Religious history timeline, 1532-1689

 

Event

Year

Main records (other than churchwardens’ accounts and lists of clergy)

Break with Rome and Act of Supremacy (1534): the King to have full power over the Church in England; no payments to go from clergy to Rome

1532-34

Execution of Thomas More ; Miles Coverdale Bible in English

1535

Valor Ecclesiasticus (assessment of clerical wealth)

Articles of faith; dissolution of religious houses worth <£200 p.a.; Pilgrimage of Grace (northern counties)

1536

See VCH II for details regarding the dissolution of all Leicestershire religious houses

Beginning of surrender of greater monasteries

1537

Injunction requiring removal of lights, and of images if venerated. All churches to have a Bible in English

1538

Start of forcible dissolution of greater monasteries; Six Articles (traditional in tone)

1539

Last monastery supressed

1540

Major land transfers from church to laity in this period

One chapter from Bible to be read in church each Sunday and Holy Day

1543

Introduction of an English Litany

1544

Suppression of chantries

1545

Chantry certificates

Death of Henry VIII; accession of Edward VI

1547

Dissolution of chantries, destruction of shrines, removal of images and rood, ban on processions

1547-48

Chantry Certificates

Act of Uniformity; introduction of Book of Common Prayer (revolt in West Country and commotions across East Anglia and midlands); priests permitted to marry

1549

Stone altars removed

1550

All church valuables to be given to king

1551

Church inventories

Second prayer book (more reformist, but short lived)

1552

Death of Edward VI; accession of Mary I; repeal of Edwardian religious legislation

1553

Papal authority restored; heresy laws renewed

1554

Bishops Hooper, Latimer & Ridley burned

1555

Burning of Archbishop Cranmer, replaced by Cardinal Pole

1556

Death of Mary I; accession of Elizabeth I

1558

Act of Supremacy; Act of Uniformity (all Marian bishops except one resign); new Prayer Book; penalties for not attending church and for celebrating mass

1559

Fines for recusancy start to appear in parish records

Rood screens removed again

1561

Introduction of metrical Psalms by Sternhold & Hopkins – became very popular

1562

39 Articles; publication of Foxe’s Protestant martyrology, Acts and Monuments

1563

Population inquiry

Northern rebellion by Catholic nobles

1569

Excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I by Pope (now impossible to be a loyal subject and a Catholic)

1570

1571

Visitation

Continuing concerns about sufficiency of clergy

1576

Visitation

Harsher penalties for not attending church or teaching without a licence

1581

Reusancy cases start to appear in quarter sessions

1583

Start of Recusancy Rolls

Recusancy laws relating to priests and prohibition on sending children abroad for schooling

1585

Liber Cleri

Further penalties for recusants – forfeit 2/3 of land (and unable to sell land from 1587)

1586

Spanish Armada defeated

1588

No Catholic to travel more than 5 miles from home without a licence

1593

Death of Elizabeth I; accession James I/VI; Millenary Petition against prayer book

1603

Archbishop’s inquiry into levels of church attendance and state of clergy

Hampton Court Conference (response by King to Puritan requests); work commences on new translation of the Bible; 4th prayer book; further recusancy laws and penalties

1604

Gunpowder plot

1605

1607

Archdeacon’s visitation

Publication of the ‘King James Bible’, a translation which remains in use in many churches today

1611

Issue of Book of Sports nationally

1618

Pope appoints Vicar-Apostolic in Britain and Catholic hierarchy created with each county having a Catholic rural dean.

1623

Death of James I/VI; accession Charles I and his marriage to a Catholic

1625

William Laud appointed Bishop of London

1628

Arrest and imprisonment of 9 MPs, dissolution of parliament and start of personal rule by King Charles I; financial penalties on Recusants

1629

Laud becomes Archbishop of Canterbury and starts to push through reforms through an act of privy concil and a Metropolitan visitation; re-issue of Book of Sports

1633

1634

Metropolitan visitation

King tries to impose Prayer Book on Scottish Kirk; Scottish bishops expelled by Kirk; National Covenant formed in Scotland to resist religious interference by king

1638

Laud impeached for treason; ‘Root and Branch’ petition against episcopacy

1640

Revolt in Ireland; Grand Remonstrance issued listing parliament’s grievances againstthe king

1641

King attempts to arrest the ‘5 members'; start of first Civil War

1642

People required to pledge loyalty to king (Protestation)

 ‘Solemn League and Covenant’ accepted by parliament; new oath of abjuration introduced; parliament establishes committees for plundered ministers and for sequestration of livings; ordinance to remove stone altars, altar rails, chancel steps, crosses, images, and make good; Appointment of visitors in some counties to remove images etc.

1643

Records of committees of plundered ministers and sequestration start in 1643

Ordinance to remove and destroy all representations of angels, all rood-lofts, holy-water stoups, fonts, organs and organ cases

1644

Laud executed (January); Book of Common Prayer abolished; introduction of new Directory of Worship; siege of Leicester; Battle of Naseby (14 June) – king flees; prohibition on using Prayer Book (August); church courts suspended; basis for establishment of a Presbyterian church in England is set out.

1645

Charles I surrenders, ending first Civil War; abolition of episcopacy

1646

Informations and articles against clergy

King imprisoned (January), but escapes (November)

1647

Second Civil War; king recaptured

1648

Trial and execution (30 January) of Charles I (his son is living in exile)

1649

Repeal of obligation to attend church

1650

Central probate court established

1652

Oliver Cromwell declared Lord Protector; parliamentary ordinances provide religious toleration for all Protestants and election of parish ‘registers’, removing the registration of key events from the church authorities ; ‘Barebones parliament’ permits civil marriage by JP rather than clergyman

1653

Rule of the Major-Generals (Edward Whalley in East Midlands

1655-7

Death of Oliver Cromwell; Protectorate passes to his son Richard

1658

Declaration of Breda (promising liberty to tender consciences), leading to restoration of Charles II

1660

Church courts restored; Savoy conference to revise BCP

1661

Act of Uniformity; new Prayer Book introduced; ejection of ministers who will not conform (24 August)

1662

Bishop Sanderson’s visitation (following Act of Uniformity)

Conventicle Act

1664

Five Mile Act

1665

Second Conventicle Act

1669

Return of conventicles to Archbishop Shelden

1670

Visitation

Declaration of Indulgence – some freedom of worship in licensed buildings

1672

Licences issued under Declaration

Repeal of declaration of Indulgence; introduction of Test Act – to prevent office holding by non-Anglicans

1673

1676

Compton census of communicants and others

Popish plot; second Test Act – to prevent office holding by non-Anglicans and excluding Catholics from the House of Lords

1678

Charles II received into Roman Catholic church on his death-bed; accession of James II (a Catholic); Revocation of 1598 edict of Nantes in France, making it illegal in that country to be a Protestant

1685

All penal laws against Catholics suspended and religious tests annulled; 1st Declaration of Indulgence by James II

1687

Pope establishes four vicariates in England; birth of son to king (ensuing a Catholic succession); king forced to flee as William of Orange (Protestant) invited to take throne and reign with his wife Mary (James’s Protestant daughter)

1688

Act of Toleration (excludes Unitarians and Catholics) – repeals Conventicle and Five-mile acts

1689