Henry The Viii Life Overview And Contribution

To E Essay, Research Paper

Henry VIII was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and was one of England s stongest and least popular monarchs. Born in Greenwich on the 28th of June, 1491, he became the first English ruler to be educated under the influence of the rennaissance. He had been particulary carefully educated in church matters because of the idea that he might enter the church. He was a gifted scholar, linguist and composer who enjoyed hunting and good food. His father, Henry VII, had arranged for his first son, Prince Arthur, to marry a Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon. Henry VII hoped to form a binding alliance with Spain. His elder brother died in 1502 leaveing Henry to be the only apparant heir. He had succeded his father in 1509, and soon after married his brother s widow, Catherine of Aragon a woman six years older than himself, having been bethrothed to him through a papal dispensation. Catherine had bore him six children, one of whom survived infancy, Princess Mary. For the first twenty years of his reign he left the shaping of policies largely in the hands of his councelor, Cardinal Wolsey. In 1511 he joined forces of the Holy Legue in the war against France. In 1514, Henry switched his support to Louis XII of France and gave his sister Mary to Louis in marriage. Later he again threw in his lot with France s enimies. In 1520 Henry wrote a book against the German monk, Martain Luther who had defied the Pope. Henry was rewarded by the Pope with the title Fidei Denfensor which meant Defendor of the Faith. By 1527 Henry had made up his mind to get rid of his wife. Henry had announced the desire to divorce his wife, on the grounds that the papal dispensation making the marriage possible was invalid. He argued that Catherine had already been married to Arthur, and it was against God s law to marry your brother s wife as the Bible teaches: If a man taked his brother s wife, they will die childrenless. Leviticus 20. 19:21 His cheif reason, however, was that Catherine had failed to produce a male heir. It was doubtful whether a woman could succeed to the English throne. It was believed that the ruling of the kingdom needed the full strength of a man and he had realised that a male heir was essential for had fallen in love with a maid of honour at the court, Anne Boleyn, hopeing that she could produce him a male heir. Henry thought that he would be able to pursuade the Pope, Clement VII, easily to do what he wanted. With his knowledge of Church matters, Henry argued that there was a mistake and that he had never been properly married. Catherine herself strongly opposed the divorce, claiming that her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated. An obstacle was that Catherine s nephew was the Holy Roman Emporor Charles V dominated the Pope and had also protected his aunt s interests. The Pope was even less willing to offend the emporor than the King of England. In 1528, the Pope was pursuaded to appoint the English Cardinal and statesman Tomas Wolsey and Lorenzo Campeggio, an Italian papal legate, to try the case in an English legatine court. Campeggio was recalled to Rome by the pope in July 1529, and Wolsey was forced to appeal directly to Rome. Henry grew impatient and furious. Wolsley had failed to pursuade the Pope to annul the marrige and so was dismissed, and sent to York in disgrace to continue his church duties. Henry then appointed Sir Tomas More, who was also relluctant to support the divorce. In Wolsey s absence, Henry had become even more furious at the fact that the cardinal had failed him, so called him back and would of had him tried and executed for high treason if he did not die on his journey to London. Henry then tried to put prussure on the Pope. The Pope tried to please Henry by appointing on of Henry s supporters, Thomas Cranmer, as the new archbishop of Canterbury inspite of Catherine s protests. Henry s desire to divorce Catherine conflicted with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and so Thomas Cranmer supported Henry s efforts to divorce Catherine and to separate the Church of England from the Catholic Church. Cranmer had declared the marriage with Catherine void and the marriage with Anne valid, and married Henry to Anne secretly in 1533. The following year the Pope had finally declared the first marriage to be valid. Meanwhile, Anne had given birth to a daughter, the future Elizabeth I. Henry with the help of his new cheif advisor, Thomas Cromwell, he then called Parliament, and at the governments suggestion they began to pass acts against the Pope. As a result of Henry s insistance, the parliament had made two acts in 1534 that made the break with the Roman Catholic Church. One declared that the pope had no authority in England. The other, the Act of Supremacy, made the church of England a separate foundation, and the king was established as its supreme head.

The Act of Supremacy brock a link with Rome that had lasted a thousand years. All ties that bound the English church to Rome was brocken. All payments and appeals to Rome were banned and the Henry was declared under Christ, the supreme head of the Church, and anyone who declared this title was guilty of treason. Many of Henry s subjects who opposed him were imprisioned of exectuted for treason. Any Catholic who remained loyal to the Pope, was treated as a traitor and also executed. The monastries, convents and friaries of England were dissolved, since the monastries were seen as the cheif strongholds of the old religion and were besides the wealthiest property owners in the country. The vast land of the monastries and their goods were turned over to the king, who in turn, granted those estates to noblemen who would support its policies. The country lost a rich cultural and religious heritage. The reason he gave was that they were slack and not doing their job properly. Though the true reason was that he wasnted the wealth and the precious ornaments which had been given during the past five or six centurarys by thousands of people wishing for the monks to pray for them. If the monk left quietly they were given other jobs or pensions and the really troublesome ones were executed. In the northern part of the kingdon in 1956, the people rose in rebellion in behalf of all the monks. Theis rebellion was called the Pilgrimmage of Grace and was eventually put down. Although Henry reformed the government of the church, he refused to allow changes in its doctrines. Henry claimed that he was not changing religion and that he was right and the Pope was wrong, and he was only correcting the errors. However, some changes were made in church services, the bible was translated to English, and printed copies were placed into the churches. In 1536, Anne was improsioned on charges of adultery and incest and for conspiring against the king. All five men involved were executed on the 17th of May and Anne was beheaded two days after. The following day, Henry married Jane Seymore, his third wifewho served as a lady in waiting to Catherine and later Anne. She died in 1537, whilst giving birth to a baby boy, Henry s only male heir to survive infancy and was the future Edward VI. Henry then married a young German Princess, Anne of Cleves, at the urging of Thomas Cromwell, in order to form a tie between England and the Protestant princes of Germany. When he discoverd that he had been tricked into believing she was beautiful, he divorced Anne on the 9th of July 1540 after only six months and had Cromwell beheaded. On the 28th of July in the same year, he then married Catherine Howard after having frequent meetings with her arranged by the bishop of Winchester. She was accused of immoral conduct both before and after her marriage and two of her accused lovers were beheaded in December. On February 13, 1542, she too was beheaded. From 1542 Henry was involved with the was with Scotland and France. His troops had defeated the Scottish and captured Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1544. When peace was made in 1546 Henry recieved an indemnity from France. His sixth wife, Catherine Parr, had already been widowed twice before marrying Henry in 1543. She acted as a regent for him when he campaigned in France in 1544, and helped educate his daughters, the future queens Elizabeth I and Mary I. During Henry s reign the union of England and Wales was completed and Ireland became a kingdom, with Henry as the King. His wars with Scotland and France remained indecisive in spite of some small victories. Although he opposed the Reformation, his creation of a national church marked the real beginning of the English reformation. The licensing of an English translation of the Bible, the issuance of Cranmer s litany, and the translation into English of certain parts of the traditional service. Henry died on the 28th of Janurary, 1547, and was buried in St. Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle. He was succeded by his son Edward VI who died at the age of sixteen in 1553, and his half-sister, Mary became queen. Mary was a Roman Catholic and she reestablished Catholicism as the state religion and surpressed Protestantism. When Elizabeth I reigned, she established a moderate form of Protestantism called Anglicanism. Though Henry VII appears somewhat cruel, few people were in relief and most were in despair. His wife, Catherine Parr had been widowed once again. .


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