Henry VIII

One of the current lower sixth A level topics is The Church in England: the Struggle for Supremacy, 1529–1547.  This page is intended for loading and storing resources, readings and useful links related to this topic.

Introduction and Overview (ppt)

HIS2B – The Struggle for Supremacy, the Church in England HANDBOOK

Revision resources
For a timeline of key eventsclick here

For a set of Tudor Top Trumps cards (useful for revision purposes, even if you might dispute the scoring!): click here. You may wish to print out 4 or 2 to a page.

For games try:
Flip Quiz Revision game 1
Flip Quiz Revision game 2

For help with researching the Tudors, try this great website Luminarium.

Even better – see John Guy’s website – Tudor.org.

The Pre-Reformation Church

The church in England on the eve of the Reformation – excellent summary (word)

Criticisms of the Pre-Reformation church (ppt)

Humanism Overview (ppt)
The following video provides a neat summary of the theological background to the Reformation and if you have any doubts at all about what distinguished Lutheranism from Catholicism, then I would recommend you watch it and take notes. You should ask yourself, as you watch it, how close the Henrician Reformation went towards Luther and how far it tried to remain Catholic.


The King’s Great Matter and the Break with Rome

Why did Henry need a divorce? (ppt)

Background to the Tudor Claim (doc)

What were the key stages by which the break was achieved? (doc)

Phases 1 and 2 Wolsey’s Failure 1527-29(ppt)

Phase 3 Preparation 1529-32(ppt)

Phase 4 Enforcing the break 1533-36(ppt)

Who brought the break with Rome? (ppt)

Methods and strategies (word)

Reformation Parliament Statutes (word)

Blockbusters online game


Opposition before 1536
Questions about Opposition before 1536 (ppt)
Who opposed the Reformation before 1536? (word)



The Dissolution of the monasteries and the Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-7

A useful website for this topic, with an odd name: Mists of Avalon

This document provides a brief summary and is a good place to start:
Dissolution of the Monasteries (word)


Why and When were the monasteries dissolved?


How were the monasteries dissolved?

The Consequences of the Dissolution


The Pilgrimage of Grace


The Impact of the Reformation on Church and State, 1535–1541

It is probably helpful to begin by looking at the key religious changes between 1535-41.  There is a clear consensus that Henry VIII was a religious conservative even if he had been a political radical.  In ecclesiological terms he was ‘protestant’, but in theological terms he was still catholic.  Debate concerns the extent to which the evangelical agenda, driven by others, was allowed to transform England and why, from 1539, the Reformation was ‘reversed’.  G.W. Bernard argues that Cromwell is merely Henry’s servant rather than an independent force driving a more radical agenda and that throughout the period 1536-1547 the Articles, Bishops’ Book, Injunctions and Parliamentary Statutes consistently reflect Henry’s ‘via media’.   By contrast, most historians, see Cromwell along with Cranmer as the driving forces behind a more radical Reformation that they tried to implement between 1535 and 1540 before Henry stepped in to take control.  According to these historians it is partly this volte-face in government policy that explains Cromwell’s fall in 1540.

The following power point looks in detail at religious change in the years 1535-1540.

Religious developments 1536-c. 1541 (ppt)

The following is excellent for helping you think about the extent of the Reformation –

    • Was there really a Henrician Reformation?
    • Was England Protestant by 1547?

– and it is useful for understanding the role of different factors in promoting or demoting protestant ideas – e.g. Henry himself, the need for cash, foreign policy, Cranmer and Cromwell, the influence of ‘faction’:

Henrician Reformation 1536-47 (ppt)

A useful powerpoint on change/continuity – Protestant/Catholic debate:
Change or Continuity: 1535-1547 (ppt)

Sorting exercise:
Was there an English Reformation? (word)


Henry’s final years: consolidation and court intrigue, 1542–1547

More to come here.
Faction at the Court of Henry VIII 1540-47 (ppt)
Tudor Faction 1529-47 (word)
the debate over faction 1540-47
Henry VIII’s Foreign Policy (ppt)
Henry’s Final Year 1540-7 summary of domestic and foreign policy (ppt)


Past Papers and mark schemes for AQA HIS2B


Some model responses

A response to source based question E1 can be found here
Some ammunition for responding to a tricky question on the king’s dependence on parliament (or otherwise) can be found here.


From the Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger

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