The Reformation

Time required – 60 minutes

Wittenberg in Germany
Wittenberg in Germany. On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 written protests to the door of All Saints Church, Wittenberg.

This presentation describes how, in the course of three generations of Tudor monarchs, England deviated from its Catholic heritage in favour of Protestantism and isolation from Europe. It confirms that the Reformation was a gradual process and an inevitable consequence of significant events like the Black Death.

The talk looks at three major elements of the English Revolution; traditional religious dissent in the form of The Lollards, the influence of Martin Luther and finally the actions of Henry VIII. It offers listeners some reasons for England's 'island characteristics'.

The programme places the movement in the context of medieval and Tudor societies, when English citizens grew resentful of Church practices. In the 15th and 16th centuries, European Humanists bravely voiced their concerns about morally corrupt practices, which appeared to emanate from Rome itself. The presentation demonstrates how the written protests of a German Monk, ignited the powder keg of dissent against an over-wealthy and self indulgent Church.

Much of the talk focuses on King Henry's dispute with Pope Clement VII, which grew out of the King's obsession with Anne Boleyn; it highlights the double standards, which typified Henry's attitudes and behaviour and shows the means by which he withdrew his realm from Papal influence. The presentation outlines the birth of the Church of England and describes the volatile legacy, which bedevilled the reigns of Henry’s children Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

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