On the 3rd November 1534 Parliament passed ‘The Act of Supremacy’ in so doing making King Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England.
What was the motivation for the Supremacy Act?
Disputes about wives was not the only reason for wanting to become head of the church. There had been long dissatisfaction with having to ask the permission of Rome for ecclesiastical matters, even as far back as the Plantagenet and Norman leaders. Agitation between the crown of England and Popes of Rome Remained persistent during these times. The Crown of England did not want to be controlled by the pope. Ireland also had gotten fed up of being dictated to by others.
The tide was turning to people moving to being Congregationalists; a form of Protestant Christianity with the believe that congregation is autonomous only unto god, with no submission to any outsiders. The total opposite of the Roman Catholic Church.
People wanted to read scriptures themselves not listen to priests about things they could not read or understand. Some thought Roman doctrines had no place in a British church.
The end of ‘Till death do part’
Henry VIII married his first wife Catherine of Aragon under the pope’s permission in 1509. When she did not produce a male heir, Henry became impatient, and it was not long before he became infatuated with Anne Boleyn in 1525. Anne Boleyn would not accept to be his mistress, so Henry set about getting his marriage to Catherine annulled.
Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry needed to justify a reason the marriage between Catherine and himself was invalid. Under the Catholic religion a marriage was a contract until death.
A solution needed to be found which set of a chain reaction of events that eventually led to England’s split from the Catholic Church through an Act of Parliament called the ‘Supremacy Act’. Catherine had been previously married to Henry’s brother Arthur. Catherine refused to accept King Henry as head of the Church and thought herself as the rightful Queen, she died in Jan 1536, Kimbolton Castle.
Henry Married Anne Boleyn before the Act of Supremacy had been made law. Some historians state the first date was the secret marriage that took place Nov 14 1532, then the formal marriage of Jan 25 1533. by May-1533 the first Archbishop of Canterbury post was created, Thomas Cranmer. The King instructed him to find the first marriage void and the second marriage valid.
The pope excommunicated King Henry VIII and the Archbishop of Canterbury, so destiny started to change the divide between the Church of England, and the Catholic church in Rome. 1st June 1533 Anne Boleyn became queen.
Queen Mary repealed the act but Queen Elizabeth I re-enacted it. Which is why our current Monarch is still head of the Church of England.
The Act of Royal Supremacy would not suffer any future parliament withdrawal. It enabled sovereignty over the civil laws regarding the laws of the Church of England. For King Henry VIII and his successors as and established right or fact. This 1534 Act also started the English Reformation. The Treasons Act was passed in the same year 1534 it stated that if anyone disobeyed the Act of Supremacy, they considered it an act of treason, punishable by death.