Abandoning the traditional narrative approach to the subject, Richard Rex presents an analytical account which sets out the logic of Henry VIII's shortlived Reformation. Starting with the fundamental matter of the royal supremacy, Rex goes on to investigate the application of this principle to the English ecclesiastical establishment and to the traditional religion of the people. He then examines the extra impetus and the new direction which Henry's regime gave to the development of a vernacular and literate devotional culture, and shows how, despite Henry's best intentions, serious religious divisions had emerged in England by the end of his reign. The study emphasises the personal role of Henry VIII in driving the Reformation process and how this process, in turn, considerably reinforced the monarch's power.
This updated edition of a powerful interpretation of Henry VIII's Reformation retains the analytical edge and stylish lucidity of the original text while taking full account of the latest research. An important new chapter elucidates the way in which 'politics' and 'religion' interacted in early Tudor England.
RICHARD REX is Senior Lecturer in Church History in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge, and is Director of Studies in History at Queens' College, Cambridge, UK. He has published widely on late medieval and Tudor Church history and his previous publications include The Lollards (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).