The Politics of Persecution: Anabaptist Persecution in England under Henry VIII and Edward VI, 1525-1553
Access changed 8/16/21.
The focus of this thesis is to analyze the persecution of non-conforming Anabaptists in England under the reign of Henry VIII and Edward VI. The efforts of the early Reformation Tudor monarchs and their respective regimes to stamp out the religious dissent of fledgling English Anabaptist communities illuminates both the political ambitions of the various regimes and their own varied and unique attitudes towards those who dissented from the English Territorial Church. The unique and unifying theme found in the persecution of English Anabaptists is the fact that the uniform and severe persecution of continental Anabaptists was not replicated under the Tudors. While the regimes of Henry and Edward opposed Anabaptism, they differed with regard to the severity of the persecutions undertaken and the motives behind their persecution. Furthermore, given the scarcity of documents produced by the early Anabaptist communities, examining the state records of their persecution provides perhaps the best insights into the lives and culture of these religious non-conformists and the beliefs of those who sought to persecute them. Ultimately, the unique political and religious aims of each regime defined the forms of persecution that occurred between the years 1525 and 1553.