Hire a tutor

Discuss the role of Parliament in the English Reformation.

Parliament played a crucial role in the English Reformation, primarily by passing laws that facilitated the break with Rome and established the Church of England.

The English Reformation was a series of events in the 16th century England, led by King Henry VIII, that resulted in the Church of England breaking away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Parliament, as the legislative body of the country, was instrumental in this process. It was through the passing of various Acts of Parliament that the English Reformation was legally and officially established.

The first significant Act was the Act of Supremacy in 1534. This Act declared King Henry VIII as the 'Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England', thus severing ties with the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. This was a monumental shift in power, as it effectively placed the English monarch at the head of the Church, a position previously held by the Pope. Parliament's role in passing this Act was pivotal, as it provided the legal basis for the King's supremacy.

Following the Act of Supremacy, Parliament passed a series of other laws that further established the Church of England and reformed its practices. The Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533) was particularly significant, as it effectively ended the Pope's legal authority in England. This Act declared that the English crown was an 'Empire', free and independent from any foreign jurisdiction. This meant that no legal cases, including those related to the Church, could be appealed to the Pope.

Parliament also played a role in the dissolution of the monasteries, a major aspect of the English Reformation. The Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries (1536) and the Act for the Dissolution of the Greater Monasteries (1539) led to the closure of monastic houses across England, Wales and Ireland. The wealth and land of these monasteries were transferred to the Crown, significantly increasing the King's wealth and power.

In addition to these legislative actions, Parliament was also involved in the doctrinal changes of the English Reformation. The Ten Articles (1536) and the Six Articles (1539), both passed by Parliament, outlined the beliefs and practices of the Church of England, marking a clear departure from Roman Catholic doctrine.

In conclusion, Parliament played a crucial role in the English Reformation. Through the passing of various Acts, it facilitated the break with Rome, established the Church of England

Study and Practice for Free

Trusted by 100,000+ Students Worldwide

Achieve Top Grades in your Exams with our Free Resources.

Practice Questions, Study Notes, and Past Exam Papers for all Subjects!

Need help from an expert?

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

The world’s top online tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

Related History a-level Answers

    Read All Answers