15 January 1535 – Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England

1491_Henry_VIII by Joos van CleveOn this day in history, 15th January 1535, King Henry VIII proclaimed that he was now Supreme Head of the Church of England. Here is the record from Letters and Papers:

“Memorandum that the King in his privy chamber, 15 January 26 Hen. VIII., in presence of Sir Thos. Audley, lord Chancellor, Thos. duke of Norfolk, treasurer of England, Thos. earl of Wiltshire, keeper of the Privy Seal, Thos. Crumwell, chief secretary, and others, ordained that his style should henceforth be ‘Henricus Octavus, Dei gratia Angliæ et Franciæ Rex, Fidei Defensor et Dominus Hiberniæ, et in Terra Supremum Caput Anglicanæ Ecclesiæ.'”1

The Act of Supremacy had been passed in November 1534 and it had declared “Albeit the Kynges Majestie justely and rightfully is & oweth to be supreme hede of the Churche of England and so is recognysed by the Clergy of the Realme in their convocacions.”2 The Act came into force in February 1535.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1559 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey. Click here to read more about it.
  • 1569 – Death of Catherine Knollys (née Carey), wife of Sir Francis Knollys and daughter of Sir William Carey and Mary Boleyn. Queen Elizabeth I was grief-stricken at the death of her cousin and friend, and gave her a lavish funeral at Westminster Abbey. Some believe Katherine to have been the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. Click here to read more.

Notes and Sources

  1. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 8, January-July 1535, 52.
  2. The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe: a New and Complete Edition: with a preliminary dissertation by the Rev. George Townsend, ed. Rev. Stephen Reed Cattley, p. 69.

Related Post

4 thoughts on “15 January 1535 – Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England”
  1. Hi folks, I am now the new head of the Church, yes, me, Henry, so you had all better get used to it as there will be trouble if you don’t. Now there is not going to be a Pope. as he is being down graded to just a Bishop and I have told Rome we are not having anything more to do with them anymore. We are going to have our own Church, with me at the top, after God of course, to whom I have a hot line. We will not bother with all those images and stuff and we are going to make up our own rules. All the taxes and stuff will go to me, not the Bishops and I am going to be very rich and you are all going to agree and get rich too. Any questions?

    1. Ha! It’s interesting how this step led to a whole new Protestant Church of England in the end, whereas Henry was definitely a Catholic in his religious views.

  2. Yes, what was it David Starkey once said? Henry believed what was convenient for Henry. He remained very Catholic in his views and outlook but without the authorities in Rome, who no longer supported him, so not convenient, he got money and riches from the monastic system and the taxes because it was a convenient way to gain power. Henry would never be a Protestant, but he would believe what he deemed to be convenient and what got him his will. He even decided what was heresy and what wasn’t, something the clergy used to do. He went towards reform and the Bible and then ultra orthodox again. Yet at the heart he was still a Catholic, just without bits he found no longer convient. It was no wonder when Henry first wanted this title that he was greeted with stunned silence. Even his closest friends must have thought he was going round the bend.

  3. Henry V111 during his reign really did cause a lot of upheaval in the political end of the spectrum and in his personal life too, spurred on by his passion for Anne Boleyn he shook of the authority of the pope as he could see he would never grant him the dispensation to marry her, and caused dismay and mayhem amongst his catholic subjects, I agree with Starkey he did believe what was convenient for him to believe, thus his treatment of his second queen several years later, I am surprised there was no civil war as what happened during the reign of Charles 1st, Charles was no tyrant although the Roundheads under Cromwell thought so, but Henry V111 was to go down in history as the King who created his own church which endured, against all the odds even when his daughter Mary 1st became queen, our present queen is head of her church and she has to thank her distant relative for that, the dissolution of the monasteries I find shocking and the deaths of those who stood against Henry V111, the Carthusian monks whose ends were terrible all were caught up in Henrys break with Rome and the creation of himself as head of the English church, but I believe had the pope, not being swayed by Katherines nephew the Emperor Charles given him the longed for dispensation, then England would have remained Catholic and the sovereign’s title of head of the church would not exist, Henrys passion for Anne only fuelled by Katherinces stance created this turbulent situation, and wrecked many lives as a result, his belief in the Catholic faith however remained the same, he was at heart a Catholic even though he had shaken off the authority of its supreme head, he died in the Catholic faith which yes to his non Catholic subjects and to us today ranks of hypocrisy, Henrys subjects brought up in the Catholic doctrine could no more shake of their belief than their King, better to agree with him and say the word yes whilst the heart says no, many in the privacy of their homes rich and poor must have still kept what they believed was the true faith in their hearts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *