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History   >   The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58

Religious Change under Edward

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The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58

In this course, Professor Sue Doran (University of Oxford) explores the reigns of Edward VI (1547-53) and Mary I (1553-58), a period which some historians have labelled the Mid-Tudor Crisis. We begin by thinking about the religious policies of Edward VI, focusing in particular on the nature of the changes and the key influencers on Edwardian policy in this period. After that, we think about faction in the reign of Edward, looking especially at the figure of Edward Seymour. In the third module, we consider the Succession Crisis of 1553 and the problems faced by Mary as a woman, before moving on in the fourth module to look more closely at her religious reforms, which were far more innovative, popular and progressive than Mary is often given credit for. In the fifth module, we think about how the religious changes of both Edward and Mary were felt in the parishes of England, before turning in the final module to think about the similarities and differences between the two major rebellions in the mid-Tudor period: Kett's Rebellion in 1549, and Wyatt's Rebellion in 1553.

Religious Change under Edward

In this module, we think about the religious reforms of Edward VI, focusing in particular on: (i) changes to the doctrine of the church, including the adoption of justification by faith alone, and the elimination of the concept of purgatory; (ii) the introduction of Book of Common Prayer in 1549, and its replacement with an even more reformed version in 1552; (iii) the changes in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, including the elimination of the elevation of the host in the Eucharist; (iv) the changes in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer, including the denial of the 'real presence' of Christ in the Eucharist, the renaming of 'priests' to 'ministers', and the removal of the word 'mass' altogether; (v) the changes to the interiors of churches, including the removal of statues and rood crosses, the replacement of altars with tables, and the whitewashing of walls; (vi) the reasons why the Edwardian church developed in the way it did: Henry's decision to choose committed evangelicals as Edward's tutors, the removal of key conservative figures near the end of Henry's reign, and the preponderance of evangelicals in key political positions, e.g. Somerset as Lord Protector, Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury; (vii) the extent to which the people driving the changes to the church in this period were motivated by religious conviction as opposed to (e.g.) political and/or financial advantages; (ix) the extent to which Edward's reforms fell short of what some evangelicals wanted, e.g. the lack of reform to canon law.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Doran, S. (2018, August 15). The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 - Religious Change under Edward [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Doran, S. "The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 – Religious Change under Edward." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Image Credits


Prof. Susan Doran

Prof. Susan Doran

University of Oxford