Reformation in England

503 Henry VIII marries Catherine of Aragon (his brother's widow) with a papal dispensation

1509 Henry VIII becomes King of England

1525 Thomas Cromwell organised dissolution of smaller monasteries for Cardinal Wolsey.

1527 announces plan to annul marriage with Catherine on grounds that the original papal dispensation was invalid. Her nephew Emperor Charles V (also Charles I of Spain) opposed annulment and he at that stage held the Pope Clement VII under a 7 month house arrest.

1527-28 Cardinal Wolsey led anti-heretical campaign, probably directed more against Lutherans, than Lollards.

1529 the annulment case in thrown out after a papal hearing in Rome

1531 Henry assumes power over clergy

1532 Henry secretly marries Anne Boleyn (2nd of 6 wives).

1533 Newly appointed Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury declares Catherine's marriage void and that to Anne valid. Pope excommunicates Henry. Henry asserts royal supremacy over the church and removes papal jurisdiction from England.

1534 Act of Supremacy passed under Cromwell's guidance to officially make monarch head of the English church. The Act does not mention papal power.

1535 Bishop John Fisher of Rochester and Sir Thomas More executed for rejecting Act of Supremacy, depriving Henry of valuable support for Catholic reform.

1536 Act of Union, uniting Wales with England.

1536 Act of 10 Articles, a partially Lutheran statement of faith, inspired by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury.

1536-39 Thomas Cromwell organised dissolution of the monastries.

1539 Act of 6 Articles, a Catholic statement of faith that declared heretical the rejection of the doctrine of transubstantiation, allowed communion in one kind only, reaffirmed celibate vows and celibate priesthood, allowed private masses and made auricular confession compulsory.

1543 King's Book (written by Henry?) published and access to English Bibles restricted.

1547 Henry dies and is succeeded by Edward VI, who under the Regency of the Duke of Somerset gave the English Reformation its Protestant flavour.

1547 Edward VI is a strong Protestant so Cranmer has the freedom to move in a more Protestant direction.

1547 images and paintings ordered to be removed from churches

1547 dissolution of the chantries, where masses were said for the dead

1548 continental reformers appointed to Oxford and Cambridge, including Martin Bucer as Regius Professor at Cambridge

1548? Cranmer issues questionnaire to bishops on their eucharistic theology

1549 Cranmer's 1st Book of Common Prayer published as annex to Act of Uniformity

1552 Cranmer's 2nd Book of Common Prayer published as annex to Act of Uniformity, which banned eucharistic vestments

1553 Cranmer's 42 Articles

1553 Edward dies and is succeeded by Lady Jane Grey who reigns for 9 days.

1553 Mary (daughter of Catherine of Aragon) usurps throne and attempts to go back to the Henrician position of a Catholicism with royal supremacy. Over 300 Protestants killed in persecution including Thomas Cranmer. Like Father, like daughter.

1554 Mary marries Prince Philip, son of Emperor Charles V, who becomes co-regent.

1555 burning of Protestants at the stake begins

1556 Cranmer burnt at the stake in Oxford

1556 Philip becomes King of Spain, when his father abdicates

1558 Mary dies childless and Philip loses right to English monarchy on the grounds that Henry VIII's will granted the crown to Mary and then Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn. Many Catholics killed, including her cousin Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. By the time of death in 1603 her 45 year rule had established England as a Protestant nation and major world power.


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