2017 New History
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Censorship of Preaching and Public Opinion under Henry VIII

Juo-Yung Lee

Department of History, National Taipei University

This article engages with two historiographical traditions: the “English Reformation” and the “Tudor political transformation.” By investigating the censorship over preaching and opinion carried out by Henry VIII’s government from 1534, I highlight both dissenting voices of English society and the communication and scrutiny mechanisms of the central government. This article reaches four conclusions. First, apart from the messages promoted by official propaganda, English society formed its own judgments and opinions through personal networks. Second, prosecution records of “seditious words” reveal that English society experienced laceration due to the King’s divorce. Third, Henry’s government censored public opinion closely. And fourth, Henry VIII’s unprecedented ability to control society in the end stemmed from his incorporation of “the Church system” and claims to “royal supremacy,” so that the King, leading both the church and the government, achieved England’s “official reformation” and the “Tudor political transformation.”


Keywords: English Reformation, Tudor political transformation, preaching, censorship of public opinion, Henry VIII