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Essay Question: - Elizabeth I's Authority was threatened more by Puritan extremism
than by Catholic Opposition in the years 1559 to 1603. Assess the validity of this view.
Catholic Opposition- any overt or covert attempt by Catholics to disobey and rebel
against Elizabeth's authority as Supreme Governor of the Church.
Puritan Extremism- radical views and actions against Elizabeth's Church Settlement
1559, not accepting it as `final and complete'.
Separatists- a radical form of Protestantism, wanted to separate from the Church of
England as they believed it was incapable of removing all popish practices.
Presbyterians- believed the church should be reformed further and wanted to
remove the hierarchy within the church (NO bishops!)
Jesuits- the society of Jesus who aimed to restore Catholicism back to England.
Secular Catholics- were loyal and recognised Elizabeth's authority but still
practised the Catholic faith.
How things were at the beginning of her reign:-
England was a broadly Catholic nation so would have to transform it into a
Protestant realm whilst avoiding potential revolt which she did through her
half- way settlement ( Catholics thought it went too far, Protestants not far
Haigh- `most Catholics bent with the times' in the hope that something better
may turn up
Most Catholics conformed to the new religion, Elizabeth tolerated them as
long as they obeyed her settlement, could have private faith as long as they
didn't act on it.
Leading Protestants still wanted the removal of popish elements of the 1559
settlement- Vesterian controversy
How things were at the end of her reign:-
Catholics pursued relentlessly until late in Elizabeth's reign.
Effective Anti-Catholic laws meant only the rich could continue worshipping
and Catholicism therefore became a `country house religion'
Elizabeth rejected all requests made by secular priests she no longer
tolerated ANY Catholics!
Catholic mission weakened by the defeat of the Armada
English Catholicism became divided- those who were loyal to the Pope, and
those who were loyal to the Queen.
Puritan movement weakened by the death of its courtly protectors e.g.
Radical Protestants were now punished under the anti-catholic legislation
Puritan movement undermined by the `Martin Marprelate
Catholic Opposition Puritan Extremism
Northern Rebellion- reaction Jewel's Apology- a book written
against the Elizabethan Church on Protestantism as being the
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MQS flight into England. Elizabethan Church settlement
Elizabeth had done well to hadn't gone far enough.
establish her authority in a Met to complete the reform of
broadly catholic nation and this religion which they believed had
was the only form of rebellion. only been instigated in 1559.…read more
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Mary Queen of Scots executed
eventually diffusing the Catholic
Catholic Spain waging war on Attempts to use parliament to
England and aiming to transform bring about changes in the
it back to Catholicism. ( Treaty of church failed and membership
Joinville between Philip and the became small and even
Catholic League) non-existent in the late 1580's
Defeat of the Spanish Armada and Presbyterianism remained a
its Catholic crusade weakened geographically narrow
support for English Catholicism movement based on London and
Cambridge University.…read more
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However the potential threat always existed with the two Catholic nations
of France and Spain nearby.
By the end of her reign, the aura from the successful defeat of the Spanish
united Protestants, this was further helped by the death of leading puritan
figures and the miscalculations of Whitgift and the tracts causing the Puritan
movement to be nothing other than non-existent.…read more