Henry returned to London only to find that serious charges of immorality were being brought against his wife, Catharine Howard. She was arrested and put to death with her chief accomplices (1542). Though the king could not conceal his joy at finding himself free once more, he hesitated for some time before choosing another wife; but at last in 1543, his choice fell upon Catharine Parr, a young widow twenty years his junior, who was believed to favour royal supremacy, though she had been married previously to one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace. It is said that once at least she stood in serious risk because she ventured to disagree with her husband's theological views, but, however that may be, it is certain that she had the good fortune to survive the king.
The struggle between the old principles and the new continued, notwithstanding all Henry's attempts to secure unanimity. As early as 1540 a set of questions had been circulated amongst the bishops, and as a result of the replies received and of the discussions that took place in Convocation a book was issued, entitled /A Necessary Doctrine and an Erudition for any Christian Man/ (1543). It was issued by order of the king, and for this reason is known as the /King's Book/ in contradistinction to the /Bishop's Book/, published with his permission but not by his authorisation. Just as the /Bishop's Book/ represented a revision of the Ten Articles, so the /King's Book/ was an extension or completion of the /Bishop's Book/, in many respects even more Catholic in its tone than the original. The king was now nearing his end rapidly, and both parties in the royal council strove hard for mastery. Gardiner and Bonner, Bishop of London, stood firm in defence of Catholic doctrine, and once or twice it seemed as if they were about to succeed in displacing Cranmer from the favour of the king; but the danger of an attack from the united forces of France and the Emperor, especially after the peace of Crépy had been concluded (1544), made it necessary for Henry not to close the door against an alliance with the Protestant princes of Germany by an attack on Cranmer, who was regarded by them as an active sympathiser. Once indeed Henry ordered that the archbishop should be arrested, but a sudden change of mind took place, and the order for the arrest was cancelled.
A new Parliament met in 1545. The royal exchequer had been emptied by the war with France and Scotland, and to replenish it an Act was passed empowering the king to dissolve chantries, hospitals, and free chapels, and to appropriate their revenues for his own use. Henry addressed the Parliament on Christmas Eve 1545 in a speech in which he deplored the religious differences that divided his people, differences which were due, he said, partly to the obstinacy of the clergy, some of whom wished to cling to all the old ways, while others of them would be content with nothing less than a complete renewal; partly to the fault of the people who spoke scandalously of their clergy, and abused the Scriptures they had been permitted to read. In itself this speech was a sad commentary on Henry's religious campaign, containing as it did a confession that despite all his violence and persecution, religious formularies imposed by royal authority were not sufficient to preserve religious unity. During the year 1546, though many persons were still sent to the stake for denying Transubstantiation, the power of Cranmer and his party was on the increase. The Earl of Hertford, uncle of the young Prince Edward and Cranmer secured the upper hand in the council, and the Duke of Norfolk, together with his son the Earl of Surrey, was imprisoned in the Tower (Dec. 1546). Surrey was tried and executed, and a similar fate was in store for the Duke, were it not that before the death- sentence could be carried out, Henry himself had been summoned before the judgment-seat of God (28th Jan. 1547). For some weeks before his death the condition of the king had been serious, but the Earl of Hertford and his party kept the sickness and even the death a secret until all their plans had been matured. On the 31st January Edward VI. was proclaimed king, and the triumph of the Lutheran party seemed assured.
On the death of Henry VIII. all parties looked forward to a complete change in the religious condition of England. On the one hand, those, who longed for a return to Roman obedience, believed that royal supremacy must of necessity prove both unintelligible and impracticable in the case of a mere child like Edward VI. (1547-53); while, on the other hand, those, who favoured a closer approximation to the theology and practices of Wittenberg or of Geneva, saw in the death of Henry and the succession of a helpless young king an exceptional opportunity for carrying out designs against which Henry had erected such formidable barriers. To both parties it was evident that at best Edward VI. could be but a tool in the hands of his advisers, and that whichever section could capture the king and the machinery of government might hope to mould the religious beliefs of the English people.鈥淎r鈥
For more than a year before the death of Henry VIII., Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and uncle of Edward VI., the Earl of Essex, brother of Catharine Parr, Viscount Lisle, Lord Admiral and afterwards Earl of Warwick, all of whom were in favour of religious innovations, had been advancing steadily in power, to the discomfiture of the conservative section led by Bishop Gardiner, the Duke of Norfolk, and the Lord Chancellor Wriothesley. The death of Henry VIII. had been kept a secret until the Earl of Hertford had all his plans matured for securing control, and for the proclamation of Edward VI. (31st Jan. 1547), then a boy of ten years. Henry VIII. had bequeathed the crown to his son, and on his death without heirs to his daughters in turn, the Princess Mary daughter of Catharine of Aragon, and Elizabeth daughter of Anne Boleyn. By his will also he appointed a council the members of which were to govern the kingdom as a body till the king should attain his eighteenth year, but he sought to provide against any serious innovations by authorising the king to repeal all changes that might have been made by the council during his minority. If one may judge from the terms of his will Henry's religious views at his death were evidently what they had been when in 1539 he passed the Statute of Six Articles, but, at the same time, it is a noteworthy fact that he excluded Bishop Gardiner from the list of executors of his will, and appointed two divines well known for their leaning towards German theology as tutors to the young king.鈥淎r鈥
In nearly every particular the council of executors failed to carry out the wishes of the late king. The Earl of Hertford, created later on Duke of Somerset, became Protector with almost royal powers, and instead of defending the religious settlement the majority of the council set themselves from the very beginning to initiate a more advanced policy. Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury could be relied upon to support such a course of action, while, of the principal men who might be expected to oppose it, the Duke of Norfolk was a prisoner in the Tower and the Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was dismissed to make way for a more pliable successor. The bishops, who were regarded merely as state officials, were commanded to take out new commissions. Cranmer obeyed without protest, as did all the others except Gardiner, who questioned the authority of the council to issue such a command at least until the supreme head of the Church should have reached his majority.鈥淎r鈥
Those who had been held in check by the repressive legislation of Henry VIII. felt themselves free to renew the attacks on the practices and doctrines of the Church. The royal preachers who had been appointed for the Lenten sermons, Dr. Barlow, Bishop of St. David's, Ridley one of Cranmer's chaplains, and others, not content with abusing the Bishop of Rome, declared war on images, relics, and even on the Lenten fasts and abstinences. Against such novelties Gardiner addressed an indignant protest to the Protector and council, warning them that during the minority of the king there was no power in England competent to change the religious settlement that had been accomplished by Henry VIII. But his protest fell on deaf ears. The war against images was carried on vigorously, though legally only those images that had been abused were forbidden, and even in Bishop Gardiner's own diocese he was powerless to resist those who knew they could count on the support of the Protector.鈥淎r鈥
In July 1547 two important publications were issued, one, /The Injunctions of Edward VI./, the other, /The Book of Homilies/, composed by Cranmer, and issued by the authority of the council. The former of these commanded that sermons should be delivered at fixed intervals against the Bishop of Rome, that images which had been abused, shrines, pictures, and other monuments of superstition should be destroyed, that the Gospels and Epistles should be read in English, that alms boxes should be set up in all churches, and that the clergy should inform their people that the money spent on pardons, pilgrimages, candles, and other blind devotions should now be devoted to the support of the poor. The /Book of Homilies/ was to serve as a guide for preachers in their public services. A royal commission was appointed to insist upon the observance of these Injunctions, but in London Bishop Bonner refused at first to accept the commands of the visitors, and though later on he weakened in his resistance, he was committed to prison as a warning to others. Gardiner boldly denounced the visitation as illegal and unwarrantable, but the council instead of meeting his arguments and remonstrances ordered his arrest (September 1547). In many places the proclamation for the removal of images led to violent disturbances, and free fights within the churches were not uncommon. To put an end to any misunderstanding on this subject for the future the council ordered the removal of all images from the churches (Feb. 1548).鈥淎r鈥
Source of this article：http://anbjd.sflxhy.com/html/692c698894.html
Copyright statement: The content of this article was voluntarily contributed by internet users, and the views expressed in this article only represent the author themselves. This website only provides information storage space services and does not hold any ownership or legal responsibility. If you find any suspected plagiarism, infringement, or illegal content on this website, please send an email to report it. Once verified, this website will be immediately deleted.