Edward VI

[Edward VI] King of England and Ireland, born Greenwich, England, 1537; died there, 1553. He was the only son of Henry VIII by Jane Seymour. Crowned at the age of nine, he died when he was but sixteen, and was buried in Henry VII's Chapel by Cranmer with Protestant rites, while his sister Mary, whom he had continually harassed for her adherence to the Faith, had Mass said for him in the Tower. Before dying, he "willed" the throne to Lady Jane Grey to exclude a Catholic from succession. Under Edward, brought up a Protestant, dominated by his uncle, the Protector Somerset, and by Archbishop Cranmer, great doctrinal and liturgical changes came about, chief among them the introduction of the first and second Books of Common Prayer (indubitably by Cranmer, 1549; 1552). The first replaced the Latin Mass with an English Communion Service; the second denied the Real Presence and the Sacrifice of the Mass; the Acts of Uniformity compelled their use. Gardiner and other Catholic-minded bishops were incarcerated. "Grammar schools" imputed to Edward's foundation, were but the partial restoration of the chantry and monastery schools disbanded under Henry; the necessity for "temperance" and "poor" laws was the result of the disappearance of the moral and material influence of the old religious order.

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