How serious was opposition to Henry VIII's reign?
The English reformation is widely discussed amongst historians; it was a process that saw the removal of the longstanding Papal influence and the beginnings of a new English Church. The reformation was believed to be a quick process, imposed upon the country from above. The decrees, acts and events of the reformation forced drastic changes upon both the English clergy, masses and the Papacy. These changes were unpopular and discontent was widespread. In spite of such feelings the reformation experienced little delay and monarchical power over the English Church continued to increase. That is not to say there was no opposition to the reformation, for it was rife and potentially serious. The opposition came from both the upper and lower classes, from the monks and nuns and from foreign European powers. This opposition however, was cleverly minimised from the outset, Cromwell's master plan ensured court opposition was minimal and new acts, oaths and decrees prevented groups and individuals from publicly voicing their dissatisfaction.
Those who continued to counter such policies were ruthlessly and swiftly dealt with, often by execution, and used as examples to discourage others.
To an extent, Opposition to the religious reforms by Henry VIII wasn't overly serious, the opposition did have some potential to cause damage but the danger was never severe enough to undermine the Tudor dynasty or threaten the omnipotent once of the "Most Christian King". Opposition was only as serious as the support it had, which is why The Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 was the most dangerous form of opposition. Henry ensured that disapproval from his kingdom would never threaten to undermine the longevity of the Tudor dynasty by using Cromwell's key weapon: The Treason Act of 1534. This allowed Henry to eradicate any opposition...