The English Reformation was when Henry VIII took England out of the Catholic Church and into his own church, called the Church of England. He did this because he wanted a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Henry tried to get one through the Catholic Church but the pope refused to give him one.

Calling Parliament

In 1532, Henry called Parliament to pass the required laws which would get England out of the Catholic Church. Two years later, another law was passed making it illegal to question Henry’s power over the Catholic Church. Anyone who did would be killed. Most people supported this. The Catholic clergy (leaders of Catholicism) weren’t very popular as they had a huge amount of money and land.

Dissolution of the Monasteries

In 1536, Parliament passed a law to close down the monasteries. This involved taking away valuables and land. Most of the money, valuables and land would go to Henry.

Unlike the previous laws, many people didn’t support this. Nobles in Lincolnshire and Northern England used this to start a rebellion against Henry, which spread across England. They demanded a stop to the destruction of the monasteries and the Pope’s rule be restored. Thankfully, the uprisings ended peacefully, but Henry executed 250 of it’s leaders.

Forde Abbey, a monastry closed during the reformation and converted into a country house | By Roger Cornfoot, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia