Religious Change Under Henry VIII

On Tuesday 3 February, Dr Richard Rex, of the University of Cambridge, spoke to the Senior History Society on the subject of 'religious change under Henry VIII'.  Dr Rex outlined the profound developments both in the King's own religious stance and in the observance of Christian worship throughout his kingdom.

In a talk peppered with powerful examples, and referring to the School's own copy of the Great Bible (1541), Dr Rex showed how the very name of the pope was scratched out of liturgical books, how the 'romantic ruins' of England's monasteries were in fact evidence of their violent destruction, and how the attack on the cult of the saints turned Henry's 'martyred' enemies into traitors widening its focus to dismantle the entire apparatus of veneration. 

Having outlined the chronology of religious change, Dr Rex then turned to evaluating the nature of the Reformation, arguing that it should be seen neither as Lutheran or Erasmian. Instead the religious changes of the reign should be seen as Henry VIII's own distinct Reformation.