Did Elizabeth’s ‘Religious Settlement’ please everybody?

Elizabeth was the final Tudor monarch. She had a tough job trying to organise the Church after Henry, Edward and Mary had changed the Church drastically. How did her Religious Settlement work? And did it please everyone in England?

You can download the worksheet for today’s lesson here. If you are unable to download the worksheet, please complete the tasks in the yellow boxes below.

Religious conflict = Fighting between two different religious groups.
Tolerant = Accepting someone who has a different idea to you, and allowing them to do what they want to do.

Can you complete the Tudor crossword?
Password = tudor
Click here to go to the crossword.

Elizabeth’s predicament

When Elizabeth I came to power in 1558 she was faced with a divided England.​

England was divided between Protestants and Catholics. There was a great deal of religious conflict spreading through mainland Europe as Catholics and Protestants fought to establish their faith as the ‘true’ religion. Elizabeth feared that this conflict may spread to England. ​

Elizabeth was a Protestant herself but she feared an invasion from Catholic countries, such as Spain, if she turned England Protestant. Many Lords in the Parliament were Catholics and many people did not believe Elizabeth had a strong claim to the throne.

STOP AND THINK: What should Elizabeth do to make sure a religious war does not break out in her country?

TASK ONE: What was Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement?

Watch the following video on Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement. You only need to watch the first two minutes of the video. Answer the following questions:
1) Why did Elizabeth have to be careful when changing the Church when she became Queen?
2) Henry called himself ‘Supreme Leader’ of the Church, but Elizabeth changed her name to ‘Supreme Governor’. Why did she do this?
3) How did the Act of Uniformity try to please everyone?

TASK TWO: Did Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement work for everyone?

Look at the information below about Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement and answer the following questions:
1) Why would Protestants be happy with the Religious Settlement?
2) Why would Catholics be happy with the Religious Settlement?
3) Who would have been happier with the Religious Settlement? Why?

What did the Religious Settlement mean for Protestants and Catholics?

Elizabeth was brought up as a Protestant. Naturally, she wanted to turn the country back to Protestantism after Mary, but she knew she couldn’t push her ideas too much.

She removed the Pope as head of the Church and placed herself in charge instead. In addition all priests had to swear an allegiance to Elizabeth. Moreover, the English prayer book was restored, and all the Catholic laws that were passed by Mary were removed. It looked as though Elizabeth was about to turn the Church back to a fully Protestant one again.

However Elizabeth did include some Catholic elements to her Church. She made sure there were candles and stained glass windows in the Churches. She even made priests wear special vestments (a Catholic idea) to signify their importance.

To make sure Catholics turned up to Church, she imposed fines on people that did not turn up to Church (a total of one shilling). Although this seems harsh, this was much better than what happened under Edward and Mary when heretics were burned alive for not attending Church.

The success of Elizabeth’s Church can be evidenced by the fact that the Church of England still follows her changes today, almost 500 years later.

CHALLENGE: Could you make any improvements to Elizabeth’s Church to make sure both Protestants and Catholics would have been happy? Or do you think Elizabeth managed this perfectly?

TASK THREE: Did Elizabeth stop religious tensions?

Mr Lupton says:

‘Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement ended religious tension that the Tudor period experienced for good’.

Do you agree with me? Place a cross on the bar below and explain your answer in a couple of sentences.

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