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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Church; Christianity in the Tudor Era

How did the Church evolve during the 16th century? View this timeline to find out

1509
Henry VIII becomes king and marries Catherine of Aragon. At this time England is a Christian country. They are part of the Catholic Church, led by the Pope based in Rome. Latin is the main language for the Church.
1517
In Germany Martin Luther begins a protest against the Catholic Church. This marks the beginning of the Protestant movement.
1524
William Tyndale moves to Germany where he hopes he can continue work on an English translation of the Bible.
1525
Henry VIII wants a divorce from Catherine. He and Catherine have a daughter, Mary. But Henry wants to marry another woman so she can give him a son (to follow Henry as king). The Pope refuses to give Henry a divorce as it is against Catholic teaching.
1533
Henry appoints Thomas Cranmer as head of the Church in England on the understanding that he will grant Henry a divorce – which he does.
1534
The Act of Supremacy (1534) confirmed the break with Rome, declaring Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England.
1536
Tyndale is sentenced to death because of the work he has done on the translation of the Bible into English – Henry ordered the execution. By this time several thousand copies of the New Testament had been printed in English.
1539
Henry closed all the monasteries and took the land for himself.
1547-51
Henry dies and his son Edward becomes king. Edward is a Protestant and makes this new form of Christianity legal. During this time Cranmer writes a new prayer book - the Book of Common Prayer.
1553-1558
Edward dies and his Catholic sister Mary becomes queen. Mary hates the new ways and reverts back to a strongly Catholic country. Hundreds of Protestants are executed.
1558-1603
Mary dies and her sister Elizabeth becomes queen. Elizabeth’s main aim is to make England a strong and united country. As part of this plan Elizabeth re-establishes a Church of England with the monarch as the head. However in a conciliatory gesture towards the Catholic, Elizabeth reintroduced clerical vestments and a more Catholic Eucharist. Altars were once again allowed, and clergy had to get permission to marry.