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The Place of Religion and Monarchy in Elizabethan Society

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The Place of Religion and Monarchy in Elizabethan Society. Religion. In 1559, Queen Elizabeth I introduced the Act of Supremacy which gave the reigning monarch full authority of the Church of England. This bill also severed all ties with the Roman Catholic Church.

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Presentation Transcript
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The Place of Religion and

Monarchy in Elizabethan

Society

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Religion
  • In 1559, Queen Elizabeth I introduced the Act of Supremacy which gave the reigning monarch full authority of the Church of England.
  • This bill also severed all ties with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • The reigning monarch was recognised as the head of both church and state.
  • It became compulsory for people to attend church every Sunday and holidays; with a fine for those who did not comply.
  • Many Protestants and Catholics didn’t approve of the changes Queen Elizabeth I made in terms of religion.
  • Many followers became ‘neutrals’ due to the confusion of changing religions.
  • Some believed that the changes made by Queen Elizabeth I to the religions in England showed her indifference to her faith; but many believe she wanted to make it so that Church was tolerable for Catholics as well.
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Religion
  • Although it was not illegal to be a Catholic in Elizabethan England, it was illegal to hold or attend a mass (a Christian ceremony).
  • Often wealthy Catholic families secretly maintained private chaplains (a member of the clergy employed to give religious guidance).
  • Elizabethan policy allowed freedom of belief.
  • There were strict laws that prohibited any openly religious or current political events from being represented on stage; though Shakespeare made many references to Catholicism in his plays.
  • If Shakespeare , or any other playwright for that matter, was thought to be a Catholic, their career would have been seriously affected.
  • Despite the relaxed laws on religious beliefs, there were still arrests and executions of those who failed to adhere to the ‘favoured’ religion.
  • And those who plotted against Queen Elizabeth I in order to replace her with the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots were tortured and executed for their allegiance to the Queen’s cousin.
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Summary…
  • In the Elizabethan Era religion was not just a personal preference or opinion, it was the basis of society.
  • There were strict laws put in place by Queen Elizabeth I preventing Catholics from attending or holding a mass but did not punish Catholics for their beliefs.
  • As an important part of Elizabethan society, religion played a large part in how people lived their lives; for example it was compulsory for people to attend church every Sunday.
  • Queen Elizabeth continued the work of her father, King Henry VIII, and her brother, King Edward VI, by severing all ties with the Roman Catholic Church and reinstating Protestantism as the ‘favoured’ religion in England. This was the religion that was taught in schools around the country and was the religion that the people of England had to adhere to unless they wanted to suffer the consequences.
  • There were strict laws that prohibited any openly religious or current political events from being represented on stage; though Shakespeare made many references to Catholicism in his plays.
  • Queen Elizabeth I saw herself as God's vessel on earth, and would pray daily in order to determine God's will so that she could implement it.
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The Monarchy
  • Queen Elizabeth I was the monarch during the Elizabethan Era.
  • She was very popular and was loved by the people of England.
  • She inspired the people of England with great speeches; one of her finest the speech she gave preceding the imminent attack from the mighty Spanish Armada; “...I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms…”
  • Official website of the Monarchy states that “As Head of State, The Monarch undertakes constitutional and representational duties which have developed over one thousand years of history. In addition to these State duties, The Monarch has a less formal role as 'Head of Nation'. The Sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognises success and excellence; and supports the ideal of voluntary service”.
  • Reasons behind having a monarchy have not changed a great deal between the Elizabethan Era and the present day.
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http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/religion-elizabethan-england.htm

http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/index.htm

http://www.erasofelegance.com/history/renaissance.html

http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/henry8.html#Four

http://tudorhistory.org/wives/

http://www.elizabethanenglandlife.com/religion-in-elizabethan-england.html

http://www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org/education/elizabethanage.shtml

http://www.william-shakespeare.org.uk/religion-of-the-shakespeares.htm

http://www.lepg.org/religion.htm

http://www.elizabethi.org/us/elizabethanchurch/queenandchurch.html

http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-daily-life.htm

http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/HowtheMonarchyworks/HowtheMonarchyworks.aspx

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