James 1 Religion


Different religious groups in England

  • Puritan

  • Calvinist
  • Anglican
  • Arminian (from 1618)
  • Catholic
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James' religious beliefs

James was a Calvinist i.e. a moderate not a radical. James had little time

for those who wanted the Church purged of Popish remnants or those who

wanted a Presbyterian (no bishops) form of church government, as had

developed in Scotland.

James said that Presbyterianism ‘accordeth as well with monarchy as God with the Devil’.

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James' religious aims

James pursued a policy of balance, moderation and (unofficially at any rate) toleration.

  • James was tolerant towards Catholics. He called the Catholic Church ‘our mother Church’ though it was ‘clogged with infirmities and corruptions’. His mother, Mary Queen of Scots was seen as a Catholic martyr.

James supported rule of church by bishops (episcopacy) who were appointed by the King. Appointments show James' balanced outlook.

  • James made no effort to harmonize the rather different English and ScottishChurches - this was wise. Charles I's attempt to do this helped bring about civil war.
  • James' reign was notable for its lack of religious persecution, which is a tribute to James' moderation.
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Key events for Religion

  • 1603- Millenary petition
  • 1604- Hampton Court Conference
  • 1605- Gun power plot (recusancy fines tightend)
  • 1606- Oath of allegiance
  • 1610- Death of Bancroft
  • 1618-Book of sports
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