Britain: Elizabethan England - Religion

When studying GCSE History students will be taught about religion and reform in Elizabethan England as a part of their learning the history of Britain.

Religion was a major factor in Elizabethan England. When Elizabeth acceded to the throne, she followed her half-sister Mary who, in less than five years, had tried to turn the clock back to Roman Catholicism. Elizabeth had been brought up as a Protestant, but she wanted to avoid too much reform.

Try this quiz to see how much you know about religion and reform in Elizabethan England.

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  1. Which Act of Parliament enforced the use of the new Elizabethan Prayer Book?
    Elizabeth needed parliamentary authority to compel English people to use the new Prayer Book
  2. "The pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime." - Which international figure made this remark about the queen in a famous document of 1570?
    Catholics regarded Elizabeth as a usurper, who should be overthrown and replaced by someone loyal to Rome
  3. What principal factor, in the view of most English people, caused the Armada's defeat?
    Many English people sought one overarching reason for the extraordinary failure of the Spanish invasion attempt
  4. In which year were Elizabeth's acts of Religious Settlement passed?
    Elizabeth was anxious to complete her religious settlement as quickly as possible, but it first had to be passed by the two Houses of Parliament - Commons and Lords
  5. What was the majority faith of the Irish people?
    Most parts of Ireland (away from Dublin) were pretty much a law unto themselves during the sixteenth century
  6. What name is usually given to those radical Protestants who wanted a much more rigorous and far-reaching reform of the Church?
    While Elizabeth wanted a moderate and inclusive settlement, there were many Protestants who saw her accession as a chance to push for more radical reforms
  7. What name was given to the argument between Elizabeth and more radical Protestants about the garments that the clergy should wear in church?
    Traditionalists believed in bright garb to separate the clergy from the laity, while "the hotter sort of Protestant" wanted drab vestments to stress the clergy's similarity to the laity
  8. Which title did Elizabeth assume in the Religious Settlement?
    Henry VIII, Elizabeth's father, broke away from Rome's control in the 1530's, but Elizabeth had to think carefully about the most appropriate form of words for her leadership of the Anglican Church. Yet she certainly had no intention of returning control to the Pope
  9. Ridolfi, Babington, Parry. - What did all of these gentlemen have in common?
    Elizabeth attracted the loyalty of many of her subjects, and the hostility of a determined minority
  10. What name is given to those Catholics who would not accept Elizabeth's religious settlement, and who secretly observed Catholic practices - including the Roman Mass?
    Fines were levied on such people, which many of them paid regularly, for failing to attend Church of England services weekly

Author: Edward Towne

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