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To what extent was Henry's decision to break with Rome influenced by Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell?

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Introduction

To what extent was Henry's decision to break with Rome influenced by Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell? The break with Rome was one part of the reformation in England carried out by Henry VIII and his ministers. By removing the Pope's influence from his court, Henry became more at liberty to pass laws and other reforms, as well as gaining his much sought divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn. The break with Rome was a gradual process that began in 1529 with the 'Reformation Parliament.' Henry and his advisors passed various legislation and legal processes which damaged the Church financially and politically. The charge of the breach of Praemunire was a criminal charge against the clergy which was revoked after a large bribe (1530 - 1531); meanwhile, the Act in Restraint of Annates prevented Rome from its traditional practice of taking a proportion of the clergy's pay (1532). The Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533) was a step forward for Henry - while the other legislation was primarily aimed at weakening the Church financially, this act reduced Rome's political power by preventing people appealing to Rome against a decision made by the powers in England. In historical context Henry's intentions were clear - that he would secure a divorce in an English court and prevent any appeal to the uncooperative Pope. ...read more.

Middle

Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533 and was a strong opponent of the Pope. Cranmer's main motive was to reform the Catholic Church in keeping with what he believed to be God's will. Randell backs this up by saying, "(Cranmer's) aim was to see the clock turned back to the time, when, he claimed, the situation had been as God intended."6 Cranmer certainly had influence on Henry. For example it was his suggestion, during the dispute over the divorce, to canvass theologians at universities around the world to gain support for Henry's cause.7 Although this had little effect on Rome's decision it demonstrates Henry's willingness to listen to Cranmer and his ideas. Cranmer was a long standing advocate for absolute sovereignty and for Henry to be head of the Church in England. This is evidenced by his actions before his ascent to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury - specifically his criticism of the Pope's power in England. Despite this, he was not the main driving force behind the break with Rome, which was far more significant than Cranmer's policy on universities. Rather, he was someone who was utilised by Henry and Cromwell to carry out policy rather than suggest it. However, by enacting such policies, Cranmer leant momentum to the king's plans and made many of them possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

This should not be taken to mean that it was Cromwell's sole decision to break with Rome. In fact, it was clearly Henry's decision and he was the single most important individual involved, given his role as a monarch with absolute power. Rather, it shows that Cromwell and Cranmer had more influence than other individuals who tried to influence the course of policy. 2,184 words. 1 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993) - Richard Rex, page 8 2 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993) - Richard Rex, page 24 3 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1995) - D.G. Newcombe, page 46 4 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993) - Richard Rex, page 16 5 Henry VIII and the Reformation in England (1993) - Keith Randell, page 42 6 Henry VIII and the Reformation in England (1993) - Keith Randell, page 42 7 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1993) - Richard Rex, page 12 8 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1995) - D.G. Newcombe, page 39 9 Tudor England (1988) - John Guy, pages 130-132 10 Henry VIII (1968) - J.J. Scarisbrick, pages 287-295 11 Henry VIII and the English Reformation (1995) - D.G. Newcombe, page 43 12 Henry VIII and his Ministers (1995) - John Guy, page 35. 13 Henry VIII and the Reformation in England (1993) - Keith Randell, page 42 14 Henry VIII and the Reformation in England (1993) - Keith Randell, pages 41-42 ?? ?? ?? ?? George Noble 12JK History Coursework 1 ...read more.

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