Who Within England Supported The Reformation And Why?

3417 words - 14 pages

Susan Evans. pr: 1640.
Course Code:- HS372.

Who within England supported

the English
Reformation and Why?

Religion, Culture and Society
in Early Modern England.

Dr. Michael Questier.
Susan Evans. pr: 1640. Religion, Culture and Society
in Early Modern England.

Who within England supported the English
Reformation and Why?

The term “Reformation” implies a reforming of a particular institution rather than complete change. In this case, the English Reformation was not strictly a Reformation but instead a religious revolution, changing the status quo for a new regime - in this case changing the figurehead of the Pope as head of the Catholic Church across ...view middle of the document...

Katherine was five years older than her husband Henry, and by the 1520s, was clearly unable to bear any more children. The only living child was a daughter – the Princess Mary – who being female was not thought fit to rule a kingdom. [3] The lack of an heir was, both in Henry’s eyes and sixteenth century opinion in general, not the fault of the king, especially as he had proved himself by siring a son with Bessie Blount. This young woman was one of a remarkably few actual mistresses taken by Henry.[4] Katherine herself was known as a very pious woman and, with her increasing age, became closer to her faith.[5] However, for a man of Henry’s character, the continuance of his dynasty was of prime importance. This could only be achieved through the birth of a male heir who could continue the family line. A female would marry another man, and bring England as her dowry, ensuring that the crown would be passed to a new dynasty.
Henry gradually became convinced that his marriage to Katherine was invalid due to her previous marriage to his elder brother Prince Arthur. He reasoned that the absence of any children (and hence the absence of any son and heir) was clear proof of the invalidity of the marriage. It was clear to him that God was displeased with the marriage and was therefore punishing Henry by not giving him sons.[6]
Anne Boleyn was clearly in the right place at the right time for Henry to take the final step in his thinking and attempt to annul his marriage to Katherine. Unfortunately for Henry, the Pope was not prepared to rescind his predecessor’s dispensation to allow Henry and Katherine to marry. With Anne Boleyn refusing to become Henry’s mistress, and the unlikelihood of Henry receiving an annulment to his marriage, Henry was eventually forced to choose between breaking away from the Papacy’s jurisdiction or to give up his desire for a son.[7]
In 1532 Anne Boleyn gave herself to Henry and thereby gambled her last card. She won when she found herself pregnant, and for Henry, the possibility of a son and heir was too great a prize to lose on the whim of the Pope.[8] He married Anne in late January, and in the spring of 1533 set in motion the mechanics that were to lead to the English Reformation and the eventual establishment of the English Church.

With the failure of Cardinal Wolsey to obtain the annulment of the marriage of Katherine and Henry, the only option available was to invoke royal supremacy over the English Church. The Boleyn faction took advantage of Wolsey’s failure to remove him from power and influence. This, on its own, was not going to give Henry the annulment he required, by the factional group then built up a body of intellectual and theological scholars to look into the other options available. The alternative was to give Henry increased authority and power over the temporal and spiritual affairs in England.

Once the step to free Henry from the authority of the Pope was...

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