ABSTRACT

THE Second Book of Common Prayer was ushered into the world amid signs and portents which boded ill for its long life and prosperity. It was imposed on the nation by a new Act of Uniformity which for the first time threatened penalties against the “great number of people in divers parts of the realm” who did “wilfully and damnably refuse to come to their parish churches” 1 ; and the reluctance of the nation to accept moderate reforms was to be cured by passing more radical measures and increasing the rigour with which they were to be enforced. The remains of the liberal system which Somerset had established were to be swept away; the Protector himself was sent to the block, 2 and the Council 276began to pack the House of Commons. 1 Even so, it proved too independent for Northumberland’s purpose. It rejected a treason bill designed to replace the expiring act of 1549, and passed another which re-enacted in a limited form some of the precautions against injustice which the Protector had introduced in 1547. 2 It also threw out a bill of attainder against Tunstall, Bishop of Durham; but Northumberland would not be baulked of the bishopric, and so Tunstall, who had been confined to the Tower on a bogus charge of treason, was deprived by a civil commission—a novel extension of secular jurisdiction.