Tudor religion


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Here I stand; I can do no otherwise. God help me. Amen!

Martin Luther, speaking at the Diet (= conference) at Worms in Germany after he had been commanded to give up his new ideas (1521)


Martin Luther   

An overview - difficult


In the 16th century, there was a big change in the way some Christians worshipped God.

Before, most people in Europe had been Roman Catholics.

In 1517, a German monk called Martin Luther led a breakaway from the Roman Catholic church.  

The new Christians called themselves ‘Protestants’.   Many countries in northern Europe turned Protestant – for example, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden and most of Germany.   Other countries (for example Spain and Austria) stayed Catholic. 








A picture of Luther in 1520.


Catholics and Protestants

Catholics and Protestants hated each other because they believed different things:


Source A: Different Beliefs




The Pope is head of the Church The King is head of the Church



The Mass


Priests bring Christ to the people

Anyone can talk straight to God.

Statues of the Saints and the Virgin Mary should be venerated.

Statues of the Saints and the Virgin Mary are as bad as idols.

Services and the Bible in Latin

Services and the Bible in English

Doing good things gets you to heaven.

A personal faith in Jesus gets you to heaven.

Bright robes, colourful paintings and stained glass windows.

Plain churches – black coats, whitewashed walls and clear windows.

Priests cannot marry

Ministers may marry.


During the 16th and 17th centuries these things REALLY mattered a lot.   There were many wars (and, in France) civil wars between Protestants and Catholics.









Did You Know?

Luther was not the only Protestant reformer, although he was the first.   Other famous Protestant leaders were Zwingli and Calvin.


The English Reformation

In England in the 16th century, religion changed like a roller coaster!   Here is a wonderful diagram which shows what happened:





Click on the monarchs to find out more:


Pictures of the Tudor monarchs

Mr Field's site - very clear

An overview

A timeline - detailed