Was The English Reformation The Kings Reformation?

1611 words - 7 pages

The end of the middle ages was a turbulent time throughout Europe. New nation states were being created and old ones were falling. The Roman Catholic Churches’ control over vast areas of Europe was rapidly being eroded by reformist ideas from people like Martin Luthor (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564). In the midst of this upheaval was the King of England King Henry the VIII, whose queen, Katherine of Aragon, had failed to bear a son and heir after fourteen years of marriage, only a daughter Mary born in 1516. Henry was trying to divorce her, but was bound by Catholic rules regarding divorce. In 1525 he petitioned pope Clement VII for an annulment, but was refused, the pope ...view middle of the document...

Henry decided to break from the Catholic Church, separating the English bishops from communion with Rome and forming the Anglican Church with himself, not the Pope, at its head. Ending all external control and influence Rome had over the people of England.In 1532 Thomas Cromwell and the ‘reformation parliament’ drew up a document called the ‘Supplication Against the Ordinaries’, a list of grievances against the Roman Catholic Church, other acts from parliament ceasing the payments of rents and other such monies to Rome followed. In the same year Thomas Cramner is ordained Archbishop of Canterbury and as such was in a position to Annul Henry’s marriage to Katherine and secretly presides over the wedding of Henry and the now pregnant Anne Boleyn in 1533.At this point Henry has successfully escaped a marriage that failed to produce an heir; has broken away from the controls of Rome, both monetary and religiously, and has at last gained total control of England both as regent and as the spiritual leader of the new Anglican Church. He fervently awaited the birth of his son and heir from Anne Boleyn; unfortunately for Henry (and ultimately Anne) a daughter Elizabeth was born.Further acts were granted from parliament to solidify the new churches and the Kings position within it. The ‘Act of Succession’ (1534) made everyone swear allegiance to Henry as the head of the English church. This act also made his daughter Mary illegitimate and his daughter Elizabeth legitimate. The ‘Act of Supremacy’ (1534) that declared the king to be ‘the only Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England’ and the ‘Treason Bill’ in 1535, which made it a capital crime to deny the king’s Supreme Headship of the Church.Henry had other problems other than the continuation of the Tudor bloodline. When he came to the throne in 1509, the regal coffers had grown to one and a quarter million pounds. By 1522 Henry’s lavish lifestyle, expanding entourage and growing government bureaucracy had made a considerable dent in this figure, he needed a larger income. Again his advisors had a plan to gain money and rid England of another influence of the church. In 1536 Thomas Cromwell put forward a Parliamentary bill to allow the dissolution of smaller monasteries, ones with incomes under £200 per year, with confiscation of all lands and goods to the crown. This was followed by the larger more affluent monasteries later in 1540 allowing the transfer of revenue gained from rents and annates on monastic lands towards the coming wars with Scotland and France.Henry’s quest for a male heir continued, Anne Boleyn was charged with adultery and incest and beheaded in 1536, allowing Henry to marry Jane Seymour, who in 1538 gave birth to Edward (later Edward VI) his male heir at last.Throughout this turbulent period in English history, Henry VIII remained a practicing catholic but advocated the break from Rome and ...


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