Henry VIII - The Break With Rome 3

The break from Rome also had the following effects:

Revenue – it gave Henry the wealth of the Roman Church in England

Dynastic security – heirs to thrones. If no male heir was produced,
Henry could marry another wife

Control of the Church - and the power of the Church to influence The People

Power - greater control over the destiny of England

These were the main political causes for the break with Rome:

■ Henry’s need for revenue
■ Henry’s conscience
■ Henry’s desire for a male heir
■ Henrys desire for power
■ Thomas Cromwell
■ Role of the Boleyn faction

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England.

Cromwell made enemies, including Anne Boleyn. He played a powerful role in her downfall.

(He also fell from power, after arranging the king's marriage to Anne of Cleves. Henry found his new bride unattractive, which was a disaster for Cromwell, ending in an annulment six months later. Cromwell was charged and executed for treason and heresy.) The king later expressed regret at the loss of his chief minister. 

There are two main schools of thought (points of view, based on research) about the events in the Reformation:

■ Events were made to happen by the elite (orthodox (normal) view) From the ‘bottom up’:
■ Events were made to happen by the population (heterodox (not the usual) view).

The people who encouraged the break with Rome.

Anne Boleyn:

■ Anne was strongly influenced by Martin Luther’s ideas and strongly believed in ‘reformed’ ideas

She used her unique position with Henry to:

■ influence Henry by exposing him to Protestant ideas of writers
■ promote key figures in the reform movement such as Cranmer, to Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Cranmer:

■ Thomas Cranmer was an important scholar and writer
■ Before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, he helped to write a book which made the case for Henry being an emperor
■ As Archbishop, he helped to write the “Ten Articles” a book which gave the English Church theological direction
■ He was also politically important, as he was capable of radical action such as marrying Henry and Anne in secret, and later divorcing him from Catherine while also promoting the reform at an acceptable and realistic pace


■ He had great political ability and was ruthless
■ Before Cromwell, the divorce campaign stalled – he provided fresh ideas and drive
■ Strategy: Cromwell managed to guide a course through use of Parliament – he sidestepped Henry’s conservative councillors
■ Legality: Cromwell produced laws that gave the legal framework and justification for the break with Rome
■ Organisation: as Vicegerent in Spirituals, Cromwell presided over key steps as the introduction of bibles written in English

Why were Henry’s marriages important?

Henry’s marriages were extensive, tumultuous, and controversial, and they were directly related to policy changes during his reign. King Henry VIII’s first marriage to Catherine of Aragon happened when he was 17 years of age. Shortly after the marriage, Catherine had a stillborn girl; however, a few months later baby Henry, named after the King, was born. The healthy state of the newborn was met with celebrations, but seven weeks after the birth the baby died. Catherine had another miscarriage and another infant death, but then in 1516, Princess Mary was born to the royal family.

1: Catherine of Aragon

After unsuccessful pregnancies, Henry VIII began having extramarital affairs with two mistresses: Elizabeth Blount and Mary Boleyn. Elizabeth Blount also conceived Henry’s child, who was later given the title “Duke of Richmond” (Henry Fitzroy), who died before having the opportunity to be possibly recognized to be next in line for the throne. As he became more and more disillusioned with his Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII pursued Mary’s sister Anne Boleyn, who was a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Catherine at the time.

This relationship with Anne developed into Henry’s second marriage. However, in order to become married to Anne, his marriage with Catherine had to be annulled. King Henry VIII appealed directly to Pope Clement VII claiming that Catherine and his brother consummated their marriage: Henry could not marry his brother’s wife. Catherine denied the accusations, and discussions went on for many years - where the Pope stated that a new marriage should not occur unless a verdict was given from Rome. The Pope chose not to annul the marriage right away.

2: Anne Boleyn

During this period many changes occurred in English religion, which became a part of the English Reformation. Without the guidance of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Anne, as well as others, who were not supporters of the theology from Rome, influenced King Henry VIII. One action taken against the clergy in England forbade them from following orders from a foreign country or powers, such as Rome. Another event was when Henry was granted “Royal Supremacy”, so that canon law (religious teaching) could not be made unless there was permission from the King. Various other provisions were enacted that distanced the Church of England from Rome. Most importantly, the “Acts of Supremacy” were made, which stated that King Henry VIII was the supreme head of the Church of England on Earth which also encouraged the break with Rome. 


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