To what extent do you consider the Henrician Reformation (1529-40) as a religious turning point in the power and autonomy of the Church in the period 1485-1603?

Topics: English Reformation, Henry VIII of England, Protestant Reformation Pages: 3 (1907 words) Published: October 27, 2014

To what extent do you consider the Henrician Reformation (1529-40) as a religious turning point in the power and autonomy of the Church in the period 1485-1603? In 1539 Richard Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury was dragged to the top of Glastonbury Tor by Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners and beheaded. He had refused to surrender the abbey when the commissioners had arrived to dissolve it. The shocking brutality of his murder might be seen to highlight the newly inferior position of the English Church after the Henrician Reformation of 1529-36, and to suggest this really was a turning point in the power and autonomy of the church in the period 1485-1603. Several factors complicate this picture however and in fact there may have been more continuity in the relationship between the English crown and the church than immediately meets the eye. While the Henrician Reformation undoubtedly caused a profound change in the nature of English religious experience, close political ties between religious leaders and the monarchy had been a feature of the English church for many centuries and continued to be so throughout the period 1485-1603. For those individuals and institutions who survived the years 1529-40, the nature of their relationship with the King would in many ways have been very familiar. The significance of the years 1529-40 in English religious history lie less in changes to the political autonomy of the church and more in the violence with which so many elements of the old religion were uprooted. It can be argued that the religious changes of 1529-40 were a dramatic turning point rather than being part of a more continuous process of change and whether the extent to which the power and autonomy of the English church was affected by these changes. The Dissolution of the Monasteries was arguably the most revolutionary measure and perhaps the only one controversial enough to result in a rebellion, the Pilgrimage of Grace in October 1536. Geoffrey Elton...

Bibliography: Books for Part B:
The Reformation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958
AS Edexcel History: Henry VIII - Authority, Nation and Religion, 1509-40, Peter Clements, Hodder Education, 1 Jan 2012
Education and Society in Tudor England, Joan Simon, Cambridge University Press, 27 Sep 1979
Henry VIII, Michael Denison Palmer, Addison-Wesley Longman Limited, 1983
Websites for Part B:
The last abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, http://www.maryjones.us/jce/whiting.html
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