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Was Henry VIII's wish for a divorce the most important cause of the English reformation between 1525 and 1536?

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Introduction

Was Henry VIII's wish for a divorce the most important cause of the English reformation between 1525 and 1536? Henry's wish for a divorce was an important factor of the bringing about of the English reformation, however there were other factors that contributed to Henry's wish for a separate church in England. Henry was a firm believer in royal supremacy and would try anything to gain himself more power over his rivals, the Catholic Church. Henry was a catholic throughout the reformation, however he did not like there being a supreme leader in England over him (The Pope). Henry let everyone know his beliefs at a quite early stage of his reign when, in 1515, he said: 'By the ordinance and sufferance of God we are king of England, and the kings of England in time past have never had any superior but God himself' This was a bold statement from Henry as he was stating that he felt that he should have the supreme authority over the English people, and not The Pope. Henry was determined that the Pope's power in England would not undermine his own. ...read more.

Middle

In these premises, Henry saw great financial gain for the crown and set out on a process to eliminate monks, nuns and turn the monasteries in to crown owned land from which the King would benefit greatly. By 1540 all the religious houses in England had been closed, the monks and nuns fled and the goods that were owned were either sold or stolen. The dissolution of the monasteries brought an end to over 1000 years of monks and nuns in England, and marked an important day in the securing of crown property in to crown hands. The economic reasons behind the reformation stemmed further as Henry passed 'The act for first fruits and tenths' which took all new bishops' revenue for the first year and one tenth of it there after. By the time Henry had raised �40,000 a year through this system he was starting to see the economic benefits behind the split with Rome. By 1540, all of the monasteries in England had been closed down and Henry was supreme head of the church and was able to run it in any way he wished, as now there were no ties with Rome. ...read more.

Conclusion

Henry's reasons for divorce were simple, succession. Henry wanted a male heir and knew that Catherine would now be unlikely to give birth to one. His attentions turned to a girl named Anne Boleyn, someone the king thought would be ideal to solve the problem of male succession. The only problem standing in Henry's way was Catherine of Aragon and how to get rid of her. Henry was getting very anxious by the time the divorce had been rolling along for a long time, and so his actions turned very desperate which is possibly how all of the other factors of the reformation came to fruition. So, in deciding whether a divorce from Catherine of Aragon was the most important factor in bringing about the reformation in England I agree with Simon Scharma in that Henry's need for a divorce was the prime cause in the bringing of this. However I also feel that this contributed to Henry's actions in the dissolution of the monasteries because he felt it was the only way in which he was going to get his all important divorce, and possibly the securing of the throne for many years after his death....or was it?? By ...read more.

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