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The Elizabethan Puritan Movement$
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Patrick Collinson

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198222989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198222989.001.0001

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The Church of England and the English Churches

The Church of England and the English Churches

(p.21) 1 The Church of England and the English Churches
The Elizabethan Puritan Movement

Patrick Collinson

Oxford University Press

With the repudiation of foreign, papal government, the Church of England had no distinct existence apart from the political community of England. In an age which could describe Christ Himself as ‘a godly nobleman’, that community was conspicuously hierarchical in form, consolidated by differences of degree and the mutuality of privileges and responsibilities. If the ‘natural’ leadership of the nobility still counted for much in the 16th century, the Tudor monarchy discovered a far greater potentiality to determine the religious allegiance, and even the religious persuasion of the whole nation. In the 1530s, Henry VIII and his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, had given precise, legislative expression to the claim that the government of spiritual, no less than of temporal, affairs was the exclusive concern of the Crown.

Keywords:   Church of England, nobility, spiritual leadership, Henry VIII, English churches, Crown

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