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By Richard McCoy

Conventional notions of sacred kingship turned either extra grandiose and extra tricky in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced through Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule ended in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed by way of royal iconography and pageantry. those alterations all started a non secular controversy in England that might result in civil warfare, regicide, recovery, and finally revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of nation, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the belief of kingship and its symbolic and sizeable energy. Their creative representations of the crown exhibit the fervour and ambivalence with which the English seen their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the basic questions of the day -- Skelton was once a staunch defender of the English monarchy and standard faith, Milton was once a thorough opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides actual and imagined -- with the very actual specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the fantastic Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the country, and the very inspiration of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship multiplied in the course of the political and non secular crises that remodeled the English country, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered via this growth have confirmed so continual.

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Heaven was never too far from earth. The sacred was diffused in the profane, the spiritual in the material. ”10 The profound significance of the Mass and the Eucharist for pre-Reformation Christianity is eloquently described by Eamon Duffy in The Stripping of the Altars: The liturgy lay at the heart of medieval religion, and the Mass lay at the heart of the liturgy. In the Mass the redemption of the world wrought on Good Friday once and for all, was renewed and made fruitful for all who believed.

Despite his promotion of godly rule, Foxe was also keenly aware of Tudor shortcomings, and he too sees Henry’s last years as dark and discouraging. ”66 Foxe says that Henry would have done better “by taking away the impious law of the Six Articles, the mother of all division and manslaughter,” and he even demands “what charity ensued after this exhortation of the king to charity, by the racking and burning of good Anne Askew, with three other poor subjects of the king, within half a year after” before recounting her tribulations (:).

Whereof we wol CXV bee saied in the honour of the Trinitie, MMCV in the honour of the V wounds of our Lord Jhu Crist, MMCV in the honour of the V Joies of our Lady, CCCL in the honor of the IX orders of Aungells, CL in the honour of the Patriarches, CVI in the honour of the XII apostellis, and MMCCC, which maketh up the hool nombre of the said MX masses, in the honour of All Saints” (Will, ). He adds that “for the more redy and sure paiement” for a significant portion of these Masses, “we have delivered in redy money before the hande, to th’Abbot, Priour and Conuent, of our said Monastery of Westminster” a sum that was to be used for no other purpose ().

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