Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog

Henry VIII


Key Terms and Events

terms Key Terms and Events


catholic -  · A strict adherence to orthodox religious convictions, though not necessarily allegiance to the authority of the Pope; distinguished from the capitalized "Catholic" which relates to membership in the Roman Church.
Church of England - Name given to the established Christian church in England after Henry's break with Rome, formalized in the 1534 Act of Supremacy; acknowledges the English king, in the place formerly acknowledged to be the Roman pope's, as the supreme authority on earth in matters of faith and of church governance.
constitutional monarchy -  · A form of government where the king's right to make law is acknowledged and supported formally by a legislative body, such as the English Parliament, and where effective rule is shared among the several branches of the government.
dispensation -  · An official granting of permission by the Pope to act contrary to a law or custom of the Church.
episcopal see -  · The seat of a bishop's office, power, and authority; a town with a cathedral.
heresy -  · In the context of the English Reformation, a doctrine contrary to the basic theological and sacramental teachings of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. Under Henry's government, it was considered a crime, punishable usually by burning at the stake.
humanism -  · A new form of learning in the early sixteenth century, notable for its critical analysis of ancient texts, especially classical Greek texts. Its focus was more literary and historical than was that of the medieval tradition of learning. It was promoted in England by Henry VIII and by his minister Sir Thomas More.
king's council -  · An informal group of advisers to the king, some of whom had regular access to him in the private quarters of the palace; formalized as an institution known as the Privy Council in 1536.
orthodox -  · In the context of the English Reformation, a term describing dogmatic consistency with the fundamental tenets of the Catholic Church–for example, the belief in Transubstantiation. Henry VIII sought to preserve theological unity with the Catholic Church, but also to deny the authority of the Pope.
Parliament -  · The legislative body in England, comprised of the House of Lords and the lower and more numerous House of Commons. It exercised greater political power under Henry than in previous times, passing many bills supporting his reformation of the Church.
Privy Council -  · The name given to the king's council in 1536 by Thomas Cromwell, who formalized and modernized that and other institutions of Henry's royal government.
Protestant -  · Usually, a Christian denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth. The Church of England originally, under Henry VIII, rejected such doctrines, and persecuted Protestants along with Roman Catholics, who acknowledged papal authority.
schism -  · A formal split within a church, usually over disputes in rightful authority, not always involving disputes over religious dogmas; also the break between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in 1534, formalized with the Act of Supremacy.
Transubstantiation -  · Idea that bread and wine, prayed over by a priest, becomes thoroughly and substantially the real body and blood of Jesus Christ. This concept has been accepted by the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, and other theologically orthodox Christian churches, and was often used as a test for the suppression of Protestants during Henry VIII's time.


Act of Appeals - 1533 motion by Henry, passed by Parliament, which prohibited defendants in England's church courts to appeal their cases to Rome, effectively cutting of all legal ties to the Roman Catholic Church.
Act of Supremacy - 1534 act in Parliament which declared Henry VIII the Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England, formalizing the nation's break with the Roman Catholic Church.
English Reformation - Gradual spread and political establishment of the Protestant faith in England; it was catalyzed by Henry's break from the Roman Catholic Church after his divorce from Catherine of Aragon in 1533.
Holy League - 1511 alliance between England, Spain, Venice, and the Holy Roman Empire made to fight the French, who were advancing through northern Italy and threatening the security of the Papal States.
Oath of Succession - 1534 oath required of all Church and State officials in England, recognizing the supremacy of Henry over the Church of England and acknowledging the legitimacy of the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn.
Pilgrimage of Grace - 1536 uprising of Catholics and poor farmers in northern England, mainly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The rebels were led by Robert Aske and were primarily upset with the anti-Catholic developments in Henry's government, although they were also fed up with the burdens of high rents and bad farming conditions.
Poor Law - 1536 effort by the government to relieve the major social problem of vagrancy, or rural unemployment, and to take responsibility for the poorest members of English society.
Six Articles - 1539 revision of the Ten Articles. Asserted strongly the Church of England's commitment to orthodoxy, stating that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was true, priests should not marry, monastic vows were inviolable, private masses were legal, and oral confessions to a priest were necessary.
Solway Moss - August 1542 battle between 3000 English troops and 10,000 Scots under King James V. The Scots were defeated handily; this was a major victory for the English, and it commenced a three-year war between the hostile countries.
Supplication against the Ordinaries  - 1532 act of Parliament which deprived all the clergy in the English Church of their legal independence from the king's government. It was the first official step toward Henry's full break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Ten Articles - 1536 act of Parliament which stated the official positions of the Church of England. It upheld orthodox teachings on the sacraments of baptism, penance, and Transubstantiation in the Holy Eucharist, but also introduced government opposition to traditional Catholic practices such as prayerful devotions to saints and to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

Henry VIII: Popular pages