How far did Edward VI change the Church of England?

In 1547 Henry VIII died, leaving his youngest child, Edward, to take over the throne. He was just nine years old when he became King, leaving him with difficult decisions to make over England’s future, including its Church. What changes did he make to the new Church of England his father had set up?

You can download the worksheet here. If you are unable to download the worksheet, please complete the tasks in the yellow boxes on the web page.

Protector = Somebody who runs the country for you if you are too young or too sick to rule yourself.
Transformation = A change to something.
Radical = an extreme change.

STARTER: What can you tell from the picture below?

Look at the painting below: it is dated from the time when Edward VI came to the throne in 1547. Each part of the picture has a label – can you link up each label to the correct description in the blue box?

Can you use this information to answer the question below the blue box?

TASK ONE: How much change do you think Edward could make in his reign?

Edward VI became King when he was only 9 years old when his father, Henry VIII, died in 1547. He was raised a Protestant so started to transform the Church. However, he died by the time he was 15 in 1553, so only had 6 years to make the changes.​

How much do you think a 9 year old boy can change over 6 years? Write a sentence and explain why you believe this.

TASK TWO: How far did Edward VI change the Church?

Read the information below on the changes that Edward VI made to the Church of England in his short reign as King. After you have finished reading the information, answer the questions:

1) Was this a transformation compared to his father? Compared to his father, Edward completely transformed the church / made some changes to the church / slightly altered the church / kept it the same as Henry’s church. I think this because…

2) Were the people Protestant or Catholic? What does that reveal to us about whether Edward really transformed religion? The people were Protestant / Catholic / some were Protestant and Catholic. This shows that Edward did/did not transform the Church because…

What changes did Edward VI make to the Church of England?

In 1547 Henry VIII died and his son Edward VI became king. Edward had been raised as Protestant. He was only nine years old when he became King and had a Lord Protector (someone to help him run the country due to his age). By then there were many Protestants in Parliament.

The country was run by the ‘Protectors’ on his behalf. They passed laws – with Edward’s agreement – which made the Church Protestant. A Book of Common Prayer was introduced: this meant the English Bible was available to all, and the services in Churches were in English rather than in Latin. It was decided in 1549 that priests could get married (in the Catholic Church they are not been allowed to).They also made churches plain so that the focus would be on God instead of decorations. Objects such as candles and gold cup were sold and stained glass windows were smashed. They also made sure that Catholics bishops were imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Edward VI and his Protectors pushed the English Church towards Protestantism.

These changes were very radical, and after them more people across the country accepted Protestant ideas. Most of these people were in the South-East, East Anglia and in the towns. Often these were places were the priest was himself a Protestant. Protestants were sent out round the country to tell people about the new beliefs. In the North and West of England, however, fewer people were convinced by Protestantism. In 1549 a rebellion, known as the Prayer Book Rebellion, against Edward’s changes began in  Cornwall. It was not successful though and led to 4,000 deaths.

TASK THREE: The Church of England – Space Invaders!

We have now seen what both Henry VIII and Edward VI did to the churches in England. Have a look at what the churches would have looked like for the three types of churches below.

1) A Catholic Church
2) Henry VIII’s Church
3) Edward VI’s Church

Remember what they look like and then try to complete the video game in the link below – you need to remember their details to do well at the game!

Think you’ve remembered all you can about the Churches below and the details of today’s lesson? Click here to play Space Invaders!

Post your score on the leader board – are you top of the class?

The Catholic Church

  • The Pope is the head of the Church.
  • The bible is in Latin.
  • The Church is highly decorated.
  • Pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are in the Church.
  • Ornaments like candles and stained glass windows are in the Church.
  • A decorated crucifix is hung on the wall.

Henry VIII’s Church

  • The King is head of the Church.
  • The Bible is in English, but only for Church people, not for the average person.
  • The Church is highly decorated.
  • Pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are in the Church.
  • Ornaments like candles and stained glass windows are in the Church.
  • A decorated crucifix is hung on the wall.

Edward VI’s Church

  • The King is head of the Church.
  • The Bible is in English for everybody.
  • The Church is plain and simple.
  • The crucifix hung on the wall is plain and simple.
  • There are no ornaments to distract people from God.

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