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English Reformation c.1530-1660. How to Interpret English Reformation. Major Historical Questions Reformation(s)—fast or slow? Force of change—from above or below?. Pre-Reformation English Church. Isolated from Rome Sacramental society with emphasis on penance and Eucharist

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how to interpret english reformation
How to Interpret English Reformation
  • Major Historical Questions
  • Reformation(s)—fast or slow?
  • Force of change—from above or below?
pre reformation english church
Pre-Reformation English Church

Isolated from Rome

Sacramental society with emphasis on penance and Eucharist

Call for reform of personnel and institutions (not theology)

Heresy put down


beginning of change henry viii r 1509 1547
Beginning of Change: Henry VIII (r.1509-1547)

Defender of the Faith

Protestant ideas

Break with Rome (1533)

Succession crisis

Help from reformers

Unification Church of Crown

Act of Supremacy = monarch is supreme head of English Church

Crown controls church administration and defines doctrine

HINT: This is significant 

changes to religious beliefs and practice
Changes to religious beliefs and practice?
  • Pope = foreign power & Catholicism threat
  • Dissolution of monasteries
  • Vernacular Bible
  • Doctrinal conservatism:
  • Clerical celibacy
  • Transubstantiation
reformation enacted edward vi r 1547 53
Reformation Enacted: Edward VI (r.1547-53)

Continued succession crisis because of youth and poor health

Surrounded by influential Protestants

John Knox

Thomas Cranmer, AB of Canterbury

Martin Bucer & Peter Martyr Vermigli

Reformation arrives in local parishes and laypersons start to experience changes

HINT: This is significant 

changes of doctrine and practice
Changes of Doctrine and Practice


1549—bridged gap between Catholic practice and Protestant theology

1552—more Protestant


Justification by faith

Supremacy of Scripture

Two sacraments

Denies transubstantiation

Denounce radical Anabaptism


Role of priests modified

Vernacular services

Images and alters removed

tradition restored mary i 1553 1558
Tradition Restored: Mary I (1553-1558)

Catholicism restored

Why did ruling elite want her?

Marian Exiles

Persecution—”Bloody Mary”


Papal sovereignty

Retraining priests

Church property?

What is significance?

moderation elizabeth 1558 1603
Moderation: Elizabeth (1558-1603)

Big Question: What did it mean to be Christian and English?

Repeals Mary’s legislation

Excommunication 1570

Marian exiles return and demand changes—Calvinists in Geneva stripped worship and replaced episcopacy with presbyters/elders

elizabethan settlement

Elizabethan Settlement

Moderation--Recognizes two religious confession exists in realm

Conformity--Act of Supremacy & Act of Uniformity

Controversial traditions

Clerical vestments

Kneeling at Communion

Making sign at baptism

Bowing at name of Jesus

Wedding ring in marriage ceremony

Ringing church bells

catholics and puritans
Catholics and Puritans


  • Modification of ritual
  • Jesuit Missionaries


  • Presbyterianism = synod run by clergy & laymen
  • Main Conflicts
  • Emphasized preaching—prophesyings
  • Extremely anti-Catholic
  • Disapproved ‘superstitious’ rituals
  • Placed predestination at center of theology
  • Sabbatarianism = Strict observance of Lord’s Day (Sunday)
cracks appear james i 1603 25
Cracks Appear: James I (1603-25)

Clear legitimate heir—but Scot

Only unites Crowns—so three confessions

Millenary Petition (1603) & Hampton Court Conference (1604)

Dissatisfaction with strict predestination

Arminianism: Christ died for all—free will to resist/accept God’s grace

Gunpowder Plot (1605)—rampant paranoia

Book of Sports (1618)

return of catholicism charles i 1625 42
Return of Catholicism?: Charles I (1625-42)

Unpopular Politics and Religion

Absolutist ruler

King = God’s representative and people should follow commands unless they directly contradict Scripture

French Catholic wife

Catholicism ‘permissible’

Book of Sports (1630s)

archbishop laud ab of canterbury
Archbishop Laud, AB of Canterbury

Laudian Reforms = Return to true church?

Arminian theology

Beauty of Holiness

Uniformity of practice

Dismissed noncorformists

Suppressed Puritan lectureships

Prevent gentry from appointing private chaplains

CI’s ‘tyranny’ + Laudian reforms = gentry and Puritans unite because body of xns hold power as representative body

christian freedom civil war commonwealth 1642 59
Christian Freedom?: Civil War & Commonwealth (1642-59)

Anything Goes (Toleration):

Presbyterians = national church controlled by gentry & synods

Independents (including Baptists) = gather voluntarily in autonomous congregations


Handful 1653 & 40,000 by 1660

Reject established church

Knowledge from divine inspiration

Anyone can preach

help restoration of charles ii 1660

HELP!!!!: Restoration of Charles II (1660)

Too much freedom of religion

1662 Act of Uniformity

No toleration for nonconformists

Catholics still despised