Paul's Cross (alternative spellings – "Powles Crosse") was a preaching cross A preaching cross is a Christian cross sometimes surmounting a pulpit, which is erected outdoors to designate a preaching A sermon is a religious discour ...
. In July, the statues of
Our Lady of Walsingham Our Lady of Walsingham is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus venerated by Catholics, Western Rite Orthodoxy, Western Rite Orthodox Christians, and some Anglicans associated with the Marian apparitions to Richeldis de Faverches, a pious English peo ...
,
Our Lady of Ipswich Our Lady of Ipswich (also known as Our Lady of Grace) was a popular English Shrines to the Virgin Mary, Marian shrine before the English Reformation. Among Marian shrines, only the shrine at Walsingham attracted more visitors. Background For c ...
, and other Marian images were burned at Chelsea on Cromwell's orders. In September, Cromwell issued a second set of royal injunctions ordering the destruction of images to which pilgrimage offerings were made, the prohibition of lighting
votive candle A votive candle or prayer candle is a small candle A candle is an ignitable candle wick, wick embedded in wax, or another flammable solid substance such as tallow, that provides light, and in some cases, a Aroma compound, fragrance. A cand ...
s before images of saints, and the preaching of sermons against the veneration of images and relics. Afterwards, the shrine and bones of
Thomas Becket Thomas Becket (), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was an English nobleman who served as Lord Chancellor from 1155 to 1162, and then ...
, considered by many to have been martyred in defence of the church's liberties, were destroyed at Canterbury Cathedral.


Dissolution of the monasteries

For Cromwell and Cranmer, a step in the Protestant agenda was attacking
monasticism Monasticism (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following perio ...
, which was associated with the doctrine of purgatory. One of the primary functions of monasteries was to pray for the souls of their benefactors and for the souls of all Christians. While the King was not opposed to religious houses on theological grounds, there was concern over the loyalty of the monastic orders, which were international in character and resistant to the Royal Supremacy. The Franciscan Observant houses were closed in August 1534 after that order refused to repudiate papal authority. Between 1535 and 1537, 18
Carthusian The Carthusians, also known as the Order of Carthusians ( la, Ordo Cartusiensis), are a Latin Church, Latin enclosed religious order of the Catholic Church. The order was founded by Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The ...
s were killed for doing the same. The Crown was also experiencing financial difficulties, and the wealth of the church, in contrast to its political weakness, made confiscation of church property both tempting and feasible. Seizure of monastic wealth was not unprecedented; it had happened before in 1295, 1337, and 1369. The church owned between one-fifth and one-third of the land in all England; Cromwell realised that he could bind the
gentry Gentry (from Old French ''genterie'', from ''gentil'', "high-born, noble") are "well-born, genteel and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past. Word similar to gentle imple and decentfamilies ''Gentry'', in its widest ...
and nobility to Royal Supremacy by selling to them the huge amount of church lands, and that any reversion to pre-Royal Supremacy would entail upsetting many of the powerful people in the realm. In 1534, Cromwell initiated a visitation of the monasteries ostensibly to examine their character, but in fact, to value their assets with a view to expropriation. The visiting commissioners claimed to have uncovered sexual immorality and financial impropriety amongst the
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin ) is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicat ...
s and
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of Evangelical counsels, poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery or convent.''The Oxford English Dictionary'', vol. X, pa ...
s, which became the ostensible justification for their suppression. There were also reports of the possession and display of false relics, such as Hailes Abbey's vial of the Holy Blood, upon investigation announced to be "honey clarified and coloured with saffron". The '' Compendium Competorum'' compiled by the visitors documented ten pieces of the
True Cross The True Cross is the instrument of Jesus' crucifixion, cross upon which Jesus Christ, Jesus was said to have been Crucifixion of Jesus, crucified, particularly as an relic, object of religious veneration. There are no early accounts that the apo ...
, seven portions of the
Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; grc, Μαρία, translit=María; la, Maria; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Maria was a first-century Jews, Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Saint Joseph, Jose ...
's milk and numerous saints' girdles. Leading reformers, led by Anne Boleyn, wanted to convert monasteries into "places of study and good letters, and to the continual relief of the poor", but this was not done. In 1536, the
Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries Act The Suppression of Religious Houses Act 1535 (27 Hen 8 c 28; 1536 in modern dating), also referred to as the Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries and as the Dissolution of Lesser Monasteries Act, was an Acts of Parliament in the U ...
closed smaller houses valued at less than £200 a year. Henry used the revenue to help build coastal defences (''see
Device Forts The Device Forts, also known as Henrician castles and blockhouses, were a series of artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry Infantry is ...
'') against expected invasion, and all the land was given to the Crown or sold to the aristocracy. Thirty-four houses were saved by paying for exemptions. Monks and nuns affected by closures were transferred to larger houses, and monks had the option of becoming
secular clergy In Christianity, the term secular clergy refers to deacons and priests who are not monk, monastics or otherwise members of Consecrated life, religious life. A secular priest (sometimes known as a diocesan priest) is a priest who commits themsel ...
. The Royal Supremacy and the abolition of papal authority had not caused widespread unrest, but the attacks on monasteries and the abolition of saints' days and pilgrimages provoked violence. Mobs attacked those sent to break up monastic buildings. Suppression commissioners were attacked by local people in several places. In Northern England, there were a series of uprisings against the dissolutions in late 1536 and early 1537. The Lincolnshire Rising occurred in October 1536 and culminated in a force of 40,000 rebels assembling at Lincoln. They demanded an end to taxation during peacetime, the repeal of the
statute of uses The Statute of Uses (27 Hen 8 c 10 — enacted in 1536) was an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of England that restricted the application of use (law), uses in English property law. The Statute ended the practi ...
, an end to the suppression of monasteries, and that heresy be purged and heretics punished. Henry refused to negotiate, and the revolt collapsed as the nervous gentry convinced the common people to disperse. The
Pilgrimage of Grace The Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular revolt beginning in Yorkshire in October 1536, before spreading to other parts of Northern England including Cumberland, Northumberland, and north Lancashire, under the leadership of Robert Aske (political ...
was a more serious matter. The revolt began in October at Yorkshire and spread to the other northern counties. Around 50,000 strong, the rebels under Robert Aske's leadership restored 16 of the 26 northern monasteries that had been dissolved. Due to the size of the rebellion, the King was persuaded to negotiate. In December, the
Duke of Norfolk Duke of Norfolk is a title in the peerage of England. The seat of the Duke of Norfolk is Arundel Castle in Sussex, although the title refers to the county of Norfolk. The current duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk. The dukes ...
offered the rebels a pardon and a parliament to consider their grievances. Aske then sent the rebels home. The promises made to them, however, were ignored by the King, and Norfolk was instructed to put the rebellion down. Forty-seven of the Lincolnshire rebels were executed, and 132 from the Pilgrimage of Grace. In Southern England, smaller disturbances took place in Cornwall and Walsingham in 1537. The failure of the Pilgrimage of Grace only sped up the process of dissolution and may have convinced Henry VIII that all religious houses needed to be closed. In 1540, the last monasteries were dissolved, wiping out an important element of traditional religion. Former monks were given modest pensions from the
Court of Augmentations Thomas Cromwell established the Court of Augmentations, also called Augmentation Court or simply The Augmentation in 1536, during the reign of King Henry VIII of England. It operated alongside three lesser courts (those of Court of General Surveyo ...
, and those that could sought work as parish priests. Former nuns received smaller pensions and, as they were still bound by vows of chastity, forbidden to marry. Henry personally devised a plan to form at least thirteen new dioceses so that most counties had one based on a former monastery (or more than one), though this scheme was only partly carried out. New dioceses were established at Bristol, Gloucester, Oxford, Peterborough,
Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of W ...
and Chester, but not, for instance, at Shrewsbury, Leicester or Waltham.


Reforms reversed

According to historian Peter Marshall, Henry's religious reforms were based on the principles of "unity, obedience and the refurbishment of ancient truth". Yet, the outcome was disunity and disobedience. Impatient Protestants took it upon themselves to further reform. Priests said Mass in English rather than Latin and were marrying in violation of
clerical celibacy Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religions that some or all members of the clergy be unmarried. Clerical celibacy also requires abstention from deliberately indulging in sexual thoughts and behavior outside of marriage, because thes ...
. Not only were there divisions between traditionalists and reformers, but Protestants themselves were divided between establishment reformers who held Lutheran beliefs and radicals who held Anabaptist and Sacramentarian views. Reports of dissension from every part of England reached Cromwell daily—developments he tried to hide from the King. In September 1538, Stephen Gardiner returned to England, and official religious policy began to drift in a conservative direction. This was due in part to the eagerness of establishment Protestants to disassociate themselves from religious radicals. In September, two Lutheran princes, the
Elector of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony, also known as Electoral Saxony (German: or ), was a territory of the Holy Roman Empire from 1356–1806. It was centered around the cities of Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz. In the Golden Bull of 1356, Emperor Charles ...
and
Landgrave of Hesse The Landgraviate of Hesse (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen) was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed as a single entity from 1264 to 1567, when it was divided among the sons of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. History In the early M ...
, sent warnings of Anabaptist activity in England. A commission was swiftly created to seek out Anabaptists. Henry personally presided at the trial of John Lambert in November 1538 for denying the
real presence The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the Christianity, Christian doctrine that Jesus, Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist, not merely symbolically or metaphorically, but in a true, real and substantial way. There are a number of ...
of Christ in the Eucharist. At the same time, he shared in the drafting of a proclamation ordering Anabaptists and Sacramentaries to get out of the country or face death. Discussion of the real presence (except by those educated in the universities) was forbidden, and priests who married were to be dismissed. It was becoming clear that the King's views on religion differed from those of Cromwell and Cranmer. Henry made his traditional preferences known during the
Easter Triduum The Paschal Triduum or Easter Triduum (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then kn ...
of 1539, where he crept to the cross on
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
. Later that year, Parliament passed the Six Articles reaffirming Roman Catholic beliefs and practices such as
transubstantiation Transubstantiation (Latin language, Latin: ''transubstantiatio''; Greek language, Greek: μετουσίωσις ''metousiosis'') is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance ...
, clerical celibacy,
confession A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information th ...
to a priest, votive masses, and withholding
communion wine Sacramental wine, Communion wine, altar wine, or wine for consecration is wine obtained from grapes and intended for use in celebration of the Eucharist (also referred to as the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion, among other names). It is usually ...
from the laity. On 28 June 1540 Cromwell, Henry's longtime advisor and loyal servant, was executed. Different reasons were advanced: that Cromwell would not enforce the Act of Six Articles; that he had supported Robert Barnes, Hugh Latimer and other heretics; and that he was responsible for Henry's marriage to
Anne of Cleves Anne of Cleves (german: Anna von Kleve; 1515 – 16 July 1557) was List of English royal consorts, Queen of England from 6 January to 12 July 1540 as the Wives of Henry VIII, fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Not much is known about Anne before 1 ...
, his fourth wife. Many other arrests under the Act followed. On 30 July, the reformers Barnes, William Jerome and Thomas Gerrard were burned at the stake. In a display of religious impartiality, Thomas Abell, Richard Featherstone and Edward Powell—all Roman Catholics—were hanged and quartered while the Protestants burned. European observers were shocked and bewildered. French diplomat
Charles de Marillac Charles de Marillac (c.1510 – 2 December 1560) was a French prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the Minister (Christianity), Christian clergy who is an Ordinary (church officer), ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ord ...
wrote that Henry's religious policy was a "climax of evils" and that: Despite setbacks, Protestants managed to win some victories. In May 1541, the King ordered copies of the
Great Bible The Great Bible of 1539 was the first authorised edition of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritan ...
to be placed in all churches; failure to comply would result in a £2 fine. Protestants could celebrate the growing access to vernacular scripture as most churches had Bibles by 1545. The iconoclastic policies of 1538 were continued in the autumn when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York were ordered to destroy all remaining shrines in England. Furthermore, Cranmer survived formal charges of heresy in the Prebendaries' Plot of 1543. Traditionalists, nevertheless, seemed to have the upper hand. By the spring of 1543, Protestant innovations had been reversed, and only the break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries remained unchanged. In May 1543, a new formulary was published to replace the ''Bishops' Book''. This ''
King's Book The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (commonly abbreviated as the Thirty-nine Articles or the XXXIX Articles) are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the ...
'' rejected justification by faith alone and defended traditional ceremonies and the use of images. This was followed days later by passage of the Act for the Advancement of True Religion, which restricted Bible reading to men and women of noble birth. Henry expressed his fears to Parliament in 1545 that "the Word of God, is disputed, rhymed, sung and jangled in every ale house and tavern, contrary to the true meaning and doctrine of the same." By the spring of 1544, the conservatives appeared to be losing influence once again. In March, Parliament made it more difficult to prosecute people for violating the Six Articles. Cranmer's ''
Exhortation and Litany The ''Exhortation and Litany'', published in 1544, is the earliest officially authorized vernacular service in English. The same rite survives, in modified form, in the ''Book of Common Prayer''. Background Before the English Reformation, Processi ...
'', the first official
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language is in contrast with a "standard language". It refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, n ...
service, was published in June 1544, and the ''King's Primer'' became the only authorised English
prayer book A prayer book is a book containing prayers and perhaps devotional readings, for private or communal use, or in some cases, outlining the liturgy of religious services. Books containing mainly orders of religious services, or readings for them are ...
in May 1545. Both texts had a reformed emphasis. After the death of the conservative Edward Lee in September 1544, the Protestant Robert Holgate replaced him as Archbishop of York. In December 1545, the King was empowered to seize the property of
chantries A chantry is an ecclesiastical term that may have either of two related meanings: # a chantry Church service, service, a Christian liturgy of prayers for the dead, which historically was an obiit, or # a chantry chapel, a building on private land ...
(trust funds endowed to pay for priests to say masses for the dead). While Henry's motives were largely financial (England was at war with France and desperately in need of funds), the passage of the Chantries Act was "an indication of how deeply the doctrine of purgatory had been eroded and discredited". In 1546, the conservatives were once again in the ascendant. A series of controversial sermons preached by the Protestant Edward Crome set off a persecution of Protestants that the traditionalists used to effectively target their rivals. It was during this time that
Anne Askew Anne Askew (sometimes spelled Ayscough or Ascue) married name Anne Kyme, (152116 July 1546) was an English writer, poet, and Anabaptism, Anabaptist preacher who was condemned as a Heresy, heretic during the reign of Henry VIII of England. She a ...
was tortured in the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
and burnt at the stake. Even Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr, was suspected of heresy but saved herself by appealing to the King's mercy. With the Protestants on the defensive, traditionalists pressed their advantage by banning Protestant books. The conservative persecution of Queen Katherine, however, backfired. By November 1546, there were already signs that religious policy was once again tilting towards Protestantism. The King's will provided for a
regency A regent (from Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin: 'for the time being') because the monarch is a minor, absent, incapacitated or unable to discharge the powers and duties of the monarchy, ...
council to rule after his death, which would have been dominated by traditionalists, such as the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Chancellor Wriothesly, Bishop Gardiner and Bishop Tunstall. After a dispute with the King, Bishop Gardiner, the leading conservative churchman, was disgraced and removed as a councilor. Later, the Duke of Norfolk, the most powerful conservative nobleman, was arrested. By the time Henry died in 1547, the Protestant Edward Seymour, brother of
Jane Seymour Jane Seymour (c. 150824 October 1537) was List of English consorts, Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII of England from their Wives of Henry VIII, marriage on 30 May 1536 until her death the next year. She became queen followi ...
, Henry's third wife (and therefore uncle to the future Edward VI), managed—by a number of alliances such as with Lord Lisle—to gain control over the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advice (constitutional), advises the head of state of a State (polity), state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchy, monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a pr ...
.


Edwardian Reformation

When Henry died in 1547, his nine-year-old son,
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. He was crowned on 20 February 1547 at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour ...
, inherited the throne. Because Edward was given a Protestant humanist education, Protestants held high expectations and hoped he would be like
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah (–609 BCE) who, according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious reforms by removing official worship of gods other than Yahweh. Josiah is credited by most biblical s ...
, the biblical
king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah. According to the biblical account, this kingdom was founded after the death of Saul, when the tribe of Judah elevated David to rule over it. After seven years, David ...
who destroyed the altars and images of
Baal Baal (), or Baal,; phn, , baʿl; hbo, , baʿal, ). ( ''baʿal'') was a title and honorific meaning "owner", " lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applie ...
. During the seven years of Edward's reign, a Protestant establishment would gradually implement religious changes that were "designed to destroy one Church and build another, in a religious revolution of ruthless thoroughness". Initially, however, Edward was of little account politically. Real power was in the hands of the regency council, which elected
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (150022 January 1552) (also 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp), also known as Edward Semel, was the eldest surviving brother of Queen Jane Seymour (d. 1537), the Wives of Henry VIII, third w ...
, to be
Lord Protector Lord Protector (plural: ''Lords Protector'') was a title that has been used in United Kingdom constitutional law, British constitutional law for the head of state. It was also a particular title for the British heads of state in respect to the e ...
. The Protestant Somerset pursued reform hesitantly at first, partly because his powers were not unchallenged. The Six Articles remained the law of the land, and a proclamation was issued on 24 May reassuring the people against any "innovations and changes in religion". Nevertheless, Seymour and Cranmer did plan to further the reformation of religion. In July, a
Book of Homilies ''The Books of Homilies'' (1547, 1562, and 1571) are two books together containing thirty-three sermons developing the authorized reformed doctrines of the Church of England in depth and detail, as appointed for use in the 35th Article of the Thi ...
was published, from which all clergy were to preach from on Sundays. The homilies were explicitly Protestant in their content, condemning relics, images,
rosary beads The Rosary (; la, , in the sense of "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"), also known as the Dominican Rosary, or simply the Rosary, refers to a set of prayers used primarily in the Catholic Church, and to the physical string of knots or b ...
,
holy water Holy water is water that has been Blessing, blessed by a member of the clergy or a religious figure, or derived from a well or spring considered holy. The use for cleansing prior to a baptism and spiritual cleansing is common in several religi ...
, palms, and other "papistical superstitions". It also directly contradicted the ''King's Book'' by teaching "we be justified by faith only, freely, and without works". Despite objections from Gardiner, who questioned the legality of bypassing both Parliament and Convocation, justification by faith had been made a central teaching of the English Church.


Iconoclasm and abolition of chantries

In August 1547, thirty commissioners—nearly all Protestants—were appointed to carry out a royal visitation of England's churches. The ''Royal Injunctions of 1547'' issued to guide the commissioners were borrowed from Cromwell's 1538 injunctions but revised to be more radical. Historian Eamon Duffy calls them a "significant shift in the direction of full-blown Protestantism". Church processions—one of the most dramatic and public aspects of the traditional liturgy—were banned. The injunctions also attacked the use of sacramentals, such as holy water. It was emphasized that they imparted neither blessing nor healing but were only reminders of Christ. Lighting votive candles before saints' images had been forbidden in 1538, and the 1547 injunctions went further by outlawing those placed on the rood loft. Reciting the
rosary The Rosary (; la, , in the sense of "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"), also known as the Dominican Rosary, or simply the Rosary, refers to a set of prayers used primarily in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also kno ...
was also condemned. The injunctions set off a wave of iconoclasm in the autumn of 1547. While the injunctions only condemned images that were abused as objects of worship or devotion, the definition of abuse was broadened to justify the destruction of all images and relics.
Stained glass Stained glass is coloured glass as a material or works created from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings. Although tradition ...
, shrines, statues, and
rood A rood or rood cross, sometimes known as a triumphal cross, is a cross or crucifix, especially the large crucifixion of Jesus, crucifix set above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church. Alternatively, it is a large sculpture or painti ...
s were defaced or destroyed. Church walls were
whitewash Whitewash, or calcimine, kalsomine, calsomine, or lime paint is a type of paint made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2) or chalk calcium carbonate, (CaCO3), sometimes known as "whiting". Various other additives are sometimes used. ...
ed and covered with biblical texts condemning idolatry. Conservative bishops
Edmund Bonner Edmund Bonner (also Boner; c. 15005 September 1569) was Bishop of London from 1539 to 1549 and again from 1553 to 1559. Initially an instrumental figure in the schism of Henry VIII from Rome , established_title = Founded , establi ...
and Gardiner protested the visitation, and both were arrested. Bonner spent nearly two weeks in the Fleet Prison before being released. Gardiner was sent to the Fleet Prison in September and remained there until January 1548. However, he continued to refuse to enforce the new religious policies and was arrested once again in June when he was sent to the Tower of London for the rest of Edward's reign. When a new Parliament met in November 1547, it began to dismantle the laws passed during Henry VIII's reign to protect traditional religion. The Act of Six Articles was repealed—decriminalizing denial of the real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The old heresy laws were also repealed, allowing free debate on religious questions. In December, the Sacrament Act allowed the laity to receive communion under both kinds, the wine as well as the bread. This was opposed by conservatives but welcomed by Protestants. The Chantries Act 1547 abolished the remaining chantries and confiscated their assets. Unlike the Chantry Act 1545, the 1547 act was intentionally designed to eliminate the last remaining institutions dedicated to praying for the dead. Confiscated wealth funded the
Rough Wooing The Rough Wooing (December 1543 – March 1551), also known as the Eight Years' War, was part of the Anglo-Scottish Wars of the 16th century. Following its English Reformation, break with the Roman Catholic Church, England attacked Scotland, ...
of Scotland. Chantry priests had served parishes as auxiliary clergy and schoolmasters, and some communities were destroyed by the loss of the charitable and pastoral services of their chantries. Historians dispute how well this was received. A.G. Dickens contended that people had "ceased to believe in intercessory masses for souls in purgatory", but Eamon Duffy argued that the demolition of chantry chapels and the removal of images coincided with the activity of royal visitors. The evidence is often ambiguous. In some places, chantry priests continued to say prayers and landowners to pay them to do so. Some parishes took steps to conceal images and relics in order to rescue them from confiscation and destruction. Opposition to the removal of images was widespread—so much so that when during the Commonwealth, William Dowsing was commissioned to the task of image breaking in
Suffolk Suffolk () is a ceremonial Counties of England, county of England in East Anglia. It borders Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south; the North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; other important t ...
, his task, as he records it, was enormous.


1549 prayer book

The second year of Edward's reign was a turning point for the English Reformation; many people identified the year 1548, rather than the 1530s, as the beginning of the English Church's
schism A schism ( , , or, less commonly, ) is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name and tradi ...
from the Roman Catholic Church. On 18 January 1548, the Privy Council abolished the use of candles on
Candlemas Candlemas (also spelled Candlemass), also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a Christian holiday commemorating the presentati ...
, ashes on
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a holy day of prayer and fasting in many Western Christian denominations. It is preceded by Shrove Tuesday and falls on the first day of Lent (the six weeks of penitence before Easter). It is observed by Catholics in the Roman ...
and palms on
Palm Sunday Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy ...
. On 21 February, the council explicitly ordered the removal of all church images. On 8 March, a royal proclamation announced a more significant change—the first major reform of the Mass and of the Church of England's official
eucharistic theology Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the Holy Eucharist, also commonly known as the Lord's Supper. It exists exclusively in Christianity and related religions, as others generally do not cont ...
. The "Order of the Communion" was a series of English exhortations and prayers that reflected Protestant theology and were inserted into the Latin Mass. A significant departure from tradition was that individual confession to a priest—long a requirement before receiving the Eucharist—was made optional and replaced with a general confession said by the congregation as a whole. The effect on religious custom was profound as a majority of laypeople, not just Protestants, most likely ceased confessing their sins to their priests. By 1548, Cranmer and other leading Protestants had moved from the Lutheran to the Reformed position on the Eucharist. Significant to Cranmer's change of mind was the influence of Strasbourg theologian
Martin Bucer Martin Bucer (Early New High German, early German: ''Martin Butzer''; 11 November 1491 – 28 February 1551) was a German Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Buc ...
. This shift can be seen in the Communion order's teaching on the Eucharist. Laypeople were instructed that when receiving the sacrament they "spiritually eat the flesh of Christ", an attack on the belief in the real, bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Communion order was incorporated into the new prayer book largely unchanged. That prayer book and liturgy, the ''Book of Common Prayer'', was authorized by the
Act of Uniformity 1549 The Act of Uniformity 1549, was an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of England, passed on 21 January 1549. It was the logical successor of the English Reformation#Royal Injunctions of 1547,2-17-19, Edwardian Inju ...
. It replaced the several regional Latin rites then in use, such as the
Use of Sarum The Use of Sarum (or Use of Salisbury, also known as the Sarum Rite) is the Latin liturgical rite developed at Salisbury Cathedral and used from the late eleventh century until the English Reformation. It is largely identical to the Roman rite, ...
, the Use of York and the Use of Hereford with an English-language liturgy. Authored by Cranmer, this first prayer book was a temporary compromise with conservatives. It provided Protestants with a service free from what they considered superstition, while maintaining the traditional structure of the mass. The cycles and seasons of the church year continued to be observed, and there were texts for daily
Matins Matins (also Mattins) is a canonical hour In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of Fixed prayer times#Christianity, fixed times of prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours, chiefly a bre ...
(Morning Prayer), Mass and
Evensong Evensong is a church service A church service (or a service of worship) is a formalized period of Christian communal Christian worship, worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in ...
(Evening Prayer). In addition, there was a
calendar of saints The calendar of saints is the traditional Christianity, Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in thi ...
' feasts with
collect The collect ( ) is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy. Collects appear in the liturgies of Catholic Church, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox, ...
s and scripture readings appropriate for the day. Priests still wore
vestments Vestments are liturgy, liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christianity, Christian religion, especially by Eastern Christianity, Eastern Churches, Catholic Church, Catholics (of all rites), Anglicans, and Lutherans. ...
—the prayer book recommended the
cope The cope (known in Latin as ''pluviale'' 'rain coat' or ''cappa'' 'cape') is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colours, litu ...
rather than the
chasuble The chasuble () is the outermost Christian liturgy, liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christianity, Christian churches that use full vestments, primarily in Catholic Church, Roman Catholic ...
. Many of the services were little changed. Baptism kept a strongly sacramental character, including the blessing of water in the
baptismal font A baptismal font is an article of church furniture used for baptism. Aspersion and affusion fonts The fonts of many Christian denominations are for baptisms using a non-immersive method, such as aspersion (sprinkling) or affusion (pouring). T ...
, promises made by godparents, making the
sign of the cross Making the sign of the cross ( la, signum crucis), or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body with ...
on the child's forehead, and wrapping it in a white
chrism Chrism, also called myrrh, ''myron'', holy anointing oil, and consecrated oil, is a consecrated oil used in the Anglican Communion, Anglican, Assyrian Church of the East, Assyrian, Catholic Church, Catholic, Nordic High Church Lutheranism, Luther ...
cloth. The
confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism, confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant (religion), covenant created in baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. For adults, it is an wikt:affirmation, affirma ...
and marriage services followed the Sarum rite. There were also remnants of prayer for the dead and the Requiem Mass, such as the provision for celebrating holy communion at a funeral. Nevertheless, the first ''Book of Common Prayer'' was a "radical" departure from traditional worship in that it "eliminated almost everything that had till then been central to lay Eucharistic piety". Communion took place without any elevation of the consecrated bread and wine. The elevation had been the central moment of the old liturgy, attached as it was to the idea of real presence. In addition, the prayer of consecration was changed to reflect Protestant theology. Three sacrifices were mentioned; the first was Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The second was the congregation's sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and the third was the offering of "ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and lively sacrifice" to God. While the medieval
Canon of the Mass The Canon of the Mass ( la, Canon Missæ), also known as the Canon of the Roman Mass and in the Mass of Paul VI as the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer I, is the oldest Anaphora (liturgy), anaphora used in the Roman Rite of Mass (liturgy), Mass. Th ...
"explicitly identified the priest's action at the altar with the sacrifice of Christ", the Prayer Book broke this connection by stating the church's offering of thanksgiving in the Eucharist was not the same as Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Instead of the priest offering the sacrifice of Christ to
God the Father God the Father is a title given to God in Christianity. In mainstream trinity, trinitarian Christianity, God the Father is regarded as the first person of the Trinity, followed by the second person, God the Son Jesus Christ, and the third pers ...
, the assembled offered their praises and thanksgivings. The Eucharist was now to be understood as merely a means of partaking in and receiving the benefits of Christ's sacrifice. There were other departures from tradition. At least initially, there was no music because it would take time to replace the church's body of Latin music. Most of the liturgical year was simply "bulldozed away" with only the major feasts of Christmas, Easter and
Whitsun Whitsun (also Whitsunday or Whit Sunday) is the name used in Britain, and other countries among Anglicans and Methodists, for the Christian High Holy Day of Pentecost. It is the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Ho ...
along with a few biblical saints' days (
Apostles An apostle (), in its literal sense, is an emissary, from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is ofte ...
, Evangelists,
John the Baptist John the Baptist or , , or , ;Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history''. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1994. syc, ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕ݂ܵܢܵܐ, Yoḥanān Maʿmḏānā; he, יוחנן המטביל, Yohanān HaMatbil; la, Ioannes Bapti ...
and
Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene (sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine) was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to crucifixion of Jesus, his cru ...
) and only two Marian feast days (the Purification and the
Annunciation The Annunciation (from Latin '), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the biblical tale of the announcement by the arch ...
). The Assumption, Corpus Christi and other festivals were gone. In 1549, Parliament also legalized
clerical marriage Clerical marriage is practice of allowing Christian clergy (those who have already been ordained) to marry. This practice is distinct from allowing married persons to become clergy. Clerical marriage is admitted among Protestantism, Protestants, i ...
, something already practised by some Protestants (including Cranmer) but considered an abomination by conservatives.


Rebellion

Enforcement of the new liturgy did not always take place without a struggle. In the
West Country The West Country (occasionally Westcountry) is a loosely defined area of South West England, usually taken to include all, some, or parts of the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, and, less commonly, Wiltshire, Gloucesters ...
, the introduction of the ''Book of Common Prayer'' was the catalyst for a series of uprisings through the summer of 1549. There were smaller upheavals elsewhere from the West Midlands to
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a Historic counties of England, historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other Eng ...
. The
Prayer Book Rebellion The Prayer Book Rebellion or Western Rising was a popular revolt in Cornwall and Devon in 1549. In that year, the ''Book of Common Prayer (1549), Book of Common Prayer'', presenting the theology of the English Reformation, was introduced. The ...
was not only in reaction to the prayer book; the rebels demanded a full restoration of pre-Reformation Catholicism. They were also motivated by economic concerns, such as
enclosure Enclosure or Inclosure is a term, used in English landownership, that refers to the appropriation of "waste" or " common land" enclosing it and by doing so depriving commoners of their rights of access and privilege. Agreements to enclose land ...
. In East Anglia, however, the rebellions lacked a Roman Catholic character.
Kett's Rebellion Kett's Rebellion was a revolt in Norfolk Norfolk () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the north-west, Cambridgeshire to the west and south-west, and Suffolk to ...
in Norwich blended Protestant piety with demands for economic reforms and social justice. The insurrections were put down only after considerable loss of life. Somerset was blamed and was removed from power in October. It was wrongly believed by both conservatives and reformers that the Reformation would be overturned. Succeeding Somerset as de facto regent was
John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1504Loades 2008 – 22 August 1553) was an Kingdom of England, English general, admiral, and politician, who led the government of the young King Edward VI from 1550 until 1553, and unsuccessfully tried ...
, newly appointed Lord President of the Privy Council. Warwick saw further implementation of the reforming policy as a means of gaining Protestant support and defeating his conservative rivals.


Further reform

From that point on, the Reformation proceeded apace. Since the 1530s, one of the obstacles to Protestant reform had been the bishops, bitterly divided between a traditionalist majority and a Protestant minority. This obstacle was removed in 1550–1551 when the episcopate was purged of conservatives. Edmund Bonner of London, William Rugg of Norwich,
Nicholas Heath Nicholas Heath (c. 1501–1578) was the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of York The archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the ...
of Worcester,
John Vesey John Vesey or Veysey ( – 23 October 1554) was Bishop of Exeter from 1519 until his death in 1554, having been briefly deposed 1551–3 by King Edward VI of England, Edward VI for his opposition to the English Reformation, Reformation. Origi ...
of Exeter,
Cuthbert Tunstall Cuthbert Tunstall (otherwise spelt Tunstal or Tonstall; 1474 – 18 November 1559) was an English Scholastic, church leader, diplomat, administrator and royal adviser. He served as Prince- Bishop of Durham during the reigns of Henry VIII, E ...
of Durham, George Day of Chichester and Stephen Gardiner of Winchester were either deprived of their bishoprics or forced to resign. Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster, managed to stay a bishop only by being
translated Translation is the communication of the Meaning (linguistic), meaning of a #Source and target languages, source-language text by means of an Dynamic and formal equivalence, equivalent #Source and target languages, target-language text. The ...
to the Diocese of Norwich, "where he did virtually nothing during his episcopate". Traditionalist bishops were replaced by Protestants such as Nicholas Ridley,
John Ponet John Ponet (c. 1514 – August 1556), sometimes spelled John Poynet, was an English Protestant churchman and controversial writer, the bishop of Winchester and Marian exile. He is now best known as a resistance theorist who made a sustained att ...
, John Hooper and Miles Coverdale. The newly enlarged and emboldened Protestant episcopate turned its attention to ending efforts by conservative clergy to "counterfeit the popish mass" through
loophole A loophole is an ambiguity or inadequacy in a system, such as a law or security, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the purpose, implied or explicitly stated, of the system. Originally, the word meant an arrowslit, a narrow verti ...
s in the 1549 prayer book. The ''Book of Common Prayer'' was composed during a time when it was necessary to grant compromises and concessions to traditionalists. This was taken advantage of by conservative priests who made the new liturgy as much like the old one as possible, including elevating the Eucharist. The conservative Bishop Gardiner endorsed the prayer book while in prison, and historian Eamon Duffy notes that many lay people treated the prayer book "as an English
missal A missal is a liturgical book containing instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass (liturgy), Mass throughout the liturgical year. Versions differ across liturgical tradition, period, and purpose, with some missals intended t ...
". To attack the mass, Protestants began demanding the removal of stone
altars An altar is a Table (furniture), table or platform for the presentation of religion, religious offerings, for sacrifices, or for other ritualistic purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, Church (building), churches, and other places of wo ...
. Bishop Ridley launched the campaign in May 1550 when he commanded all altars to be replaced with wooden
communion table Communion table or Lord's table are terms used by many Protestant churches Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement that be ...
s in his London diocese. Other bishops throughout the country followed his example, but there was also resistance. In November 1550, the Privy Council ordered the removal of all altars in an effort to end all dispute. While the prayer book used the term "altar", Protestants preferred a table because at the
Last Supper Image:The Last Supper - Leonardo Da Vinci - High Resolution 32x16.jpg, 400px, alt=''The Last Supper'' by Leonardo da Vinci - Clickable Image, Depictions of the Last Supper in Christian art have been undertaken by artistic masters for centuries, ...
Christ instituted the sacrament at a table. The removal of altars was also an attempt to destroy the idea that the Eucharist was Christ's sacrifice. During Lent in 1550, John Hooper preached, "as long as the altars remain, both the ignorant people, and the ignorant and evil-persuaded priest, will dream always of sacrifice". In March 1550, a new ordinal was published that was based on Martin Bucer's own treatise on the form of
ordination Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity In religious organizations, the laity () consists of all Church membership, members who are not part of the clergy, usually includ ...
. While Bucer had provided for only one service for all three orders of clergy, the English ordinal was more conservative and had separate services for
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the ...
s, priests and bishops. During his consecration as
bishop of Gloucester The Bishop of Gloucester is the ordinary of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international A ...
, John Hooper objected to the mention of "all saints and the holy Evangelist" in the
Oath of Supremacy The Oath of Supremacy required any person taking public or church office in England to swear allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Failure to do so was to be treated as ...
and to the requirement that he wear a black chimere over a white
rochet A rochet () is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican bishop in choir dress. It is unknown in the Eastern churches. The rochet in its Roman form is similar to a surplice, except that the sleeves are narrower. In its Angl ...
. Hooper was excused from invoking the saints in his oath, but he would ultimately be convinced to wear the offensive consecration garb. This was the first battle in the
vestments controversy The vestments controversy or vestarian controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments or clerical dress. Initiated by John Hooper (bishop), John Hooper's rejection of clergy, clerical vestments in the Church of Eng ...
, which was essentially a conflict over whether the church could require people to observe ceremonies that were neither necessary for salvation nor prohibited by scripture.


1552 prayer book and parish confiscations

The 1549 ''Book of Common Prayer'' was criticized by Protestants both in England and abroad for being too susceptible to Roman Catholic re-interpretation. Martin Bucer identified 60 problems with the prayer book, and the Italian
Peter Martyr Vermigli Peter Martyr Vermigli (8 September 149912 November 1562) was an Italian-born Reformed theologian. His early work as a reformer in Catholic Church in Italy, Catholic Italy and his decision to flee for Protestantism#Reformation proper, Protestant ...
provided his own complaints. Shifts in Eucharistic theology between 1548 and 1552 also made the prayer book unsatisfactory—during that time English Protestants achieved a consensus rejecting any real bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Some influential Protestants such as Vermigli defended
Zwingli Huldrych or Ulrich Zwingli (1 January 1484 – 11 October 1531) was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland, born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenaries, Swiss mercenary system. He ...
's symbolic view of the Eucharist. Less radical Protestants such as Bucer and Cranmer advocated for a spiritual presence in the sacrament. Cranmer himself had already adopted
receptionist A receptionist is an Employment, employee taking an office or Business administration, administrative support position. The work is usually performed in a waiting room, waiting area such as a Lobby (room), lobby or front office desk of an organ ...
views on the Lord's Supper. In April 1552, a new Act of Uniformity authorized a revised ''Book of Common Prayer'' to be used in worship by November 1. This new prayer book removed many of the traditional elements in the 1549 prayer book, resulting in a more Protestant liturgy. The communion service was designed to remove any hint of consecration or change in the bread and wine. Instead of
unleavened In cooking Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely, from grilling food over an open fire t ...
wafers, ordinary bread was to be used. The prayer of invocation was removed, and the minister no longer said "the body of Christ" when delivering communion. Rather, he said, "Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith, with thanksgiving". Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper was a spiritual presence "limited to the subjective experience of the communicant". Anglican bishop and scholar Colin Buchanan interprets the prayer book to teach that "the only point where the bread and wine signify the body and blood is at reception". Rather than reserving the sacrament (which often led to Eucharistic adoration), any leftover bread or wine was to be taken home by the
curate A curate () is a person who is invested with the Cure of souls, ''care'' or ''cure'' (''cura'') ''of souls'' of a parish. In this sense, "curate" means a parish, parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term ''curate'' is commonly use ...
for ordinary consumption. In the new prayer book, the last vestiges of prayers for the dead were removed from the funeral service. Unlike the 1549 version, the 1552 prayer book removed many traditional sacramentals and observances that reflected belief in the
blessing In religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or religious organization, organizations, that gene ...
and
exorcism Exorcism () is the religious or spiritual practice of evicting demons, jinns, or other malevolent spiritual entities from a person, or an area, that is believed to be demonic possession, possessed. Depending on the spiritual beliefs of the exor ...
of people and objects. In the baptism service, infants no longer received minor exorcism and the white chrisom robe.
Anointing Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, dousing, or smearing a person or object with any perfumed oil, milk, butter, or ...
was no longer included in the services for baptism, ordination and visitation of the sick. These ceremonies were altered to emphasise the importance of faith, rather than trusting in rituals or objects. Clerical vestments were simplified—ministers were only allowed to wear the
surplice A surplice (; Late Latin ''superpelliceum'', from ''super'', "over" and ''pellicia'', "fur garment") is a liturgy, liturgical vestment of Western Christianity. The surplice is in the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching t ...
and bishops had to wear a rochet. Throughout Edward's reign, inventories of parish valuables, ostensibly for preventing embezzlement, convinced many the government planned to seize parish property, just as was done to the chantries. These fears were confirmed in March 1551 when the Privy Council ordered the confiscation of church plate and vestments "for as much as the King's Majestie had neede presently of a mass of money". No action was taken until 1552–1553 when commissioners were appointed. They were instructed to leave only the "bare essentials" required by the 1552 ''Book of Common Prayer''—a surplice, tablecloths, communion cup and a bell. Items to be seized included copes,
chalice A chalice (from Latin 'mug', borrowed from Ancient Greek () 'cup') or goblet is a footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning. Re ...
s, chrismatories,
paten A paten or diskos is a small plate, used during the Mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity of matter in a Physical ...
s,
monstrance A monstrance, also known as an ostensorium (or an ostensory), is a vessel used in Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King R ...
s and candlesticks. Many parishes sold their valuables rather than have them confiscated at a later date. The money funded parish projects that could not be challenged by royal authorities. In many parishes, items were concealed or given to local gentry who had, in fact, lent them to the church. The confiscations caused tensions between Protestant church leaders and Warwick, now Duke of Northumberland. Cranmer, Ridley and other Protestant leaders did not fully trust Northumberland. Northumberland in turn sought to undermine these bishops by promoting their critics, such as
Jan Laski Jan, JaN or JAN may refer to: Acronyms * Jackson, Mississippi (Amtrak station) Union Station is an intermodal transit station in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. It is operated by the Jackson Transit System and serves Amtrak's ''City of New O ...
and
John Knox John Knox ( gd, Iain Cnocc) (born – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish Ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, minister, Reformed theology, Reformed Christian theology, theologian, and writer who was a leader of Scottish Reformation, ...
. Cranmer's plan for a revision of English
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (church leadership) for the government of a Christian organization or chur ...
, the '' Reformatio legum ecclesiasticarum'', failed in Parliament due to Northumberland's opposition. Despite such tensions, a new doctrinal statement to replace the ''King's Book'' was issued on royal authority in May 1553. The Forty-two Articles reflected the Reformed theology and practice taking shape during Edward's reign, which historian Christopher Haigh describes as a "restrained
Calvinism Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
". It affirmed
predestination Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God in Christianity, God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the Argument fro ...
and that the King of England was
Supreme Head of the Church of England The title of Supreme Head of the Church of England was created in 1531 for King Henry VIII when he first began to separate the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denomina ...
under Christ.


Edward's succession

King Edward became seriously ill in February and died in July 1553. Before his death, Edward was concerned that Mary, his devoutly Catholic sister, would overturn his religious reforms. A new plan of succession was created in which both of Edward's sisters Mary and Elizabeth were bypassed on account of
illegitimacy Legitimacy, in traditional Western common law, is the status of a child born to parents who are legally marriage, married to each other, and of a child Fertilisation, conceived before the parents obtain a legal divorce. Conversely, ''illegitim ...
in favour of the Protestant
Jane Grey Lady Jane Grey ( 1537 – 12 February 1554), later known as Lady Jane Dudley (after her marriage) and as the "Nine Days' Queen", was an English noblewoman who claimed the throne of England and Ireland from 10 July until 19 July 1553. Jane was ...
, the granddaughter of Edward's aunt Mary Tudor and daughter in law of the Duke of Northumberland. This new succession violated the "Third" Succession Act of 1544 and was widely seen as an attempt by Northumberland to stay in power. Northumberland was unpopular due to the church confiscations, and support for Jane collapsed. On 19 July, the Privy Council proclaimed Mary queen to the acclamation of the crowds in London.


Marian Restoration


Reconciling with Rome

Both Protestants and Roman Catholics understood that the accession of
Mary I Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, and as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents, was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from July 1553 and Queen of Sp ...
to the throne meant a restoration of traditional religion. Before any official sanction, Latin Masses began reappearing throughout England, despite the 1552 Book of Common Prayer remaining the only legal liturgy. Mary began her reign cautiously by emphasising the need for tolerance in matters of religion and proclaiming that, for the time being, she would not compel religious conformity. This was in part Mary's attempt to avoid provoking Protestant opposition before she could consolidate her power. While Protestants were not a majority of the population, their numbers had grown through Edward's reign. Historian Eamon Duffy writes that "Protestantism was a force to be reckoned with in London and in towns like Bristol, Rye, and Colchester, and it was becoming so in some northern towns such as Hessle, Hull, and Halifax." Following Mary's accession, the Duke of Norfolk along with the conservative bishops Bonner, Gardiner, Tunstall, Day and Heath were released from prison and restored to their former dioceses. By September 1553, Hooper and Cranmer were imprisoned. Northumberland himself was executed but not before his conversion to Catholicism. The break with Rome and the religious reforms of Henry VIII and Edward VI were achieved through parliamentary legislation and could only be reversed through Parliament. When Parliament met in October, Bishop Gardiner, now Lord Chancellor, initially proposed the repeal of all religious legislation since 1529. The House of Commons refused to pass this bill, and after heated debate, Parliament repealed all Edwardian religious laws, including clerical marriage and the prayer book, in the
First Statute of Repeal The First Statute of Repeal was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of England (1 Mary, st. 2, c. 2), passed in 1553 in the first Parliament of Mary I's reign, nullified all religious legislation passed under the previous monarch, the boy-k ...
. By 20 December, the Mass was reinstated by law. There were disappointments for Mary: Parliament refused to penalise non-attendance at Mass, would not restore confiscated church property, and left open the question of
papal supremacy Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, the visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful, and as pastor of the ...
. If Mary was to secure England for Roman Catholicism, she needed an heir and her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth had to be prevented from inheriting the Crown. On the advice of her cousin
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, french: Charles Quint, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, ca, Carles V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria from 1519 to 1556, King of Spain (Crown of Castile, Castil ...
, she married his son,
Philip II of Spain Philip II) in Spain, while in Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal and his Italian kingdoms he ruled as Philip I ( pt, Filipe I). (21 May 152713 September 1598), also known as Philip the Prudent ( es, Felipe el Prudente), was King of Spain from 1556, K ...
, in 1554. There was opposition, and even a rebellion in Kent (led by Sir Thomas Wyatt); even though it was provided that Philip would never inherit the kingdom if there was no heir, received no estates and had no coronation. By the end of 1554, Henry VIII's religious settlement had been re-instituted, but England was still not reunited with Rome. Before reunion could occur, church property disputes had to be settled—which, in practice, meant letting the nobility and gentry who had bought confiscated church lands keep them. Cardinal
Reginald Pole Reginald Pole (12 March 1500 – 17 November 1558) was an English cardinal of the Catholic Church and the last Catholic archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member ...
, the Queen's cousin, arrived in November 1554 as
papal legate image:K. Henry 2. Kissing the knee of the Popes Legate comming into England.gif, 300px, A woodcut showing Henry II of England greeting the pope's legate. A papal legate or apostolic legate (from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman title ''legatus'') ...
to end England's schism with the Roman Catholic Church. On 28 November, Pole addressed Parliament to ask it to end the schism, declaring "I come not to destroy, but to build. I come to reconcile, not to condemn. I come not to compel, but to call again." In response, Parliament submitted a petition to the Queen the next day asking that "this realm and dominions might be again united to the Church of Rome by the means of the Lord Cardinal Pole". On 30 November, Pole spoke to both houses of Parliament, absolving the members of Parliament "with the whole realm and dominions thereof, from all heresy and schism". Afterwards, bishops absolved diocesan clergy, and they in turn absolved parishioners. On 26 December, the Privy Council introduced legislation repealing the religious legislation of Henry VIII's reign and implementing the reunion with Rome. This bill was passed as the
Second Statute of Repeal The Second Statute of Repeal, an act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the 13th century until 1707 when it was replaced by the Parliament of Great Britain. Parliame ...
.


Catholic recovery

Historian Eamon Duffy writes that the Marian religious "programme was not one of reaction but of creative reconstruction" absorbing whatever was considered positive in the reforms of Henry VIII and Edward VI. The result was "subtly but distinctively different from the Catholicism of the 1520s." According to historian Christopher Haigh, the Catholicism taking shape in Mary's reign "reflected the mature
Erasmian Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; ; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus, St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Rote ...
Catholicism" of its leading clerics, who were all educated in the 1520s and 1530s. Marian church literature, church benefactions and
churchwarden A churchwarden is a laity, lay official in a parish or congregation of the Anglicanism, Anglican Communion or Catholicism, Catholic Church, usually working as a part-time volunteer. In the Anglican tradition, holders of these positions are ''ex ...
accounts suggest less emphasis on saints, images and prayer for the dead. There was a greater focus on the need for inward contrition in addition to external acts of penance. Cardinal Pole himself was a member of the '' Spirituali'', a Catholic reform movement that shared with Protestants an emphasis on man's total dependence on God's grace by faith and Augustinian views on salvation. Cardinal Pole would eventually replace Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1556, jurisdictional issues between England and Rome having prevented Cranmer's removal. Mary could have had Cranmer tried and executed for treason—he had supported the claims of Lady Jane Grey—but she resolved to have him tried for heresy. His
recantation Recantation means a personal publicity, public act of denial of a previously publishing, published opinion or belief. It is derived from the Latin "''re cantare''", to re-sing. Philosophy Philosophy, Philosophically recantation is linked to a ...
s of his Protestantism would have been a major coup. Unhappily for her, he unexpectedly withdrew his recantations at the last minute as he was to be burned at the stake, thus ruining her government's
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to Social influence, influence or persuade an audience to further an Political agenda, agenda, which may not be Objectivity (journalism), objective and may be selectively presenting facts to en ...
victory. As papal legate, Pole possessed authority over both his
Province of Canterbury The Province of Canterbury, or less formally the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces which constitute the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denomi ...
and the
Province of York The Province of York, or less formally the Northern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical province An ecclesiastical province is one of the basic forms of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, jurisdiction in Christianity, Christian Churches with tra ...
, which allowed him to oversee the
Counter-Reformation The Counter-Reformation (), also called the Catholic Reformation () or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) a ...
throughout all of England. He re-installed images, vestment and plate in churches. Around 2,000 married clergy were separated from their wives, but the majority of these were allowed to continue their work as priests. Pole was aided by some of the leading Catholic intellectuals, Spanish members of the
Dominican Order The Order of Preachers ( la, Ordo Praedicatorum) abbreviated OP, also known as the Dominicans, is a Catholic mendicant order of Pontifical Right for men founded in Toulouse, France, by the Spanish priest, saint and Mysticism, mystic Saint ...
: Pedro de Soto, Juan de Villagarcía and Bartolomé Carranza. In 1556, Pole ordered clergy to read one chapter of Bishop Bonner's ''A Profitable and Necessary Doctrine'' to their parishioners every Sunday. Modelled on the ''
King's Book The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (commonly abbreviated as the Thirty-nine Articles or the XXXIX Articles) are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the ...
'' of 1543, Bonner's work was a survey of basic Catholic teaching organized around the
Apostles' Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles, is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". The creed most ...
,
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments (Biblical Hebrew עשרת הדברים \ עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים, ''aséret ha-dvarím'', lit. The Decalogue, The Ten Words, cf. Mishnaic Hebrew עשרת הדיברות \ עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְ ...
,
seven deadly sins The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. Although they are not directly mentioned in the Bible, there are parallels with the seven things ...
, sacraments, the
Lord's Prayer The Lord's Prayer, also called the Our Father or Pater Noster, is a central Christian prayer which Jesus taught as the way to pray. Two versions of this prayer are recorded in the gospels: a longer form within the Sermon on the Mount in the Gosp ...
, and the
Hail Mary The Hail Mary ( la, Ave Maria) is a traditional Christian prayer addressing Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary, the mother of Jesus. The prayer is based on two biblical passages featured in the Gospel of Luke: the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary (the Ann ...
. Bonner also produced a children's catechism and a collection of homilies. From December 1555 to February 1556, Cardinal Pole presided over a national legatine synod that produced a set of decrees entitled ''Reformatio Angliae'' or the Reformation of England. The actions taken by the synod anticipated many of the reforms enacted throughout the Catholic Church after the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trento, Trent (or Trento), now in northern Italian Peninsula, Italy, was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation ...
. Pole believed that ignorance and lack of discipline among the clergy had led to England's religious turmoil, and the synod's reforms were designed to remedy both problems. Clerical absenteeism (the practice of clergy failing to reside in their diocese or parish), pluralism, and
simony Simony () is the act of selling church offices and roles or sacred things. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to imp ...
were condemned. Preaching was placed at the centre of the pastoral office, and all clergy were to provide sermons to the people (rectors and vicars who failed to were fined). The most important part of the plan was the order to establish a seminary in each diocese, which would replace the disorderly manner in which priests had been trained previously. The Council of Trent would later impose the seminary system upon the rest of the Catholic Church. It was also the first to introduce the altar
tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible, the tabernacle ( he, מִשְׁכַּן, mīškān, residence, dwelling place), also known as the Tent of the Congregation ( he, link=no, אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, ’ōhel mō‘ēḏ, also Tent of Meeting, etc.), ...
used to reserve Eucharistic bread for devotion and adoration. Mary did what she could to restore church finances and land taken in the reigns of her father and brother. In 1555, she returned to the church the First Fruits and Tenths revenue, but with these new funds came the responsibility of paying the pensions of ex-religious. She restored six religious houses with her own money, notably
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
for the
Benedictines The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedic ...
and
Syon Abbey Syon Abbey , also called simply Syon, was a dual monastery of men and women of the Bridgettines, Bridgettine Order, although it only ever had abbesses during its existence. It was founded in 1415 and stood, until its demolition in the 16th cen ...
for the
Bridgettines The Bridgettines, or Birgittines, formally known as the Order of the Most Holy Savior (; abbreviated OSsS), is a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic Church founded by Saint Birgitta or Brid ...
. However, there were limits to what could be restored. Only seven religious houses were re-founded between 1555 and 1558, though there were plans to re-establish more. Of the 1,500 ex-religious still living, only about a hundred resumed monastic life, and only a small number of chantries were re-founded. Re-establishments were hindered by the changing nature of charitable giving. A plan to re-establish Greyfriars in London was prevented because its buildings were occupied by
Christ's Hospital Christ's Hospital is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school (English Independent school (United Kingdom), independent boarding school for pupils aged 11–18) with a royal charter located to the south of Horsham in West Sussex. The scho ...
, a school for orphaned children. There is debate among historians over how vibrant the restoration was on the local level. According to historian A. G. Dickens, "Parish religion was marked by religious and cultural sterility", though historian Christopher Haigh observed enthusiasm, marred only by poor harvests that produced poverty and want. Recruitment to the English clergy began to rise after almost a decade of declining ordinations. Repairs to long-neglected churches began. In the parishes, "restoration and repair continued, new bells were bought, and church ales produced their bucolic profits". Great church feasts were restored and celebrated with plays, pageants and processions. However, Bishop Bonner's attempt to establish weekly processions in 1556 was a failure. Haigh writes that in years during which processions were banned people had discovered "better uses for their time" as well as "better uses for their money than offering candles to images". The focus was on "the crucified Christ, in the mass, the rood, and Corpus Christi devotion".


Obstacles

Protestants who refused to conform remained an obstacle to Catholic plans. Around 800 Protestants fled England to find safety in Protestant areas of Germany and Switzerland, establishing networks of independent congregations. Safe from persecution, these
Marian exiles The Marian exiles were English Protestantism, Protestants who fled to Continental Europe during the 1553–1558 reign of the Catholic Church, Catholic monarchs Queen Mary I and Philip II of Spain, King Philip.Christina Hallowell Garrett (1938) ''M ...
carried on a propaganda campaign against Roman Catholicism and the Queen's Spanish marriage, sometimes calling for rebellion. Those who remained in England were forced to practise their faith in secret and meet in underground congregations. In 1555, the initial reconciling tone of the regime began to harden with the revival of the medieval heresy laws, which authorized capital punishment as a penalty for heresy. The persecution of heretics was uncoordinated—sometimes arrests were ordered by the Privy Council, others by bishops, and others by lay magistrates. Protestants brought attention to themselves usually due to some act of dissent, such as denouncing the Mass or refusing to receive the sacrament. A particularly violent act of protest was William Flower's stabbing of a priest during Mass on Easter Sunday, 14 April 1555. Individuals accused of heresy were examined by a church official and, if heresy was found, given the choice between death and signing a
recantation Recantation means a personal publicity, public act of denial of a previously publishing, published opinion or belief. It is derived from the Latin "''re cantare''", to re-sing. Philosophy Philosophy, Philosophically recantation is linked to a ...
. In some cases, Protestants were burnt at the stake after renouncing their recantation. Around 284 Protestants were burnt at the stake for heresy. Several leading reformers were executed, including Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, John Rogers, John Hooper, Robert Ferrar,
Rowland Taylor Rowland Taylor (sometimes spelled "Tayler") (6 October 1510 – 9 February 1555) was an English Protestant martyr during the Marian Persecutions Protestants were executed in England under heresy laws during the reigns of Henry VIII (1509 ...
, and
John Bradford John Bradford (1510–1555) was an English Reformer, prebendary A prebendary is a member of the Roman Catholic or Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identit ...
. Lesser known figures were also among the victims, including around 51 women such as Joan Waste and Agnes Prest. Historian O. T. Hargrave writes that the Marian persecution was not "excessive" by "contemporary continental standards"; however, "it was unprecedented in the English experience". Historian Christopher Haigh writes that it "failed to intimidate all Protestants", whose bravery at the stake inspired others; however, it "was not a disaster: if it did not help the Catholic cause, it did not do much to harm it." After her death, the Queen became known as "Bloody Mary" due to the influence of
John Foxe John Foxe (1516/1517 – 18 April 1587), an English historian and martyrologist, was the author of '' Actes and Monuments'' (otherwise ''Foxe's Book of Martyrs''), telling of Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Ch ...
, one of the Marian exiles. Published in 1563, Foxe's ''Book of Martyrs'' provided accounts of the executions, and in 1571 the Convocation of Canterbury ordered that Foxe's book should be placed in every cathedral in the land. Mary's efforts at restoring Roman Catholicism were also frustrated by the church itself.
Pope Paul IV Pope Paul IV, born Gian Pietro Carafa, Theatines, C.R. ( la, Paulus IV; it, Paolo IV; 28 June 1476 – 18 August 1559) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 May 1555 to his death in August 1559. While serv ...
declared war on Philip and recalled Pole to Rome to have him tried as a heretic. Mary refused to let him go. The support she might have expected from a grateful Pope was thus denied. From 1557, the Pope refused to confirm English bishops, leading to vacancies and hurting the Marian religious program. Despite these obstacles, the 5-year restoration was successful. There was support for traditional religion among the people, and Protestants remained a minority. Consequently, Protestants secretly ministering to underground congregations, such as Thomas Bentham, were planning for a long haul, a ministry of survival. Mary's death in November 1558, childless and without having made provision for a Roman Catholic to succeed her, meant that her Protestant sister Elizabeth would be the next queen.


Elizabethan Settlement

Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last of the five House of Tudor monarchs and is ...
inherited a kingdom in which a majority of people, especially the political elite, were religiously conservative, and England's main ally was Catholic Spain. For these reasons, the proclamation announcing her accession forbade any "breach, alteration, or change of any order or usage presently established within this our realm". This was only temporary. The new Queen was Protestant, though a conservative one. She also filled her new government with Protestants. The Queen's principal secretary was
Sir William Cecil William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (13 September 15204 August 1598) was an English statesman, the chief adviser of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State (England), Secretary of State (1550–1553 and 1558–1572) a ...
, a moderate Protestant. Her Privy Council was filled with former Edwardian politicians, and only Protestants preached at
Court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...
. In 1558, Parliament passed the
Act of Supremacy The Acts of Supremacy are two acts passed by the Parliament of England in the 16th century that established the English monarchs as the head of the Church of England; two similar laws were passed by the Parliament of Ireland establishing the Eng ...
, which re-established the Church of England's independence from Rome and conferred on Elizabeth the title of
Supreme Governor of the Church of England The supreme governor of the Church of England is the titular head of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother chur ...
. The Act of Uniformity of 1559 authorised the 1559 ''Book of Common Prayer'', which was a revised version of the 1552 Prayer Book from Edward's reign. Some modifications were made to appeal to Catholics and Lutherans, including giving individuals greater latitude concerning belief in the real presence and authorising the use of traditional priestly vestments. In 1571, the
Thirty-Nine Articles The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (commonly abbreviated as the Thirty-nine Articles or the XXXIX Articles) are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the ...
were adopted as a confessional statement for the church, and a
Book of Homilies ''The Books of Homilies'' (1547, 1562, and 1571) are two books together containing thirty-three sermons developing the authorized reformed doctrines of the Church of England in depth and detail, as appointed for use in the 35th Article of the Thi ...
was issued outlining the church's reformed theology in greater detail. The Elizabethan Settlement established a church that was Reformed in doctrine but that preserved certain characteristics of medieval Catholicism, such as
cathedral A cathedral is a church (building), church that contains the ''cathedra'' () of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, Annual conferences within Methodism, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral ...
s,
church choir A choir ( ; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically kno ...
s, a formal liturgy contained in the Prayer Book, traditional vestments and episcopal polity. According to historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, the conflicts over the Elizabethan Settlement stem from this "tension between Catholic structure and Protestant theology". During the reigns of Elizabeth and
James I James I may refer to: People *James I of Aragon (1208–1276) *James I of Sicily or James II of Aragon (1267–1327) *James I, Count of La Marche (1319–1362), Count of Ponthieu *James I, Count of Urgell (1321–1347) *James I of Cyprus (1334–13 ...
, several factions developed within the Church of England. "Church
papist The words Popery (adjective Popish) and Papism (adjective Papist, also used to refer to an individual) are mainly historical pejorative words in the English language for Roman Catholicism, once frequently used by Protestants and Eastern Orthodox ...
s" were Roman Catholics who outwardly conformed to the established church while maintaining their Catholic faith in secret. Catholic authorities disapproved of such outward conformity.
Recusants Recusancy (from la, recusare, translation=to refuse) was the state of those who remained loyal to the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of m ...
were Roman Catholics who refused to attend Church of England services as required by law. Recusancy was punishable by fines of £20 a month (fifty times an
artisan An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled worker, skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by handicraft, hand. These objects may be wikt:functional, functional or strictly beauty, ...
's wage). By 1574, Catholic recusants had organised an underground Roman Catholic Church, distinct from the Church of England. However, it had two major weaknesses: membership loss as church papists conformed fully to the Church of England and a shortage of priests. Between 1574 and 1603, 600 Catholic priests were sent to England. The influx of foreign trained Catholic priests, the unsuccessful Revolt of the Northern Earls, the excommunication of Elizabeth, and the discovery of the
Ridolfi plot The Ridolfi plot was a Roman Catholic plot in 1571 to assassinate Elizabeth I of England, Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. The plot was hatched and planned by Roberto Ridolfi, an international banker who w ...
all contributed to a perception that Catholicism was treasonous. Executions of Catholic priests became more common—the first in 1577, four in 1581, eleven in 1582, two in 1583, six in 1584, fifty-three by 1590, and seventy more between 1601 and 1608. In 1585, it became treason for a Catholic priest to enter the country, as well as for anyone to aid or shelter him. As the older generation of recusant priests died out, Roman Catholicism collapsed among the lower classes in the north, west and in Wales. Without priests, these social classes drifted into the Church of England and Catholicism was forgotten. By Elizabeth's death in 1603, Roman Catholicism had become "the faith of a small sect", largely confined to gentry households. Gradually, England was transformed into a Protestant country as the Prayer Book shaped Elizabethan religious life. By the 1580s, conformist Protestants (those who conformed their religious practice to the religious settlement) were becoming a majority. Calvinism appealed to many conformists, and Calvinist clergy held the best bishoprics and deaneries during Elizabeth's reign. Other Calvinists were unsatisfied with elements of the Elizabethan Settlement and wanted further reforms to make the Church of England more like the
Continental Reformed church Continental Reformed Protestantism is a part of the Calvinist tradition within Protestantism Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, ...
es. These nonconformist Calvinists became known as
Puritans The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Catholic Church, Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become m ...
. Some Puritans refused to bow at the name of
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
, to make the
sign of the cross Making the sign of the cross ( la, signum crucis), or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body with ...
in
baptism Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost i ...
, use
wedding ring A wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is marriage, married. It is usually forged from metal, traditionally gold or another precious metal. Rings were used in ancient Rome during marriage, though the mo ...
s or
organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (biology), a part of an organism Musical instruments * Organ (music), a family of keyboard musical instruments characterized by sustained tone ** Electronic organ, an electronic keyboard instrument ** Hammond ...
music in church. They especially resented the requirement that clergy wear the white
surplice A surplice (; Late Latin ''superpelliceum'', from ''super'', "over" and ''pellicia'', "fur garment") is a liturgy, liturgical vestment of Western Christianity. The surplice is in the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching t ...
and clerical cap. Puritan clergymen preferred to wear black academic attire (see
Vestments controversy The vestments controversy or vestarian controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments or clerical dress. Initiated by John Hooper (bishop), John Hooper's rejection of clergy, clerical vestments in the Church of Eng ...
). Many Puritans believed the Church of England should follow the example of Reformed churches in other parts of Europe and adopt
presbyterian polity Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of ecclesiastical polity, church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually ...
, under which government by bishops would be replaced with government by elders. However, all attempts to enact further reforms through Parliament were blocked by the Queen.


Consequences

Traditionally, historians have dated the end of the English Reformation to Elizabeth's religious settlement. There are scholars who advocate for a "Long Reformation" that continued into the 17th and 18th centuries. During the early
Stuart period The Stuart period of British history lasted from 1603 to 1714 during the dynasty of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally spelt Stewart, was a dynasty, royal house of Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, Engl ...
, the Church of England's dominant theology was still Calvinism, but a group of theologians associated with Bishop
Lancelot Andrewes Lancelot Andrewes (155525 September 1626) was an English bishop and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Elizabeth I of England, Elizabeth I and James I of England, James I. During the latter's reign, An ...
disagreed with many aspects of the Reformed tradition, especially its teaching on
predestination Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God in Christianity, God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the Argument fro ...
. They looked to the
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity. The historical pe ...
rather than the Reformers and preferred using the more traditional 1549 Prayer Book. Due to their belief in
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choice, choose between different possible courses of Action (philosophy), action unimpeded. Free will is closely linked to the concepts of moral responsibility, praise, culpability, sin, and other judgemen ...
, this new faction is known as the Arminian party, but their
high church The term ''high church'' refers to beliefs and practices of Christian ecclesiology, liturgy, and theology that emphasize formality and resistance to modernisation. Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term origin ...
orientation was more controversial. James I tried to balance the Puritan forces within his church with followers of Andrewes, promoting many of them at the end of his reign. During the reign of
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
, the Arminians were ascendant and closely associated with
William Laud William Laud (; 7 October 1573 – 10 January 1645) was a bishop in the Church of England. Appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Charles I of England, Charles I in 1633, Laud was a key advocate of Caroline era#Religion, Charles I's religious re ...
, Archbishop of Canterbury (1633–1645). Laud and his followers believed the Reformation had gone too far and launched a "'Beauty of Holiness' counter-revolution, wishing to restore what they saw as lost majesty in worship and lost dignity for the sacerdotal priesthood."
Laudianism Laudianism was an early seventeenth-century reform movement within the Church of England, promulgated by Archbishop William Laud and his supporters. It rejected the predestination upheld by the previously dominant Calvinism in favour of free will, ...
, however, was unpopular with both Puritans and Prayer Book conformists, who viewed the high church innovations as undermining forms of worship they had grown attached to. The
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
resulted in the overthrow of Charles I, and a Puritan dominated Parliament began to dismantle the Elizabethan Settlement. The Puritans, however, were divided among themselves and failed to agree on an alternative religious settlement. A variety of new religious movements appeared, including
Baptists Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, Christian believers only (believer's baptism), and doing so by complete Immersion baptism, immersion. Baptist churches also generally subscribe ...
,
Quakers Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of Christian denomination, denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Members of these movements ("theFriends") are generally united by a belie ...
,
Ranters The Ranters were one of a number of dissenting groups that emerged around the time of the English Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy, economics, and ...
,
Seekers The Seekers, or Legatine-Arians as they were sometimes known, were an Kingdom of England, English Dissenter, dissenting group that emerged around the 1620s, probably inspired by the preaching of three brothers – Walter, Thomas, and Bartholomew ...
,
Diggers The Diggers were a group of religious and political dissidents in England, associated with agrarian socialism. Gerrard Winstanley and William Everard (Digger), William Everard, amongst many others, were known as True Levellers in 1649, in refe ...
, Muggletonians, and
Fifth Monarchists The Fifth Monarchists, or Fifth Monarchy Men, were a Protestant sect which advocated Millennialist views, active during the 1649 to 1660 Commonwealth of England, Commonwealth. Named after a prophecy in the Book of Daniel that Four kingdoms of Da ...
. The Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 allowed for the restoration of the Elizabethan Settlement as well, but the Church of England was fundamentally changed. The " Jacobean consensus" was shattered. Many Puritans were unwilling to conform and became dissenters. Now outside the established church, the different strands of the Puritan movement evolved into separate denominations:
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches or Congregationalism) are Protestant churches in the Calvinist tradition practising Congregationalist polity, congregationalist church governance, in which each Wiktionary:congregation, c ...
,
Presbyterians Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theol ...
, and Baptists. After the Restoration,
Anglicanism Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
took shape as a recognisable tradition. From
Richard Hooker Richard Hooker (25 March 1554 – 2 November 1600) was an English priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, dei ...
, Anglicanism inherited a belief in the "positive spiritual value in ceremonies and rituals, and for an unbroken line of succession from the medieval Church to the latter day Church of England". From the Arminians, it gained a theology of episcopacy and an appreciation for liturgy. From the Puritans and Calvinists, it "inherited a contradictory impulse to assert the supremacy of scripture and preaching". The religious forces unleashed by the Reformation ultimately destroyed the possibility of religious uniformity. Protestant dissenters were allowed freedom of worship with the Toleration Act 1688. It took Catholics longer to achieve toleration. Penal laws that excluded Catholics from everyday life began to be repealed in the 1770s. Catholics were allowed to vote and sit as members of Parliament in 1829 (see
Catholic emancipation Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland, and later the combined United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom in the late 18t ...
).


Historiography

The historiography of the English Reformation has seen vigorous clashes among dedicated protagonists and scholars for five centuries. The main factual details at the national level have been clear since 1900, as laid out for example by James Anthony Froude and Albert Pollard. Reformation historiography has seen many schools of interpretation with
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
,
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
and Nonconformist historians using their own religious perspectives. In addition there has been a highly influential Whig interpretation, based on liberal secularized Protestantism, that depicted the Reformation in England, in the words of Ian Hazlett, as "the midwife delivering England from the Dark Ages to the threshold of modernity, and so a turning point of progress". Finally among the older schools was a neo-Marxist interpretation that stressed the economic decline of the old elites in the rise of the landed gentry and middle classes. All these approaches still have representatives, but the main thrust of scholarly historiography since the 1970s falls into four groupings or schools, according to Hazlett. Geoffrey Elton leads the first faction with an agenda rooted in political historiography. It concentrates on the top of the early modern church-state looking at it at the mechanics of policymaking and the organs of its implementation and enforcement. The key player for Elton was not Henry VIII, but rather his principal Secretary of State Thomas Cromwell. Elton downplays the prophetic spirit of the religious reformers in the theology of keen conviction, dismissing them as the meddlesome intrusions from fanatics and bigots. Secondly, A. G. Dickens and others were motivated by a primarily religious perspective. They prioritize the religious and subjective side of the movement. While recognizing the Reformation was imposed from the top, just as it was everywhere else in Europe, it also responded to aspirations from below. Dickens has been criticized for underestimating the strength of residual and revived Roman Catholicism, but has been praised for his demonstration of the close ties to European influences. In the Dickens school, David Loades has stressed the theological importance of the Reformation for Anglo-British development. Revisionists comprise a third school, led by Christopher Haigh, Jack Scarisbrick and numerous other scholars. Their main achievement was the discovery of an entirely new corpus of primary sources at the local level, leading them to the emphasis on Reformation as it played out on a daily and local basis, with much less emphasis on the control from the top. They emphasize turning away from elite sources, and instead rely on local parish records, diocesan files, guild records, data from boroughs, the courts, and especially telltale individual wills. Finally,
Patrick Collinson Patrick "Pat" Collinson, (10 August 1929 – 28 September 2011) was an English historian, known as a writer on the Elizabethan era The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England during the reign of Queen E ...
and others have brought much more precision to the theological landscape, with Calvinist Puritans who were impatient with the Anglican caution sent compromises. Indeed, the Puritans were a distinct subgroup who did not comprise all of Calvinism. The Church of England thus emerged as a coalition of factions, all of them Protestant inspiration.Richard Cust and Ann Hughes, eds., ''Conflict in early Stuart England: studies in religion and politics 1603–1642'' (Routledge, 2014). The more recent schools have decentred Henry VIII, and minimized hagiography. They have paid more attention to localities, Catholicism, radicals, and theological niceties. On Catholicism, the older schools focused on
Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), veneration, venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He also served Henry VII ...
(1470–1535), to the neglect of other bishops and factors inside Catholicism. The older schools tended to concentrate on the capital of London, the newer ones look to the English villages.


See also

*
Anti-Catholicism Anti-Catholicism is hostility towards Catholics or opposition to the Catholic Church, its Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, clergy, and/or its adherents. At various points after the Reformation, some majority Protestantism, Protestant states, ...
*
Gunpowder Plot The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against James VI and I, King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Cate ...
*
History of the Church of England The Church of England traces its history back to 597. That year, a group of missionaries sent by the pope and led by Augustine of Canterbury began the Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England, Christianisation of the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine beca ...
*
History of England England became inhabited more than 800,000 years ago, as the discovery of stone tools and footprints at Happisburgh in Norfolk have indicated.; "Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk" (2014). BBC News. Retrieved 7 February ...
*
Putting away of Books and Images Act 1549 The Act for the abolishing and putting away of diverse books and images 1549 (3 & 4 Edw. 6 c. 10) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of England. The preamble of the Act recites: It then proceeds to order the abolishing of all o ...
*
Popery The words Popery (adjective Popish) and Papism (adjective Papist, also used to refer to an individual) are mainly historical pejorative words in the English language for Roman Catholicism, once frequently used by Protestants and Eastern Orthodox ...
*
Reformation in Ireland The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlanti ...
*
Religion in England Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
*
Scottish Reformation The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland broke with the Pope, Papacy and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Church of Scotland, Kirk (church), which was strongly Presbyterianism, Presbyterian in ...


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * Kümin, Beat A. ''The shaping of a community: The rise and reformation of the English Parish c. 1400–1560'' (Routledge, 2016). * * Marshall, Peter. ''Religious identities in Henry VIII's England'' (Routledge, 2016). *
excerpt
* short textbook * Ryrie, Alec. ''Worship and the parish church in early modern Britain'' (Routledge, 2016). * * * 12 essays by scholars
excerpt
* * * *


Historiograpical

* * *


Primary sources

*


External links

* * ''The History of the Reformation of the Church of England'' by
Gilbert Burnet Gilbert Burnet (18 September 1643 – 17 March 1715) was a Scottish philosopher and historian, and Bishop of Salisbury The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State relig ...
(Oxford University Press, 1829)
Volume IVolume I, Part IIVolume IIVolume II, Part IIVolume IIIVolume III, Part II
* ''Ecclesiastical Memorials, Relating Chiefly to Religion, and the Reformation of It, and the Emergencies of the Church of England, Under King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, and Queen Mary I'' by
John Strype John Strype (1 November 1643 – 11 December 1737) was an English clergyman, historian and biographer from London. He became a merchant when settling in Petticoat Lane Market, Petticoat Lane. In his twenties, he became perpetual curate of Theyd ...
(Clarendon Press, 1822)
Vol. I, Pt. IVol. I, Pt. IIVol. II, Pt. IVol. II, Pt. IIVol. III, Pt. IVol. III, Pt. II
* ''Annals of the Reformation and Establishment of Religion, and Other Various Occurrences in the Church of England, During Queen Elizabeth's Happy Reign'' by
John Strype John Strype (1 November 1643 – 11 December 1737) was an English clergyman, historian and biographer from London. He became a merchant when settling in Petticoat Lane Market, Petticoat Lane. In his twenties, he became perpetual curate of Theyd ...
(1824 ed.)
Vol. I, Pt. IVol. I, Pt. IIVol. II, Pt. IVol. II., Pt. IIVol. III, Pt. IVol. III, Pt. IIVol. IV


– links to primary sources.

– links to primary sources. {{good article Anglicanism Protestantism in England Anti-Catholicism in England Anti-Catholicism in Wales Religion and politics History of Catholicism in England History of the Church of England