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Assess the claim that in 1529 most people were satisfied with the condition of the Church in England? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > Assess the claim that in 1529 most people were satisfied with the condition of the Church in England?

Assess the claim that in 1529 most people were satisfied with the condition of the Church in England?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1200 | Submitted: 01-May-2007
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Essay investigating the state of the English Church pre 1529


For most, criticism of the Church originated from dissatisfaction over the behaviour of the clergy. A frequent complaint was the view that a large number of clergymen and priests were insufficiently educated to carry out simply Church duties, such as the preaching of sermons, and were limited to the simple administration of essential sacraments such as Baptism. However for the English commoners who made up the majority of the population and most often not well educated themselves, this was unlikely to have been a great concern. The 21 Bishops of England were far better educated and capable, however this was to the extent that they were able to fulfil administrative and diplomatic duties which would led them away from their dioceses and act as the basis for another common complaint, which was absenteeism amongst the leading members of the clergy. Wolsey himself did not visit York once during his time as its archbishop. Far from being a shining example, as well as this Wolsey was guilty of pluralism holding a variety of benefices throughout the country which greatly added to his personal income, and blatantly defied vows of celibacy, possessing a mistress and an illegitimate child. Although examples of such abuses seemed numerous, they were however on many occasions’ sensationalist claims and in reality the worst cases of clerical misdemeanours were few and far between. One genuine example of dissatisfaction amongst a broader range of people exists in Simon Fish’s Supplication to the Beggars, published in 1529, in which a number of popular grievances are highlighted. Amongst them the fact that the Church was in procession of a third of England’s land and appeared more interested in collecting rents and tithes than serving its people.

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