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

How adequately did the Pre-Reformation Church in England meet the religious needs of the country?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How adequately did the Pre-Reformation Church in England meet the religious needs of the country? The subject of the Pre-Reformation church and its effectiveness in meeting the religious needs of the people is an issue that divides historians. There are two main schools of thought on the subject; orthodox and revisionist. It is important that both sides of the argument are carefully examined to be able to formulate an accurate opinion. There are many historians who argue the orthodox point of view, experts in the field such as A.G Dickens, G.R Elton etc.. The long established view has always been that the people of England at this time were beginning to resent the Church for a number of key factors and they were only too happy to follow their king in overturning the Catholic Church. The followers of the orthodox view would argue that the consistent and high taxes (tithes, probates and mortuary fees) were causing widespread discontent and resent between the people and the church. They would argue that the people felt suppressed by the Church and its Cannon Law, constant taxation, debilitating and obvious corruption. A. G Dickens puts forward this attitude in a simple statement; "Anticlericalism had reached a new virulence by the early years of the 16th century." ...read more.

Middle

For example, he comments on Cardinal Wolsey: "Wolsey himself, for all his private vices, was an energetic reformer, who tried to produce better trained and better disciplined parish clergy." This is a very typical example of the revisionist view, recognising the humanity and failings of the clergy but also bringing out that they were still meeting the religious needs of the people. The revisionist argument is that the orthodox view is misleading and inaccurate, they are backed by the last 25 years of research that show that this supposed 'anti-clericalism' was merely a part truth and represented a miniscule percentage of the population. Haigh argues that the Reformation was caused by a number of factors not simply on account of corruption of the clergy. He argues that war costs, political machinations and Henry's strong desire for divorce were the primary cause of the Reformation in England. He proves that interest in the church is not waning at this point by commenting on evidence; "In the 1520's recruitment of clergy reached the peak of the half century expansion" This comment by Haigh helps to back up the revisionist argument that people were having their needs met by showing that more and more clergy were stepping in to help fulfil the religious needs of the English people. ...read more.

Conclusion

The true cause of the Reformation lies not with the people's dislike of taxes and of the clergy but rather with the King and other external factors. The picture that is painted by the evidence available to historians today would seem to suggest that England's people were torn in half, some feeling discontent and anger with the Church and the clergy and some feeling happy with their Catholicism and the way in which the Church met their needs. However it is important to consider whether the evidence is an accurate representation of the time. It may well be that the majority of people in England at this time were perfectly satisfied with the Church and were having their religious needs fully satisfied. There is an obvious possibility that the issues that are raised in the Orthodox view are only representative of small pockets of people and not of England as a whole. Whichever way your opinion takes you, there is not enough evidence to build a completely, airtight case of either of the Orthodox or Revisionist views. However, since the 1970's more and more historians have been joining the revisionist view of the Church's condition and ability to meet the religious needs of its parishioners. 1 D Gleeson 12 N ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship 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 GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. The storm-troopers of the counter reformation. Is this an accurate description of the Jesuits?

    The description of the Jesuits as Storm troopers is than somewhat accurate. The initial Jesuit movement, unlike the Counter Reformation, was a movement of Spiritual enlightenment and Christian embracement. Loyola was from a minor aristocratic family, as a child he obtained many of qualities that would make him a great leader.

  2. English Reformation

    blocked reform.'5 Haigh clearly supports the idea that several bishops endeavoured the preservation of pastoral care and suitable resolutions for local disagreements. This demonstrates however, it is inevitable at times that the views provided are merely the personal opinions of historians, and are bias, since many other historians who have

  1. "The Internal weaknesses of the Catholic Church were the real reasons for the German ...

    They support Randell's argument in a sense that the Reformation encouraged thinking to grow and the acceptance of other ideas contrary to those of the Church. Social causes can also be identified as a reason for the Reformation. Randell argues that social causes were so important that this was actually a social revolution more than a Reformation.

  2. The Progression of Christianity from The Apostolic era - The Lutheran Reformation.

    One thing they focused on was confession. It was an important step, as it was linked to the Sacraments which required purity. The idea is that when one commits a mortal sin, they must confess to their Priest. However, before the confession is of any value, they need to be truly sorry, resolve in their heart not

  1. Account for the popularity of the Pre-Reformation Church.

    Wolsey was a famous pluralist, holding many bishoprics and abbeys, but he was an exception and not the rule. Although he didn't carry out his jobs, there were plenty of people working beneath him that did them. This was one of the reasons why the church was able to offer so many jobs, making pluralism a positive and negative thing.

  2. To what extent did Ferdinand and Isabella succeed in dealing with religious problems in ...

    Throughout the fifteenth century the Castile-Granada border had been the site of Christian-Muslim skirmishes. In April 1478 the Moors attacked the Christian town of Cieza, killing 80 of its inhabitants and capturing the rest. After a ten-year long war, in 1492 Granada was under the control of Ferdinand and Isabella.

  1. Ormskirk Parish Church - Question 2

    The sundial3 on the outside of the church on the south side is exceptional because not only is on the side of a church but it also uses the wall it is built into as a base therefore working with only a 90 degree angle as opposed to traditional sundials which use a much bigger angle.

  2. How far do you agree that the church in England on the eve of ...

    and opposition to Wolsey was very limited and the changes he brought about were improvement and generally accepted. Wolsey showed interests in Lutheranism and spoke openly at Oxford and Cambridge University about heresy, which make relations between him, the king and the pope stronger as they all opposed heresy.

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