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Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588

Topic A: Queen Government and Religion, 1558-1569

In this option's topic A, you'll study the situation of Elizabeth's accession, the 'settlement' on religion, challenges to the religious settlement & the problem of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Studorian's Option E6  |  British Depth Study


Elizabeth's Religion Settlement (1559)

Lesson E6a5  |  Sunday 30th April 2028  |  British #182

  • The Religious Settlement

    • Elizabeth thought the best thing to do was to enforce the Religious Settlement

    • It was a document broken into three parts

    • It outlined the religion of England and how it should be enforced 

    • She perceived it to be the Middle Way, a compromise between Catholics' and Protestants' beliefs

  • The Act of Supremacy

    • It stated that Elizabeth was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England 

      • She used a different title so that Catholics didn’t feel as if the Pope was being challenged 

    • All clergy and royal officials had to swear an oath of loyalty to her 

  • The Act of Uniformity

    • It outlined how churches and services would be conducted 

    • The Book of Common Prayer was introduced

      • It was to be followed in all services

      • The wording was deliberately vague so both Protestants and Catholics could interpret sections in their own way

      • Services were to be spoken in English

      • Ornaments and decorations were to be allowed 

      • The singing of hymns was permitted 

      • Offerings of bread and wine would take place but there wouldn’t be an explanation of how they should be received 

    • Everybody was required to attend Church

  • The Royal Injunctions

    • Ensured all clergy taught the Act of Supremacy 

    • All recusants (those who refused to attend church) were to be reported to the Privy Council and fined a week’s wage

    • Priests 

      • Needed Government licenses 

      • Vestments were worn

      • Pilgrimages and religious shrines were to be banned 

    • An Ecclesiastical High Commission was established 

      • This kept discipline

      • This also punished recusants 

  • The Impact

    • 8,000 of the 10,000 clergies accepted it

    • Most ordinary people accepted the Religious Settlement 

      • Everyone attended Church

      • Even Catholics attended as they privately maintained Catholic beliefs 

    • However, all but one of Mary’s bishops resigned rather than take the oath

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