Category Archives: Thomas Cranmer

The Setting (life and times) of Rowland Taylor

Understanding the setting and key terms for the life and death of Dr. Rowland Taylor (1510-1555)

Persecutions | Queen Mary Tudor, I | Thomas Cranmer | Protestantism | Roman Catholic Church | Reformation | Counter-Reformation | Martin Luther | William Tyndale | John Calvin


Persecutions in England During the Reign of Queen Mary

The premature death of that celebrated young monarch, Edward VI, occasioned the most extraordinary and wonderful occurrences, which had ever existed from the times of our blessed Lord and Savior’s incarnation in human shape. This low-spirited event became speedily a subject of general regret. The succession to the British throne was soon made a matter of contention; and the scenes which pursued were a demonstration of the serious affliction in which the kingdom was involved. As his loss to the nation was more and more unfolded, the remembrance of his government was more and more the basis of grateful recollection. The very awful prospect, which was soon presented to the friends of Edward’s administration, under the direction of his counsellors and servants, was a contemplation which the reflecting mind was compelled to regard with most alarming apprehensions. The rapid approaches which were made towards a total reversion of the proceedings of the young king’s reign, denoted the advances which were thereby represented to an entire resolution in the management of public affairs both in Church and state.

Alarmed for the condition in which the kingdom was likely to be involved by the king’s death, an endeavor to prevent the consequences, which were but too plainly foreseen, was productive of the most serious and fatal effects. The king, in his long and lingering affliction, was induced to make a will, by which he bequeathed the English crown to Lady Jane, the daughter of the duke of Suffolk, who had been married to Lord Guilford, the son of the duke of Northumberland, and was the granddaughter of the second sister of King Henry, by Charles, duke of Suffolk. By this will, the succession of Mary and Elizabeth, his two sisters, was entirely superseded, from an apprehension of the returning system of popery; and the king’s council, with the chief of the nobility, the lord-mayor of the city of London, and almost all the judges and the principal lawyers of the realm, subscribed their names to this regulation, as a sanction to the measure. Lord Chief Justice Hale, though a true Protestant and an upright judge, alone declined to unite his name in favor of the Lady Jane, because he had already signified his opinion that Mary was entitled to assume the reins of government. Others objected to Mary’s being placed on the throne, on account of their fears that she might marry a foreigner, and thereby bring the crown into considerable danger. Her partiality to popery also left little doubt on the minds of any, that she would be induced to revive the dormant interests of the pope, and change the religion which had been used both in the days of her father, King Henry, and in those of her brother Edward: for in all his time she had manifested the greatest stubbornness and inflexibility of temper, as must be obvious from her letter to the lords of the council, whereby she put in her claim to the crown, on her brother’s decease.

When this happened, the nobles, who had associated to prevent Mary’s succession, and had been instrumental in promoting, and, perhaps, advising the measures of Edward, speedily proceeded to proclaim Lady Jane Gray, to be queen of England, in the city of London and various other populous cities of the realm. Though young, she possessed talents of a very superior nature, and her improvements under a most excellent tutor had given her many very great advantages.

Her reign was of only five days’ continuance, for Mary, having succeeded by false promises in obtaining the crown, speedily commenced the execution of her avowed intention of extirpating and burning every Protestant. She was crowned at Westminster in the usual form, and her elevation was the signal for the commencement of the bloody persecution which followed.

Who was queen Mary Tudor, I?

Mary I (born Mary Tudor) (1516–58), daughter of Henry VIII, reigned 1553–58. Having regained the throne after the brief attempt to install Lady Jane Grey in her place, Mary attempted to reverse the country’s turn towards Protestantism, which had begun to gain momentum during the reign of her brother, Edward VI. She married Philip II of Spain, and after putting down several revolts began the series of religious persecutions which earned her the name of `Bloody Mary’. She died childless and the throne passed to her Protestant sister, Elizabeth I. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

Mary, a Catholic, married Philip II of Spain. She repealed the laws establishing Protestantism in England and re-established Roman Catholicism. Often referred to as “Bloody Mary” she is noted for her persecution of Protestants. She dealt equally harshly with the Irish. She confiscated lands belonging to the O’Moores and the O’Connors in counties Laois and Offaly, renaming them Queen’s County and King’s County in honour of herself and her husband. The dispossessed chieftains waged a guerrilla war against the English settlements. Under the pretext of holding a peace conference with them, the English invited the O’Moores and the O’Connors to Mullaghmast where they had them and their families treacherously murdered. – Visit web site

Who was Thomas Cranmer?

(1489–1556) English cleric, a founding father of the English Protestant Church. He served Henry VIII on diplomatic missions before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532. He annulled Henry’s marriages to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Anne of Cleves. During Edward VI’s reign, he was chiefly responsible for liturgical reform including the First and Second English Prayer Books (1549 and 1552) and the Forty-Two Articles (1553). He supported Lady Jane Grey’s succession in 1553; after Queen Mary’s accession he was tried for high treason, then for heresy, and finally burnt at the stake in Oxford. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA


What is Protestantism?

Protestant — A member or adherent of any of the Christian bodies that separated from the Roman Catholic Church at the Reformation. The term was coined after the imperial Diet summoned at Speyer in 1529, and derives from the `Protestatio’ of the reforming members against the decisions of the Catholic majority. These adherents of the Reformation were not merely registering objections: they were professing their commitment to the simple faith of the early Church, which they believed had been obscured by the unnecessary innovations of medieval Roman Catholicism. Since then, Protestants are those who accept the principles of the Reformation, as opposed to Catholic or Orthodox Christians. Luther, Zwingli and Calvin founded the largest of the original Protestant branches, and there were other more radical groups, such as the Anabaptists.

All the early Protestants shared a conviction that the Bible was the only source of revealed truth and it was made available to all in vernacular translations. While not all Protestants agree on all the issues, most reject papal authority and repudiate transubstantiation, purgatory, special veneration of the Virgin Mary, and invocation of the saints. The importance of the sacraments is also diminished, with only baptism and the Eucharist being accepted by most. The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

What is the Roman Catholic Church?

The Christian Church that acknowledges the pope as its head, especially that which has developed since the Reformation. It has an elaborately organized hierarchy of bishops and priests. Popes are traditionally regarded as successors to St Peter, to whom Christ entrusted his power. In doctrine the Roman Catholic Church is characterized by strict adherence to tradition combined with acceptance of the living voice of the Church and belief in its infallibility. The classic definition of its position was made in response to the Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545–63). During this period the Catholic Church responded to the challenge of Protestantism by the movement known as the counter-reformation, which brought about various reforms and a draconian tightening of Church discipline. During the Enlightenment the Church increasingly saw itself as an embattled defender of ancient truth, a belief that culminated in the proclamation of Papal Infallibility in matters of doctrine in 1870. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA
What is the Reformation?

The 16th-century movement for reform of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, ending in the establishment of Protestant, or Reformed, churches.

The starting point of the Reformation is often given as 1517, when the German theologian Martin Luther launched his protest against the corruption of the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church, although he was breaking no new controversial ground. In fact, most of the Reformation movements laid stress, not on innovation, but on return to a primitive simplicity. Luther’s theological reading led him to attack the central Catholic doctrines of transubstantiation, clerical celibacy, and papal supremacy. He also called for radical reform of the religious orders. By 1530 the rulers of Saxony, Hesse, Brandenburg, and Brunswick, as well as the kings of Sweden and Denmark had been won over to the reformed beliefs. They proceeded to break with the Roman Church, and set about regulating the churches in their territories according to Protestant principles.

In Switzerland, the Reformation was led first by Zwingli, who carried through antipapal, antihierarchic, and antimonastic reforms in Zurich. After his death the leadership passed to Calvin, in whose hands reforming opinion assumed a more explicitly doctrinal and revolutionary tone. Calvinism became the driving force of the movement in western Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland, where in each case it was linked with a political struggle. Calvinism was also the main doctrinal influence within the Anglican Church. In Europe the reforming movement was increasingly checked and balanced by the Counter-Reformation. The era of religious wars came to an end with the conclusion of the Thirty Years War (1618–48). The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA

What was the Counter-Reformation?

A revival in the Roman Catholic Church between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries. It had its origins in reform movements which were independent of the Protestant Reformation, but it increasingly became identified with, and took its name from, efforts to `counter’ the Protestant Reformation. There were three main ecclesiastical aspects. First a reformed papacy, with a succession of popes who had a notably more spiritual outlook than their immediate predecessors, and a number of reforms in the church’s central government initiated by them. Secondly, the foundation of new religious orders, notably the Oratorians and in 1540 the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and the reform of older orders, notably the Capuchin reform of the Franciscans. Thirdly, the Council of Trent (1545–63), which defined and clarified Catholic doctrine on most points in dispute with Protestants and instituted important moral and disciplinary reforms within the Catholic Church, including the provision of a better education for the clergy through theological colleges called seminaries. All this led to a flowering of Catholic spirituality at the popular level, but also to an increasingly anti-Protestant mentality. The movement became political through its links with Catholic rulers, notably Philip II of Spain, who sought to re-establish Roman Catholicism by force. The stalemate between Catholics and Protestants was effectively recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which brought to an end the Thirty Years War and in a sense concluded the Counter-Reformation period. The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA
Who was Martin Luther (1483–1546) ?

German Protestant theologian, the principal figure of the German Reformation. From 1508 he taught at the University of Wittenberg, latterly as professor of scripture (1512–46). He began to preach the doctrine of justification by faith rather than by works; his attack on the sale of indulgences with his 95 theses (1517) was followed by further attacks on papal authority, and in 1521 Luther was condemned and excommunicated at the Diet of Worms. At a meeting with Swiss theologians at Marburg (1529) he opposed Zwingli and gave a defence of the doctrine of consubstantiation (the presence in the Eucharist of the real substances of the body and blood of Christ); the next year he gave his approval to Melanchthon’s Augsburg Confession, which laid down the Lutheran position. His translation of the Bible into High German (1522–34) contributed significantly to the spread of this form of the language and to the development of German literature in the vernacular. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA


Who was William Tyndale (c.1494–1536)?

English translator and Protestant martyr. Faced with ecclesiastical opposition to his project for translating the Bible into English, Tyndale went abroad in 1524, never to return to his own country; his translation of the New Testament (c.1525–26) was published in Germany. He then translated the Pentateuch (1530) and Jonah (1531), both of which were printed in Antwerp. Tyndale’s translations later formed the basis of the Authorized Version. In 1535 he was arrested in Antwerp on a charge of heresy, and subsequently strangled and burnt at the stake. – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA


Who was John Calvin (1509–64) ?

French Protestant theologian and reformer. He began his theological career in France, but was forced to flee to Basle in Switzerland after embracing Protestantism in the early 1530s. He attempted a re-ordering of society on reformed Christian principles, with strong and sometimes ruthless control over the private lives of citizens. From 1541 he lived in Geneva, where he established the first Presbyterian government. He exerted an important influence on the development of Protestant thought; his theological system, Calvinism, was further developed by his followers, notably Theodore Beza (1519–1605). – The OXFORD World ENCYCLOPEDIA


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