Edward VI was born on 12th October 1537. He was the son of Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. His mother died shortly after the birth of Edward but his father doted on him as his longed for son and heir.
Edward VI was just nine years old when he became King. His father had made provision for a Regency government comprised of 16 trusted men but this was not followed and Edward Seymour seized the regency for himself made himself Duke of Somerset and took the title ‘Protector of all the realms and dominions of the King’s majesty.’
Edward had been born after the English Reformation and, like his uncle, Edward Seymour, was a committed Protestant. Seymour was also a Protestant and he encouraged Edward to make sweeping changes to the Church.
In 1547 Edward set about his first reform by dissolving the Chantries and the seizing of the money for the Crown. This action was a clear attack on the Catholic belief in Purgatory and the saying of prayers for the dead.
In 1549 Edward was announced that priests would be allowed to marry. This was another deliberate attack on the Catholic religion which demanded that priests remain celibate and did not take a wife.
1552 – A new Prayer Book was introduced that included the following:
Altars were abolished and replaced by simple tables.
Priests were not to wear elaborate vestments.
The Mass was abolished and replaced with Holy Communion – the difference being that the bread and wine now only represented Christ and did not become Christ.
Predestination – the belief that it was already decided if you were bound for heaven or hell – was accepted. It was not possible to buy a place in heaven through good works, donating money to the church or saying prayers.
These changes meant that many Protestants from Europe came to England.
Edward VI died in 1553 at the age of 15.