Reign of Elizabeth 

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  • Created on: 11-05-13 14:00

Problems at the start of the reign

A Catholic Nation in 1558 - Queen Mary died in November 1558 at just 42 it was the only serious failure of her reign- tumour in her stomach killed her , Mary had only ruled for 5 years but she had successfully reversed the Protestant revolution. Some Protestants fled abroad but many stayed in England and conformed to wait for better times 

What were Elizabeths religious views? As daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry it was believed she was inclined to Protestantism. However growing up in dangerous times she kept her religious views to herself , during Marys reign she had conformed to the Catholic Settlement but Mary knew this was just a smoke screen. Mary had made no attempt though to change the succesion, Mary decided to let Gods will be done allowing Elizabeth to suceed peacefully to the throne. Little doubt Elizabeth was a protestant she was educated by Protestant reforming tutors, she attended morning service as queen everyday in her chapel and and her own book of private devotions , with personal collection of prayers in many languages. When she went home or abroad she was greeted by Protestants. Also a new range of Protestant Books were dedicated to her as champion of the Protestant cause e.g. Geneva Bible in 1560. Elizabeth could be termed a POLITIQUE , someone who wanted to create a broad Protestant Church , but which could also be acceptable to moderate Catholics and moderate Protestant

The need for caution - Elizabeth had endured impriosnment and threat of execution under Mary , thus she knew she had to proceed with caution. She kept many of Marys councillors  and recieved advice from them of the dangers to the realm if another religous change- might lead to rebellion. England were also still at war with France and the French may inavde if there were divisons in England.Protecting the English against France was Spain, but a move towards Protestantism would leave England defenceless. Spain and France the two Catholic powers could join together England as they had done during the reign of Henry. Though Elizabeth religously was Protestant , politically it was hazardous for the young Queen. In addition Elizabeth was a woman it was hard enough to establish herself as a female ruler without the complications of religous change. Elizabeth being a woman could not take control of the Churuch as her father did. Dec 1558 she issued a proclomation against protestants in their own hands by tearing down altars and crucifixes and preaching against Catholicism- all preaching & teaching to remain as it had been 

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What factors shaped the making of the Elizabethan

Calling of Parilament 1559- when parliament was called it was clear that Elizabeth had been persuaded to change religion- Elizabeth had taken on many new Protestant councillors including Willam Cecil. At opening of Parliament she chose Richard Cox to preach a sermon, who had gone into exile under Marys reign- he and many other protestant returning from exile put pressure on Elizabeth to destroy the current Catholic Settlement - he wanted Elizabeth to destory all religious images and monastries refounded under Mary

Origins of the Act of Supremacy - wanted to re-introduce Henrys break with Rome which Mary had so carefully built back up- further changes to church services were going to be brought through Convocation not Parliament- Convocation was dominated by Marys Catholic bishops it was hoped some migth resign in protest at renewal of Royal Supremacy others who signed up during the Supremacy under Henry would conform. By Jan 1559 there were 10 vaccancies (5 left and 5 died). Once Supremacy Bill was passed Elizabeth would be able to create a new set of bishops. Protestant Councillors urged Elizabeth to go a little further and along with Supremacy include measures to restore church services as they were at the end of Edwards reign and also the use of the radical Edwardian Prayer Book (Northumbeland)- however was defeated in House of Lord. Government also faced oppositon as churchmen assembled declaring full support of papal headship and re-affirmed belief in transubstantitation and claimed Elizabeth had no power to change religion, faced with opposition Elizabeth prolonged Parliament , during this period the government acted to reduce Catholic opposition by staging public disputation between Catholic bishops and Protestant theoligians - resulted in imprisonment of Bishop White of Winchester for speaking out against Queens Supremacy - parliament had not even past Supremaxy act yet. She signed peace treaty with France and Spain which meant they also recognized her as Queen and so felt more secure

Passing of Supremacy Act 1559- new act was introduced which gave Elizabeth title Supreme Govenor of the Church- more acceptable to Catholics and Protestants as it did not claim Elizabeth was a priest- as a woman she could not be an English Pope- Marian statues were swept away and just like under Edward and Heny an oath was to be taken by crown servants swearing their agreement to uphold the Queens control of the Church

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What factors shaped the making of the Elizabethan

The Act of Unifromity and Prayer Book 1559 - Without consulting clergy Elizabeth & Privy Council brought in a new prayer book to be used in all English churches- Elizabeth herself favoured the more moderate prayer book 1549 which had proved acceptable for Catholic Bishops- but she was faced with councillors who wanted more radical Prayer Book, some even wanted more and wanted a complete break from Catholic therology . A compromise was made a book based on 1552 but with important moderating clauses . references to Pope were now left out , Elizabeth though saw no need to offend Catholics- the 1552 rubrics cube was removed which meant that moderate Protestants and Catholics could still believe in transubstantiation. 1559 book included words from BOTH Edwardian prayer books , this was an English compromise and meant people could believe what they wanted essentially - suited Elizabethand showed her desire to conciliate moderate Catholics

Final twist was that in the Act of Uniformity clerical vestments and church ornaments had been brought back , which had been swept away in Edwards later years- the new Uniformity only passed by 3 votes - which showed that cathoic belief was still shown. 

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What methods were used to consolidate the Settleme

Elizabeth and the Bishops - she continued to proceed with extreme caution to the despair of more radical Protestants- all but one bishop didnt want to take the oath of supremacy  and had to be deprived of their offices. Elizabeth though seemed reluctant to appoint new men to 25 vacant sees- none were actually enthruled until late 1559- while bishops were meant to administer the new church they had to do so under Elizabeths authority (ertastianism-ultimate power of church in hands of ruler)- Elizabeth and government in charge of church not the clergy

Royal Visitations - June 1559 Elizabeth appointed another set of royal commissioners to conduct a visitation of the Church in England and Wales- mainly laymen (lawyers)- wide power than those of bishops when carrying out visitations- adminstered Oath of Supremacy to lower clergy, limited opposition (seemed lower clergy went along with the state more)- obedience to soverign was second nature to most of these men , many signed fro Henry , Edwar and Mary reforms. - so didnt mind agreeing to this settlement

Royal Injunctions - drawn up by Elizabeth designed to fill in some key detail of religious settlement. Preaching was to be undertaken by preachers or clergy LISCENCED by bishops , could not preach as they wished, they were to read from Book of Homilies at least 4 times a year. Every English churchhad an English Bible and a copy of English Erasmus Paraphrases. Clergy also had to devote time to spiritual education of young people- all to be taught 10 commandments and Lords Prayer- shrines and images put up during Mary had to be taken down. Some limites Protestant Propaganda , all palmphlets had to be lisenced by Commissioners or 6 members of council or bishops. Clergy should NOT wear caps used during Edwards reign and altars were NOT to be destroyed but converted into communion tables and stand were altars stood- shows personal prefernce on her Church

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What methods were used to consolidate the Settleme

39 ARTICLES 1563 - modified version of Edwards 42 articles- passed by convocation in 1563 but she didnt want them ratified by parliament which shows her personal supervision over all aspects of religon. The articles conatined a variety of faiths and an optimistic tone of the 42 articles. Predestination was moderated to suit English Protestant sensibilites , the claim seemd to be the Church existed to serve the godly - the godly could be most people. Althought the articles were drawn up by Parker (archbishop) she altered them herself - she deleted article 29 altogether- as with the prayer book Elizabeth had the last word.  The Church was clearly protestant e.g. rejection of Papal Supremacy but was clearly designed to appeal to moderate Catholics- priests were still to dress in garments , communion tables in same place as altars remained in place. 


Linited Enforcemnt of the Settlement- Elizabethan Church was moderate and comprehensive in terms of enfocement- the church refused to peresecute those holding different Christian beliefs. 1570 a proclomation stated that there woulld be no investigation of peoples belief as long their conduct was not offending or obstaining the realm- Elizabeth was determined to avoid religious persecutoin (Italy & Spain)- she had seen far too much of it in Mary reign- In Lancashire which was probably most Catholic region only 12 clergymen were deprived og their livings- in all counties nobility were not required to take the oath- in 1563 the death penalty for a second refusal of the oath , Elizabeth insturcted her archbishop to make sure no-one was asked the oath twice- fines for not turning up to church but hardly any were collected. This meant that stirct poliicies could not be enforced on clergy , communion table was sometimes in the nave and sometimes in the east end also in communion service some recieved the wafer and wine sitting while others recieved it kneeling

The bench of bishops- Matthew Parker was Elizabeths first archbishop,he did not go into exile under Mary- he served Elizabeth faithfully and dutifully- Parker knew that success of the new church depended on avoiding too much by way of pucblic disputing between soverign and archbishop. Other new bishops were moderate Protestants- Queen was in control of them, she suspended Grindal from office (Archbishop at time)- successor Whitgift

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The Puritan Challenge

Who were the Puritans?- they were extreme protestants whose religous beliefs wanted to push the Queen for further reform, they would risk all to see a truly reformed Church. The Catholic Church was seen as the devil. The Queen caused anxiety for the Protestants-she refused to marry. They thought there religous belief was superior to everyone else- they were enthusiastic and keen for reform

What did the Puritians want? 

Reform of personnel and government of the Church - they wanted a clergy which were more highly educated- (many had conformed under Mary so wanted them to be passionate Protestants) - parish and clergy only paid lip service to royal injuctions - many just wanted a quiet life but this was unacceptable for most Puritans. English clergy failed to meet Puritan standards they allowed themselves to be bullied by the Queen - they became obedient civil servants - Elizabeth had steered away from choosing extremely radical protestants . Many puritans also wanted a re-distribution of wealth within the Church, so salaries for parish clergy would encourage ambitious scholars into the Church and it fairer welath would put a stop to abuses of pluralism and simony (crime of obtaining and granting church office in return for money)

Reform of doctrine and liturgy- Elizabrth did all she could to moderate Catholics in her settlement (communion service still allowed for the real presence of Christ) - Protestants still forced to dress like Catholic Priests , communion tables still looked like altars- many thougth English church was too perculiar- godly religion coulldnt prosper due to Catholic religion

Stiffer Penalties for Catholics- there was little poresecution or rules for Catholics (hersey seen as a disease)- it would spread and undermine the church- many were Catholic church Papists who pretented to be protestantgs- little fines 1 shilling a week fro not attending church

More emphasis on preaching - explained to them the word of god - was a heart of religion 

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What did the Puritans do?

Strengths and Actions - Elizabeth appointed Edward Grindal as new archbishop who was known for his Puritan stance on church issues. Puritains in Parliament had managed to persuade Elizabeth to accept more Protestant Prayer Book. People such as the Earl of Lecister urged Queen for further reform. Cambridge colleges would help to produce new generation of Puritan preachers and clergy. Puritian laymen powerful in court an influential in parishes - men were free to appoint Puritain clergy and preachers of own liking. There were Puritan organisations such as the prophesyings which made Protesantism more than just a voice of Protest , and helped spread the Puritan message, they met in groups were they could voice their discontent. Some Puritan elites took control of town government , they wanted to end drunkeness, swearing and blaspheming and gambling- declared war on papagasim and Catholics. 

Puritans and Parliament -  Thomas Norton main voice in House of Commons he spoke for most of Protestant community by petiotining the Queen to marry in order to produce a protestant heir , it was to guarantee a protestant succession (petition), designed to put pressure on. In 1563 Puritans in Parliament wanted to increase penalties for Catholics and an Act was successfully passed to sharpen up penalties for those wo did not take the oath for 2nd time. (Elizabeth made sure no one was asked twice however). Parliament of 1556-7 saw more conflict beween commons and Queen (she needed money) - arguments over clerical vestments and over her succession - a seperate commitee was set up to discuss the matter , and they stated that the Queen had agreed to marry and name a successor , Elizabeth was so angered she dissolved Parliament - before dissolving 6 unofficial acts were introduced for more Puritan style reforms. In Parliament 1584-5 saw greatest support for securing a Protestant succession , Walsingham had a plot to the kill the Queen led by a Catholic - in the end she agreed to anyone plotting against the Queen was killed an Mary Queen of Scotts was finally excluded from the succession - but not her son as he was a protestant. In 1585 a bill was passed 'the better observance of the Sabbath'- was a Puritan demand that Sundays should be reserved for the worship of God and not gambling or drinking. At the same time a bill was passed which demanded aimmediate action - to remove unqualified leaders and unlearned preachers. Puritans also used the House of Commons to demand reofrms of the Prayer Book and also to replace it with the Genevan Prayer Book.

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How important was Puritan leadership? - Thomas Car

Thomas Cartwright one of most important Puritan leaders- he was a proffessor at Cambridge Univeristy and his lectures claimed that - bishops were not to govern the church in his diocese but instead his hole role was to be solely spirutal . Calvin (Cartwright advocated him-he was too young) believed that the churches should be run by 4 key people (a pastor to preach , a doctor to teach  , young and a deacon to help sick and elderly)- he wanted a system which would function without bishops and without interferance of monarch. Cartwrights ideas were seen as dangerous and would encourage Protestants who were Presbyterians- his ideas were taken up by John Whitgift (Cartwright was dismissed from his position). 

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How serious was the Puritan Challenge?

The Threat From Abroad - In 1580 Engalnd faced the most serious threat from Philip II of Spain who sent his Catholic Armada against England, Puritans made gains during this time as in 1581 Parliament was aalowed to pass fierce new laws against Catholics , 1585 new treason Act against Catholic Missionary Priests and Jesuits- at this time Catholcism was seen as treason by the government (1580s and 90s 200 Catholics were executed- 31 in year of Armamda) . In 1587 Elizabeth finally agreed to the execution of Mary Queen of Scotts

Puritan Extremists - 1580s puritansim became more extreme. First few months of Whitgift (hated by protestants)introduced Lambeth Articles or 3 articles , they demanded that all clergy should demonstrate strict beliefs to Church settlement and governments regulations e.g. clerical dress- all clergy had to take an oath- had to swear that they Agreed with Supremacy Act , agreed to use Prayer Book and none other and that the book contained nothing against Gods word- opposition was high and Whitgift had to moderate the Article on the Prayer Book- only a few clergy were deprived . He enforced 24 Questions on Puritan leaders to see what they had been doing - had to tell the truth. The oath was taken on the Bible so they found it hard to lie - Whitgift now had a powerful weapon in his struggle against Puritan leadership

Whitgift an the classical movement - Whitgift wanted and needed better armed against the Puritans. Puritans were becoming more organised, there ability to bring together a whole series of Puritan surveys and petitons demonstarted this. With the strucure of Presbyterian churches , it was thought they were beginning set up their own church , there were national synods- a threat as it was seen on inposing itself on the church- Presbyterian Church had been brought in Scotland which had undermined the Church there , severe threat to Elizabethan church. Presbyterians appeared strong as they had good propagandists . It was strong in London and Essex , the government may have exaggerated the threat but they acted accordibgly. The Marprelate Tracts 1588-9.- they were pamphlets , and denounced senior clergy and bishops- and attacked Puritans main enemy Whitgift- they were a success and popular so 2nd one was published- howver they got Puritans a bad name- they were counter-productive- Whitgift got revenge and denounced Puritan leaders - Cartwright & 8 were arrested

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What were the main limitations of Puritan Success?

Puritan Missionary Zeal - Puritains clerg were also active at a local level- they wanted to bring the Word of God to main groups, they even tried to convert the strong-minded Catholics - it is easy to exaagerate their success

Shortage of Preachers- preaching was at very heart of attempts to change Catholics , but in the 1560s and 1570s there were few preachers to be had (many intellectuals at Cambridge and Oxford opted for exile than conversion). Preaching was very serious problem and in diocese of Peterborough just 9 preachers among 166 clergy. In sussex 1579 just 33 preachers for 135 parishes. There was also a shortage of clergy during Marys reign many young men came forward for ordination , in Elizabeths early reign there was the opposite. (times did get better as colleges made to conform so preachers began to increase)

Church of England preaching - some preachers did make an effort to spread the word of God such as Edward Grindal- also at this time the government faced serious oppositon from abroad so protestant preachers had more freedom to operate , more people started to attend church , however this did not mean that the majority were convinced Protestants

Opposition to Puritan evangelism - the efforts of many Protestant an Puritan clergy efforts were often resisted and counter-productive , especially in places where Protestanism had made little headway since Henrician Reformation - Elizabeth reign the puritans had a huge task- however preachers were gloomy of their results and said people had little intrest and just walkeout of sermons or slept through them- little succes 

Unpopularity of Puritan ideas - Puritan preachers were unpopular as they were kill-joys as they always complained about what people did on Sundays such as gambling and drinking (they were outraged) lasted throughout the reign - Puritan preachers often fell out with eachother aswell. Moderate Protestants and Catholics were not easily swayed. Puritan idea sof predestination also meant they could not convert the masses- they portryaed the image that most of the population was doomed to eternal damination - their version of salvation was unpopular compare to Catholic one. 

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The significane of Puritan Extremism

The rise of seperatism - During ELizabeths reign a number of small individuals and groups can be called seperatists , they were more extreme than Puritans, they rejected the concept of a national church , as it contained a vast number of damned and ungodly people. The sesperatist congregations developped their own churches of the 'saved and selected' and rejected all aspects of the ELizabethan Church- this was another limit to Puritanism due to rising of Puritan extremism.

Plumbers Hall Group - separists churches were not part of the Elizabethan Church and we know some of the individuals from 'stranger churches' were invloved in the Plumber Hall group , who were prosecuted as separists. The group were made up of radical Protestants, they claimed they had been forces to administer sacrements amongst themselves ('Archbishop Parkers Advertisment') - it was worrying as it was thought they bring in separtism into Anglican Churches- many were prosecuted in case

Conclusion - overall Puritantism changed over the reign - Puritanism became more diverse as time went on and divided , some conformed hoping for better times , others didnt accept the policies and became more extreme, they mounted serious challenges. 

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