from an old textbook:




Catholic and Protestant 



With the death of Henry VIII, a fresh religious struggle began. No one was satisfied with what had been done up to date.  Catholics thought change had gone much too far; Protestants not far enough.  Neither side yet believed in 'agreeing to differ'.  Both hoped to impose uniformity, in matters of religion, on the whole community.



The new King, Edward VI, was a delicate boy, and the government had to be carried on, in his name, by the Privy Council. Soon the Council named one of its number, the Duke of Somerset, to act as Lord Protector of the Realm.


Reigned 1547-1553

Somerset was an ardent Protestant, and with the aid of Archbishop Cranmer, tried to carry Henry Vlll's changes to their conclusion.  Now that the church had been brought under national control, its doctrines and ceremonies must also be brought into line with national needs. This meant abolishing the Latin mass, and substituting a communion service in English. The Archbishop himself prepared a new Prayer Book, written in beautiful and dignified English, which has remained a model for English prose writing ever since.  Somerset ordered this Prayer Book to be used in all churches. He also cancelled the old statute, passed in the days of Henry IV, under which heretics were burned alive.


Further change in church

In 1549, the discontent came to a head in a dangerous rebellion in Norfolk. Somerset quelled it by force, but his enemies on the Privy Council accused him of being secretly in sympathy with the rebels.  His rival, the Duke of Northumberland, succeeded in deposing him and took his place as Protector.


 Somerset deposed

Northumberland encouraged the Protestant extremists and imprisoned four of the bishops who supported the old faith. He sent commissioners through the land to despoil the cathedrals of their treasures and destroy many priceless works of religious art. Stone altars on which mass had been celebrated were torn down, and replaced by wooden tables in the centre of the church. Forms and ceremonies of religion were freely discarded, and some preachers were allowed to advocate such daring ideas as polygamy, community of goods and abolition of oaths….


Despoiling the churches

When, after a short reign of only six years, Edward VI died, all of Northumberland’s plans collapsed…  



Richard S Lambert, The Great Heritage (1958)