Elizabeth I (1558-1603)

HideShow resource information

The Elizabethan Settlement 1559- Structure and Doc

  • Elizabeth's 'Politique' policy showed that she was someone who remained moderate at a time of religious division.
  • Her 'Via Media' policy meant that her settlement was moderate and tolerant between 2 extremes, literally meaning a middle way.
  • Litany, Lord's Pray and Creed- statements of core beliefs of the Catholic and Protestant Churches.
  • Supremacy Act 1559- gave Elizabeth the title 'Supreme Govenor' instead of 'Supreme Head' (like her father had been) as a woman could never be seen as the head of the  Church. Repealed the authority of the Pope.
  • Act of Uniformity 1559- authorized use of new English Prayer Book based on Edwardian Book 1552. Showed Elizabeth wanted England to be moderately Protestant, doctrine appealing to Catholics and Protestants.
  • Thirty-nine Articles 1563- modified version of Edward's 42 articels 1553, were moderate
  • She made Catholic compromises; Litany Lord's Prayer and Creed, ambivalant on transubstantiation (things indifferent), colourful vestments, incense and chimes.
  • William Cecil- Secetary of State and High Treasurer during E's reign, most important advisor was a moderate Protestant. 
1 of 5


  • Royal Injunctions 1559- commands and orders issued by the Queen with the approval of the Privy Council. Every Church had to have an English Bible. Royal Visitations 1559- only 200 of 4000 lowr clergy refused the oath of supremacy- limited opposition to the oath.
  • Catholic recusants displayed opposition to the Church by reefusing to attend Protestant services- but were not persued as weren't forced to take oath to the Settlement.
  • Adiaphora- idea that many religious beliefs can't be defined and differences of opinion shouldn't lead to arguments. Elizabeth responded to questions about her religion by saying the "answer is answerless".
  • Matthew Parker was Elizabeth's first Archbishop of Canterbury- moderate Protestant.
  • John Jewel Bishop of Salisbury- moderate Protestant.
  • Francis Knollys, Nicholas Bacon (Lord Chancellor), Francis Russel (Earl of Bedford- involved in Wyatt's Rebellion) shared Queen's views.
  • Duke of Norfolk and Stephen Gardiner- extreme Catholics.
  • Francis Walsingham and Edmund Grindal (former AoC)- Puritans.
2 of 5


  • Wanted a theocracy- state run by churchmen guided by religious laws.
  • Remove Catholic elements, popish remnsnts
  • Tougher penalties for Catholics and Papists.
  • Influence Elizabethan policy.
  • Too elitust and intellectual.

Separists (lack of unity);

  • Familists- wanted to create Heaven on Earth.
  • Plumber's Hall Group- no transubstantiation.
  • Nicodemists- showed favour towards Jesus.

Why did it fail?

  • Extremists cancelled each other out.
  • Elizabeth established a National and Popular Church which was moderate and broad, appealing to a range of Christians. Called it the Anglican Church of England, people could adapt to it.
3 of 5

Support for Catholicism and Catholic Threat

Support for Catholicism:

  • Was familiar and traditional, especially as most people had supported Marian Reformation.
  • Protected the religious legacy from ealier generations.
  • Most glergy were Catholic in 1558.
  • 1559 Protestant Settlement imposed lightly on the nation.
  • Catholic priests conformed outwardly but adapted to new services to suit them.

Catholic Threat:

  • Shakespear's father's whitewashed walls- followed rules but undermined system, he obeyed orders to whitewash over Catholic wall paintings but the paintings could still be seen. Was how people adaptd to iconoclasm( removal of images and ornaments in Churches)
  • Ridolfi Plot 1571- Catholics who hoped to free MQoS from captivity, assassinate Elizabeth and marry MQoS to Norfolk, and re-unite England with Rome
  • Norfolk Plot 1568- Norfolk to marry MQoS.
  • Northern Rebellion 1569- occurred in North as furthest from court in Durham. Limited support and was discovered.
4 of 5

Jesuit Mission

  • Throckmorton Plot 1583- liasing with Philip of Spain about MQoS inheriting, plot was discovered by Walsingam (Elizabeth's spymaster)n 1584 Throckmorton executed, sending clear signals to Spain.
  • Babington Plot 1585- led by Anthony Babington, wanted to release MQoS from captivity, who was personally involved. Elizabeth had to act decisively.
  • 1587- Execution of MQoS due to involvement in Babington Plot. Elizabeth was reluctant to do so as she was her cousin and was worried about what God would think as she wanted a place in heaven.
  • Spanish Armada 1588- fleet of ships transported troops to England. Foreign powers posed a serious threat but successfully kept at bay throughout Elizabeth's first 30 years, until Spanish Armada where God was on Elizabeth's side.
  • Parson's Pamphlet 'A brief discourse containing certain reasons why Catholics refuse to go to Church' (Jesuit)
  • Campion's pamphlet 'Decem Rationes' (ten reasons)- Campion was a Jesuit execued in 1581.
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »