State the case which supporters of Mary Tudor might have advanced for the restoration of Catholicism in her reign
After Edward VI’s death on the 6th July 1553 the Duke of Northumberland was desperate to retain power as Lord Protector.
He therefore pushed forward an unwilling Lady Jane Grey who reigned for nine days before being put in the tower by Mary Tudor and her extraordinarily strong following of supporters. Mary Tudor was a staunch Roman Catholic and as such her and her followers had many cases for the restoration of Catholicism.Protestantism in England was still seen as an UN-English, German faith. Mary’s supporters suffered from a certain amount of xenophobia even though Protestantism wasn’t that deeply routed. There were only a few hot spots around London and Cambridge. Leading Protestants such as Thomas Cramner were burned or forced to go underground such as Matthew Parker.
Mary’s supporters were convinced that Protestantism wasn’t that deeply routed and as Henry VIII had been a popular king a repeal of the Heresy and treason laws and a return to Henrician Catholicism wasn’t considered to be too drastic or unpopular. As a consequence these changes were made in 1554. A further move back towards Rome wasn’t out of the question although it would have to be done slowly. Another possible reason for Mary Tudor’s supporter’s advance for the restoration of Catholicism was the fact that since Mary had defeated the Duke of Northumberland and Jane grey with the backing of popular support it must prove that Catholicism was popular. This may not have been the case as Northumberland was very unpopular since he re-minted the coinage and therefore people didn’t want Jane Grey to be a puppet queen.A return to Catholicism was popular with some supporters, as it would move England closer to Charles V and Hapsburg trade in the new world, the Netherlands and Spain.
At the time Mary came to the throne, Charles V the Holy Roman Emperor had realised that his empire was too large for one man to rule. He therefore decided to split it into three. Mary’s supporters saw the huge advantage of changing back to Catholicism as if they did any son of Charles V’s son, Philip and Mary would inherit the Netherlands which, were of course vital to trade links. Philip would only marry into a Roman Catholic country, it was therefore considered paramount to become Catholic again.Many of Mary’s supporters had seen what the wars of religion had done to Germany and it was therefore seen by many to be important to make the people the same religion as the monarch.
Indeed William Cecil quoted in 1558 “Where people cannot agree to serve one God they cannot serve one king”. Many of Mary’s supporters genuinely believed that Mary was Gods anointed monarch and therefore she must be right in thinking that Protestants were evil and that Roman Catholicism was Gods church and Gods way. Mary wanted to return to Catholicism, as she believed she was in charge of her subject’s souls.Although many English people had become Protestant or were on the verge of becoming Protestant it couldn’t take away from the fact that the majority of the country understood the Catholic service and the Latin prayer book. For a country that was mostly illiterate and although some people didn’t speak English, all of them could relate to the traditional Catholic service.
This was outlined even before Mary came to the throne with the Cornish rising of 1549 where the English prayer book was described as ” a Christmas game”. For those of Mary’s supporters who wanted a return to Catholicism for moral reasons their main driving force was the idea that the people didn’t really want to be Protestant in the first place. New supporters of Mary and members of the council furiously threw themselves into the promotion of Catholicism to avoid being associated with the Duke of Northumberland, the Jane Grey plot or the changing of Edward VI’s will to exclude Mary from the succession.There was a number of reasons for the advancement of the restoration of Catholicism however it may have been pushed forward and publicised that Mary was “saving her subjects souls”, although Mary may have believed this very few of her supporters could see further than their own gains.