What drove the move towards Protestantism during Edward VI's reign?

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Catriona Ashley Miller
What drove the move towards
Protestantism during Edward VI's reign?
What were Edward's religious beliefs?
Expectation E would advance course of Protestantism was estab from very beginning of reign. At
coronation, Cranmer compared him to Josiah (biblical child-king) ­ perfect model for Prot. reformers:
came to throne aged 8 / father had worshipped idols / embarked on iconoclasm / reinstated book of
Evidence regarding the King's religion
Miles Coverdale (translator of vernacular Great Bible) became bishop of Exeter and chaplain
to K
Only 5% E's chronicle devoted to religion ­ main concern expressed is control/structure of
episcopacy, i.e. not doctrine
E like long/complex sermons and wrote notes while listening
20/22 royal preachers were reforming bishops or evangelical preachers
April 1550 Sp ambassador reported all those around K were advanced Prots and K delighted
in supporting beliefs
Easter 1547 Compline sung in English at Chapel Royal to show E's support of Protestantism
Many people close to K were Prot ­ incl. Cath Parr / Cranmer / Sir Richard Coxe (tutor) / Cecil
/ Sir John Hales
E held in high esteem by leading reformers e.g. Martin Bucer

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Catriona Ashley Miller
How did religion change during the reign of Edward VI?
Religious change neither pre-planned nor natural course of development ­ govt. struggled to
appease both radicals and traditionalists.
The phases of the Edwardian Reformation
During 1547 Catholicism came under attack.
Date Change Explanation Comment
1547 Royal Commissioners sent to all Episcopal authority suspended
visitation bishoprics to examine state of until visitation completed in
clergy / doctrine / Church autumn.
practices.…read more

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The Acts of the previous Parliament had left the Church without an official doctrinal position
and the lifting of the treason/heresy laws had unleashed a surge of radical Prot activity which
Govt. struggled to control through 1548.
Date Change Explanation Comment
January ­ Series of PCo felt need to assert Govt.…read more

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followed when clergy Controversy raged between
ordained. Hooper and Ridley until Hooper
forced to back down.
November Removal of stone
1550 altars and replacement
by wooden ones
January New Treason Act Made it offence to
1552 question Royal
Supremacy or any
articles of faith in
From January 1552, further reforms saw the establishment of full Protestantism.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
Why was the ending of prayers for the dead so important?
WK Jordan: `probably the most shattering and irreversible action of the reformation in England'. RCs
believed prayers for dead would help souls in purgatory ­ without them, salvation in peril. Therefore
sudden dismissal of crucial RC belief had signif impact on people who depended on it.
Chantries played integral role in lives of many communities, therefore attack on them affected
parishes in way destruction of monasteries hadn't.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
Where was the driving force behind the religious change in
Edward's reign?
Edward VI
As minor, E was unable to play as prominent a role in religious change of reign as if he had been adult
monarch. However, still made signif contribution through actions, words and recognition/deference
others paid to his well-known Prot beliefs. E was religious force to be reckoned with ­ at age 13,
deeply embroiled in most important religious change of his reign, SBoCP.…read more

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Answer to enigma is fact that N was above all a politician; religion took second place in search for
power. N would have enjoyed no.…read more

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Lord's Prayer and 10 Commandments; as bishop, conducted `the most searching and efficient'
visitations of diocese.
Signif for Ref was that he spearheaded push towards radical Protism and gained favour of E and N
(made bishop of Gloucester 1550). Uncompromising nature brought him into conflict with other
Prots. Most notable was clash with Cranmer/Ridley over whether bishops should wear ceremonial
garments when ordained - imprisoned before finally giving in.
European reformers
1547-53 40 of EU's reformers came to reside in Eng.…read more

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Catriona Ashley Miller
Doctrinal shift away from transubstantiation had made plate, vestments and other objects associated
with Mass redundant. N ordered their expropriation 1553, but not enough time to complete
collection and to sell/melt down metals before E's death brought halt to activity.…read more


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