Timelines of the English Reformation: Edward VI and the Edwardine Reformation

1537: King Edward VI is born, the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

1547: Henry dies; Edward ascends the English Throne.

1547: The Privy Council, and Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland take control of the nation and impose Calvinist doctrine on the Church of England; they establish an Erastian civil and ecclesiastical government.

The Book of Homilies and the Injunctions of Thomas Cranmer are published – they condemn many ancient, traditional practices and doctrines, including use of pictures and statues, and forbid candles except for two before the Blessed Sacrament in the church building.

The Great Bible of 1535 and the biblical paraphrase of Erasmus are required to be placed in every parish church.

The Epistle and Gospel must be sung in English during High Masses.

1547:  The Acts of Parliament –

Legal penalties are imposed on those who speak irreverently of the Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Communion must be given in both kinds.

The royal nomination of bishops is eliminated – letters patent are used instead.

The Lollard heresy laws are repealed – the followers of John Wycliffe are permitted openly to profess their religious beliefs, which are: personal faith alone justifies for salvation, divine election and predestination, sola Scriptura, individual interpretation of the Bible alone suffices for the explication of Scripture, a denial of the Real Presence, the priesthood, and the hierarchy, and a belief that the validity of sacraments depends on the personal holiness or worthiness of the minister (Donatism).

The Six Articles of Henry VIII are repealed.

1548:  The Proclamations of the Privy Council  –

A number of ceremonies are banned, including ashes, palms, holy water, processions.

All sacred images are abolished.

The Order of Communion in English (1548) is required to be used at Mass: at this time the Mass is still celebrated in Latin according to the Sarum Use. The Order is the first Eucharistic rite in English during the English Reformation.

Holy Communion in both kinds is reinforced.

Clerical Marriage is recognized by law.

1549: The Act of Uniformity
The First Book of Common Prayer is created and imposed by penal legislation. The entire reformed liturgical rite of the Church of England is promulgated in the vernacular in one book, a first in English history.

1550: The Anglican Ordinal is created and imposed by penal legislation. It perpetuates the Three Sacred Orders of the Apostolic Ministry, Bishops, Priests and Deacons. (This rite is condemned as sacramentally invalid by the Roman Pope Leo XIII in 1896, but recognized as valid by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1922).

1550: The destruction of stone altars and their substitution with wooden altars is enforced by Bishop Ridley of London.

1552: A second, more Calvinist edition of the Book of Common Prayer is imposed without parliamentary or Convocation approval.

1553: The Forty-Two Articles are imposed on Church of England, along with a new Catechism and Primer of a decidedly reformed protestant orientation.

A royal mandate requires all clergy, schoolmasters and university members upon taking degrees to subscribe to the XLII Articles. They are written by Thomas Cranmer, but never receive the consent of Convocation and are never enforced by law.

The Forty-Two Articles of 1553 have four additional articles of an eschatological nature, namely on the resurrection of the dead, on the condition of the souls of the departed, on the millenarian heresy, and on eternal damnation of the wicked. All four were dropped at the revision of 1563 which produced the Thirty-Eight Articles. The addition of article XXIX on the manducatio impiorum achieved the final number of the XXXIX Articles of the Church of England. In 1563, Convocation met under Archbishop Matthew Parker to revise the Articles. Convocation passed only 39 of the 42, and Queen Elizabeth I reduced the number to 38 by throwing out Article XXIX. In 1571, the 29th Article, despite the opposition of Bishop Edmund Guest, author of Article XXVIII, was inserted. The language of Article XXIX is based on the writings of Saint Augustine.

1553: King Edward dies - bringing his Reformation, the most radical phase of the English Reformation, to an end.