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

1554 Words7 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…show more content…
After Edwards’s death in 1553 his half-sister Mary I (1516-58) became Queen. Mary who was a devout Catholic began to undo the changes that Edward and Henry had started and set the nation back to the Catholic faith. During her reign (1553-1558) hundreds of Protestants, who refused to turn Catholic, were burned at the stake, this led to Mary acquiring the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ (Steele & MacDonald, 2007). In 1559 Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was crowned Queen. Elizabeth sought to find a middle ground during her rein (1558-1603) in England, by allowing both Catholics and Protestants to worship without fear of any repercussions. However, Gilbert (1976) that ‘Elizabeth I and her successors had legislated to make Anglican worship compulsory’ (p. 4). By introducing the Act of Uniformity of 1559 it laid out the rules of worship that both religions were to follow and reissued the Book of Common Prayer for use in worship. The Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 also set to define the doctrine of the Church of England which set out a middle path between the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church and the Protestants (Wolffe, 2008). By the end of Elizabeth’s I forty five year reign, the majority of people in English society were Protestant. As the older, mainly Catholic members of society had died through old age (Christianity in Britain, 2011). Knight and Mason (2006) describe a dissenter during

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

Open Document