Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

28 June 1491 A.D. Henry VIII’s Birth

28 June 1491 A.D.  Henry VIII’s Birth

Dr. Rusten tells the story. 

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. Available at:

Henry VIII was born in 1491, the son of Henry VII.  He was named after his father as the second born.  He received a classical education.  As the second son, he was trained for a position in the church, the usual route to advantage and preferment for poor sons.  The older son, Arthur, died early, however.  Henry VIII was tagged as the heir apparent.

At 17, the father Henry VII went to his reward.  Henry VIII, adhering to his father’s earlier wishes, married Catherine of Aragaon, a match to strengthen the Anglo-Spanish alliance.

In 1509, both were crowned King and Queen of England.  The realm was to be managed by Thomas Wolsey, later an Anglo-Italian Cardinal and Chancellor for Henry VIII.

Henry had two preliminary concerns: the developing Reformation and a male heir.  As for the Vatican, Henry was in their pocket.   Henry was a 1.0 Anglican, that is, a Romanist with a Pope.  He wrote The Defense of the Seven Sacraments (now the idol of ACNAers and TFOs).  The Pope conferred on the fat-cat the title of Defensor Fidei, a title still retained by English royals although little fulfilled. Henry’s little volume was widely acclaimed and read on the Continent.

As Henry aged and Catherine turned out still-borns, he worried about a male heir.  Catherine had produced Mary, but little else as a breeding mare.  It was unthinkable that a woman should be heir to the throne of England.  Catherine was 40 in 1526 and he child-bearing years were near an end. 

By 1527, Henry was eyeing another potential mate, Ann Boleyn.  Wolsey tried to manage an annulment to Catherine with the Vatican to make room for the young mare.  But, it dragged on and on.

Henry, being criss-crossed and double-crossed, turned to an ever-pliable chap, old Cranmer.  He was ever-pliable.  Henry cut off the Pope and made himself the English Pope.  But, notably, Cranmer was ingesting Lutheran influences quietly.  Cranmer did the Tyrant’s bidding, annulled the marriage to Catherine, and presided at the coronation of the Fat-cat and Boleyn.

Poor Mary was discarded as a bastard, a casualty of the war for a male heir.  She was quietly sequestered apart from her mother, Catherine of Aragon, never to meet again…this side of Jordan.

Henry married the now-pregnant Ann Boleyn.  Elizabeth 1 was the result (she too would be declared a bastard, but more on that later). Through a series of legal enactments, the Church of England separated from Rome.  This was Anglicanism 2.0, or, Romanism without the Pope—an arrangement that modern TFOs and Nashotans might like.

Then, came the nasty Reformation.  The Newmanians and TFOs have been attempting to write that out of history ever since the 19th century.  But oh well, there really was an English Reformation.

Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491.  Like all mortals, high and low, the 400-lb tyrant with a 58-inch belly and a massive ego to match, died on 28 January 1547.


Ashley. The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens. 630-6.

Schnucker,  Robert. “Henry VIII (1491-1547).” NIDCC. 461-2.

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