England underwent a Religious revolution between 1547 Essay examples

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England underwent a Religious revolution between 1547-1558, which tore the country apart, how far do you agree with this statement?

A religious revolution is a profound and real change that would not only have to be supported from above, reflected in the religious policies, but it would also have to be adopted by the people, be fully realised and completed so that the vast majority shared the same beliefs. The closest that England came to a religious revolution was during the reign of Mary Tudor in which the Catholic enthusiasms of the people were shared by the monarchy guiding England back to Catholicism after the failed revolution from above under Edward.
The most revolutionary religious change that occurred within this time period was the conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism when Queen Mary ascended the throne in 1553. The radical change that swept the country was extreme and clearly an attempt to reverse all that had been done to supress Catholicism for the last six years, and it is this strong Catholic feeling that Christopher Haig argues “swept Mary to power by a revolution”. Masses were held from August, alters were rebuilt and taking into account the very limited funds of the church of this time it is clear that this was a cause dear to the majority of the people. Combined with the efforts of people to revert the local parishes back to Catholicism Mary also repealed all the anti-Catholic laws passed by both Edward and Henry in the first Statute of Repeal as well as restoring church doctrine and reaffirming clerical celibacy. Parliament’s only objection was the ownership of church lands first seized under Henry VIII, which were never returned. This ease of transition affirmed the almost completed change from Catholicism under Mary, however due to her early death and lack of a male heir it was never fully completed. The strong Catholic feeling in 1553 would also suggest that the change was not as revolutionary as first thought as the views of the people were only reflected in religious policy not defined by them. It was however the most successful attempt at a religious revolution within this time period as under Elizabeth- all but one of the Marian bishops resigned in protest in 1559 in response to her protestant religious settlement- and Jennifer Loach argues that had Mary’s reign continued the regime in time would have been totally accepted with very little opposition.
Despite the fact that Mary’s regime was highly popular and supported by many, the policy that has defined Mary’s reign is the burning of heretics which caused the popular opinion of her to be one of a tyrant who tore England apart. However this is far from the truth, despite the burnings Mary’s policies were far from tearing up the nation. The burnings which have long since stained the reputation of Catholicism were not only far less wide spread than Protestant propaganda would have you believe, some northern areas such as Durham never experienced any burnings during Mary’s reign, and although within British history it is seen as an extreme and rare policy burnings such as these were occurring all over Europe e.g. the Spanish Inquisition due to it being a time of great religious upheaval. Reginald Pole became Mary’s main advisor during her reign and promoted a far less violent and humanitarian from of Catholicism again suggesting that Mary’s reign despite the burnings were headed in a much more passive direction. The burnings were decreasing in number by 1587 which suggests once more that the more radical policies might have been gradually phased out. Eamon Duffy says that ‘We should not project modern sensibilities onto the people of the past’ suggesting that is the difference in our culture that causes us to view Mary with such distain. The only rebellion against Mary wasn’t even opposing her religious policy, the leader Thomas Wyatt who was a Catholic himself, in 1554 he lead an uprising opposing the Spanish marriage which Weikel…