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England's Religious Reformation

Attempting to do any sort of research work, one has to go through proper sources and channels. Likewise, to attempt an essay/topic as vast as England’s Religious Reformation, it needs to be broken down in various sub-topics. To start off with, let’s explore with the emergence of Christianity in England.

After going through many reliable sources, one can conclude hypothetically, that when Christianity began in England is uncertain, but it probably was not later than the early 3rd century. The Church of England, mother church of the Anglican Communion, has had a long history. To dig deeper into the history of the church, I would like to quote off, general information Anglican Communion History Christianity in England (Episcopal).

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The church was well enough established by the 4th century to send three British bishops--of Londinium (London), Eboracum (York), and Colonia Linum (Lincoln)--to the Council of Arles (in modern France) in 314. In the 5th century, after the Romans had withdrawn from and the Anglo-Saxons had invaded Britain, Illtud performed missionary work in Wales and Patrick in Ireland. Though isolated from continental Christianity in the 5th and 6th centuries, Christianity in the British Isles grew due to the influence of monasticism. About 563 Columba founded an influential monastic community on the island of Iona off Scotland. In 597 a monk named Augustine went to England at the request of Pope Gregory the Great to oversee the development of English Christianity. Augustine's archbishopric at Canterbury soon became the symbolic seat of England's church. Subsequent mission work, such as that of Aidan around 634 in northern England, solidified the church's life. The early Catholic Church in England was a distinctive fusion of Romano-British, Celtic, and Roman influences. It retained powerful centres in the monasteries and lived in tension with the medieval monarchy. The martyrdom of Thomas Becket demonstrated the church's concern to preserve its integrity over the throne in the 12th century. The writings of John Wycliffe (d. 1384) questioned the form of the medieval church and became an early protest against Rome's control over England's church. (See Britain, Augustine of Canterbury, Saint.)

After this little input to the initial set-up of Church in England, one of the most widespread law that formed was the common law. The common law, or judge-made law, was developed in England during the 12th and 13th centuries. It emerged from a mixture of tribal customs and local practices to form a coherent legal system in use today in many countries around the world including the United States.

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To talk more of Henry VIII, he was probably the greatest reformer of a certain period.
Beginning in 1529, Henry used Parliament to exert pressure on the pope. Claiming that they were correcting abuses, the Reformation Parliament, as it came to be called, voted to ban payments from English bishops to Rome and to end the independence of the English clergy. Previously the clergy had owed allegiance only to the pope. By these acts Henry gained the power to appoint his own bishops.

In 1534 Cromwell began a wholesale confiscation of the enormous wealth of the Catholic Church, estimated at three times that of the crown. A survey of the buildings, lands, and possessions of the English religious houses was completed in 1535, and thereafter Parliament began passing laws dissolving these Catholic groups, a process that was completed by 1540. The crown then took possession of all their property, paying small pensions to the approximately 10,000 monks and nuns who were deprived of their homes. In a reversal of roles, many towns were forced to assist the same people who had once provided charity to the less fortunate. To pay for his continued wars, Henry sold the former monastic lands to nobles and gentry, who thereby gained an interest in the success of Henry’s reformation and became dependent upon the king.’ (This information has been taken from Encarta Encyclopaedia Deluxe." Henry VIII. " 1999 Edition.)

Henry's reformation had however, produced dangerous Protestant-Roman Catholic differences in the kingdom. The monasteries' wealth had been spent on wars and had also built up the economic strength of the aristocracy and other families in the counties. This in turn was to encourage ambitious Tudor court factions. Significantly, Parliament's involvement in making religious and dynastic changes had been firmly established.

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Works Cited

Encarta Encyclopaedia Deluxe." Henry VIII. " 1999 Edition
 
 


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