Reformation under Henry VIII (Statutes (Passed a series of anti-Catholic…
Reformation under Henry VIII
Obedient Catholic until 1527 when he is denied an annulment to his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
Charles V (later Holy Roman Emperor), and Spanish Emperor at the time (Catherine's nephew), had huge influence on the Papacy and they refused the annulment.
Underwent 'a drastic curtailment of what was required' (John Caldwell
The Oxford History of English Music Volume 1
) and cut both Catholic-linked institutions and liturgical forms.
Although not a lot changed in terms of sacred polyphony over Henry's lifetime, later changes to the musical genre have their roots firmly in the period of his reign.
Passed a series of anti-Catholic statutes between 1532 and the end of his life.
Supplication against the Ordinaries
condemning the Catholic clergy in England, revolving around their subjective punishment's for what they subjectively perceived as heresy.
Ecclesiastical Appointments Act
Only clergy nominated by the King could become Bishops - he gained control of the upper echelons of the Church.
Act of Supremacy and Treasons Act
declared that the King was
'the only supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England'
; Treasons act meant failure of clergy to undergo the oath of supremacy could result in execution.
Peter's Pence Act
outlawed payments to Rome and reiterated that Henry was the religious chief of England
'no superior under God, but only your Grace'
Henry order Thomas Cromwell to instigate the
in 1535 and assess the taxable value of the Church's holdings in England.
Incentivised by potential earnings, and the opportunity to become head of the state religion, Henry instigated the dissolution of the monasteries.
Small monasteries suppressed in 1536.
Larger monasteries suppressed between 1538 - 1540
This leads to the best musicians seeking work in the remaining institutions - cathedrals and other key favoured institutions, such as the Royal Chapel. In many ways, he poaches the musical talent for Royalty by virtue of their monopoly of the jobs market.
Royal injunctions of 1536 required there to be an English Bible as well as a Latin Bible in every church by 1st August 1537. The Matthew Bible, an amalgam of translations by Coverdale and Tyndale.
This change to the common vernacular was a huge moment in sacred polyphony. Henry went further, from 1543, lessons at Matins and Evensong had to be read in English. Henry had previously been puzzled by the lack of reaction by congregations to the liturgy, but realised
'they understode no parte of suche prayers or suffrages...'
In 1544, Henry sanctioned the first English Litany, created by Thomas Cranmer and set to music. Cranmer wanted to
'set forthe certayne godly prayers and suffrages in our natyve Englyshe tongue'
. The Litany is in a new syllabic style, no melismas, so that the words can be understood. Huge chunks of liturgy were removed that related to Catholicism and Mary specifically.
The litany is remarkably protestant, only 3 invocations to the saints (Mary, the angles, and all other saints) and a slightly politically charged prayer asking for deliverance
'from the tyranny of the bisshop of Rome and all his detestable enormyties'