Tradition and Dissent in English Christianity from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

1554 Words 7 Pages
Throughout history there have been examples of religion being regarded as traditional and of people dissenting from the traditional religion. This essay will trace the footsteps of tradition and dissent of Christianity in England between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries by looking at the statement “… a previous generation’s “dissent” itself becomes “tradition”, and a previously dominant tradition becomes dissent.” (Tradition and Dissent p72). With particular reference to the differences between Protestants and Catholics.
Before the Reformation, England was a Roman Catholic society that was led by the Pope in Rome. Religious life followed a very traditional and structured way of life and was very much ‘deeply embedded in the whole social and mental fabric of the country’ (Russell, 1996, p. 262). Roman Catholic’s were a very visual and ritual based religion and their churches were extremely lavish in design and contained highly decorated furnishings inside (Wolffe, 2008). The changes in religion in England over the centuries tended to follow the religion of each different King or Queen (The Crown and the Bible, 2011).
England’s dissent from the Catholic Church began with King Henry VIII (1491-1547). After Catherine of Aragon failed to produce a male heir, Henry demanded a divorce from her. The Pope denied Henrys request which led to Henry dissolving all ties with the Roman Catholic Church and changed the direction of religion in England. Henrys VIII motives…