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Reformation of the Church in England
in London and all across England

Reforming the Church meant destroying Works of Art -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • King Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon, could not give him a son to inherit the Throne. So he tried to divorce her so that he could marry a lady called Anne Boleyn.
  • They were Catholics. The Pope was in charge of all Catholics but he would not help the King. So Henry created a new 'Church of England' in 1534 with himself in charge. He then granted himself a divorce.
  • This change marked the beginning of the 'Reformation' in England. The Church of England was a new Protestant religion. However, Henry kept the way people worshipped God the same as before.
  • One thing that was stopped was the worship of saints & relics. King Henry especially hated St. Thomas Becket because he had not done what the king wanted.
    • In Cheapside, St. Thomas (Becket) of Acon's Hospital was rededicated to St. Thomas the Evangelist.
    • On London Bridge, the chapel had to have all the pictures of him painted out.
  • Henry was short of cash though. So when the monks would not join his new religion, he started closing down their monasteries and taking all their money. This is called the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries'.
  • In the reign of Henry's son, Edward VI, the way people worshipped God changed too:
    • Services were now in English not Latin.
    • Big stone altars were replaced by wooden communion tables.
    • Pictures of God & saints were no longer allowed.
    • Wall paintings were whitewashed (covered in white paint).
    • Many stained glass windows & sculptures were smashed.
  • Edward also closed down chantry chapels where priests prayed for people after they were dead.
  • Lots of people were burnt to death for their Roman Catholic beliefs.
  • Edward's sister, Mary, brought back the Roman Catholic Church. She also had lots of people burnt, this time for their Protestant beliefs. This particularly happened at Smithfield.
  • This only lasted a few years though. Her sister, Elizabeth I, had the Church of England re-instated. Burnings continued during her reign.
  • Only in Victorian times were Roman Catholics allowed in England again.


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