Catholic Threat


Notes on the Catholic Threat.

Between 1571 and 1588, the Catholic threat to Elizabeth, both at home and abroad, was easily dealt with. How convincing is this view?


Was dealt with

Wasn’t dealt with

·         Was dealt with, Continental Europe provided examples such as the French Wars of Religion and the assassination of William of Orange of what might have happened in England.

·         Mary wasn’t dealt with immediately, and so the threat carried on until she was executed.

·         Was dealt with: English Catholics were happy to be left alone, they had no desire to overthrow the state.

·         Internal threats were minimal but the external dangers were menacing.



Spanish Armada

·         On the 19th July 1588 the Spanish Armada was positioned in its place, it consisting of a fleet of 130 ships with 22 of these being Fighting Galleons.

·         As the Armada sailed up the English Channel, it was attacked by the English force led by Sir Frances Drake.

·         It could be argued that this situation wasn’t dealt with because the only reasons as to why such a threat was averted was due to poor weather, the luck of the English and errors on the Spanish part.  



Jesuit Priests

·         The first Jesuits to become involved in attempting to recatholicise England were Robert Parsons and Edmund Campion.

·         1585 – Act against Jesuits and Seminary Priests – treason for any priest ordained under the Pope’s authority to enter England.

·         1586 – 1603 – 123 priests were convicted and executed.

·         Christopher Haigh, sceptical about the value of their contribution.

·         They worked a lot for the gentry – therefore Catholicism wasn’t spread out to the humbler Catholics.

·         1581 – Edmund Campion were executed.

·         Through her actions Elizabeth took


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