Henry is famous for destroying a tie that had existed for centuries between England and the Roman Catholic Church. His new Church of England was not born because he had theological differences with the Pope but because he couldn't tolerate being underneath anyone's authority. By naming himself Head of the Church of England, he announced to the world that his word was equal to God's. Some of the persecution that took place after Henry made this extraordinary change demonstrates his desire not to please God but himself.
Within days of Cromwell's demise in 1540, six others were put to death. Three of them were Reformists burnt at Smithfield. The other three were Catholics who were hanged, drawn, and quartered after convictions of treason. Henry's inquisition sniffed out any who preached against Catholic tenets of faith or failed to recognize him as God's new representative to replace the Pope. While Henry tended to charge Protestants with heresy and Catholics with treason, it came down to the same thing: failure to worship Henry.
He cruelly dealt with his own daughter based upon this tyrannical need to place himself above all others. Not only did he steal the title of princess from the girl who had been raised to believe that she would be his heir, but he kept her from her mother and dismantled her household. Mary was adamant that she would not deny her faith or the legitimacy of her parents' marriage, so Henry punished her further. Refusing to allow Margaret Pole, Mary's godmother and former governess, to support Mary's household, he sent the former princess to wait upon her infant half-sister, Elizabeth. Among rumors that Anne Boleyn would have Mary poisoned or that Charles V might rescue her and take her to Spain, Henry inflicted even greater punishment by refusing to visit her himself and having her closely watched.
|Heretics burned at the stake|
|Traitors hanged, drawn, & quartered|