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

What were Elizabeth's priorities when creating the religious settlement of 1559?

Extracts from this document...


What were Elizabeth's priorities when creating the religious settlement of 1559? The Elizabethan religious settlement is a phrase used to describe 'the organisation, ritual and teaching of the Church of England as enforced by Acts of Parliament, as amplified by the pronouncements of the Archbishops of Canterbury and as defended rigorously by the Queen herself.' (Warren). According to Meyer, the religious settlement of 1559 is made up of two main foundation stones, the Act of Supremacy of 1559 and the Act of Uniformity of the same year. Both were fundamentally Protestant in their spirit, and managed by Cecil, himself a Protestant. The Act of Uniformity dictated that all church services should be conducted according to the 1552 book of prayer with amendments such as the deliberately ambiguous wording of the communion service. The Act of Supremacy abolished papal authority in England and made Elizabeth 'supreme governor' of the Church of England, the phrase 'supreme head' was too masculine for Protestants and Catholics alike. When Mary died in 1558, England was Roman Catholic and Elizabeth had 'publicly, even ostentatiously, professed the Roman Catholic faith for five years' (MacCaffrey). ...read more.


This theory suggests that Elizabeth was firmly in control of what the church settlement included and if any bullying went on it was not by the Commons over her, but by her over the House of Lords. Her settlement was more radical than was acceptable for the largely catholic House of Lords and it was only by manipulation that it was passed. The reason for the largely Catholic sentiments in the House of Lords was not simply the natural conservatism of the peers but the fact that many seats in the lords belonged to bishops who had been appointed in the Marian regime. This naturally meant they were catholic and wary of any changes to the church which inclined it more towards Protestantism. They were willing to accept that, given Elizabeth's personal convictions and politics, a certain amount of change was inevitable. Another reason for their wariness of Protestantism lies in the alternative to episcopacy. The Catholic Church was based upon a hierarchical system through which authority was imposed form the top and filtered down through the various ranks form the Pope to the cardinals to the bishops to the parish priest with other layers in between. ...read more.


Both the Act of Uniformity and the Act of Supremacy seem to be exclusive documents on paper, and as they were designed and written by the Protestant Cecil and the Protestant Privy Council, it is unsurprising that they are largely Protestant in their nature. It is with Elizabeth's intervention that they become more inclusive, the wording of the Eucharist being changed from the Edwardian copy to the more ambiguous Elizabethan version, and the ruling that people cannot be asked to take the Oath of Supremacy twice. The 1559 church settlement was fundamentally a political manoeuvre which aimed to prevent unrest and impose conformity. Although it was Cecil who was in charge of the settlement, it was based on Elizabeth's wishes: to have a non-radical Protestant church which the majority of her subjects would be happy with. To ensure that while the doctrine of the church was largely Protestant, the outward trappings were Catholic in style to give the appearance of continuity. The Neale thesis discredited, Elizabeth was the person ultimately in control of the attitude of the settlement, it could include little of which she did not approve. She intended a Protestant-catholic hybrid for political and personal reasons as her main priority was conformity. Without a hybrid church there was radicalism, with radicalism there was unrest and for Elizabeth, unrest was to be avoided. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Elizabeth I: There is much debate amongst historians concerning the religious priorities of Elizabeth ...

    4 star(s)

    that only 25 MPs could be seen as Calvinist and only 4 of these arrived in time for Parliament. Elizabeth made sure that she did not give way to ardent Calvinists, so although her Settlement was mainly Protestant, with an English Bible and denunciation of transubstantiation, it was Catholic enough to irritate hard-core Calvinists, such as Anthony Cooke.

  2. coursework on Elizabeth I

    have been able to show that publicly, because she would have been able to take a large cut from the sale of the riches on board Drake's ship and it was slowing the progress of the Spanish colonies, taking wealth away from them and ultimately challenging their dominance as the world super-power of that time.

  1. Explain the factors which shaped the Elizabethan Religious Settlement reached in 1559

    For example she did not practice transubstantiation. However, her more conservative ideas are evident in the final settlement as the extra sentence is added which leaves the right to practice transubstantiation deliberately ambiguous. In her own chapel, however, Elizabeth refused to offer the sacrificial elements as mass and forbade the celebrant to raise the Host.

  2. To what extent was the Elizabethan Church Settlement of 1559 - 66 motivated more ...

    Though it showed signs of weakness, this control helped Elizabeth show who was boss and that she could impose Acts. Financial aspects of the settlement helped her control the Crown after the deep economic crisis Mary I had left for England.

  1. Using all the sources, and your own knowledge, assess to what extent the Church ...

    The Act of Uniformity then made church attendance compulsory with fines of 12d for those who refused. The Book of Common Prayers was deliberately ambiguous, for example Communion could be interpreted both as presence of Christ or a memorial, to ensure the settlement would be accepted by most.

  2. How do the poets in 'Charlotte O'Neils song' and 'Nothing Changed' show their feelings ...

    'Nothing's Changed' is a far more angry poem. Whereas the girl in the first poem is able to make a change to the way she is treated, the second poem seems to suggest that although things have changed politically, society is still divided. Only it it's money which divides people up now and not just colour.

  1. Asses the main influences which determined the Elizabethan Church Settlement in 1559

    The power of the Lords seemingly renders any extreme Puritan attempts futile. Furthermore, Neale?s view has been challenged by Williams, who claims that ?Protestants were dominant in the Commons but the House was not led by returned exiles.?[8] Haigh further affirms this by stating that the so called ?Puritan Choir?

  2. What considerations influenced the framing of the church settlement of 1559?

    She pursued this plan by retaining certain aspects of the traditional Catholic Church. On the other hand, she still showed signs of Protestant settlement, as she had recalled her papal ambassador and had formed alliance with strongly Protestant German princes.

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