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Chapter Fourteen. Religious Settlements

Norman Jones

Subject History, Religion

Place Europe » United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1400-1499, 1500-1599

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631236184.2004.00020.x


The years 1559–60 saw the “settlement” of religion in the British Isles. In England the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity ended legal Catholic worship in June of 1559. The Irish parliament approved the same acts, with some special Irish provisions, early in 1560. The parliament of Scotland declared the confession of faith professed by the Protestants within the realm of Scotland to be wholesome and sound doctrine, grounded upon the infallible truth of God's word in August of 1560. On paper all three kingdoms had become Protestant. But the official acts of parliaments were just the beginning of the long road to national churches. In England and Scotland, the journey to a national Protestant culture was successful; in Ireland it failed. The reasons for success or failure of the Reformation in these kingdoms are complex, but in each one the officially imposed change of religion had profound effects. Whether succeeding or failing, these changes in religion provoked changes in national cultures. Of course, for the people in Westminster, Dublin and Edinburgh in 1560 it was not immediately a question of cultural change, it was one of religious and political survival. There were enemies within and without who did not want to see the Reformation take root. Worse, none of these settlements had clearly established procedures, theologies or clergies. The churches, especially in Ireland and Scotland, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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