Tag Archives: religion

Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious

The Power of the Medieval Church (video)

The murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral

On the 29th December 1170, Thomas Becket – the Archbishop of Canterbury – was murdered in front of the altar of Canterbury Cathedral. He had been appointed by Henry II to the most important religious position in England in 1162, but was slain after some of the king’s men interpreted one of their ruler’s angry outbursts as the desire to have Becket killed.

The Siege of Acre and the end of Crusader influence in the Holy Land

On the 18th May 1291, the Crusader-controlled city of Acre was seized by the Muslim forces of the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil.  The Siege of Acre, sometimes known as the Fall of Acre, marked the last attempt to exert Crusader influence in the Holy Land.

Defender of the Faith

Why was Henry VIII given the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ in 1521?

On the 11th October 1521, Pope Leo X granted the title “Defender of the Faith” to King Henry VIII of England. To be accurate he actually granted the Latin title ‘Fidei defensor’ but the message was the same: Henry was being rewarded for upholding the Catholic faith in the face of the developing Protestant Reformation and the ideas of Martin Luther.

Waltham Abbey

Waltham Abbey and the Dissolution of the Monasteries – a short overview

On the 23rd March 1540, Waltham Abbey in Essex became the last abbey to be dissolved by Henry VIII. Henry had visited the abbey a number of times and is known to have stayed there with Queen Anne Boleyn in 1532. However, despite surviving for a number of years Waltham Abbey eventually succumbed to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. This caused an economic disaster in the town, which had grown prosperous as a result of pilgrims visiting the abbey.

John Rogers execution

John Rogers and the Protestant persecutions under ‘Bloody’ Mary I of England

On the 4th February 1555, John Rogers became the first Protestant martyr under ‘Bloody’ Mary I of England.

Execution of Thomas Cranmer

Why was Thomas Cranmer executed in 1556?

On the 21st March 1556, Thomas Cranmer was executed for heresy. As a leader of the English Reformation he had not only promoted Protestantism but had also established the first structures of the Church of England. Despite having signed a number of recantations or retractions of his Protestant faith, on the day of his execution he in turn recanted these recantations before being burned at the stake.

Pendle Witches

Why were the trials of the Pendle Witches in 1612 so significant?

On the 18th August 1612, the trials of nine Lancashire women and two men known as the Pendle Witches began. Accused of various murders, twelve people were charged of whom was found not guilty and another died in prison before going to trial. The other ten were found guilty and executed by hanging.

Cult of the Supreme Being

The Cult of the Supreme Being

This short podcast presents an overview of the Cult of the Supreme Being, established by Robespierre on 7th May 1794 as the new national religion of France.

Treaty of London 1839

The Treaty of London: Belgium independence and the First World War

The Treaty of London recognised and guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium.

In 1813 Napoleon’s rule of the Netherlands was ended by the combined armies of Russia and Prussia, and control was given to William Frederik of Orange-Nassau. Two years later, as a result of the Congress of Vienna, modern Belgium became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

These southern provinces were predominantly Catholic, and a sizeable number of the inhabitants spoke French. However, William clearly favoured Protestantism and had tried to impose Dutch as the official language. This led to tensions which were exacerbated by economic problems that included high unemployment and arguments over the effect of free trade on the less developed south. A revolution erupted in 1830 that led to the states declaring independence on 4 October, although William refused to recognise the independent Belgium for over nine years.

In signing the treaty that formally recognised the existence of the independent Kingdom of Belgium, the Netherlands were joined by Britain, Austria, France, Russia, and the German Confederation. Furthermore, Britain insisted that the signatories also recognise Belgium’s perpetual neutrality.

The neutrality clause was of central importance in the outbreak of the First World War, since Germany violated Belgium’s neutrality when its forces crossed the border in the Schlieffen Plan. Britain thus claimed to be upholding the Treaty of London when it declared war on 4 August 1914 – much to the anger of German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg who couldn’t believe Britain would go to war over a ‘mere a scrap of paper’.