Henry VIII’s break with Rome set in play a series of events that dramatically changed our island history. The next two hundred years were riven with religious division between Catholics and Protestants that still haunt parts of the United Kingdom today.
In the immediate aftermath England changed it’s state religion several times, whilst both sides persecuted each other accusing the other side of being heretics. The most famous, but certainly not the most bloodiest, resulting in the deaths of 280 Protestant Martyrs during the reign of Queen Mary. Her sister Elizabeth executed far more Catholics whilst trying to come to a compromise through the Elizabethan Church Settlement Act, which left many feeling very unhappy. This led to the Catholics trying to kill King James I and Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. Later in 1620, fearful of Catholic plots and further persecution for refusing to attend the Church of England’s services, the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ leave England never to return in the hope of finding a place where they could freely practice their faith in North America. Later of course these divisions would explode into the English Civil War in 1642 and result in the execution of Charles I.
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