2D Religious conflict and the Church in England, c1529–c1570

This option provides for the study in depth of a period of major change in the English Church and government, focusing on issues which led England to break with Rome and the problems surrounding the establishment of a new Anglican Church and faith. It explores concepts such as piety, humanism, Protestantism, Catholicism, authority and conformity and promotes an in-depth understanding of the relationship between Church and state, monarch and parliament, faith and pragmatism.

Part one: the break from Rome, c1529–1547

The Church in c1529

  • The political and social role of the Church: churchmen as royal advisers; church teachings on monarchical authority; wealth; church courts; monasteries and parish churches
  • Popular piety and the Church’s spiritual role: lay religious guilds; key beliefs such as purgatory; the role of the priesthood; the importance of printing
  • Early Reformers and Humanists: the legacy of the Lollards and impact on religious belief and practice; Humanism in England as represented by Erasmus, More and Colet
  • Abuses and criticisms of the Church: the extent and impact of simony, nepotism and absenteeism; anti-clericalism

The break from Rome, c1529–1536

  • The King’s ‘Great Matter’; Henry VIII, his religious beliefs and concern over the succession; the position and roles of Catherine of Aragon and her national and international supporters; the roles of Wolsey, Anne Boleyn and her supporters
  • The Reformation Parliament: MPs and expression of grievances; pressures on the Papacy; legislation leading to the establishment of Royal Supremacy
  • The influence of faction: Cromwell and the management of Parliament; the supporters and opponents of change and the King’s responses; the Aragonese faction; More and Fisher; Elizabeth Barton and the Carthusian monks
  • The doctrinal and political position of the Reformation by 1536: the degree of change and continuity in faith, belief and organisation of the Church

Change and reaction, 1536–1547

  • The reformist and conservative factions: aims, influence and the reaction of the King; the impact of foreign affairs on changes to the Church
  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries: political, religious, social and economic causes and consequences; the Pilgrimage of Grace
  • Change and continuity in doctrine: liturgy, the eucharist and the Bible; doctrinal disputes as reflected in the Ten Articles and the Bishops’ Book; the King’s Book and the Six Articles
  • The state of the Church and belief by 1547: disagreements over doctrine and practice; relations with France and Scotland and their impact; the growing influence of the Seymour faction and Cranmer; the importance of the succession

Part two: the establishment of the Church of England, 1547–c1570 (A-level only)

A more Protestant Nation, 1547–1553 (A-level only)

  • The Protestant Party and the King: the aims, beliefs and role of Somerset and the overturning of Henry’s will; the aims, beliefs and role of Northumberland as Protector
  • The development of doctrine and further reform; two Prayer Books; the role and beliefs of Cranmer; the dissolution of the chantries and other vestiges of Catholicism
  • Opposition and conformity: the Western Rebellion; Kett’s Rebellion; the influence of reformers and acceptance of religious changes; the Church by 1553
  • The crisis over the succession 1553: attempts to avoid the succession of Mary; the fall of Northumberland and Mary’s accession

The restoration of Papal Authority, 1553–1558 (A-level only)

  • Mary’s accession, aims and opposition: the Royal Supremacy and problems with her first Parliament; the issue of the Spanish Marriage; obstacles to the restoration of the Catholic Church
  • The restoration of Papal Authority: the second Parliament and the restoration of Papal Authority and Catholic doctrine; Mary as a reformer; the limits of the restoration
  • Persecution and reform: reasons for, extent of and repercussions of the persecution of Protestants; Mary, Pole and the attempt to reform Catholicism
  • Opposition and conformity: Wyatt and other opposition to changes; support for the changes and the extent of conformity; the war with France and the loss of Calais

The establishment of the Church of England, 1558–c1570 (A-level only)

  • Religious divisions on Elizabeth’s accession: Catholics; Protestant émigrés; divisions within those who supported the restoration of a Protestant Church; peace with France
  • The re-establishment of the Church of England: Elizabeth’s religious beliefs and aims; attempts to reconcile the conflicting groups; the role of Parliament and the passing of the Acts of Supremacy; uniformity and the new Book of Common Prayer
  • Supporters and opponents of the Settlement: consolidation of the Settlement through Visitations; the Vestiarian Controversy; the acquiescence of Catholics
  • Maintaining the Settlement: the threat posed by Mary Queen of Scots; the re-emergence of a Catholic party and the Rising of the Northern Earls; the end of consensus and the condition of the Settlement by 1570