Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change 1547-58

Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change by Somerset

Steps towards Protestantism under Somerset:

  • July 1547: Royal Injunctions ordered that: 1) Clergy to conduct services in English and keep copy of the Bible in English in Church. 2) 'Superstitious' Images must be removed.
  • Autumn 1547: Dissolving the Chantries: Justified that the belief in purgatory was superstitious, 3,000 chantries were dissolved
  • Repeal of the Treason Act 1547, this enabled more freedom for religious debate and more radical ideas.
  • January 1549, Act of Uniformity: 1) Laity could receive both bread and wine in communion. 2) Clergy could marry. 3) Signing masses for dead not approved. 4) However Catholics belief in Purgatory was not yet condemned.
  • To Enforce these changes, Bishops ordered to carry out visitations and check how many of their people knew the 10 commandments and the Lord's Prayer.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change; Northumberland

Northumberland's Religious Changes:

  • Northumberland was a much more radical reformer wanting the whole of England to be protestant as well as Edward VI being heavily pro-protestant, starting with the New Ordinal in Jan 1550 which revised the procedure for the ordination of priests.
  • He also introduced the Second Book of Common Prayer (Jan 1552) which removed all Catholic traces of prayers for dead etc and was seen as very protestant as it rejected transubstantiation.
  • The Second Act of Uniformity (April 1552) made it an offence to attend a church of Latin services.
  • Act of 42 Articles (Nov 1552) was issued by government but wasn't parliamentry law, it was based on the Prot. doctrine of justification by faith alone.
  • Devise to exclude Mary (May 1553) set up by Northumberland and Edward to remove Mary from the Tudor succession as they wanted protestantism to continue shown by their radical changes. Mary would return the country to Catholicism.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England Protestant by the death of Edward VI in 1553?

England Was Protestant (1):

  • Eng. became officially Protestant for the first time; as David Loades - “it was highly artificial & imposed by authority; nevertheless it was successfully imposed”. This was due to the influence of politicians like Somerset & Northumberland, bishops like Cranmer. 
  • Ronald Hutton - evidence of surviving churchwardens’ a/cs : 1552 Book of Common Prayer was implemented within the timeframe set by Parliament replacement of stone altars with wooden communion tables.
  • Even the Catholic historian Eamonn Duffy says of common people, “used to obedience, many of them accepted the changes, however unwelcome, as unavoidable”. 
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England Protestant by the death of Edward VI in 1553?

England Was Protestant (2):

  • Evidence from wills suggests that Protestant belief was stronger in London, SE & E Anglia than in N & W
  • It was most popular with people who were young, educated or involved in trade with the Netherlands or Germany.
  • In some parts of the Thames Valley surviving traces of Lollardy ( a pre-Reform. heretical group) made some people more receptive to Protestantism.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England a protestant country by the death of Edward VI in 1553?

Apathic:

  • The religious changes since 1529 seem to have left many clergy & laity confused, apathetic & indifferent, inclined neither to welcome the changes nor oppose them.
  • Most of the clergy continued to serve under Henry VIII, Edward VI & Mary despite all the changes.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England Protestant by the death of Edward VI in 1553?

England was Catholic (1):

  • Edward was only King for 6 years & England officially Prot. for 4 (1549-53) before Mary restored Catholicism. The 1552 Act of Uniformity only lasted a year & E died before the 42 Articles could be imposed. There wasn’t enough time to make England truly Prot.
  • Duffy has claimed that many parishes kept or hid as many images & as much church plate (silver cups for communion wine etc) as they could rather than destroying them. According to Hutton, “Catholic practices retained their vitality in the parishes until the moment they were proscribed … accounts suggest that Tudor parishioners were reluctant to implement any religious changes”.
  • The fact that Hooper felt the need to urge his clergy to preach against salvation by good works, prayers for the dead, transubstantiation & the worship of saints & images suggests that such Cath. beliefs were still popular.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England Protestant by the death of Edward VI in 1553?  

England was Catholic (2):

  • The Prot. Martin Bucer admitted, “the bishops have not yet agreed on Christian doctrine, let alone the rules of the Church, and very few parishes have qualified clergymen. Sometimes the clergy read the service rapidly, so that the ordinary people have no more understanding of it than if it were in Latin rather than English”
  • In 1550 Parliament complained that alongside the Book of Common Prayer “are still practised corrupt, untrue and superstitious ceremonies, which allow some to attack the order and meaning of the Prayer Book and encourage great diversity of opinion”.
  • In 1552  Parliament made church attendance compulsory as “a great number of people in this realm wilfully and damnably refuse to come to their parish churches”.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Edward Q

To what extent was England Protestant by the death of Edward VI in 1553?

England was Catholic (3):

  • Sir William Paget warned Somerset that “the use of the old religion is forbidden by a lawbut the use of the new is not yet printed in the stomachs of 11 out of 12 parts of the realm”.
  • Catholic belief was especially strong among older, less educated people in the North & West; but even in Kent only 8% of wills in E’s reign were explicitly Prot.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary (1)

Religious Policies Under Mary (1):

  • Once gaining the throne from Lady Jane Grey of whom had the throne for only 9 days she was quick to restore Catholism within England.
  • She first issued the First Act of Repeal (1553) which took the country back religious to how it was in 1547 undoing Edwards reforms to a position where they were 'Catholic Country without a Pope'.
  • She began the restoration of Papal authority, parliament met in Oct 1553, refusing a repeal the Act of Supremacy but did restore the situation to that of 1547 under the Act of Six Articles. She also suspended the Second Act of Uniformity which however cause unrest with Wyatt's rebellion.
  • She also began to restore Catholic Practices:    Spring 1554, Royal injunctions restored some traditional Catholic practices, such as holy days etc. Large number of married Clergy were also deprived and Protestant bishops were removed.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary (2)

Religious Policies Under Mary (2):

The Heresy laws and the Second Act of Repeal were issued with initial attempts for Heresy Laws was April 1554 that were rejected.

However, opposition to the Heresy Laws at first was probably due more to fractional conflict rather than oppositon to Mary's religious policies as it was then passed a few months later.

  • Second Act of Repeal (Nov 1554) repealed all religious legislation passed since 1529 but forced into a compromise with landowners, guaranteeing rights to those who has bought Church land since 1536
  • Heresy laws reintroduced in 1554
  • Burnings started in February 1555.

 

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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary (3)

Religious Policies under Mary (3):

The Catholic reform saw the return of Cardinal Pole to England followed by positive measures to increase appeal of Catholicism:

  • Bishops ordered to check Clerical behaviour and Pole ordered new publications inc. a Catholic New Testament as well as seminaries in every diocese.
  • The London Synod, which was the ending of pluralism, was established.
  •  Also attempts to control Protestant literature and increase availability of Catholic works with sermons at St Paul's Cross and publication of writings by writers such as Matthew Hogarde.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary Q

To what extent had Mary succeeded in making England a Catholic country by 1558?

Successes:

  • In bringing back the Mass & Catholic doctrines like transubstantiation & clerical celibacy, Mary was returning to H’s policy; in the history of religious policy 1529-58, it was the shortlived enforcement of Protestantism under E VI (from the first Act of Uniformity in 1549 until his death in 1553) which seems out of place. M therefore had a strong base on which to build.
  • Robert Parkyn, a Cath. priest in Yorkshire, wrote, “Priests were very glad to say mass in Latin ... The English service was voluntarily laid aside”.
  • It is not true that Mary relied solely on persecution to restore Catholicism. Cardinal Pole, her Archbishop of Canterbury, had constructive plans for reform
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary Q

To what extent had Mary succeeded in making England a Catholic country by 1558?

Successes:

  • In any case the burnings may not have been as unpopular as is often assumed.  in London ordered the burnings to be held in the mornings to reduce the crowds, due to to a fear of the general disorder which often has large gatherings rather than fear of demonstrations in support of the victims. 
  • Parliament readily agreed to the restoration of the Mass in 1553 & the restoration of the heresy laws in 1554 was only delayed b/c MPs feared that the monastic lands many of them had purchased would have to be given back. Once that issue was resolved, the heresy laws were passed & the burnings could begin.
  • Churchwardens’ accounts in different parts of the country (e.g. Stanford-in-the-Vale in Berkshire & Morebath in Devon) suggest that parishes were quick to restore altars, images, mass vestments etc despite the considerable cost of doing so.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change - Mary Q

To what extent had Mary succeeded in making England a Catholic country by 1558?

Summary:

  • On balance the evidence suggests that Mary’s policies were succeeding & ultimately failed, not because her policies were unpopular or poorly thought out but because she died too early & failed to leave a Catholic heir, enabling Elizabeth to restore Protestant.
  • The length of time it took Elizabeth to make England truly Protestant (the whole 45-year reign as far as Lancashire was concerned, according to Christopher Haigh) emphasises how much Mary achieved in such a short time.
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Mid Tudor Crisis: Religious Change Overview

Overview of Religious Change:

  • England still mainly Catholic on the accession of Edward so attempts to turn Prot. would be slow especially to convert people to Protestantism.
  • Religious Change under Somerset was slow and cautious and it was only in 1549 that made significant moves to Prot. but still caused religious unrest.
  • Religious change more radical under Northumberland, still problems with implimentation at local level.
  • 2nd book of common prayer was not until 1552 therefore had little time to have an impact as well as the 42 articles did not become law because of Edwards death.
  • Many welcomed the accession of Mary and Catholic services often took place before laws introduced.
  • Little religious opposition to the return of Papel Supremacy and Catholicism.
  • Little evidence to suggest the burnings had a significant impact on religious beliefs.
  • England religiously swung from Catholic to Prot. from 1547 to 1552 then back to Catholicism by 1558.
  • Mary improved quality of clergy etc. so religious policies not just negative.
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