Henry VIII 1509 - 40 Crown, Authority and Religion


Early foreign policy 1509 - 1512

  • Henry came to thrown 1509 - wanted to be renaissance king
  • Auld Alliance - Scotland and France so enmity there
  • France - traditional enemy/ wanted to reconquer it like Henry V did
  • Spain strategically good to ally with
  • Netherlands - good for trade like wool, controlled by Hapsburgs but came under Charles (spain) 1519
  • Holy Roman Empire - lose collection of state and claimed authority over Italy
  • Alliance with Spain made by marriage of Catherine and Arthur - now widow - good to attack France - married Catherine 1509 secure alliance
  • Truce with France mistakenly made due to Warham and Fox - old advisors 1510
  • 1512 First attack on France = attack o Guienne, hoping Ferdinand would support. But Ferd. used Henry to caputure Naarre and then made peace with Louis XII - Henry gained nothing but lost lots of money - betrayal
1 of 33

Foreign policy 1513

  • The Battle of Spurs = lead army himself (learnt from pervious mistakes) - gave Wolsey task of supplying the army. French not interested in battle, but did succeed in Therouanne & Tournai - desired prestige and glory - did meet what his aims where partially
  • Used as propaganda as french did retreat
  • Peace treaty signed 1514 - to keep towns and Louis XII to marry Mary (Hen sister)
  • The Battle of Flodden = kings absense meant opp. for Scots to rise up. Possible that taxes werent placed on nobles in the North as did not want to ruin loyalty as threatened by Scots.
  • Suspected as James IV renewed Auld Alliance with Louis XII 1512 and rose army numbers 30,000 men (largest yet)
  • Catherine left as regent and Earl of Surrey had army around 20,000 men left in England
  • James killed 9 earls, 14 parliment and chiefs dead// third of scotish army lost lives


  • achieved glory  and showed renassance - to be feared?
  • marriage of Mary and Louis - alliance with France
  • scots boarder secure - Margaret = Regent with son
  • Wolsey got his place
  • very expensive - nearly 20 years of savings
  • Ther and Tourn - very expensive to fortify and a long way from england - not strategic positions
2 of 33

Foreign policy 1518 - 21

  • SUCCESS! peaceful
  • limited resources due to money previously  spent
  • Louis, Ferd and Max (HRE) died - young men to throne wanted similar aims to Henry
  • Wolsey set Henry to be peacemaker and being centre of european diplomacy
  • Treaty of London 1518 = universal peace, brilliant// was attempted by pope leo but wolsey hijacked -took over plans. More than 2 dozen countries - committed powers to live in peace, anyone that broke the peace would have the rest attack, made individual treaty instead of common document, henry aebiter of peace
  • The Field of Cloth of Gold 1520 = hard to maitain peace just by TOL as enmity with France & Spain HRE - worsened when Charles V got imperial throne. Also committed Britain to fight on side of victim with no guarantee of winning side.
  • Meeting of Henry and Francis I  in Calais France - jousting/ feast entertainment
  • Effective = international glory, english displays outdone everyone elses, cost a years income but cheaper than war
  • Ineffective = no agreement made, spain not invited, england looked like siding with france and looked not impartial, henry lost a wresting match so felt humiliated
  • David Loades - said that nothing was agreed as Francis knew that Henry was meeting with Charles & thought they were being played
  • Defender of the Faith 1521 = award from pope leo - recognised defence of catholic faith in the 7 sacarements, henry defended papal supremacy especially with the growing reform movment
  • Wolsey persuaded in 1518 to trade ther and tourn for a pension to the crown
3 of 33

Foreign policy 1521 - 25

  • Historic conflict between Valois-Hapsburg caused war between France Spain despite TOL - Charles (King Spain/ HRE/Duke Burgandy/Flanders - so surounds France)
  • Leo encouraged charles to drive french incursions into italy - pope didnt want anyone involved in italian affairs but was actually assisting charles to develop claims in italy.
  • Francis invaded luxenburg = imperial territory (Charles owned)
  • The treaty of Bruges 1521 - TOL not maintained/ Henry prefered siding with Charles - most english courts had francophobia, catherine aragon (aunt), trade with Netherlands (imperial) - secret alliance (declare war on france if francis said no peace, charles would give pension, charles betrothed to mary (henrys sister)
  • The second french war 22- 23 - war broke out between f & s over milan so henry because of TOB declared war on france. disatrous like first one = let down by charles as he was focusing on milan, duke of bourbon didnt bring promised support on march on paris, english stuck in mud & returned with nothing to show for
  • Battle of Pavia 1525 - charles continued to fight france but henry had no money, charles beat spain captured french king - wolsey sent to offer... henry&c  invade france, france to be divided between them and bourbon, henry 'king of france' was rejected
  • Amicable grant failure  - money needed to be raised in order to do things in france, taxes still being collected from 22-23 campaign so could not request from parliment, commisioners to collect grant/ forced loan 1/3rd incomes
4 of 33

Foreign policy 1525 - 29


  • Charles was most powerful/ big empire and resources- had no loyalty to england either - didnt agree to henrys plan in battle of pavia and charles married portugal - so TOB ruined
  • Negotions with france = Treaty of More 1525 = gave up claims to france, recieve annual pension £20000 Treaty of Westminister 1527 = enter full alliance/ francis or son to marry mary
  • still had aims to achieve prestige  & be centre of european affairs
  • Negotiations with League of Cognac = 1526 entered the league - anti hapsburg alliance agaisnt charles' ambitions in italy. dragged into conflict he was not bothered about but had to when he signed treaty of W
  • The sack of Rome 1527 - charles mercenaries ( paid german lutheran soliders) not paid for services entered rome and week long **** of violence attacked churches, monasteries, shrines - pope withdrew as fear of lutheran soliders// anger of being paid and anger of religious of rejection of papal authority & catholic teaching
  • key point = pope lacked military strength and henry did not want to attack him this way as needed religious authority for the annulment
  • Consequences - failure of ally with france// charles now had papal heartland// pope could not annul marriage as charles in charge//
  • Treaty of Amiens 1527 - followed anti haps policy and pro french - england& fr war on charles 28, agreed to fund it// suspend trade in netherlands for economic pressure on spain
  • Treaty of Cambrai 1529 - charles defeated francis - francis agreed to terms with him/ charles controlled italy// ruined prestige and glory as was not involved in negotiations
5 of 33

Effectivness of FP 1509-29

  • evaluate against henry and wolseys aims - did they meet these
  • Henrys aims - achieve glory by military onquest, france, scottish boarder, reliable alliance
  • Wolsey aims - Henrys wishes, eng at heart of int affairs, glory+ prestige affordable cost
  • Henrys aims changed over time 27 needed diplomacy to achieve annulment, not glory
  • Achieving military prestige- scottish border secured in 13 for 2 decades as Marg infant son regent/ Duke of Albany attempted in 21 but no scottish lords didnt support him/ no threat til 40s - was achievment as broke auld alliance which weakened france,not vulnerable & was good glory. Territoy gained in France- Tournai&Therouanne glory but not all of france, but later exchanged for pension
  • Diplomatic achievements- secured european peace 18-21 at centre with TOL - both good for wolsey aims of affordable and for henry of gaining glory
  • Most successful between 13-21 - spurs 13, flodden 13, TOL 18, gold 20, defender of faith 21
  • By 29 the military might of of charles V, and wolsey decision to abandon spanish & ally with france, left england with not much power
  • Failures - holy leagues war 12, 2nd french 22,23, pavia amicable g 25, diplomatic rev, sack of rome 27, cambrai 29
6 of 33

Factors that helped / hinderedHenrys ambitions

  • Wolsey= understood his aims, aware of realities of finance and tried at lowest cost to get glory/ good diplomatic skills eg pope leo plans turned in TOL/ raised lots of funds 200,000 in parlimentary tax largest sum ever raised/ supplies was reasoably good as hard to supply when so far away 13 wolsey took charge of supply routes to france so troops with food and weapons
  • Hapsburg Valois rivalry opened opportunities = able to get alliance with Ferdinand and Max as common enemy was France. 1521 used the rivalry to forge alliance with charles V at bruges - more power to conquer france but did not work as was abandoned who persued their own goals. Able to do diplomatic rev in 25 as francis wanted ally against charles V. Treaty of amiens provided french to fight spain for england - share glory at reduced cost as limited resources
  • :) Scotland = solve during battle of flodden when james died, apart from slight disruption during 22
  • :( unreliable allies = aims meant he needed allies but they could not be trusted. 12- ferdinand used england to distract france so they could capture navarre abandonded agreement and made peace with france. 13- henry got therouanne from max but cost loads to maintain. 22- duke of bourbon failed to put down suffolk so england couldnt progress in paris convinced boourbon only a player. diplomatic rev made alliance with france but was weak - chose the wrong ally which resulted in peace of cambrai
  • limited resources = why ambitions were limited - population england was a smaller country and had less army to build. Income - france 350,000 englan 100,000 annual income - struggled to raise revenues, rely on taxation
  • role of papacy = joined holy league 12, 18 transforms pope leos plans to make TOL, 21 - defender of the faith as he was defending the church from lutherism however popes fear of charles meant he could not get annulment
  • wolseys ambitions = pollard argues forgein policy underminded wolsey who did it for his own interests and desired to be pope. gwyn disagrees - mistakes like 25 insulted emperor after negotions in pavia whih eant charles had neg response and amicable grant
7 of 33


  • intelligent graduated at 15, low birth, became hen 7th chaplian, royal almoner in charge of kings money
  • luck - duke of norfolk too old, warham resigned, fox resigned
  • skill - supplied troops in 13 showed his capailities to understand the king
  • Lord Chancellor 1515 meant part of court & royal council.
  • cardinal 15 made him higest ranking and papal legate 18 gave power to act as popes represntative in england and control patronage of church - msot powerful man in england  
  • Justice system = made him richer
  • Court of Chancery - civil law therefore fair judgement/ disputes over land&wills. no training so based on wolseys judgement. heard cases of the poor which meant they liked him. took bribes of rich so got reprutation for greed. established judical committee that dealth with poor. 540 peryear
  • Court of Star chamber - criminal court tackle corruption, wolsey was blamed by rich when the trial went againsst them saying he had vendetta against wealthy. 120 per year
  • Wolsey furthered his good treatment of the poor for enclousures - 17 set up commission to investigate but forced to stop by parliment 23
  • many rich used his orgins as why he hated the rich - examples of him agaisnt rich = paulet was kept in middle temple 5 years unless give up all properties/ 1515 earl of northumberland sent to fleet prison abusing aristocratic privaledges/ 1516 lord bergavenny accused of illegal retaining// 21 duke of buckingham fell due to wolsey as was made to pay fine that made him lose his manor
8 of 33

Wolsey and finances

  • act of resumption 1515 = meant that income was rectified from the land that had been granted when henry first became king saved 10,000 a year
  • royal taxes (5ths 10ths)= for war he could request parlimentary taxes, orginally 5ths10ths which were fixed rates but changed to relate to the actual wealth of that area 118,000
  • subsidy= was a parlimentary tax that was accurate of the taxpayer income 325,000
  • taxiation & role of parliment= summounded infrequently- 12-14 and 15, 23 but didnt always result in full amount eg. 24 wolsey asked for 4 shillings to provide 800,000 however only got 2 shilllings which was 200,000 but still largest ever raised by tax
  • forced loans= caused difficulty in raising subsidy in 23 as had dispatched commissioners to asses each country and said they had to pay a loan to crown 350,000
  • amicable grant 1525= needed due to battle of pavia left a chance to conquer france - didnt upset parliment this way as was seen as a gift that had to be given by clergy members - they were unhappy in suffolk and norfolk - so had to cancel the lev and could not conquer frace as had to come home
  • reducing royal expenditure= 1519 dismissed gentleman of the privy chamber (expulsion of the minions) which was probably favoured by majority of the council as these young men seemed to be getting too close to henry/ 1526 eltham ordinances - reduced gentleman of the bedchamber from 12 to 6/ 2000 royal servants cut down as no longer had to give them wages or provide lodging 107,000 per year
9 of 33

Alter rex?

  • elton accuses wolsey of ruling as king when he wasnt the king
  • All routine business in hands of W whilst H prefered sports. Wolsey had a palace (Hampton court) and recieved ambassadors there. Could distrabute patronage. Had high titles. Henry blamed unpopular decisions on W so it made it look like they were his choices
  • wolsey did understand the king so did not need to ask him about everything as carried out routine tasks but authority was always held with henry though wolsey did have lots of power
  • wolsey couldnt be alter rex down to downfall - partly was because he failed to meet kings need which shows that wolsey was doing it for the king and that the king had ultimate power to remove
  • also evidence that wolsey tried during 20s to raise finances even though wolsey was happy with TOL
  • wolsey strengthened authority rather than challenged.... took blame for amicable grant, got nobility under control by packing privy chambers with his supporters, managed parliment to get finances,
  • evidence he challenged... limited - had more personal wealth, had ambassadors at his before kings, used gifts to manipulate king
10 of 33

Wolsey and nobility/ parliment

  • loathed by nobles who tried to bring him down - vitim of fractional intrigue
  • key factors why they hated him= low birth, jealous of relationship with king and influence over patronage, resentment of reducing minions and Eltham ordinances, against enclosures, treatment in star and chancery
  • they thought wolsey was to blame for arrest and execution of buckingham - who was white rose party and was claim to the throne however nobles continued to seek wolse for favours even after this
  • wolsey was suspicious of those who had access to the king as wolsey wasnt allowed in bedchamber so by getting rid of these meant he removed a threat
  • Parliment = some think wolsey did not like parliment as only summonded it infrequntly but in 16th century it was only used for finances. member of house of lords but not commons and they did not like him because of wealth and he represented clergy who abused their positions - eg Hunne case where he took to court to challenge church authority but was killed by churches clergy 1515 and parliment did stop some taxations
11 of 33

Wolsey and church

  • wolsey most important churchman by papal legate which made him able to make visitations to all dioceses, appoint all benefices in church patronage, summon church councils, makes new rules for clergyand claim revenues and authority.
  • did not manage to reform the church fairly like he did with the courts = number of abuses in the church he did not care for and they did require reform; pluralism (holding more than 1 church office), absenteeism (failure of bishop to live his diocese, nepotism (giving church office to family member), simoney (giving and buying church), sexual misconduct (not celibate/priests keep mistresses), poor education
  • church courts - when clergy were accused, the court was more lenient 'benefit of the clergy' act of 1512 removed benefit of the clergy for those who didnt take holy orders however the abuse continued as benefit of clerics continued
  • behaviour of clergy - some poorly educated - wolsey had ecclesiastical council to investigate but nothing done about it
  • reform of monasteries - monks to comfortable and involved in world matters - visited and closed down 30 that had low numbers - used the money to make own cardinal college - could be predecent for later dissolution of mon as seen as acceptable to close them down& get money
  • therefore wolsey did not pursue reform with vigor - became associated with corruption 
12 of 33

Wolsey fall from power

  • failure in foreign policy 25-9= dip rev was failure alliance with france put england on losing side with hapsburg-v struggle, had to sign cambrai, sack of rome 27 made it impossible for pope to agree to annulment - king lost faith and recalled disappointment from amicable grant
  • failure for annulment = 1529 kings great matter - entrusted wolsey to grant this but failed due to; 27 passed it to rome but pope captured during sake or rome meant pope could not delcare invalid/ wolsey tried to be acting pope which was blocked by french cardials// court at blackfriars 29 failed as cath appealed and campeggio ( but was told to stall by pope not to come to decision) reffered it to rome - Downfall inevitable as was kings desire and one need
  • nobles and frational intriguing= attributed by the growth of anti wolsey fractions - duke of norfolk, anne boyeln opposed wolsey as stopped her chances of marrying henry percy, thomas boyeln who was friends with king and tried to make more power over his family - fraction put pressure on henry to downfall wolsey in 29
  • arrested with praemunire (answering to a foreign power before england itself) oct 29 and stripped of offices and sent to his diocese - sent many letters to cromwell begging him to intercede witht  the king, and did defend wolsey but unable to grant wolsey his wishes - wolsey summonded to trial and died before execution
  • reformation parliment = added to legitamacy of W downfall anti clerical and henry allowed them to critise W since it justified henrys removal of him, use the charge of praemunire against whole church and clergy hopefully to apply pressure on pope of annulment
13 of 33

Why Henry sought annulment?

  • succession issues= failed by mid 20s to have son only mary 16 child to survive. no precedent for female sucession as when they did it went to civil war. henrys father only got crown by war of roses so henry needed to further to secure his kingdom so not same events happened
  • catherine age= menopasual by 20s nearly 40 so probably wouldnt have a son stopped sleeping with her
  • marys legitamacy= not only was she a girl but charles V renouced his betrothal to mary by marrying isabella 26 because he wasnt sure she was legitamate, same happened with francis as enquiries made into the papal dispenstion of the marriage of hen and cath. doubt in henrys mind that he was not legally married to cath - daughter a ******* as he married his bros widow and only was allowed as apparently cath and arthur not consummmated
  • religious doubts= henry convinced cath not his wife beause of Leviticus said that it was unlawful to marry your bros wife and punishment was childlessness - used to strengthen his argument was confirmed in his mind by child with bessie blount that he was being punished by god because of sins
  • role of anne boyeln = though evidence shows W unaware of infactuation to anne when he started proceedings so many not why to start with - eric ives annes biographer says not aware til 27. not original motivation, but fueled fire. daughter of henrys ambassador in france so key figure had good personality and promised henry a son if they married
14 of 33

Annulment stratergy

  • clear by 27 that annulment was only solution, thought it would be quick
  • wolsey secret court may 1527 = cath not invited/ ignorant to kings intentions, warham confirmed henry living in sin with cath for 18yrs, validity of papal dispensation attacked.. wolsey may of presented to cath and rome fait accompli that marriage wa invalid however when rome sacked had to abandon - dont really know why he did Elton said cos of cath, loades said shock
  • caths opposition= shocked by declaration that it was invalid (living in fornication sex when not married) upset and said she was pure when met henry. never deviated from this claim. cath family connections - charles her nephew in spain had control over pope
  • the assumption of papal powers = maybe suspended tribunal 27 due to new plan - wolsey thought he could be acting pope in which needed support from french cardinals so set off to france. ignorant of infatuation with anne as said hen would marry french princess however the dip rev put eng in wrong camp an therefore failed
  • case for the annulment = down to pope, knew flaws in henrys argument so steered away from bible but to validity of dispensation - if cath pure when married henry then that meant that dispensation invalid as it claimed their marriage was consumated, put dispute onto papacy, however could be resolved by issue of new dispensation
15 of 33

Why annulment failed?

  • henrys arguement was based on interp of bible however Leviticus refers to living wife and not widow and cath did have living child mary. also underminded by deuteronomy which says man can marry widow and raise sons for him - argument looked flimsly as infatuated over anne and seemed like he wanted to just cast off old wife and he had slept with annes sister which in cannon law made them related
  • sack of rome consequences= although escaped as prisoner, imperial troops in rome meant could not act freely and couldnt not offend charles - some argue this was most significant reason. also stalled hoping henry would change his mind or cath would die but proposed solution - legitamise any children between henry and anne, mary and henrys illegitamate son marry
  • court of blackfriars= may 1529 hoped wolsey and campeggio sympathetic (as previously rewarded) to him but camp told to stall and not make secision, cath rejected proposal that she retires to nunnery and she produced her dispensation obtained by spain, no validity in court, only evidence given to support henry was that apparently arthur boasted about sleeping with cath - capeggio sent it to rome so nothing was done and then by oct 29 wolsey dismissed
16 of 33

Reformation parliament 29-32/ submission of clergy

  • started to attack W to justify actions by henry but resulted in gereral attack of the church. Tynale and Fish highly critical - but henry at this stage did not want reformation in the church and hoped parliment could make his marriage invalid
  • why little progress? thomas more!! was chancellor and had to represent commons but opposed the annulment and had been promised he would not have any involvment in the great matter
  • role of thomas cromwell = worked for wolsey, MP 23, needed to be more loyal to king than wolsey so did not restore wolseys orders in 29. elected into parliament and royal council 30 - cromwell supported the idea of royal supremacy over church to grant annulment, and was the one to steer the attack of the freedom and privaledges of church 32 - submission of the clergy made the clergy have to agree head of church in eng was henry church under royal control
  • submission of the clergy - wanted clergy to answer to him alone and not to rome and this would put pressure on pope
  • reasons for royal supremacy = erastian kingship that sinners should be punished by the state and not church, prince in lutheransim - luther said prince must take on church reforms, defensor pacis - king should be in charge of the church in his own country
  • cranmer solutions - said case could be dealt with by theologians and went to univerisities which favoured him (but bribes & old english manuscripts Collectanea satis copiosa supports supreme authority - showed henry that he was not seeking new powers but just gaining what in past years should be his
  • fining of the clergy 31= charged with praemunire could not deny as they signed oath to papacy but could avoid fine if 100,000 and head of church
  • supplication against ordinaries 32= document pushed by commons to take action against clerics who abused legal powers any change in cannow law passed by henry Thomas More resigned
17 of 33

Royal supremacy, break of rome 32-24

  • royal supremacy = henrys control of the chuch/ remove pope
  • role/importance of parliament= established RS meant it had agreement of a political nation behind them and the king wasnt assuming powers
  • Act in conditional restraint of annates 32= to cut ties with rome, end payments of annates to papacy (important income to the pope), bishops made by england, henry probably was still trying to put pressure on the pope to grant the annulment however it didnt have this effect by the end of 32 knew it wouldnt be settled by rome and would have to make a legilisation
  • Act in restraints of appeals 33= anne boyeln was pregnant by now, married by cramner by just saying the wedding with cath was invalid. act set out henry as head of church as all legal cases settled in england, no right to appeal to rome, king supreme authourity of legal cases prevents cath from appealing to rome
  • Act of Succession 34= anne had daughter elizabeth, but optimistic son would come next. act declares only annes kids were heirs, mary illegitamate, subjects must take oath to agree, those who denied succession punished by death
  • Act of Supremacy 34= reaffirmed message of act of restraint of appeals
  • Treasons Act 34= treasonable to deny act of supr & succ - not only just treason by writting and actions but now spoken word - mechanism to keep people loyal
18 of 33

Figures in establishing royal supremacy

  • Anne Boleyn= ulterior motive for pushing Henry. Brought up in french court, adopted reformist ideas - evangelical (christains who placed belief in bible) read Tyndales that king controls church not the pope. Fish - anti clerical tract that said clergy evaded kings justice by maintaining own court system. Anne showed these sources persuaded henry,
  • heretic someone who opposes/ contraversy/ to christian views Fish and Tyndale were these
  • Thomas Cranmer= broke deadlock in 29 by going to unis and collectanae satis copiosa, made archbishop of canterberry 33 actually did ask rome for this- seat in lords and could promote leglislation, married anne and henry presented marriage with cath invalid. was alot more protestant than he could show
  • Thomas Cromwell= lawyer and evangelical reformer. Anne presented the ideas, Cramner gave the arguemnt but Cromwell did the legislation and drove bills through parliament to become statue law.
  • in only 7 sessions in ref parli cromwell steered great volume of legislation to break ties wih rome, for RS, and moved england on the path of protestant reforms
19 of 33

Development of protestant ideas

  • period of 33 witnessed introduction of reformist ideas - Henrician church emerged from catholic and protestant ideas which reflected his desires
  • new structure= supreme head, then archbishop most important church man and control bishops

The role of clergy:

  • Catholic= dedicated to religion superior, celibate, interpret bible as indiviuals/ and god
  • Protestant= equal member of community, responsible for preaching words of god, clerical marriage permitted

Church layout/decoration:

  • Catholic= decorated vestments worn by priest, decorated interiors/stained glass, highly dec. alter
  • Protestant= plain priest, plain interior only scipture on walls, plain communion table


  • Catholic= bread wine tuned into body and blood, priest takes communion, dead held in purgatory until amend sins, confessions to priest in order to obtain forgiveness, latin bible, salvation achieved by good work
  • Protestant= bread and wine co-exsisted with body/blood, communion for clergy, no purgatory, private confession, salvation achieved by faith
20 of 33

Factors that influenced religious change

  • 33-39 rapid religious change - reformation around europe. Henry did orignially critise Luther views in 21 but due to refusal of annulment and break of rome he had to establish RS
  • Political factions= pro and anti aragonase factors underwent changes, but supported marys claims after cath death. Boleyn faction- vital in intial changes, aimed to secure break of R and RS so anne got marriage, evangelicals. Reformist faction- from boleyn, collapse of marriage did not effect reform, more radical in religious beliefs but not beyond what king would like, RS starting point for reform. Conservative faction - opposed reformist and pace of change, RS as finishing point, promoted catholic beliefs.
  • Henrys marriages= marriages dictate policy. factions tried to place candidate before king to gain more influence. anne b 33-36 in inital change, anne of cleves 40- attempt by cromwell to push futher reform with a protestant alliance. Cath Howard 40-42 by conservatives to improve access to king to stop reforming
  • Role of parliament= anti clericalism removed wolsey, sub of clergy and dissolution of mon, made changes by statute law- real legitamacy- commons more anti clerical, lords more inclined to traditional beliefs & opposed submission of clergy - but supported diss of mon as gave them more money
  • Struggle of reformists & traditional beliefs= the factions competed to secure religious preferences policy was based on convinence than his views
21 of 33

Opposition to religious change

  • first opposition to religious change caused by end of cath marriage
  • Holy Maid of Kent (Elizabeth Barton)= said henry would die if he married anne (known for seeing visions) support from Warham&Fisher&More and published book 33 with her prohesies. Cromwell was ruthless as thought it was a consipracy, treason & hanged - Chapuys (imperial ambassador) threat charles v may intervene. clear publicity not to oppose change! hense whhy treason act was passed to stop this
  • Bishop John Fisher= opposed H attempts to annul in books and sermons, was cath most trusted advisor (appeared behalf of her in court), refused to sign submission of clergy, preached against divorce, arrest and sent to tower 34, trialed at common court and beheaded. also was given hat by pope paul meant he had link of catholic crusade
  • Thomas More= H close friend, promised in 29 he would have no involvment in great matter, resigned 32 over submission of the clergy, retire to quiet life, More had internatiol reprutation so H needed him to agree with RS and act of succession but More refused to take oath - arrested tower - maintained silence as knew he couldnt do anything unless confessed but insufficent evicence (Rich saying he had a conversation in prison wherehe confessed) was executed
  • Observant Friars and Carthusian Monks= religious groups that refused to renounce their alligiance to rome and got most severe punishment - monks hung, drawn and quatered. starved to death. made people fear
22 of 33

Cromwell and push of encouragment of protestant id

  • reformation driven from top as although some discontent within people, it was not cause
  • 1935-40 cromwell was driving force
  • appointed as vicegerent in spirituals 35 like a papal legate - can charge direction of religious policy. H knew cromwell had most influence to steer through change
  • Ten Articles 36= defined faith and pratices of the new national church. Sacraments of baptism, penance (confessing sins) and eucharist (last supper service) acknowledged, real presence of christ was reaffirmed, lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone outlined - but H did this catiously but moves away from conservatism as no mention of 4 catholic sacraments
  • Bishops Book 37= ordered because of rebellion like pil of grace so needed to be more traditional. 7 sacraments acknowlegded, 4 missing of lesser value now. mass deemed less importance, status of priest downgraded. H refused to endorse book shows personally he did not completely conform to his views. 21 bishops agreed to publish this which shows more than cromwell wanted it
  • Cromwell injunctions 36/38= changed religious practices to show population reformation. 36- clergy has to defend RS in sermons, children taught lords prayer 10 commandments, bibles in latin and english so people could read it 38- all parishes need english bible by 40, pilgramages discouraged, relics and candles removed, registration in parishes
  • English bible 38= H role of heazd of church (distrubuting word of god to people) licence needed to buy bible (restricted debate from nobles) cromwell paid for all parishes to have tem - advance in protestantism as people read and interpeted bible for first time
  • cromwell more enthustiastic for reform, henry concerned of rebellion and clung to catholic traditions
23 of 33

Impacts of factions on reform in church

  • had v. conservative clergy, opposing factions had influence on policy and extent of success
  • Fall of Anne Boleyn 36= initial role in reformation but fallen out of favour by 36 - victim of factional opposition. Reasons for fall; when cath died, H thought could ally with charles but mary would have to be legitamite which made annes child illegitimate, invalid marriage to anne due to relationship with sister, temper and wanted to interfer, stilborn, miscarriage therefore confirmed invalidity, anti boleyn faction led by seymor H liked jane seymor, cromwell said anne committed treason as disagreed on FP and patronage - presented H with evidence she committed adultry and incest
  • Seymor marriage= 11 days after execution, had prince edward but jane died 1 days after - marriage was important as made edward seymor promotion in court who wanted reform and supported cromwell
  • Rise of reformists faction= anne gone meant cromwell higher up in privy chamber, could fill places with his men during investigation of anne adultury - therefore more evangelical reformers in court - nobles hated cromwell for this as they were just men from the gentry Power in court and could make protestant alliance to protect eng from catho invasoion - 39 anne of cleves marriage made alliance to protestant rule.
24 of 33

Dissolution of monasteries 1535 - 39

  • 1535- land of over 800 monasteries that helped dead, healed sick, charity to poor, educate
  • monasteries were catholic, monks performed releasing souls from purgatory - protestants said no evidence of purgatory and salvation achieved by faith alone so did not need them - monks a threat as reluctant to listen to king and not pope
  • Stage 1 Valor Ecclesiasticus 35= complilation of reports on the state of mons - commissioners checked wealth of them and showed lots of wealth 3x times greater than king income - powerful incentive to take lands
  • Stage 2 Visitations 35= commissioners to investiatgte standards - instructed to find corruption and therefore the king would have to reform them. Many in good order but found lots ofcorruption
  • Stage 3 Smaller dissolutions 36= evidence held to parliament, bill that all with less than £200 closed due to corruption
  • Stage 4 Process= abbeys ramsacked, monks nuns turfed out to countryside, artwork destroyed or taken into private pocession, roofs stripped of lead - 500 houses
  • Stage 5 Second dissolution act 39= originally announced in 36 that larger monasteries were safe showed reform and not destroying but said they caused rebellion, opposed royal authority in treasonas matter. king short of money, and religious purpose gone, let them dissolve voluntarily
25 of 33

Support for dissolution

  • Kings motives= not really a fan of monasteries never liked pilgrimages or gave much offerings - no reason to spare them. Income always too small and needed to improve nations defences after annulment and catholic attack Valor E showed the wealth of mons and as head of church this was H's wealth, this money meant did not need to depend on taxes. and monks most vocal opponents to break of rome and RS
  • Financial benefits to gentry and nobility= with more wealth he could distribute more patronage explains why even the more conservative did not go against the dissolution
  • Belief in RS= support for dissolution as people obediant to king due to treasons act
  • Support for religious reasons= reformers liked diss as rejected catholic belief in purgatory - catholic reformers saw monasteries no longer needed as took teachings from elsewhere
26 of 33

Rebellions 1536

  • Lincolnshire rebellion 36= trigger was diss of s.mon, subsidy collected 34, inspecting quality of clergy. Tensions rose when rumours churches stripped of gold and jewels plus extra taxes - led by shoemaker Nicholas Melton captured commissioners and forced them to tell the king about local grievences, bishop of linc chancellor killed, gentry joined revolt and wrote linclon artiles, 10,000 men plus lord hussey (nobleman) - waited for reply of king, king threatened harsh punishments if did not disperse and did when heard suffolk army was rising - king order 100 death sentences only 57 carried out
  • Pilgrimage of Grace= Yorkshire, full scale revolt. October Aske  leader, 30,000 - take oath to defend church and be loyal to king- called pilgrimage so not seen as revolt. Lord darcy gave over pontefract castle. also support from percy fam of northumbland - sir percy led force of 600 rebels to join the force. Pilgrams controlled all of north - drew up grievences pontefract articles and restore monasteries before the king
  • 300,000 only significant minority however because they were concentrated up north made quite a large army
27 of 33

Causes of pilgrimage

  • Ten articles - did not like the change to more protestant reviews
  • more conservtive up north - higher amount of religious houses and nobility used to making decisions
  • poor harvests
  • landlords had increased rents
  • rumours church was under attack of gold and treaure
  • united people
  • enclousures destroyed farmers livelihoods
  • relied on monasteries for money as a charity to the poor
  • opposition to cromwell - doesnt likehim low birth and blamed for banning inheritnce laws
  • taxes like subsidy and church taxes went to crown
  • henry had to put it down if not it looked like his power was undermined and would have to change religion back
28 of 33

Response to pilgrimage of grace

  • H seemed willing to negotiate
  • 30,000 versus 8000 duke of norfolk army
  • norfolk and aske met - agreement rebels given pardon, parliment to discuss pontefract article, no more monasteries supressed without parliament say
  • pilgrims dispersed as aske went down to court to discuss
  • only actually gave promises so they will disband
  • new rebelllion by Bigod due to slow reponses by 37 - had little support and was captured - allowed H to proceed with 178 rebels executed, lord darcy beheaded, hussey beheaded, aske hanged, percy fam had to give up estates
29 of 33

Failure of resistance

  • rebels werent doing it to get rid of H but to redirect policy as had swore on oath to the crown opposed only cromwell not the rights of the king
  • duke of norfolk good at lying/convincing
  • H prepared to be ruthless to destroy any chances of further rebellion
  • Treason act still exsisted - deterrrent
  • majority were loyal to crown
  • rebels dispersed and made the mistake of doing so before grievences addressed


  • destroyed any serious opposition to the crown
  • made impression of the population not to mess with H - made critisms stay quiet due to treason act
  • down south - sympathy for H and respected change
  • but some rebellion down south but scattered and therefore no issue as not masses and united

Threat; rebels had support from nobles, appealed to charles v for help, bigger army than H, sympathy for rebels in south (limited)

No threat; confined to yorkshire, rebels had loyalty to king, treason act, punishments were scary and brutal

30 of 33

Retreat from reform

  • henry never had as much enthusiam than cromwell - and rebellions in 36 and 7 showed H the dangers of reform and change caused social and political unrest
  • Rise of conservative faction = saw RS as end of reform, Howard (duke of norfolk) gardiner - by 39 ganed influence over H encouraged him to sack cromwell and return to orthodoxy - credit to halt to reform and introduce 6 articles
  • act of 6 articles 1539= key sign that H rejected protestant reform= confirmed; H head of church, catholic thoughts that bread and wine turned into body and blood, private mass, hearing of confession by priest (basically lot of catholic stuff) banned; marriage of priests, no marriage if vows of chasity, taking communion by bread and wine
  • How far was this a retreat from reform? more traditional but 6 articles did not fully restore catholic doctinie but in same year as 6 articles, H took larger monasteries which were catholic so not fully back to old ways
  • Purpose of act? H didnt really know, and was more controlled by religious factions and their influences but some disageeement - elton said weapon against protestants// bernard says king was in control and he took a leading role in the articles to avoid discontent in the people which could challenge his realm.
  • current historians say H was trying to find a middle way that everyone was happy about
31 of 33

Fall of Cromwell 1538-40

  • not popular with gentry and nobility - due to low origins and monopolising power
  • overwhelmed by opposition, guilty of treason and heresy, executed
  • Trial of John Lambert= cromwell gave lambert benefit of doubt even though H prenouned him guilty of heresy so it raised questions of cromwells own beliefs
  • Significance of 6 articles = showed H as more conservative and therefore crom didnt suit needs and persuaded conserative factions to attack crom
  • Cleves marriage// failures= possibilty of catholic attack so had to marry cleves to form protestant alliance - anne ugly and nothing like painting so did not consummate marriage, blamed crom for forcing it// invalidated marriage
  • Change in europe= temp suspension of hapsburg and valious rivalry meant needed an alliance with protestant as both spain and france said to attack england, but in 40s they were rivals again and so no longer need this
  • Rise of howard faction and cath howard= H liked cath so norfolk got frienly with king - bye crom
  • Accusations of heresy= sealed fate when he supported heretics like lord lisle who said crom didnt enforced punishments on heretics in calais
  • Downfall and execution of Cromwell= arrest 40 tried by house of lords and found guilty long death as executioner was rubbish - married cath howard on same day
32 of 33

English reformation? Political or religious?

Political motivation;

  • annulment
  • wealth
  • complete control over clergy and subjects - can no longer make daily laws
  • the succession
  • ideas of erastian kingship - the king to control religion
  • little doubt at first it was political as needed the annulment and clear that this could not be achieved if still a member of catholic church

Religious motivation;

  • political motivation cannot be fully responsible as surely the reformation would of stopped after annulment achieved?
  • act of 6 articles definition of faith
  • dissolution of the monasteries - shows rejection of purgatory
  • english bible gave access to scriptures for all
  • injunctions ended catholic superstitions
  • royal succession reject papal supremacy
  • never deviated from reformation once - his choice of reformers shows the progress he wanted to make
33 of 33


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

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