KS3 > The Reformation > Parliaments > Edward VI 1st Parliament
Edward VI by Richard Burchett
© Palace of Westminster WOA 1017
When Henry VIII died in 1546 his nine-year-old son, Edward, became King. As Edward was so young, his government was led by a Lord Protector. Many in Edward’s government were Protestants, like the young King. Religious change, with the help of his Parliament, was even more dramatic in Edward’s reign.
Firstly, Parliament repealed Henry VIII’s heresy laws and introduced more reforms to the church. Throughout the country, Edward’s government ordered images to be removed from churches. Protestants regarded images, such as pictures of saints, as superstitious.
Mural of St. Catherine of Alexandria,Hailes Church, Gloucestershire
© Art History
In 1549, Parliament ruled that priests could get married (in the Catholic Church they are not been allowed to). An Act of Uniformity was passed, which meant that all churches had to use the Protestant Book of Common Prayer and hold services in English, not Latin.
These changes were very radical, and after them more people across the country accepted Protestant ideas. Most of these people were in the South-East, East Anglia and in the towns. Often these were places were the priest was himself a Protestant, or there were links to Protestant communities in Europe. In the North and West of England, however, fewer people were convinced by Protestantism. In 1549 the Prayer Book Rebellion began in Bodmin Cornwall, which led to 4,000 deaths.
Edward died in 1553 without any children. The throne was briefly claimed by his cousin, the Protestant Lady Jane Grey. Historians disagree over whether Edward chose her as his successor, or if his Lord Protector, the Earl of Northumberland, wanted her to be Queen so he could continue to control the monarch. The evidence suggests that Edward, a committed Protestant, did not want his Catholic sister Mary to inherit the throne.
However, the country overwhelmingly supported Mary. This was either because they liked her Catholicism, or believed that as Henry VIII’s eldest daughter she should inherit the crown. She became Queen in July 1553.
Edward's First Parliament
November 1547 – April 1552
Henry VIII was conservative in his religious beliefs, but the tutors he chose for his son were all Protestants. His young son became a devout Protestant under their teaching.