• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In order to assess how Protestant England was at the cessation of Edward's reign it is essential to ascertain a method of measuring Protestantism, dependent on doctrine, practices, policies and aesthetics.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In order to assess how Protestant England was at the cessation of Edward's reign it is essential to ascertain a method of measuring Protestantism, dependent on doctrine, practices, policies and aesthetics. By the death of Edward in 1553, England was an officially Protestant country inasmuch as its Church was under the supreme headship of the monarch "so far as Christ would allow" since 1531. Whilst it was doctrinally and aesthetically similar to other Reforming countries such as Switzerland and Germany, despite being universally enforced, progress was gradual, uneven and some Catholic practices were still maintained. The aims of Edward's religious policies were twofold; he proposed to establish a concrete set of rules for English Protestants, thus ending the religious confusion of Henry VIII's reign, and to destroy the Catholic appearance of the churches through the destruction of all decoration and the "Popish ceremonies". The aesthetic result was to create barren churches with few rituals. Edward's Reformation, its impact and popularity, has generated a great amount of scholastic debate especially in recent years. Traditionally, historians such as Elton and Dickens claimed that Edward's reign sustained a popular Reformation of a thoroughly mercenary and corrupt Church, Dickens arguing that even during Mary's reign "the forest of Protestantism was spreading relentlessly across the landscape of the nation". The majority of these views were distorted with retrospect of Elizabeth's rule and propaganda, and in some cases latent or overt Protestant bias. The initial assumption that England was a country on an irrecoverable journey to full Protestantism that was compounded by Edward's religious reforms was reconsidered by Revisionist in light of rediscovered evidence such as parish records and wills. ...read more.

Middle

In addition, images, Stations of the Cross, statues and stained glass windows depicting saints were remove, all of which were the focus of Catholic prayer and services. These Injunctions were rigorously enforce and left previously grand surroundings austere, signaling palpable change due to abstract concepts even at the lowest level. The Chanteries Act, most of which were abolished in 1547, enjoyed a revival, although this time it was not just for fiscal reasons but was intended to be a very definite and bold statement against the Catholic tradition of the intermediate stage of purification after death, Purgatory. This momentous gesture confirmed the Government's stance on Purgatory from implicit disapproval during Henry's reign to an outright rebuke of prayers for the dead, confraternities, colleges, donations, land endowments and requiems. Jordan considers this as "probably the most shattering and irreversible action of the reformation in England" as it had a significant impact on fearful Catholics who depended upon it and was never fully reconfirmed during the Marian Reformation. These orders were continually revised and enacted throughout Edward's administration, Visitation Injunctions continually monitored churches and demanded that all Catholic paraphernalia be destroyed. In December, not only were foreign Protestant officially granted the right to establish congregations in London but the Act of Uniformity was introduced and enforced Cramner's Book of Common Prayer in English as prescribed as litany in 1549. It met an ambivalent reception as it intended to appease both religious factions rather than represent what he truly believed. Although it did not include his Calvinist beliefs, Catholics such as Bonner and Tunstall complained it was implicitly Protestant whilst Protestants claimed it smacked of Popery. ...read more.

Conclusion

There were obvious aesthetic differences, such as the removal of altars, rood screens and images, and after 1540 less money was spent on Church goods, the "old world was already losing its enchantment" (MacCulloch) although this may have possibly been linked to the increased number of visitations. The Edwardian Reformation was relatively bloodless, with only extreme groups of Protestants, the Anabaptists, burnt. Somerset and Northumberland built reforms on legislation stretching back to 1533, yet the brevity of Edward's reign prevented drastic policies, such as the Prayer Books and Acts of Uniformity, from being enforced. Remnants of Catholicism remained and nominal Protestantism was common as Tudor people were inherently conservative, "Catholic practices retained their vitality...(and parishioners were) reluctant to implement any religious changes" (Hutton). People thought that these measures were temporary "for many permanent schism was inconceivable" (Scarisbrick). Whilst the Reformation could survive Somerset's death and conservative attempts to take control, it was wholly dependent on the King. After Mary ascended to the throne in 1553, with Parliament full support she was able to quickly dismantle Henry's and Edward's Reformation as it was, according to Scarisbrick and Haigh, deeply unpopular. The celerity and success of the Marian restoration is a testament to the support of Catholicism. However, the 1552 Forty-Two Articles consequently became the basis for Elizabeth's Thirty-Nine Articles and chantries were never again restored in England. Catholicism itself, despite Mary's and James II's attempts, was never fully reinstated as England's official religion. How far was England a Protestant country by 1553? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Was the Henrician Reformation inevitable?

    The Lollards were the allies of the anti-clerical feelings that; in Dickins view, made possible the religious changes in the Henrician reformation. With the Reform being initiated by the government, and supported from below in the commonwealth, it would seem the reformation was far from an accident There is a

  2. How far does Somerset deserve his reputation as the Good Duke? (Somerset (then known ...

    As a hard on, military commander, it seemed only natural that Somerset's attention would have been strongly focussed on foreign policy, particularly, the issue of Edward VI's suzerainty over Scotland. However, it can be said that Somerset was obsessed with the idea of ruling over Scotland - perhaps using Henry

  1. To What Extent Was England A Protestant Country By 1547?

    With just three of the original seven sacraments referenced to, these being baptism, penance and the Eucharist, the Articles can be seen as evidence that England was becoming, or had become, a Protestant country. For England to have been identified as Protestant it would have been essential for the remaining four Sacraments to have been disregarded.

  2. What was the Edwardian Reformation and how successful was it?

    The only exception being that the services were to be in English. Its success may have been spurred by the threats of fines, confiscation of property and imprisonment that accompied anyone refusing to use it. However diversity was also apparent in regards to the religious stance of the Edwardian Reformation.

  1. How far do you agree with Elton's interpretation of the roles of Somerset and ...

    Somerset's religious reforms moved towards Protestantism with the introduction of a new Prayer Book and the Act of Uniformity as well as the Chantries Act, which abolished the remnants of Catholicism. However, in an attempt to appease both sides of the spectrum, a certain ambiguity still remained and Catholicism had not been categorically denied.

  2. The Reformation was the intellectual movement in Western Europe in the 16th century which ...

    Henry continued his quest of greed for power and wealth until his death in 1547, leaving England with many religious problems. Martin Luther was a German monk and theologian, who openly criticized the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church, and attacked the practical doings of the popes.

  1. In what ways and to what extent does the concept of Spain's 'Golden Age' ...

    Farnese had "already shown his considerable political and military abilities at such battles as Lepanto." However, Philip failed to take Farnese's advice when they were on the verge of conquering the Netherlands, and decided to intervene with French and English matters.

  2. How Successful was Edward Carson in His Defense of Unionism During The Third Home ...

    In the end the bill was voted in favour by the cabinet. With this said, it must also be stated that Asquith added a proviso, that if ?fresh evidence or facts or pressure of British opinion? dictated otherwise it maybe necessary to have some form of provision for Ulster.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work