Mary I Religious Policy

             Mary I 's Religous Policy

  • Created by: Miranda
  • Created on: 02-06-13 19:28

Aims in Religious Policy

  • Determined to restore Catholicism to England - believed that she was divinely ordained to defeat Catholicism and so save England
  • Return the supremacy of Rome
  • Enforcing Catholic doctrine i.e. the restoration of transubstantiation
1 of 10

The First Statute of Repeal, 1553

- Repealed all religious policies from Edward 's reign

- Returned to the doctrines governed in the Act of Six Articles

-Significantly, it was supported by parliament - showing that it was prepared to accept that religious policy would be governed by the monarch of the day

-However, also showed that Mary was acting cautiously - no return to Rome nor did she revive the medieval heresy laws

-The passage of the act saw Cranmer, Bishop Ridley replaced and arrested

-However, it was not enforced until 1554

2 of 10

The Second Statute of Repeal,1555 - The Restoratio

- Headship of the Pope restored

-Repealed all religious policies made by Henry after 1539

-Medieval heresy laws revived

3 of 10

Limitations to Mary 's Counter Reformation

- The second statute of repeal could never fully return papal supremacy as it ahd been in 1529 - it was more papal headship than papal supremacy after thisas he only had a spiritual role to play - interference into domestic affairs was no longer tolerated

- For example, in 1555 when Cardinal Pole was stripped of his rols as a legate and thus summoned to Rome - Mary refused for him to go

- She had to sacrifice the restoration of the monastries

- Could be that she faced little opposition from parliament as she was a woman - they did not see her as a threat

-Slow + somewhat cautious counter reformation in the early years - i.e. first statute of repeal passed in 1553 but only enforced in 1554


4 of 10

Cardinal Pole 's Reforms

  • Adopted a programme of education modelled on those being used on the continents - educating the priests by sending a dedicated team of bishops
  • Attempted to restore church finances
  • But only really achieved in York - finances were not enough - thus many priests remained uneducated - thus many would lack the zeal to oppose the Elizabethan settlement
5 of 10


Traditional View: Elton + Dickens = reforms were a failure - the triumph of Protestatism was inevitable during Elizabeth 's reign as Catholic reforms were not well established

Loades argues that Mary ahd difficulty eradicating Protestatism as it had become so established during Edward 's reign

Revisionists' View - Haigh and Duffy = Many parts of the country embraced Catholicism - and thus Protestatism did not experience a complete revival during Mary 's reign i.e. only 7 Bishops from Edward 's reign were refused their livings by 1554 as they accepted Catholicism and only 800 of the lower clergy were refused their livings

Traditionalists tend to brand the religious policy a failure as they write from hindsight - i..e the ostensible triupmh of Protestatism during Elizabeth 's reign

6 of 10

Religious Policy: Successes

  • Only seven of the Edwardian bishops and 800 of the lower clergy were refused their livings by 1554 for refusing to accept Catholicism- compare this to all but one of the Marian Bishops who refused to take the oath in Elizabeth 's settlement ( Haigh and Duffy)
  • Evidence from the parishes shows considerable and continuing support for traditional services - recruitment to the clergy = at the highest it had been for years
  • The first statute of appeal = short term success
7 of 10

Religious Policy: Failures

  • Did not leave a Catholic heir to sustain the counter-reformation - Elizabeth would remove key pieces of legislation in her Act of Supremacy 1558
  • Pole 's reforms were only partially implemented - he was hampered by the lack of finances required to restore the churches to their pre-reformation condition and to provide an effective education for the clergy
  • Second act of repeal did not return the Pope 's position to its pre-1529 state - his role was only spiritual after this + the introduction of heresy laws ostensibly revived Catholicism
  • Sacrificed the restoration of the monastries
  • Mary 's marriage + her policy of persecution meant that Catholicism was associated with intolerance + revived Protestatism i.e. Wyatt 's rebellion
8 of 10

The Burnings:Successes

  • The number of deaths peaked in June 1557 - after this they began to decline suggesting that the most radical Protestatism had been wiped out
  • Executed people in their own districts - people would have experienced persecution first hand = effective
  • The burnings did not increase the number of Protestants
9 of 10


  • Mary 's policy of killing key Protestants such as Bishop Ridley of London and Bishop Cranmer did little to stop the rise of Protestatism - suggesting that Protestant ideas were rooted in the general public without any need for leaders
  • Could be argued the burnings led to more committed Protestatism - for example, many wealthy Protestants left the country to join colonies of other Protestants on the continent - this exposed them to more calvinist ideas - leading to a more radical Protestatism in Elizabeth s' reign - LONG TERM FAILURE - Mary 's policies did not outlive her
10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

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