Elizabeth I - 1558-1588 - Religion

Notes on religion under Elizabeth I for Edexcel a2 history Unit 3. Includes her religious settlement and the opposition of Protestants/Puritans and Catholics. 

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ELIZABETH 1558 ­ 1588
The Religious Settlement 1559
She had first established her Privvy Council, which was mainly made up of Protestants
such as Cecil.
She wanted to revive the royal supremacy over the church and reintroduce the Book of
Common Prayer
There was the potential of Protestants using Mary's death to preach openly which
could cause agitation amongst Catholics
Elizabeth needed parliamentary agreement for her religious settlement ­ the first time
She was careful not to take her father's title of "Supreme Head", but "Supreme
Governor" instead. This would stop Catholics getting mad as they say the Pope as the
supreme head. It also made Protestants happy as they found it hard to accept any
person, especially a woman, as head of God's church.
The Book of Common Prayer was introduced, with a punishment of imprisonment if
there was not a book in all churches. But it included transubstantiation to compromise
with Catholics = trying to keep everyone happy
Also to win wide acceptance she portrayed herself as the reformer of an existing
church, rather than the founder of a new one.
Her settlement contained little that would offend Catholics. She let ornaments in
church stay and allowed traditional clergy clothing (vestments)
Puritans saw these compromises with Catholicism as intolerable!
Only 300 out of 8000 clergy declined the oath of supremacy, and they were greatly
removed from their posts
Would seem a safe option to sit between Protestantism and Catholicism, but neither
end were completely satisfied. Success of the settlement was not guaranteed
Building the Church of England and Reforming the Ministry
She was able to transform the Church greatly because of committed protestants on
the bench of bishops and in universities.
Catholic Clergy either fortified their own office, or chose to go into exile usually

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However, many of her bishops were too distracted by debts caused by Elizabeth's Act
of Exchange, so they were not always helping to establish her religious settlement and
focus on their ministerial duties
Bishops did, though, ensure that the mass and Catholic ceremonies were replaced by
the LITERGY ­ the script for the church service in the form of the Book of Common
At first the settlement was careful not to upset Catholics, but as time went on, more
efforts were made to reduce…read more

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Presbyterians had formed a CLASSIS, which were Presbyterian meetings which grew
particularly in London and Cambridge
BUT even though the movement had some growth, by 1588 it had failed due to an
aggressive campaign by the Church authorities against it.…read more

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The Revolt of the Northern Earls was held together by religion, aiming to put catholic
mary as successor. But this failed as the leaders had no clear plan and didn't get the
support necessary from Phillip of Spain
Pope V in 1570s issued a Bull to have Elizabeth Excommunicated and deposed! However
most catholics just ignored this Bull.…read more


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