Henry VIII: The Reformation (1529-47)

World History teaching resources for the high school classroom: lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes and simulation games for KS3, IGCSE, IB and A-Level teachers.

This comprehensive scheme of work is designed for the 16-18 age range, and should be preceded with a study of the Henry VIII: The Wolsey Years, 1509-29. I also teach this topic to younger students using resources on the following page: The reign of Henry VIII.

Timeline of the Henrician Reformation, 1515-29

The early years of Henry VIII's reign gave no indication of the dramatic upheavals in religion which would ultimately take place. He appointed a Cardinal as his Chief Minister, went on pilgrimages and wrote a book in defence of Catholicism against Luther, for which he gained the title of "Fidei Defensor". All this was to change dramatically from the 1520's.

Research Task: Characters in the Henrician Reformation

Produce a one-sided handout on one or more of the following characters. The proforma is shown overleaf. This will form the basis of a presentation / display.

The King's Great Matter: Why did Henry want an annulment, and why did the Pope refuse to give him one? | teacher notes

Detailed investigation with teacher lecture notes.

1529-31: Years of Drift or of Policy? | teacher notes

Further investigation with teacher lecture notes.

How and why was 1532 a turning point in the break with Rome?

Information, historiography and structured questions.

Key Events, 1533-36

By the beginning of 1533 the English Clergy had now been brought to heel but the King had not established formal independence from Rome. That was the next phase of events.

Reformation Statutes, 1533-36 | teacher notes

For each extract, identify its main provisions, and the justification / authority for these policies in another. Fill in the boxes under each. Using your timeline of events from the earlier lesson, see if you can determine which Act each extract comes from. Write this into each of the yellow boxes.

Causes and Course of the Henrician Reformation, 1527-35

It is 1527. You are Sir Thomas de Tart, an advisor to Henry VIII of England. The King wants to get rid of his wife, Catherine of Aragon. Your job is to give him good advice when he faces difficult decisions. If you do a good job, you will be richly rewarded. If you make bad ones, you will end up in prison or even have your head chopped off! 

Who was the most important character in the Henrician Reformation?

Historians often argue about the importance played by individuals in historical events. Some claim that they merely crystallise forces and trends which already exist; others say that they can actually pull society in a totally new direction. In this activity you will learn more about the role played by individuals in the Henrician Reformation.

How healthy was the Pre-Reformation Church? Investigation of the Historiography

Although the Henrician Reformation is often seen as a 'revolution from above' led by Henry and his minions, historians also consider how far the Church itself was already on the verge of collapse, and how far this therefore made the monarch's task easier.

How far did the Break with Rome encourage the emergence of an English Nation State?

For some historians, the Henrician Reformation led to a growth of absolutism and the power of Rex Solus (King Alone), whilst others feel that the developments actually undermined the position of the Crown and led to the development of the constitutional monarchy which we are familiar with today.

Was the status of Parliament undermined or enhanced by the Schism? | teacher notes

Detailed analysis and structured tasks.

How did Henry deal with opposition to the Break with Rome?

The first inkling of opposition to Henry came in March 1532 when the Commons produced a petition against the Bishops - the Supplication Against the Ordinaries...

Sourcework exercise: Opposition to the Break with Rome

Complete with mark scheme and teacher giudance.

Causes for the Henrician Reformation: Hexagons essay-planning exercise

For more on the hexagons approach, click here.

Religious Changes, 1536-47

Detailed investigation to determine the motives which lay behind these radical reforms.

Timeline of the Henrician Reformation, 1536-47

A detailed timeline broken down to analyse evidence of Protestantism and Catholicism.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries: Causes, Events, Consequences | Teacher notes

A self-contained workpack with information and tasks.

Timeline and Overview: The Pilgrimage of Grace

A student handout to introduce the Pilgrimage of Grace.

What were the motives of those involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace? | Teacher notes

Student worksheet and teacher lecture notes.

Why did the Pilgrimage of Grace fail, and what were the results? | Teacher notes

Student worksheet and teacher lecture notes.

Summary Pack: The Tudor Revolution in Government

Interview Henry VIII!

Head2Head Interactive Interview.

Online Quizzes

The Henrician Reformation, c.1515-47

"Play your Dates Right" Game

Henrician Reformation "Fling the Teacher" Quiz


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