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

5. The Impact of the Religious Changes in the Parishes

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about what the responses to the religious changes in the reigns of Edward and Mary can tell us about attitudes to those changes, focusing in particular on: (i) the widespread impact of the Edwardian Reformation in the parishes; (ii) the sense that Edward's religious changes were complied with rather than enthusiastically embraced; (iii) the quickness with which church interiors were changed to adhere with Edward's injunctions, but the slowness with which church wardens brought in the (legally mandated) materials that would have encouraged conversion of Protestantism, e.g. English prayer books; (iv) the evidence from wills, including the use of the phrase "if the king's majesty's laws doth permit" when making bequests; (v) the speed and readiness with which Edward's reforms are overturned when Mary comes to the throne; (vi) the reintroduction of Catholic ceremonies in some parishes near the end of Edward's reign in anticipation of Mary's accession to the throne; (vii) the willingness of parishioners to restore churches to their former (Catholic) glory, even if such restoration involves large expenditures; (viii) the tendency for Catholic backlashes in precisely those parishes where Protestantism had been most successful; and (ix) the muted response of Protestants when Protestantism is reintroduced in the reign of Elizabeth.


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.


Susan Doran is Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Oxford. She has a substantial publishing record which reflects a particular interest in the religious and political history of the Tudors, especially Elizabeth I. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College and Director of Studies in History at Regent’s Park College.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Doran, S. (2018, August 15). The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 - The Impact of the Religious Changes in the Parishes [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Doran, S. "The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 – The Impact of the Religious Changes in the Parishes." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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