Presentation on theme: "Enforcing the Royal Supremacy Religion & Religious Change in England, c.1470-1558."— Presentation transcript:
Enforcing the Royal Supremacy Religion & Religious Change in England, c.1470-1558
Recap: the Royal Supremacy Last time: process by which the Royal Supremacy came to be. ◦Henry’s need for an heir/ divorce stimulated a revolution in government and the nature of kingship ◦King actually an ‘Emperor’ head of the State AND the Church in his realm Key points: ◦Unintended policy outcome – dynastic politics, European wars, humanism intersect to create a novel policy. Developed ‘on the run’. ◦Not in itself ‘Protestant’ – but the context in which ‘Protestantism’ would emerge in England throughout C16th. No mere pragmatism/calculation/cynical Belief that marriage to Katherine of Aragon unnatural and against law of God severe in King’s mind As was the notion of the Royal Supremacy – his duties to the realm as the giver of the ‘Word’. ◦A beginning or an end? i.e. did the Royal Supremacy end the ‘King’s Great Matter’; or trigger the Reformation?
Today’s Lecture: Today – so what? ◦Political history about more than the passage of laws/ infrastructure of state. ◦How ◦How was this change imposed on the people? persuasion coercion ◦What was the balance between persuasion and coercion? ◦SIGNIFICANT THAT ‘THE PEOPLE’ INVOLVED IN POLITICS FOR THE FIRST TIME (TO THIS EXTENT) 1530S A PERIOD OF INTENSE DEBATE – EMERGENCE OF A ‘PUBLIC SPHERE’ IN POLITICS. ◦End – was Henry VIII a ‘tyrant’? ◦Next week – religious implications of the break with Rome.
The Problem: Removal of the Pope striking/confusing for contemporaries. usurper Propaganda campaign denied that the Papacy had ever existed legitimately – never primate of God/heir of St. Peter but a usurper of Church ◦Perhaps biggest villain in history – 1500 year crime. Question long baffled historians – why such a rupture not accompanied by more significant resistance? ◦Does this mean that people a) agreed; b) had never supported the Pope; or c) acquiesced/were indifferent? ◦Problem of visibility of resistance/hostility ◦Is open resistance the only way of showing discontent? ◦How can ‘indifference’ sit with the idea that LMC very popular?
The Tudor State: Problem – seeing ‘The Reformation’ as an EVENT; and ‘politics’ as laws/infrastructure: Elton ◦ Legacy of Elton – framework of government heart of politics. Control power/ place of people/ agency of politics and how politics happened. ◦ State defined by the bureaucratic machinery of government. ◦ Politics not happen TO the populace – involved them. ◦ More recent scholars – institutions not exist in laws. The men who made up institutions and actioned those laws pivotal Therefore doubt/dissembling a part of politics. 1530s/1540s everything up in the air: ◦ ‘Catholic’/ ‘Protestant’ not exist – not really defined on the continent, let alone England. ◦ Notion of clearly defined factions and confessions with carefully worked out creeds anachronistic. ◦ Debate/discussion – people move from and between positions and poles. ◦ Perhaps not ‘indifferent’, more the case that everything confused and being developed on the run. Politics, therefore, involved ‘the people’ to a greater extent than historians realised: ◦ Certainly to a greater extent than the periods proceeding the ‘King’s Great Matter’. ◦ Recent generation of historians look beyond passage of laws at how those laws taken to the populace. How involved in? POLITICS = a process rather than an event. Dynamic. ◦ Study: Language of politics/ literary sources. Importance of classical rhetoric (need to persuade public/ engage with/ the importance of the monarch’s listening to the counsel of his subjects). Notion of the STATE – no longer something which existed as an entity at the centre of politics, but rather something involving the borderlands. negotiation Local officers involved in/ part of the state – power a negotiation between centre and locality (change impact of law/ enforcement part of the nature of the regime).
Elton: a ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’? Key works in undercutting Elton ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’ ◦D. Starkey – importance of the court/factional politics on the king and politics in the 1530s. ◦J. Guy/ G. Nicholson/ V. Murphy on intellectual aspects of King’s divorce and Royal Supremacy. ◦G. Bernard – not Cromwell but the King who was the agent (disagrees with Starkey on the King being led by factions).
Justifying the Royal Supremacy ‘Imperial’ kingship ‘Imperial’ kingship – power over Church & State within realm; parallels with Old Testament kings. RELIED UPON DEBUNKING: ‘Papal Supremacy’ ‘Papal Supremacy’ over the Universal Church – history showed a usurpation of king’s authority; unscriptural; ‘Pope’ not ‘Pope’ at all, but one Bishop amongst many. In revealing this usurpation, Henry restoring truth & doing Christendom a service.
Justifying the Royal Supremacy: Concern that unpopularity effect king’s hold on the people and therefore his capacity to rule: ◦Acutely aware of what people thought of the RS and of the need to persuade them/ clamp down on resistance in equal measure. Royal Supremacy: ◦Not want to be seen as novel ◦Divine Law, revealed in the Word of God. ◦Papacy – not the Royal Supremacy – novel human invention/ aberration. obey ◦Crucial point here – because this was divine law, it was the DUTY of subjects to obey the monarch in religious matters. ◦Obedience was the high doctrine of the English Reformation. Often noted that England a bit of a ‘magpie’ Reformation – dependent upon thought of everyone else ◦No major theologians of note C16th. ◦But RS very novel – doctrine of making king temporal and spiritual head of Church further than Roman Law which gave Emperor similar powers. Two Kingdoms ◦No Protestant theologian came close to – doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. Calvin thought RS blasphemous. Luther/Melanchthon – Henry VIII simply another Pope.
The Coverdale Bible (Hans Holbein frontispiece). 1535
Bringing the Church to heal: Subtle and important innovations necessary to justify RS to populace: praemunire ◦ Accused of praemunire (treason against monarch because recognised foreign power in the Pope). ◦ Key work 1530 – Christopher St. German Ecclesiastical affairs under jurisdiction of king’s courts. Concept of subordination of canon law to common law – essential element of the Royal Supremacy. ◦ Logic of position in prembles of laws making RS. Printed multiple times 1530 and 1531 – government here involved in the act of persuasion. 1533 new editions with addition – A Treatise Concerning the Division between the Spiritual and the Temporal. ◦ Attack clerical privilege.
Propaganda 1): Print Three types of propaganda: ◦ 1) Defend and explain divorce/RS step by step. ◦ 2) Defend the RS after the laws passed. ◦ 3) Answer resistance. public private matter Important: first time politics addressed to the public in this way – supposed to be a private matter, but the magnitude of events required the populace to be on side. Detailed – expected much of the audience, and clearly believed that they would be engaged with the issues of the day: ◦ Not acquiescent ◦ Not acquiescent. ◦ 1531 – 154 page pamphlet detailing the list of foreign universities’ findings on the issue of the king’s divorce. ◦ Met with a response from Katherine of Aragon’s chaplain – learned and very thorough.
Print: Glasse of the Truthe (1532) ◦ Clear, lively and pithy in approach to the issues. ◦ Dialogue form – essentially question and answer. ◦ Helped to break the big issues into digestible chunks. ◦ And meant that contrary views could be incorporated – rhetorically, a complete argument. ◦ Not on RS ◦ Rather – Pope could not dispense with divine law; Henry’s case should be heard in England. ◦ Not yet particularly hostile to Pope – reminds us that the RS/break very late in the day. Edward Foxe, De Vera Obediencia ◦ Fullest defence of RS. ◦ Intended for a European as much as a domestic audience. ◦ Product of teams of researchers – European archives and historical research examining precedents for RS. ◦ Papacy a human office alone – no scriptural authority ◦ Intensive discussion of scripture and the Church Fathers – moral, theological underpinnings of the RS and the debasement of the Papacy as the head of the Church. ◦ Denial that Peter was the preeminent apostle. ◦ Significant debt to Protestant views of history/ rhetoric against the Papacy.
Print: Against the Muttering of Papists in Corners (1534): ◦ Recognised the need to defend against critics – sense here that the printed campaign was responding to the politics ‘on the ground’. ◦ Series of articles against the power of the Papacy ◦ Papacy had done the king an injury in handling his case. ◦ Papacy a usurper of True authority of king’s within their realms – merely Bishop of Rome. ◦ Speedy, clear and meant to be used as a ‘handbook’ for supporters of RS as much as a persuasive tool for those against. Stephen Gardiner, On True Obedience ◦ A conservative defence – perhaps most significant of all. ◦ Surprisingly anti-Papal – obedience to the king with hostility to the Pope synonymous. ◦ Autobiographical – perhaps made even more persuasive/ ‘seen the light’ moment. ◦ RS based upon divine law ◦ Henry obedient to Leviticus on issue of divorce (not marry brother’s widow). ◦ Obedience pivotal factor of divine law. Kings must obey word – subjects must obey king. A foreign audience in mind too. Perhaps intended for the French king. ◦ 12 copies distributed in France by Gardiner. 1553 – leading charge against the Protestants during Mary’s reign. ◦ Things far from settled in 1530s, and Marian Protestants threw this tract in Gardiner’s face with glee.
Print: Starkey, An Exhortation of the People (1536): ◦ Notion of Papal Supremacy not one of right and wrong – rather of politics. ◦ Not ‘real’ in the sense of divine law; rather, an element of superstition which blocked the ‘middle way’ of truth and moderation. ◦ 2 nd half – evidence of other ‘Christians’ who not accept papal supremacy and yet still part of the Church of Christ: Suggestion that Henry’s Church the same Other works perhaps for more exclusive audiences – learned/clerical. ◦ William Marshall’s translation of Valla’s Donation of Constantine (proving that the power of the Papacy in temporal matters which allegedly rested upon Constantine’s donation in the c4th was a myth). ◦ This was a learned and scholarly tract against the Papacy – to have it in English provided respectable and learned backing to Henry’s position (even though Valla was not approaching the issue from the position of secular authority).
‘Top Down’? Problem of interpretation: was this all ‘top down’? Was any of this ‘successful’? ◦Was the ‘propaganda’ in the sense of being co-ordinated by the regime (and Cromwell in particular)? ◦Elton certainly thought so – certainly significant evidence of Cromwell seeking out pamphleteers. ◦But also evidence of men writing on their own vocation – are these tracts often evidence less of attempts to persuade than of men who were already persuaded? St German, for instance, not in Cromwell’s correspondence. ◦Problem of ‘reading’ and evidence. ◦Some snippets suggest important ◦Reports of men converted by Glasse….at Oxford ◦Reports of resistance elsewhere ◦Know about this because Cromwell asked for reports. ◦Persistence – ask for feedback/ views on issues/ then engage with. ◦Remember – 1 st time people engaged in this way Flattered/ excited/ revelation?
Propaganda 2): Preaching: Without question the most significant tool of propaganda: ◦ Pulpit in every parish. ◦ Order priests to read injunctions/laws. Ordered to inveigh against Pope/ explain notion of the Bishop of Rome/ idea of the Royal Supremacy (latter hardest to do and least frequently actioned). ◦ Cromwell employed itinerant preachers to tour and persuade. Wave of preaching on a single topic unparalleled in British history: ◦ Whatever contingencies – must recognise that basic fact. ◦ Also note that useful tool for those who resisted. ◦ Sense of a public debate. ◦ Not all clerics allowed to preach – had to have dispensation (license) from the Bishop. ◦ An effective means of controlling public forums. ◦ Cranmer – Archbishop of Canterbury – very careful in making sure Bishops issuing licenses from 1533. 3/6/1535 – Bishops to ensure priests preach every Sunday/ Feast Day against Bishop of Rome: ◦ Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield, promised to obey zealously. ◦ Tours of West Midlands ordered ◦ Cuthbert Tunstall informed Cranmer that he had put this policy into place before the Royal Injunction issued. ◦ Archbishop Lee of York – few priests capable of doing this. Wrote them a preparatory statement. (Gardiner did the same) Sir Francis Bigod took evangelical Thomas Garnet on a tour of the North Riding of Yorkshire to preach in favour of the RS. Key – multiple licenses to preach issues 1535-37: ◦ Word being heard like never before (remember LMC Priest rarely preach). ◦ R Croke – 60 sermons in 1537
London: Paul’s Cross Paul’s Cross Most significant venue – Paul’s Cross in London. ◦ Controlling who/what preached there significant – key forum for public disputation in C16th. ◦ John Stokesley, Bishop of London, began rigorous control of licensing 11/6/1535. Had been censoring preachers since December 1533. ◦ Crown thought Stokesly too conservative – ordered John Hilsey, Bishop of Rochester to take over. Key preachers; John Rudd, Edward Leighton, Hugh Latimer By May 1534, Cranmer taken over the task of appointing preachers to Paul’s Cross himself. ◦ Even the sermons preached at Katherine of Aragon’s funeral subject of control.
Interactions: Print & Preaching Many sermons later printed: ◦Simon Matthew 1535 Paul’s Cross sermon – which condemned Fisher and More as traitors. ◦Bishop Stokesley ◦1538 – Bishop Longland on the officer of Bishops vs the Papacy as a greedy tyrant/ money grabber. ◦1539 – Bishop Tunstall (opposed to Reform – propaganda coup). Christ on obedience to monarchs. Attacked opponents like Cardinal Pole
Limitations of Preaching: Can overstate the impact of the pulpit: ◦Magnified the holes in the arguments and the disagreements. ◦Even a cursory glance at the surviving material reveals that not a unified message from all pulpits. ◦Avenues for individuals to go beyond remit (in favour of Reformation); or underplay it (in tacit resistance). ◦Hugh Latimer – key evangelical/Protestant figure – utilised by the regime for his skills as a preacher. But his sermons so vehement against Pope often caused offence, led to running battles with more conservative clerics. This was not promoting obedience. ◦Clear some actively preached against! Alongside preaching/print, must also acknowledge the persuasive force of LAW. ◦Statute established as a force for change in this period. ◦Not power of Parliament ◦Rather the will of the monarch writ into law through statute. ◦The ‘Common Law’ as a moral exemplar/ unifying force/ control of order.
Supremacy Medal Henry VIII as King David (from the king’s psalter).
Hans Holbein, Henry VIII as Solomon the Wise (c.1534)
Resistance: Clerics/ officeholders little room for manoeuvre: ◦ 31/7/1536 – all to swear an oath in favour of RS. ◦ Made RS basis on involvement in Church/State ◦ And made it an issue of conscience. ◦ Very visible way of finding out who was loyal – novel use of oath taking as a political measure. Most of this universally unpopular: ◦ Elton: ‘sufficient, if often sporadic, opposition’. ◦ Few wanted divorce or RS. Plenty of evidence of men who believed Henry to be a traitor to God and the Church because of the RS. ◦ Seen as an aberration. ◦ Last lecture – context of Reformation/ heresy/ Princely Reformation in Germany.
Resistance: Attitudes towards the Papacy: ◦ Clergy committed to papal primacy on the eve of the Reformation. ◦ John Fisher/ Edward Powell – lengthy justification of papal primacy in 1520s; embodied medieval consensus on papal headship of the Church. ◦ Lowest level – sermon handbooks contained clear picture of papal primacy. ◦ 1530s – considerable reluctance to erase the Pope’s name from service books shows an emotional attachment. ◦ Laity – constant stream of pilgrims to Rome. ◦ Prayed for Pope every Sunday in every Church in the realm on the eve of the Reformation. ◦ Saintly Popes depicted in the art of the Church. Notion that populace ambivalent to the RS therefore untenable. Elton, Policy and Police – stream of information feeding back to Cromwell about mutterings, whispering and defiance. Not RESISTANCE, but certainly widespread DISAFFECTION. Explains why went to such unprecedented lengths to take the RS to the people. Cromwell shown to be remarkably discriminating in his use of the material: ◦ Many summoned to an interview with Cromwell (clerics his particular concern) – aim to convince and terrify in equal measure. ◦ Only the systematically obstructive subjected to really harsh treatment. Nevertheless, dramatic increase in treason charges. 1534-47 – 122 people attained; only 2 in previous 25 years on Henry’s reign. 329 executions 1534-1540 – must have impacted on populace/ created a climate of fear. Tunstall frightened out of his resistance to the RS by a raid on his palace at Bishop Auckland in early 1534. Few actively resisted.
Obedience = Acquiescence? ◦ Robert Hobbes, Abbot of Woburn (executed for treason in 1538) ◦ Accepted RS; removed Pope’s names from service books; but not include RS in sermons. ◦ Surrendered all of his monastery’s papal bulls; but had copies made first. ◦ Many instances of clergyman hedging their bets on the new order not lasting – novelty surely could not endure in the face of universal truth. ◦ A waiting game? moral dilemma ◦ Also a genuine moral dilemma – King or God? ◦ Prior Richard Marshall – loyal to the king but could not preach RS because not believe it. refusing t ◦ Evidence of others refusing to preach against Pope. ◦ Using the confessional to dissuade people privately. pulpit battles ◦ Other parishes – evidence of pulpit battles, or priests being shouted down by those on both sides, of people engaging them in discussions. ◦ Timing everything – by 1538 (5 years in) failure to comply seen to be an obvious offence to the Crown. ◦ NB: we only know about any of this ‘on the ground’ resistance because someone prepared to report it.
Understanding conscience: IF ‘OBEDIENCE’ WAS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE, SO WAS RESISTANCE. CONSCIENCE MAY HAVE DICTATED THAT THE DIVORCE & BREAK FROM ROME WERE IMMORAL. BUT IT ALSO SPOKE AGAINST CONSPIRACY & REBELLION. TRANSLATING RESISTANCE TO ACTION THEREFORE DIFFICULT.
Food For Thought: ‘The truly astonishing feature of the Henrician revolution is that a manifestly unpopular and unwanted policy was imposed so successfully and with so little public disturbance’. Richard Rex ◦ Crucially: opposition not unified/ organised. ◦ Little in the way of foreign interference – no focal point to unify around. What conspiracies there were by exiles abroad foiled – 1538, 1542, 1544. Plenty of rumours of plots of clergy with foreign powers, but little materialised. ◦ Brigden – London: cells of support for Papacy kept alive, but not unified. ◦ BUT: distinction between appearance and reality: Henry feared an international move against England.
Thomas More: Most famous resistor. Lord Chancellor – had been deliberately kept out of divorce proceedings. But had served Henry well as the scourge of herectics/defender of the Church and traditional devotions/ nemesis of Tyndale. ◦Had worked closely with Stokesely – the Bishop of London – to clamp down on heresy during late 1520s and early 1530s. All the while secretly working for the cause of Katherine of Aragon because he believed Henry’s marriage to be legitimate. 1532 – tried in vain to defend the Church’s independence from the RS during the Reformation Parliament. Confronted Henry 16/5/32 and resigned as Lord Chancellor. Still a vehement opponent of nascent ‘Protestants’. But visceral in his opposition to the marriage to Anne Boleyn – pointedly refused to attend her coronation. CONVINCED THAT BREAKING THE UNIVERSAL COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH WOULD ENCOURAGE DOCTRINAL DEVIATION/SCHISM.
Thomas More: ‘Your lordshippes have in the matter of the matrimony hitherto kepte your selves pure virgines, yeat take good head, my lordes, that you keepe your virginity still. For some there be that by procuringe your lordshippes first at the coronacion to be present, and next to preach for the setting forth of it, and finally to write bookes to all the world in defens thereof, are desirous to deffloure you; and when they have defloured you, then will they not faile soone after to devoure you. Nowe my lordes … it lieth not in my power but that they may devoure me; but god being my good lord, I will provide that they shall never deffloure me’ (To the Bishops who attempted to convince him to attend Anne Boleyn’s coronation).
Thomas More: More's campaign to deflect the oncoming reforms drew him into a dangerous confrontation with Christopher St German during 1533 ◦ Apology ◦ The Debellation of Salem and Bizance ◦ German- canon law subservient to civil law. ◦ More - defended the church's independent legal system and its procedures, particularly with regard to heresy laws ◦ More decried the apparent tolerance with which the English greeted the recent changes ◦ Derided St German's tactic of exploiting animosity between the clergy and laity for the purpose of reducing the church and its ministers to a state of subservience. ◦ Careful to avoid defending the papal primacy, since that could be construed as treasonable. February 1534 More included in a bill of attainder for conspiring with Elizabeth Barton, Nun of Kent Barton had uttered dire prophecies against the king's new marriage: ◦ Claimed that he would cease to be ‘king’ in God’s eyes. ◦ King's animosity - believed More was the chief ‘deviser’ of Barton's utterances. ◦ More requested a formal hearing before the Lords, but in the end the king insisted that he be deposed before a commission of four councillors. ◦ The commissioners had been able to persuade the king to drop More's name from the bill on the very probable grounds that his inclusion threatened the bill's passage. DOES THIS SHOW THE VINDICTIVE SIDE OF HENRY VIII?
Thomas More: Silence impossible when oaths were administered. ◦ More was asked to swear to the Act of Succession on 12 April 1534, which he refused to do because of the oath's preamble rejecting papal jurisdiction. ◦ Imprisoned in the Tower on 17 April. ◦ The king accused him of ‘obstinacy’ - a malicious refusal to obey. More's lengthy campaign against St German? More had worked assiduously to undermine official policy, and the king knew it. Continued to embarrass the regime: ◦ The Sadness of Christ - Latin meditation on Christ's agony in Gethsemane ◦ Dialogue of Comfort - extols the spiritual benefits of tribulation. ◦ Both works centre on the remembrance of Christ's passion as an aid during persecution. A show trial used to buttress new RS: ◦ 1 July 1535 ◦ Tried for denying the Royal Supremacy – even though imprisoned before Parliament had passed the Bill awarding Henry the title of ‘Supreme Head’. ◦ Evidence/ events manipulated to ensure More a scalp for the new regime. ◦ Richard Rich, the solicitor-general, who claimed More had rejected the king's title in his presence on 12 June 1535. ◦ On Rich's testimony More was found guilty.
Henry VIII: a ‘Tyrant’? Undoubtedly a thoroughly unpleasant man, increasingly vindictive and controlling as the 1530s progressed. Helpful term? Noun or adjective? Anachronistic – C20th connotations? Totalitarianism? Henry VIII vs Elizabeth I – agreement vs obedience.