Why did Henry VIII split from the Catholic church in 1534

While one could go into a rather complex answer for this, for an AS level question I would split this into 3 main parts, with a short introduction and conclusion.

The short introduction would outline your beliefs. Eg, Henry VIII split with the Catholic Church due to a combination of short term, long term and economic factors. They are linked by Henry VIII's dynastic ambitions.

1. Short term factors - Henry VIII wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. Not only did she influence Henry towards accepting Protestantism, but it was lust and love which drove Henry to seek a divorce at this point. However, this can also by linked to dynastic ambitions, which is a long term factor, as Henry thought he needed a son to secure the Tudor dynasty. This would be your link to the next paragraph.

2. Long term factors - power and dynasty. In order to secure his position on the throne, a son was needed to secure his dynasty. However, this method also gave Henry power over the church, arguably the most powerful body at the time. He has already been denied a divorce by the Pope and was unlikely to be granted one as the Pope has Charles V's captive. By separating from the established church, this gave Henry supreme power over his kingdom and ultimate control over England.

3. Link - wealthy and powerful. Monetary factors. The church was the largest landholder in England so was extremely wealthy. Henry had been left bankrupt by the field of cloth of gold. In order to continue his ambitious foreign policy and chivalric displays (which was very important to show dynastic power and ambition) he needed money. The split from Catholicism provided an easy source of revenue.


There are a mixture of short, longterm and economic factors involved. Linking all of these is Henry VIII's dynastic ambitions. This (personally) is the reason for Henry's split from the Catholic Church.


This is a very brief and condensed outline of my beliefs over Henry VIII's split from Rome in a formate which reflects an essay outline. As such, it is far from a perfect essay which would require more analysis and facts. 

Anne H. A Level Economics tutor, A Level History tutor, GCSE History ...

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