Student Honors Theses

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Spring 2013


In 1533, Henry VIII’s desire for a male heir led to a break with Rome, and the establishment of a Church of England. The changes in the 1630s, not merely replacing the pope with the English monarch as head of the Church, but also distributing the Bible in English of the Monasteries, became known as the Henrician Reformation. Henry calmed down the pace of reform during the last phase of his reign from 1539. Many of the evangelicals he had once supported were now being persecuted, and the Church of England was returning to many Catholic practices. Yet, Henry had no intention of reconciling with Rome, and made sure that his young son, the male heir he so wanted, was surrounded by Protestant advisors. After Henry’s death, those advisors directed Edward VI to initiate further Protestant reform. Edward died young, though, and his sister Mary I became queen. Mary, a Catholic, brought England back to Rome for a number of years during a Counter Reformation. She too did not live long and her sister Elizabeth I took the throne. Elizabeth, the last Tudor, attempted to reconcile the divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism. By Elizabeth’s death in 1603, England was a very Protestant and anti-Catholic country.[1] This thesis examines how post-1603, Stuart England remembered and assessed Henry VIII and the beginning of the Reformation (or, as this brief background suggests, Reformations).

[1] Robert Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714 (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). 32-157.

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