Thomas Cranmer drew up the Book of Common Prayer to be used in the Anglican Church. It imposed a moderate form of Protestant service but preserved many Catholic doctrines. Even so, it sparked uprisings that were harshly suppressed.
When Edward died in his teens, his half-sister Mary Tudor came to the throne. A pious Catholic, she was determined to make England Catholic once more. She failed, but not before hundreds of English Protestants, including Archbishop Cranmer, were burned at the stake for heresy.
On Mary's death, the throne passed to her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth. For years, Elizabeth had survived court intrigues, including the religious swings under Edward and Mary. As queen, Elizabeth adopted a policy of religious compromise, or acceptable middle ground. She moved cautiously at first but gradually enforced reforms that both moderate Catholics and Protestants could accept. This policy of compromise was later known as the Elizabethan settlement.
The Book of Common Prayer was written in English, rather than Latin. This is the title page from the 1549 first edition.
Under Elizabeth, English replaced Latin as the language of the Anglican service. The Book of Common Prayer was restored, although it was revised to make it more acceptable to Catholics. Much of the Catholic ritual was kept. The Church of England also kept the old hierarchy of bishops and archbishops, but Elizabeth quickly affirmed that the monarch, not the pope, was the head of the Anglican Church.
Even though Elizabeth preserved many traditional Catholic ideas, she firmly established England as a Protestant nation. During a long and skillful reign, she worked to restore unity, and England escaped the kinds of religious wars that tore apart other European countries in the 1500s.
What factors led to the formation of the Church of England?
As the Protestant Reformation swept across northern Europe, a vigorous reform movement took hold within the Catholic Church. The leader of this movement, known as the Catholic Reformation, was Pope Paul III. (Protestants often called it the Counter-Reformation.)
During the 1530s and 1540s, the pope set out to revive the moral authority of the Church and roll back the Protestant tide. To end corruption within the papacy, he appointed reformers to top posts. They and their successors led the Catholic Reformation for the rest of the century.
Although Protestant, Queen Elizabeth showed more tolerance for Catholics and other Protestant sects in an effort to end religious conflicts. The Elizabethan settlement went far in achieving that goal.