2 Background to the Elizabethan Settlement Prior to the Reformation, Henry VIII had been one of the strongest supporters of Catholicism.Due to a dispute over his marriage, Henry took control of the English Church from the Pope, without changing many religious beliefs or rituals.When Henry died in 1547 his young son Edward VI was influenced by Protestants to change the English Church in a decidedly more Protestant direction.When he died in 1553 , his half-sister Mary restored the Church to full Catholic control and persecuted English Protestants severely.
3 RELIGION IN ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND When Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, one of her most urgent problems was to deal with the problem of religion. She had three options:Retain Mary’s CatholicismRestore Henry’s CatholicismAdopt Protestantism
4 Retain Mary’s Catholicism – some considerations she would be unable to control the ChurchCatholicism was associated with Spanish ruleCatholicism was seen as a harsh, intolerant religionThe gentry, on whom Elizabeth would depend, felt that their property would be threatened.English Catholics would be pleased
5 Restore Henry’s Catholicism – some considerations this would alienate the Popeit would not satisfy the powerful, growing Protestant party in Englandit might appease English Catholics if they were left to worship in their own way
6 Adopt Protestantism – some considerations this would appease returning Protestants who had fled England during Mary’s persecutionCatholics would be upsetElizabeth could exercise some degree of control over religion
7 Her decision?Elizabeth decided to adopt Protestantism. This meant thatshe would have to staff her new Church with Puritans (although moderate ones)she would make a lot of powerful foreign enemies, especially Philip II of Spain and the Popeshe would have to call Parliament to repeal all previous religious laws and make a new religious settlement
8 The settlement of religious affairs in England was based around two acts. THE ACT OF SUPREMACYElizabeth was made “Supreme Governor” of the ChurchAll judges, members of the government, justices of the peace and mayors were required to take an oath accepting the royal supremacy
9 THE ACT OF UNIFORMITYThis introduced a Prayer Book which all clergy were bound by oath to useVestments and religious ornaments were allowed in ChurchesLaymen were required to attend services on Sunday, and if they did not were fined one shilling for each offence
10 This meant that the new Church of England was essentially Catholic in appearance and government, but Protestant in doctrine. The doctrine of the Church was determined in 1563 with the Thirty-Nine Articles, which became the basis of the Established Church of England. This was intended for the Church to be broadly based Church, which although having a nominal policy of uniformity, could include people with a range of views.
11 However, this settlement did not satisfy conservative Catholicsradical (or “godly”) Protestants (called “Puritans”)This situation laid the foundation for continuing religious conflict for the next century.