Elizabeth and the Puritans

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The Separatists

Separatism was a movement among radical Protestants to separate from the CoE completely. They regarded CoE as incapable of reforming itself far enough to remove all 'popish' elements.

They became opposed to the Queen's status as Supreme Govenor of the Church of England and rejected the principles that CoE had been created on.

Separatists shouldn't be confused with mainstream Puritans who remained in CoE, despite their private doubts.

Separatism emerges as Robert Browne becomes the leader of the movement in Norwich, establishing the first Separatist congregation in 1580. 

Browne believed that CoE parishes were in "spiritual *******". He thought the people couldn't rely on the Queen, or his relative Burghley to make a godly Church.

The challenge petered out, Browne and Harrison went into exile with most of their congregation. Browne later returned to England. 

Separatist activity increased in London 1592 under Henry Barrow and John Greenwood.

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The Attack on Separatism

Separatism increases in the late 1580's under the leadership of Henry Barrow and John Greenwood.

Their numbers seem to have always been small.

Act Against Seditious Sectaries 1593. 

Barrow and Greenwood were successfuly tried and executed for "devising and circulating seditious books".

English Separatism pracitically dies with them.

Not sure why the authorities were so harsh on a small and insignificant movement, but Whitgift's vindictiveness is a possible explanation.

When Separatism was reborn under the reign of Charles I, it was a response to a very different Church to Elizabeth's CoE.

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The Weakening of Puritanism

Presbyterianism declines in late 1580's due to Whitgifts attacks and the war with Spain.

Martin Marprelate Tracts published in 1588 and again in 1589. A last, ditch attempt to reassert Puritanism. Patrick Collinson: they were combined wit, savagery and colloquial. 

Marprelate Tracts called Whitgift the "antichrist" and said that he was having an affair with a married woman.

CoE becomes more active in its own defence as a responce to Marprelate Tracts. Many pamphlets published against the Tracts. Richard Bancroft (future Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury) preached a sermon vigorously asserting the rights of bishops.

Calvanist beliefs of CoE reaffermed in the Lambeth Articles 1595 and were accepted by anti-Presbyterian Whitgift.

Towards end of her reign, Elizabeth had mostly neutralised religion as a politcal issue. Experience of two generations meant that the Book of Common Prayer was more easily accepted. However, Puritanism began to sour social, rather than religious, relations.

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The Significance of the 1559 Settlement

Many returning Protestant exiles saw Elizabeth as then "English Deborah", the Old Testament heroine who had protected the Israelites from the Canaanites.

Elizabeth was a relucant Deborah and many problems stemmed from her unwillingness to fill this role.

Elizabeth's most enthusiastic supporters were Protestant zealots which ensured their loyalty to her but was in constrast to her somewhat conservative approach to religious matters.

Sir John Neale argued that most of Elizabeth's opposition were part of a Puritan Choir in Parliament who pushed her towards further reform. This does, however, over-exaggerate the amount of power the Puritan movement had in Parliament. In reality, most oposition came from conservative MPS and bishops in the House of Lords.

Some of Elizabeth's earliest apointments were moderates like Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury. However, it looked like Elizabeth wanted to make CoE more evangelical.

BUT Elizabeth disapproved of clerical marriage, preaching and ensured the survival of Church music in Cathedrals.

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Whitgift's Articles and the Attack on Presbyterian

John Whitgift made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583. 

He preached a sermon at St Paul's Cross Church, stating that any Puritan involved with Presbyterian classes wouldn't be tolerated.

Issued 3 articles that clergy had to subscribe to: 1) acknowledge Royal Supremacy. 2) agree that Prayer Book wasn't against the word of God. 3) accept the 39 Articles. 

The 2nd Article led to a crisis, many thought the Prayer Book lacked scriptural explanations.v

Victories of Articles: secured the removal of Burghley's proteges, Cartwright and Gifford. They were refused a licence to preach. BUT it created distress in the Church, increased divisions and the Queen's ministers weren't appeased.

Late 1580's Presbyterianism in devline. Movement weaked by John Field's death in 1589.

Purtianism was in decline despite being a bigger movement. Main Puritan leaders Walsingham, Leicester and Mildmay die closely.

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Elizabeth and Edmund Grindal

Edmund Grindal was Archbishop of Canterbury after Parker's death in December 1575, after support from Lord Burghley.

Grindal and Elizabeth often argued about prophesysing and this eventually led to his suspension from the post. Grindal thought prophesysing was a harmless self-improvement class while Elizabeth saw it as encouraging radicalism. 

Dispite the misgivings of Burghley, Grindal was suspended in 1577. He was eventually given his post back until after he retired in 1583. 

Grindal's fall led to a drive against Presbyterianism, but many Presbyterians had friends in court who sought to disrupt the attempts. 

In the 1580's, Presbyterianism became organised into classes. Many meetings were arranged in Dedham between 1582-1589. Field thought classes could form base of Presbyterianism.

1584: Turner tries to introduce Genevan Prayer Book, which is ignored. 1587: attempt to introduce same Prayer Book by Cope was looked at but dismissed by Privy Council.

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John Jewel's Apology


John Jewel, Bishops of Sailsbury published An Apology to the Church of England.

He had been in exile during the majority of Mary's reign.

Jewel sought to jusitify the CoE's position by claiming it was returning to the true and godly position that the Roman Catholics had abandoned centuries ago.

"We are come, as near as we possibly could, to the church of the apostles and of the old Catholic bishops and fathers."

Jewel was asserting the belief that there was an essential continuity between the early Church, as described in the Bible, and the beliefs of English reformers.

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The Vestiarian Controversy

Several figures in the Church, including Thomas Sampsons & Lawrence Humphrey, refused to wear the clothing laid out in the 1559 Settlement as they thought it was 'popish'. 

The Ornaments Rubric tried to settle the issue, but the albs and copes it described were seen as 'superstitious' and 'popish'.

December 1564, Archbishop Parker, under pressure from the Queen called a meeting between the main opponents of the dress code. Little was done.

In May 1565, Elizabeth dismissed Sampson due to his refusal to conform.

Finally giving in to pressure, Parker published his Advertisements in March 1566. 

Having support from Grindal, Parker summoned the London bishops for a modelling of appropriate clothing. 37 clergymen refused to accept it, even when Grindal stressed adiaphora.

It shoes the Queen wanted to enforce the settlement, even though she couldn't enforce her will totally. 

Highlighted the differences amongst Protestants.

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The Convocation of 1563

The Convocations of the two provinces of the English Church (Canterbury and York) met at parliament.

Most of the Church thought Elizabeth would be reforming the Church even further. Parker even produced General Notes of Matters to be Moved by the Clergy in the Next Parliament and Synod.

Little was actually done. The 39 Articles wasn't given legal force until 1571. 

It appeared that the Church was drifting. The Convocation didn't develop the Church structure, which most of the clergy was hoping for.

It also demonstrated how Elizabeth was happy with the 1559 settlement and viewed it as final. She saw no need for further reform.

The Church of England, though it was quickly becoming more Calvanist in its doctrine, was only a half-reformed Church in regards to its structures.

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The Presbyterian Movement

Belief that the CoE should be further reformed under Calvanist lines. It stemmed from Calvin's teachings and London Protestants' bitterness at the Vestiarian Controversy.

Attitudes hardened in 1571 after the cancellation of preaching licences unless priests subscribe to the 39 Articles and New Prayer Book. Following deprivations lead to an increase in resentment.

One of the dismissed was Dr Thomas Cartwright, who was sacked after giving lectures against bishops. 

1st Admonition 1572: John Field & Thomas Wilcox. They called Elizabeth's settlement a "popish dunghill" and called for the distruction of the Church hierarchy. It infuriated Elizabeth and more moderate Puritans. Attracted a readership due to its satirical tone.

2nd Admonition: Christopher Goodman. A detailed description of a Presbyterian Church system. 

Cartwright spoke out in favour of the two Admonitions, which began a pamphlet war with John Whitgift (Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583). Whitgift called Presbyterianism a movement towards "anabaptism".

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Puritanism is often a confusing term. Literally it means people who want to purify the Church of England of 'popish' elements.

Puritans didn't challenge the royal supremacy and their views weren't that different from CoE's mostly Calvanist views.

There was a mainly cultural difference between the Puritans and mainstream Protestants. 

Patrick Collinson & Peter Lake: Puritans were Protestans who's religious enthusiasm and zeal differentiated them from their contemporaries.

They emphasised the importance of preaching the Bible as the word of God. They believed religious life wasn't confined to the Church. Religion was a constant and ever-present idea in their minds. 

Puritanism wasn't, however, one movement. There were the Conformists, Presbyterians (lead by Field) and the Separatists (founded by Robert Brown and Robert Harrison & then lead by Henry Barrow and John Greenwood). 

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