The Elizabethan Settlement

I often find mention of early science, research into natural history and social reform has been written by English vicars or their children. There is a good explanation for this f course. This comess from ‘Almshouses: A Social & Architectural History’ by Brian Howson

“When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558, the country was at war with both France and Scotland. The religious divisions which had beset it since her father’s death had weakened the authority of the state and created deep divisions in society. What was needed was a new religious settlement which would reach out to both factions, Catholic and Protestant, and impose some semblance of order and harmony in religious affairs.

In choosing new members of her council Elizabeth retained the moderate elements of the predominantly Catholic faction, supplementing the with Protestants. She appointed no Vicar General as her father had done, but instead exercised her authority as head of the Church of England through a Court of High Commission, staffed by lay members and lawyers as well as clerics. Many of the strict rules which the clergy had, up to that time, had to observe were relaxed, most importantly the rules of celibacy. From henceforth, clergymen could marry and many of the young ones availed themselves of the opportunity straight away. During subsequent decades their offspring were to form the very backbone of Tudor and Stuart society. “

2 thoughts on “The Elizabethan Settlement

  1. Religion and healing worked closely together, people coming to a religious house to be healed and prayed for. Leper hospitals always seemed to be run by religious houses as one was in Colchester.


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