The Opposition to the Henrican Reformation

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The Opposition to the Henrican Reformation The English reformation is widely discussed amongst historians; it was a process that saw the removal of the longstanding Papal influence and the beginnings of a new English Church. The reformation was believed to be a quick process, imposed upon the country from above. The decrees, acts and events of the reformation forced drastic changes upon both the English clergy, masses and the Papacy. These changes were unpopular and discontent was widespread. In spite of such feelings the reformation experienced little delay and monarchical power over the English Church continued to increase. That is not to say there was no opposition to the reformation, for it was rife and potentially serious. The opposition came from both the upper and lower classes, from the monks and nuns and from foreign European powers. This opposition however, was cleverly minimised from the outset, Cromwell’s master plan ensured court opposition was minimal and new acts, oaths and decrees prevented groups and individuals from publicly voicing their dissatisfaction. Those who continued to counter such policies were ruthlessly and swiftly dealt with, often by execution, and used as examples to discourage others. Henry’s desire for a nation free of foreign religious intervention, total sovereign independence, a yearning of church wealth and the desire for a divorce sewed the seeds for reform. The divorce case angered many people. Catherine of Aragon was a pious and popular Queen who was depicted as a devout Catholic and loyal wife. During the divorce Henry was not only faced with Papal opposition but also staunch resistance... ... middle of paper ... ... Such opposition was also given further momentum by individuals such as More, Fisher and Barton who created effective propaganda for the Queen’s cause. Although the opposition was potentially serious it mounted to very little. Henry and Cromwell ensured that these small isolated pockets of discontent both inside and outside of court were eliminated and that persistent defiant individuals were executed. In addition the Pilgrimage of Grace amounted to nothing as the rebels did not wish to battle, in addition the King’s promise to offer pardons and restore some monasteries appealed to the rebels. It can therefore be concluded that although the opposition to the Henrican reformation was rife it posed little threat to Henry thanks to the quick response and actions of Cromwell who pinned down opposition in its early stages.

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