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date: 29 April 2017

Martin Luther in Britain and Anglican Theology

Summary and Keywords

Luther’s impact on Anglicanism, especially on the Church in England but also in Scotland, is difficult to gauge. The English and Scottish Reformations moved in ways that were more influenced by Reformed theology than by Luther himself. Nevertheless, there were many relationships between Luther and Britain that began during the time of Henry VIII. There was a correspondence between Luther and Henry, and the Reformer was even consulted on the King’s Great Matter (his attempt to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled). The king also wrote a treatise on the seven sacraments attacking Luther’s theology, to which Luther responded with his usual vitriol. During the 1520s there were efforts to ban Lutheran ideas under Cardinal Wolsey and John Fisher, although a number of early English evangelicals, including William Tyndale, Robert Barnes and John Frith, adopted many of Luther’s key doctrines even though they blended them with other sources. During the 1530s there were several efforts at forging diplomatic alliances between Henry and the German princes of the Schmalkaldic League, which in turn meant that Lutheran theology received a more sympathetic hearing in England. There was a significant although contested influence of Lutheran formularies on Anglican statements of faith and to a lesser extent on the liturgy of the Books of Common Prayer. What has been described as the “death of Lutheran England” began toward the end of the 1530s and early 1540s with the conservative backlash that led to the execution of Barnes. Later, after the death of Henry, there was a gradual acceptance of ideas, especially on Eucharistic presence, that stemmed from elsewhere in the Continent and that departed significantly from Luther’s views. As such ideas rose to prominence in Anglican theology, especially during the reign of Edward VI, Lutheran theology came to be regarded as increasingly conservative. Although there were further efforts to revive Lutheranism in the Elizabethan period, in general he was understood more as a pastor than a theologian. Although several later British figures promoted Luther, in general it has been more Calvinist or pietist positions far removed from Luther and his teachings that have dominated: for Anglican theology, and with rare exceptions for Britain in general, Luther remains a distant figure who for the most part is unread and seldom taught.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, William Tyndale, Robert Barnes, John Frith, Patrick Hamilton, Schmalkaldic League, Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion

The impact of Luther on Britain and Anglican theology is both complex and contested. An immediate complication is that the term “Britain” is anachronistic: the island was divided into two distinct kingdoms with separate ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The focus of this article is on the larger entity of England in the 16th century, although it will discuss briefly the Lutheran impact on the Scottish reformation which followed a very different course from that in England. In addition, the term “Anglican” was not used until the 19th century when it came to describe the spread of the Church of England and its distinctive polity overseas. This article will use the term as a synonym for the Church of England. It addresses the immediate impact of Luther on the Church of England, the early figures who drew on his theology, and his impact on the politics of the English Reformation. After discussing the influence of Lutheran formularies on Anglican statements of faith and liturgy, it briefly concludes by tracing the later course of Luther in Anglican theology.

The English reformation under Henry, despite its many borrowings from Continental models and theology, took its own course. It was, as Richard Rex wrote, “a folly to catholics and a stumbling block to protestants.”1 After the break with Rome the reformation proceeded in fits and starts from the 1530s, during which time there was a degree of cherry-picking of Lutheran ideas together with an eclectic mixing with the old religion. This suited Henry’s policy, which focused on a doctrine of absolute obedience: “Its foundation was the royal supremacy. Its slogan was the word of God. Its keynote was obedience.”2 This emphasis helps to reveal a consistency in a volatile period where sometimes competing theological ideas often had to bow before a more powerful authority; as Christopher Haigh has emphasized, reformation was a plural phenomenon.3 Some key Lutheran themes remained important and came to shape doctrines and practices that continue to influence the Church of England.

The king who made overtures toward German princes of the Schmalkaldic League in the 1530s was the same king who had published a strong attack on Luther’s theology in 1521 and who had ordered the burning of Luther’s books. While several early English reformers, most importantly William Tyndale, John Frith, and Robert Barnes, were deeply influenced by Luther, each seems to have departed from the master in certain key areas. Similarly, although the formularies and liturgies of the Church of England betray a certain family resemblance to their Lutheran counterparts, in some key areas, especially in Eucharistic theology, there are clear differences, which became increasingly pronounced after the death of Henry VIII. Similarly, despite having had first-hand experience of Lutheranism and having married the niece of the wife of the Nuremberg Lutheran reformer Andreas Osiander, Thomas Cranmer, Henry’s archbishop of Canterbury, decisively changed his teaching on the Eucharist in the reign of Edward VI.4 In the reign of Elizabeth I, when the Church of England established itself and settled its liturgy and formularies, Lutheran influence waned. For most Anglicans Luther retained far too much of the old religion to comfort those who had grown closer to southern Germany and Switzerland.

Luther and Henry VIII

Knowledge of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses against Indulgences appears to have quickly spread to England. Certainly by March 5, 1518, Erasmus had sent a copy to one of Henry’s leading councilors Thomas More, and it would seem that Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, lord chancellor, rapidly suggested that an attack on Luther’s theology would make a good subject for a treatise that might earn the king a papal title.5 By January 29, 1521, Cuthbert Tunstall, ambassador to Charles V, had written to Wolsey complaining of Luther’s On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, which had been published the previous year. Questioning Luther’s view that only three of the sacraments were “de jure divino et evangelio,” he went on: “They say there is much more strange opinions in it near to the opinions of Bohemia. I pray God keep that book out of England.” He asked Wolsey to “call before you the booksellers and give them a straight charge that they bring none of his books into English, lest thereby they might ensure great trouble to the realm and Church of England.”6 By April 16 the king was reading Luther’s book and working on his response. He had also been shown the papal bull Exsurge Domine condemning Luther by Wolsey’s secretary, Richard Pace, who suggested that “all such as be appointed to examine Luther’s writings may be congregated for his highness’ perceiving.”7

There was also a concern at the spread of Lutheran ideas. Wolsey introduced a ban on Lutheran books, which was followed by public burnings in London and Oxford that had been recommended by Cardinal de Medici in Rome.8 Archbishop William Warham of Canterbury, and also chancellor of Oxford University, reported to Wolsey in March 1521 that he had been informed that at Oxford “diverse of the university” had been “infected with the heresies of Luther and of others of that sort, having among them a great number of books of the said perverse doctrine which were forbidden by your grace’s authority. … It is a sorrowful thing to see how greedily inconstant men, and especially inexpert youth, falleth to new doctrines be they never so pestilent; and how prone they be to attempt that thing they be forbidden of their superiors for their own wealth.”9 He went on: “For pity it were that through the lewdness of one or two cankered members, which as I understand have induced no small number of young and incircumspect fools to give ear unto them, the whole University should run the infamy of so heinous a crime, the hearing whereof should be right delectable and pleasant to the open Lutherans beyond the sea, and secret behither, whereof they would take heart and confidence that their pestilent doctrine should increase and multiply, seeing both the Universities of England infected therewith.”10

On May 12, 1521, the campaign against Luther began in earnest with a bonfire of copies of forty-two listed Lutheran books in London that was aimed to stamp out “those damnable and pestiferous errors and heresies broached by Luther.”11 Bishop John Fisher of Rochester preached the sermon mentioning that “the kynges grace our souerayne lorde in his owne persone hath with his pen so substauncyally foghten against Martyn Luther.”12 Fisher’s sermon was followed by his Assertionis Lutheranæ confutatio two years later.13 About the same time as the book burning in London Wolsey convened a meeting for theologians from Oxford and Cambridge to discuss the promulgation of the papal bull in those cities where bonfires were also to be held.14 This Oxford and Cambridge group addressed the king and may well have assisted him in the final version of his own refutation of Luther.15 Oxford scholars included Thomas Brinknell, John Kington, and John Roper, and the Cambridge group included three friends of Erasmus, Henry Bullock, Humphrey Walkden, and John Watson.16 Archbishop Warham himself set about reading some of Luther’s works that had been supplied by Wolsey’s chaplain, Richard Sampson.17 Anti-Lutheran works from the Continent including Cardinal Cajetan’s Responsiones were also sent to Wolsey.18 Henry wrote to Pope Clement VII on May 21 indicating that he “was ready to defend the church, not only with his arms, but with the resources of his mind.”19 The book Assertorio Septem Sacramentorum20 was printed by July and sent bound in cloth of gold to Rome in the hope that the statement contained in the preface that its author was the “Defender of the Catholic Faith of Christ’s Church” might be conferred on Henry as a title. In response the pope granted Henry an indulgence of ten years and ten quadragenes (forty days) and gave him the title defensor fidei,21 a title that, although finally revoked by the pope in 1538, was to become hereditary by act of Parliament in 1543 and is still used by English monarchs.22

Henry’s work demonstrated the orthodoxy of England and its monarch across Europe. It quickly went through ten editions and appeared in two different German translations. One was by the Franciscan friar Thomas Murner, who visited England to present Henry with his own Confutation of Luther.23 The other was by Jerome Emser, made at the request of Duke George of Saxony.24 In the book, Henry is vigorous in his denunciation of Luther and makes use of the splenetic rhetoric of the time. In the epistle to the reader, for instance, he writes: “What pest so pernicious has ever attacked the flock of Christ? What serpent so poisonous has ever come forth? … What a wolf of hell is he, seeking to scatter Christ’s flock! What a limb of Satan! How rotten is his mind! How execrable his purpose!” Although the book was written against The Babylonian Captivity, much space is devoted to attacking Luther’s opposition to indulgences, which by 1521 had ceased to be the main focus of controversy in Germany. Henry goes on to defend the sacraments on the grounds of tradition, accuses Luther of changing his mind, and comes to the defense of the pope: “What serpent so venomously crept in as he who calls the Most Holy See of Rome, Babylon and the Pope’s authority, Tyranny, and turns the name of the most Holy Bishop of Rome into that of Anti-Christ?”

Henry’s text provoked a powerful and even more strongly worded reply from Luther, whose Contra Henricum Regum Angliæ which was published on August 1 in slightly different Latin and German versions.25 Even though Luther admitted that Henry might not have written the book and suggested Henry’s chaplain Edward Lee as the author,26 he nevertheless felt justified in directing his venom against the “foolish” king “under whose name it has been published.” He used a great deal of coarse polemic, with such phrases as “venomous serpent,” “infernal wolf,” and “hideous monster.” Attacking Henry as a “liar,”27 Luther was clear about his evangelical method. Where his opponents cried “Fathers! Fathers! Custom! Custom! Decretals! Decretals!,” Luther cried simply “Gospel! Gospel! Gospel!”28 He was particularly critical of Henry’s charge of inconsistency, which provoked an outburst of intense sarcasm: “I wonder whether so clever a king keeps wearing his children shoes which, after all, are a contradiction of the shoes a man uses? How can he nowadays drink wine, considering there was a time when he was sucking milk?”29 The invective was even stronger when it came to Luther’s dismissal of Henry’s “peculiar folly” of failing to address the finer points of his theology: “What a fool, that he believes one could conduct a disputation in such a fashion! One might suppose that a declared enemy of the king had written the book to bring everlasting disgrace upon him.”30 He concluded: “In this book I am dealing with senseless, wild monsters who have despised whatever I have written calmly and in a moderate tone. … It is of little consequence if I despise and bite some earthly king, considering that he did not hesitate to blaspheme against the King in Heaven and to commit sacrilege with his poisonous lies.”31

Although such a level of polemic was typical of the time, it undoubtedly made any possibility of reconciliation difficult.32 Henry did not write a response, although he did write to German princes urging them to redouble their efforts against Luther.33 He also sent envoys: Edward Lee, for instance, was sent to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.34 The task of responding to Luther was given to John Fisher, who, probably by royal command, wrote his prolix Defensio regiae assertionis.35 This was delayed for two years before it was published since, Fisher believed, there was hope that Luther might recant. Fisher also responded to Luther’s De Abriganda Missa Privata36 with his book Sacri Sacerdotii Defensio,37 published at the same time as his Defensio. Thomas More also responded also most likely at the King’s command using the pseudonym G. Rossaeus (William Ross). He took on something of Luther’s invective, claiming that Luther was “an apostate, an open incestuous lecher, a plain limb of the devil, and a manifest messenger of hell,” and mocking “Friar Luther and Cate Callate his nun lusking together in lechery.”38 Erasmus too proved important in the subsequent debate. Tunstall reported on June 5, 1523, of Henry’s relief that Erasmus had completely disowned Luther’s reply.39 John Eck, one of the leading anti-Lutheran polemicists, also defended Henry against Luther40 and visited England, where he was presented to the king.

Luther’s Apology

In 1525 things were to change significantly after the exiled King Christian II of Denmark “with customary and well-intentioned tactlessness”41 informed Elector Frederick of Saxony that Henry was “growing more inclined to the Gospel.” Frederick’s secretary, Georg Spalatinus, passed on the news to Luther, persuading him to write a conciliatory letter to the king. Not only was Luther misinformed about Henry’s change of mind, however; he was also under the impression that Wolsey had fallen from grace. In his letter of September 1, he apologized to the king hoping that Henry would see nothing evil in his teaching. He also vented his spleen at Wolsey, “that monstrous beast, hated by God and by men, the Cardinal of Eborac, that pernicious plague of Christendom.” Although couched as an apology, the letter was in practice an encouragement to support reform and to move “apart from the murderers of souls.”42

Luther’s letter seems to have been interpreted as evidence of a Lutheran conspiracy, which prompted a response from the king at the instigation of Juan Luis Vives, tutor to Princess Mary.43 Wolsey sent copies to Duke George of Saxony (who forwarded one to Luther),44 the cardinal Archbishop Albert of Mainz, and the pope.45 English versions of Luther’s and Henry’s letters were published in about 1527.46 Henry’s letter was also printed in Germany by Jerome Emser. Henry is particularly critical of Luther’s marriage, as well as his excessive freedom in interpretation, and he recommended turning to the tradition: “In every doubt that shall insourge learn the truth and encycle to the same by the advice of your pastoral fathers of the soul.” He also made it clear that he had no intention of continuing the debate. The title of Emser’s edition,47 however, which claimed that Luther had offered to recant, forced Luther to respond in 1527 with his Auff des königs zu Engelland lesterschrift titel Martin Luthers Antwort,48 where he reminded his readers that his works were aimed not against kings and princes but against the devil.49 In the mid-1520s the king and his bishops were clearly opposed to Luther and his movement. At the same time, however, the many mercantile and cultural links with Germany meant that Luther’s ideas were beginning to make an impact on a number of theologians and churchmen.

Lutherans in England

By the 1520s a number of English churchmen, often humanistically minded, were beginning to read and discuss Luther’s theology. As early as May 30, 1519, Erasmus was to write to Luther from Louvain, “In England there are men who think well of your writings, and they are the very greatest.”50 It is unclear who precisely Erasmus had in mind, but by the mid-1520s a group including Thomas Bilney,51 Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, and Miles Coverdale gathered at the White Horse Inn in Cambridge near Queens’ College, where they were quickly dubbed “Little Germany.” As “the godly learned in Christ” they discussed “continually together” the new ideas emerging from the Continent.52 In Oxford in 1526 it was discovered that John Clark of Wolsey’s own Cardinal College was found to be holding private lectures and meetings to promote Luther’s teachings. Wood reports that Clark, John Fryer, and Godfrey Harman were forced out of Oxford.53 Throughout the country there were anxieties about the spread of Lutheran thought. In October 1524 booksellers were warned by Cuthbert Tunstall, now bishop of London, not to import books printed in Germany and to ensure that foreign books were shown to him, Wolsey, or the bishop of Rochester.54 Early in 1526 there was a raid on the “Steelyard,” the official Hanseatic base, where Lutheran books were confiscated. Four men were found guilty of distributing Lutheran texts. This soon led to the development of prohibited lists and publishing licenses, even if such measures ultimately failed to stem the tide: the purchase of banned books for burning by bishops could even pay for further supply.55 At times the book trade could prove fatal: Richard Bayfield, for instance, was burnt on December 14, 1531, for importing books.

There were several prominent figures influenced by Lutheran theology through this period.56 Although the precise extent of their dependence on the master remains a matter of controversy,57 there were undoubtedly strong influences on a number of thinkers, some of whom went on to suffer execution for heresy. Although Erasmian humanism, the specific English political context, and surviving pockets of Lollardy exerted a powerful effect on the reception of Lutheran ideas,58 it would be wrong to underplay Lutheran thought altogether, as several writers have done, simply because some stressed a more covenant-based theology.59 As Trueman writes: “While England never produced an organized Lutheran movement of any significance, it is simply impossible to understand the nature of the English Reformation thought without reference to the theology of Martin Luther.”60

Most famous of the figures under Henry was William Tyndale, who had been attracted to Erasmus while at Oxford. From very early days he sought to make a Bible translation into the vernacular, rather naively asking Tunstall for his backing in 1523. He left England in 1524 and matriculated at the University of Wittenberg on May 27. By 1525 he had published a fragment of the New Testament in English in Cologne with a preface, “A Pathway into Holy Scripture,” which was highly dependent on Luther’s preface to his New Testament of 1522.61 Thomas More claimed it was little more than a translation of Luther’s heresies; it was not the New Testament but “Tyndale’s Testament or Luther’s Testament. For so had Tyndale after Luther’s counsel corrupted and changed it from the good and wholesome doctrine of Christ to the devilish heresies of their own, that it was clean a contrary thing.”62 In 1526, after relocating to Worms, Tyndale published a periphrastic translation of Luther’s Introduction to Romans63 and also learned Hebrew. In 1528 he showed his interest in ethics, publishing The Parable of Wicked Mammon,64 an exposition of the parable of the unjust steward aimed at disproving the Catholic charge that justification by faith undermined good works. In the same year he also published The Obedience of a Christian Man,65 which urged submission to those in authority where this did not contradict the Word of God. Inspired by a particular interpretation of the Fourth Commandment, this was to prove important in mediating a Lutheran-inspired doctrine of obedience to the England of the 1530s, with important implications for the understanding of royal sovereignty, as Richard Rex has shown.66 As Tyndale continued to translate the Bible, he came to accept a covenant theology that, rather than marking a complete break with Luther (which had been maintained by Clebsch), does not seem to have been at odds with his earlier concerns (as has been argued by Trueman and Whiting): as he matured he borrowed from a variety of sources, including Luther and Erasmus, in order to “establish the ethical concerns of humanism.”67 These eventually cost him his life in Antwerp in 1536.

On Christmas Eve 1525, the Augustinian prior Robert Barnes, who had earlier studied at Louvain, where he had imbibed the new learning,68 preached a sermon at St Edward’s Church, Cambridge, with a decided anti-clerical content (without much specifically Lutheran doctrine).69 John Foxe claimed that he was “mighty in the Scriptures, preaching ever against bishops and hypocrites” and that he was converted by Thomas Bilney.70 At this stage he had come to accept justification by faith and other key reformation teachings, although he still maintained the primacy of the pope.71 It is also likely that he spoke out against suing fellow Christians before the civil magistracy, which smacked on Anabaptist heresy.72 This was enough to secure Barnes’s arrest, with Wolsey examining for heresy on February 8, 1526. Barnes was accused of preaching a sermon more fit for the “stage than in a pulpit.”73 After the trial he recanted and did public penance at Paul’s Cross in London carrying a bundle of sticks as a sign of the charge of heresy.74 This was followed by a period in the Fleet Prison and house arrest. At this time Wolsey was campaigning vigorously against Luther, asking the Bishop of Lincoln to arrange for a book burning, at which an anti-Lutheran sermon was preached by John Fisher.75

After faking his suicide, Barnes left England and was in Wittenberg by mid-1530, where he produced his anonymous first work, which sought to prove nineteen assertions using patristic sources and was dedicated to Johannes Bugenhagen.76 This book disturbed Stephen Vaughan, Thomas Cromwell’s agent: “Such a piece of work as yet I have not seen one like to it: I think he shall seal it with his blood.”77 In November 1531 he published A supplicacion vnto the most gracyous prynce Henry the viij,78 with a significantly revised version published in London in 153479 from which he omitted references that questioned the king’s supremacy as well as other portions which Clebsch claimed marked a departure from a Lutheran doctrine of justification (although this has been questioned by Trueman).80 Through this period Barnes was embroiled in Henry’s quest for an annulment and acted a mediator with Luther, whose opinion had been sought on the great matter. He returned with Luther’s letter to England under safe conduct to meet the king in December 1531 (which is discussed in “The King’s Annulment and Early Translations”). Barnes’s works display a strong affinity with Lutheran themes: his stress on faith and predestination in many ways resembles Luther’s Bondage of the Will, although, as Trueman convincingly shows, the influence of Augustine means he differs over the Fall and the Law.81 His influence remained important even after his death.82

The final example of a Lutheran-inspired theologians is John Frith, who was another of the Cambridge “Little Germany” circle and was later made a junior canon of Wolsey’s Oxford foundation, Cardinal College, in December 1525.83 It was clear that by 1528 a group at the college was reading proscribed books by a range of reformers including Luther,84 which led Wolsey to charge them with heresy. They were imprisoned in the fish cellar, where several died. Frith escaped to the Continent toward the end of 1528, where he conversed with Tyndale. He was in Marburg, where he published a translation, Patricks Places,85 of the doctoral disputation theses of Patrick Hamilton, a Scotsman who displayed clear Lutheran tendencies (discussed in the “Scotland”).86 Frith does not seem to have been in Wittenberg but was clearly a sympathizer with Luther, publishing a translation of Luther’s On the Antichrist in Antwerp in 1529,87 which was one of the first translations of Luther’s work and which included a lengthy introductory epistle. He also published the Lutheran-inspired A Disputation of Purgatory two years later,88 although later he seems to have moved toward a more Reformed position.89 He returned to England in 1531 and was promptly imprisoned.90 On release he fled to the Continent but returned in 1532 after More’s resignation as chancellor but was again arrested. He was condemned for denying purgatory as well as the bodily presence of Christ at the Eucharist, which indicates that he had departed from Lutheran theology in this area by this stage. He was executed on July 4, 1533. His Christocentric theology of salvation and atonement,91 however, shows a clear affinity to Luther. Like Tyndale he developed a position that synthesized a number of different positions: Luther was a man of ideas which could be used, molded, and shaped for particular purposes, rather than a master to be slavishly followed.


Patrick Hamilton became the most important Scottish example of a Lutheran-inspired theologian chiefly on account of Frith’s translation of his doctoral disputation, which became “a lasting contribution to English-speaking Christianity.”92 It is difficult to assess the beginnings of the spread of Luther’s ideas in Scotland, although it is unlikely to have been as great as John Knox claimed in his History of the Reformation.93 A Frenchman named de la Tour, who was executed in 1527 on his return to France, was working for the Duke of Albany in 1523, but there is little evidence as to his influence. Hamilton had benefitted from one of the obvious ecclesiastical abuses of the time by becoming titular abbot of Ferne at the age of fourteen. After studying in Paris, he entered St Andrews University in 1523, where he campaigned against ecclesiastical abuses. Although there is no evidence as to Lutheran convictions, the charge of Lutheranism was leveled against him. James Beaton, archbishop of St Andrews, forced him into exile. He fled to Wittenberg in 1527 before moving to Marburg, where he received protection from Francis Lambert, a former Franciscan from Avignon.94 His doctoral disputation, Patrick’s Places, shows the strong influence of Luther’s Freedom of a Christian Man (1520) and Defense and Explanation of All the Articles (1521) as well as Melanchthon’s Loci Communes and Tyndale’s Parable of the Wicked Mammon. Frith had called the work the “pith of all divinity” for its brief exposition of the central Lutheran themes of law and gospel and its emphasis on justification by faith. Of the eighteen theses, eight related to the law and ten to the gospel. The law commanded the impossible, whereas “faith alone makes a man” righteous.95 His work may lack originality, but it remained influential as a short introduction to Lutheran ideas, and it lies behind John Gough’s primer of 1536.96 Frith was, as his biographer, commented, “a Lutheran, not a Luther.”97

Hamilton returned to Scotland in the autumn of 1527 and was charged by Archbishop Beaton with heresy. Alexander Alan (Alesius) was commissioned to confute him but came to share Hamilton’s opinions, spending much of the rest of his life in Germany, but was also involved in the English reformation during the 1530s.98 Hamilton was charged with teaching justification by faith and denying free will and was sentenced to death by burning. He attacked purgatory and image worship and continued to call the pope the antichrist, also affirming his belief in a vernacular Bible so that people could “know their sins and repent of the same, whereby they may amend their lives by faith and repentance and come to the mercy of God by Jesus.”99 Refusing to recant, he is reported to have said: “As to my confession, I will not deny it for the fear of your fire, for my confession and belief is in Christ Jesus. … I will rather be content that my body burn in this fire for the confession of my faith in Christ, than my soul should burn in the fire of hell for denying the same.”100 He was executed on February 29, 1528. After Hamilton’s death, persecution of reformers continued. Hamilton’s sister Catherine appeared before a tribunal at Holyrood, although she recanted. Many others fled the country, including Alesius and George Wishart. By the time of George Wishart’s return and execution in 1546, shortly before Cardinal Beaton’s assassination, Scottish theology had begun to move on significantly. John Knox, while influenced by Hamilton, steered the Scottish reformation in a very different and more radical direction.

The King’s Annulment and Early Translations

During the late 1520s and early 1530s Henry VIII sought opinions in support of his case for the annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. While the complex diplomacy and politics of the situation are beyond the scope of this article, what is of interest is the request to Luther for his opinion: even supportive heretics could be of use to him. It was also no coincidence that overtures were being made by the princes in the Schmalkaldic League for support from Henry.101 Thus, only five years after the vitriol that Henry had poured on Luther in his reply to Luther’s letter of “apology,” he chose Robert Barnes—himself under suspicion from More102—to press his case in Wittenberg.103 Even though some of the king’s advisers were less willing to fraternize with heretics, it marked something of a change of policy on the king’s part: as late as 1531 an Antwerp printer, Christopher van Endhoven, had died in a Westminster prison for selling Tyndale’s New Testament. Several others, including Bilney, were also killed. In 1532 Henry had Luther’s apologetic letter republished and blamed Wolsey for persuading him to write his tract against the Babylonian Captivity of the Church.104 Barnes, who maintained an overwhelming sense of obedience to his king, visited Philip of Hesse to help press the case. However, Luther’s lengthy decision, dated September 3, 1531, and delivered to Barnes, was unequivocal: “On no account can [the king] separate himself from his queen (his brother’s wife).” For Luther, the pope’s original dispensation allowing for the marriage was absolutely binding: the queen would remain the queen whatever happened in the matter of divorce. She could not be tainted with the charge of incest, which would be the case if the marriage was annulled.105 Further discussions with Luther about the divorce continued later into the decade during the embassies of the English theologians; he remained unwavering on the subject, refusing to consider the subject further.106 However, he admitted to feeling a degree of sympathy with the king, who had been “tossed about” by the pope “in such a fashion that I feel almost inclined to excuse the King personally; and yet I cannot consent to his cause.”107

After delivering Luther’s judgement, Barnes returned to the Continent and after a spell in Hamburg matriculated at Wittenberg during a period when Henry’s diplomacy was moving swiftly as he sought for allies. Luther’s views were also beginning to be translated into English. The first translation seems to be a version of his sermon on 1 Corinthians 7 appended to a translation of Erasmus by “Hans Luft,” which may have been a pseudonym for Tyndale.108 Several primers used Lutheran prayers and doctrinal statements,109 including William Marshall’s of 1534,110 which built on George Joye’s earlier Ortulus Anime, which translated Lutheran prayers from the Betbüchlein and the Kleiner Katechismus.111 The title page of the passage about the worship of images in his Goodly Primer of the following year contained the striking phrase “I doubt not but some popish doctor or peevish proctor will grunt at this treatise.”112 As completed versions of the Bible were distributed from 1535, so translations of Luther’s works began to be circulated, including Tyndale’s collaborator Miles Coverdale’s 1537 version of the sermon on the Twenty-Third Psalm of 1536113 and on the Magnificat in 1538.114 His Goostly psalmes and spirituall songes also displays the strong influence of Luther’s metrical versions of the psalms.115

Schmalkaldic Discussions

In 1534 an embassy was sent from Hamburg and Lübeck, which met in London with Henry, who objected to discussions about justification by faith and sacramental theology.116 Barnes was proving useful in brokering such meetings and returned to London in July 1535 having received the status of royal chaplain. By 1535 Henry had become increasingly interested in impressing Lutherans. Hearing that King Francis had invited Melanchthon, for whom Henry seems to have had a real respect,117 to France, he tried to persuade him to visit England. Luther supported this overture, writing to Chancellor Gregor Brück on September 12 that he thought it would cause “much trouble to the papists” in their efforts to convoke a council.118 Elector John Frederick asked that a delegation of theologians meet in Wittenberg with English theologians. In November 1535 Barnes was sent to Germany with Bishop Edward Foxe of Hereford and Nicholas Heath, at the time archdeacon of Stratford.119 On Christmas Day 1525 Philip of Hesse and the elector wrote to Henry placing conditions on the meeting: the king would be expected to promote the gospel and the Augsburg Confession, which might be modified by mutual agreement. He would also be expected to raise one hundred thousand crowns for the league. The king’s answer reached Wittenberg on March 12, 1536, in which he addressed the point about accepting the Augsburg Confession: “He will and has long since minded to set forth true and sincere doctrine.” He could accept nothing that tied his hand: “Being a king reckoned somewhat learned … he cannot accept at any creature’s hand the observing of his and the realm’s faith.” He was, however, willing to “confer and conclude with learned men sent from them.”120

The meetings began in January 1536 and continued smoothly into March. The subject matter was thirteen doctrinal articles based on the Augsburg Confession together with four articles based on Melanchthon’s Apology.121 The German delegation included Luther, Melanchthon (whose Loci Communes had been used in preparing the articles), Bugenhagen, Caspar Cruciger, Justus Jonas, and Franz Burchard, who translated the articles into German. The English delegation, however, had made it clear from their arrival in October that they were more concerned with practical matters and were looking for concessions on communion in one kind, private Masses, monastic vows, and clerical celibacy. As the discussions went on, all these areas remained problematic. It is clear that the English ambassadors did not have the authority to agree or disagree without reference to the king. They were thus more concerned with ascertaining where the points of disagreement lay. Luther wrote to John Frederick in March: “Since they are not sure how their king will take the articles, especially the last four, they have decided to take time in which to show the same to his majesty.”122 The elector hoped that once an embassy was sent to the king from the league there would be negotiations and agreements about the so-called Wittenberg Articles.123

It is likely that the articles were brought back to England by Foxe, and many have suggested that they were the main source behind the Ten Articles produced for the English Church in 1536 and introduced by Foxe into convocation on July11.124 They were followed the following year by The Godly and Pious Institution of A Christian Man, also known as the Bishops’ Book,125 which sought to provide an explanation and which was adopted for a three-year period “without the … power and licence of your majesty.” The Ten Articles display a close affinity to aspects of Lutheran theology, including the reduction of the number of sacraments to baptism, Eucharist, and penance, “without which no man could be saved,” as well as a strong sense of real presence in the Eucharist.126 Similarly, they differentiate between “things necessary to our salvation” (the first five) and “such things as have been of a long continuance for a decent order and an honest policy … though they be not expressly commanded of God, nor necessary to our salvation” (the second five). The Bishops’ Book, while affirming the seven sacraments, moved marginally further than the articles in its teaching on justification and bears some close similarities to the Augsburg Confession.127 As a sign of what was to come, however, the Bishop’s Book was also significant in re-arranging the Ten Commandments so that the injunction against images became a commandment in its own right (which indicates a move in the direction of Reformed thought).128 The precise influence of the Wittenberg Articles is difficult to gauge. The Ten Articles are so close to other Lutheran confessions that were already in circulation that they could have been produced completely independently.129 Furthermore, Melanchthon’s Loci Communes was dedicated to Henry, who had been sent a copy, as had his archbishop in August 1535.130 McEntegart suggests that although there might have been some connection, it is “more likely that the Wittenberg articles were kept in storage until a return embassy from the League came to England to discuss them.”131 Their real importance rests in what they display about the king’s theology: he could accept much of the Lutheran doctrine but was suspicious of any changes affecting the contested points.

Early in 1538 Henry wrote to John Frederick and Philip of Hesse that he was sending Christopher Mont to discuss the matter of religion with them in the hope that the league’s promised embassy would soon be sent to England.132 He hoped that Melanchthon would be part of the commission, since he was believed to be a conciliatory figure (even though Melanchthon found the Ten Articles muddled).133 In the event, however, he did not participate, and Burchard, Georg von Boyneburg, and Friedrich Myconius formed the delegation. They brought with them a friendly letter addressed to Bishop Foxe from Luther dated May 12, 1538, where he expressed his anxiety that the intervening period of silence meant that the “progress of the Gospel had met a sad hindrance” and his hope that the messengers would return with “truly evangelical tidings” from the English Church.134 The meetings, in which Cranmer took on a prominent role, took place from June to September, the first phase focusing particularly on the issue of penitence,135 and the second on the more practical problems of the Apology, in which the king played a prominent role.136 The embassy returned home with little to show: the king’s anxieties made discussions very difficult. For Henry a political alliance was separate from a religious alliance, whereas for the Lutherans the two had to go together.137 Perhaps the most significant aspect of the discussions was the production of the Thirteen Articles, which Cranmer drew up after the king’s excommunication in 1538138 and were only rediscovered in the 19th century, but which may possibly form the basis of the Forty-Two Articles of 1553 and ultimately the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1571 (as Hardwick suggested).139

The End of Lutheran England

From mid-1538 onward things began to change rapidly: another Lutheran delegation arrived in April 1539. Learning of the agreement between the German princes and Emperor Charles V, the king felt that the Germans had no further interest in serious negotiations. Soon afterward, an Act for Abolishing Diversity in Opinions was passed, which comprised Six Articles and amounted to a return to the old religion.140 Luther observed in his table talk on July 10 that he thanked God for delivering them “from this exasperating King of England” who had adopted a title “head of the Church” that no bishop had ever used and that was to be reserved to Jesus Christ: “The devil rides the King so that he vexes and plagues Christ.” He lamented the fact that Melanchthon had dedicated his Loci Communes to Henry.141 By October 1539, Luther was certain that England was beyond hope:142 its king was little more than a stiff-necked opponent of the gospel who should be left to go his own way. He criticized Stephen Gardiner for “travel[ing] about with two unchaste women in men’s attire,” and called Henry “a dreadful tyrant who has burned two people because of the transsubstantiation.”143 He wrote to John Frederick claiming that the king was inconsistent, noting that Barnes had said repeatedly, “Our King does not care for religion and for the Gospel. … It would never have been well to make common cause with him; we would have loaded ourselves with his sins and he would have been a false friend. … Let him be a Pope as truly he is in England.”144

The final episode between Henry and the league involved the marriage negotiations with Anne of Cleves. This offered a final chance for evangelicals in England but met with failure: again the Schmalkaldic ambassadors refused to countenance any alliance without religious agreement. This led to a complete collapse of relations in the spring of 1540 and seriously weakened the authority of Cromwell, who fell from grace shortly afterward.145 The situation grew increasingly tense when in March Barnes preached openly against Stephen Gardiner, angrily “throwing his glove among the people,” as the French ambassador Charles de Marillac reported on March 7.146 Barnes was imprisoned in the Tower in April with two accomplices and a group of foreigners.147 Two days after Cromwell was executed, three heretics, including Barnes, were burned on July 30, 1540, “as detestable heretics” who “openly preached erroneous opinions and perverted many texts.”148 At the same time three Catholics were executed for treason. Luther was to supply a lengthy preface to Barnes’s work Bekanntnis des Glaubens149 eulogizing the “holy martyr Saint Robert,” who “wishe[d] to help England” and always hoped that his king would become a “good man.” In Luther’s opinion, he was executed for speaking out against the king for casting off Anne of Cleves. He lamented: “Whatever Harry wants, that must be regarded as an article of faith.”150 In the end the doctrine of obedience proved insufficient for the loyal Barnes when weighed against the higher demands of what he understood as the gospel. He was one of the very few magisterial reformers to be executed151 and one of the most important English theologians of the whole reformation period.152

Toward the end of Henry’s reign a group of influential evangelicals were forced to leave England many for southern Germany and Switzerland, where they imbibed new ideas especially on the issue of sacramental presence.153 The publication of the conservative King’s Book in 1543 as well as the Act for the Advancement of True Religion, which sought to ban the reading of the Bible among certain groups, meant that many moderate evangelicals could no longer support the king in the hope of reform.154 However, despite the many difficulties of these years, Cranmer remained resolutely Lutheran in his views until he was persuaded to adopt a significantly more memorialist understanding of sacramental presence.155 The production of the English Litany156 as well as the King’s Primer157 are evidence of a modest stripping away of some aspects of traditional piety, which helped pave the way for rapid reform in the next few years. It became clear that the acceptance of the modest changes to traditional religion of the King’s Book and the Six Articles made a return to the past increasingly untenable: enough had changed in the outward trappings of the faith to take the sting out of many of the old abuses. Nevertheless, the Mass continued to present a major problem that came to be increasingly challenged. Debate became polarized around sacramental presence, which made Lutheranism a conservative force in the face of the reformed Eucharistic doctrine maintained by those who held the power in the minority of Edward VI.158

Luther in the Reigns of Edward I and Elizabeth I

Even though there were significant and rapid changes under the new king as the church moved swiftly in the direction of reform, Lutheran ideas remained, as, for instance, in the First Book of Homilies of July 1547159 composed at the very end of Henry’s reign, in which Cranmer was clear about the doctrine of justification, which “doth come freely by the mere mercy of God.”160 Similarly, the translation of Justus Jonas’s Latin Catechism, which may well have been by Cranmer himself,161 made use of three of Justus’s sermons on baptism, confession, and the Lord’s Supper in which real presence was expounded in the Lutheran sense. Cranmer was forced to respond to criticisms by Gardiner to clarify his position, although it evidently worried others from the opposing camp: John Burcher wrote to Bullinger in October 1548: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has caused a catechism of some Lutheran opinions to be translated and published in our language. This little book has occasioned no little discord, so that fightings have frequently taken place among the common people.”162 Lutheran polemics also circulated as with The dysclosyng of the canon of ye popysh masse by “Hans Hitpricke.”163

Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles of 1553 made use of the language of the Augsburg Confession as adapted by Johannes Brenz in the conciliatory Württemberg Confession of 1552,164 much of which became the basis of the Thirty-Nine Articles; the influence of the Augsburg Confession, which had been translated in 1536,165 can be easily discerned in Articles I, II, IV, IX, XIV, XVI, XXIII, XXIV, and XXV, although several others clearly reveal sources from reformed statements of faith.166 It is clear that by the time the Articles were formulated, Lutheran theology had already been supplemented by a much more reformed understanding of the faith. In his liturgical productions Cranmer almost certainly made use of Lutheran sources, although the precise degree of borrowing is again hard to gauge.167 However, between the Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552 there was a dramatic simplification. Nevertheless, some parts resembling the Nuremberg Pia Deliberatio of 1524 were retained, as with the confirmation service, which was later attacked by Puritan opponents.168

After the brief reign of Mary, Protestantism returned under Elizabeth. There was considerable anxiety that there might be a move toward Lutheranism,169 since the queen was believed to incline toward the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Concessions were made toward a stronger assertion of the real presence in the 1559 Prayer Book with the omission of the strongly memorialist “black” rubric and with new words of administration that allowed for a latitude of interpretation. There were also more proposals for German alliances, especially with Württemberg, in what was a period of international crisis. There seemed to be a chance that the Württemberg Confession might be adopted, which disturbed reformers such as Peter Martyr, who composed his Dialogues in opposition to such a move.170 It is possible that the revision of Cranmer’s articles, which was completed by 1563, was a deliberate effort to bring them into greater conformity with Lutheran ideas, yet on the Eucharist there was no ground given: Article 28 clearly condemned ubiquity with Christ being physically in heaven. The other explicit anti-Lutheran article (29) on wicked communicants “in no wise” being “partakers of Christ” and thus denying the real presence was omitted from the final text after it had been sent for approval, presumably at the command of the queen.171 It was restored in 1571, when the articles finally received the royal assent, since the possibility of an alliance with Lutherans looked highly unlikely. Even though there remained much that stemmed from the Lutheran Reformation in the Thirty-Nine Articles in several key controversial areas, the English Church had definitively deviated from Lutheranism.

Luther in Later History

The controversies of the later Elizabethan period focused on rites and ceremonies: Lutheranism came to be seen as a conservative and even popish half-reformed religion. In the debates between conformists and puritans, for instance, Archbishop John Whitgift could say that the Church of England has refused the real presence, images, and popish apparel, which he claimed were still being used by Lutherans.172 Nevertheless, new translations of Luther were made in the later 16th century,173 many printed by the Huguenot Thomas Vautroulilier. John Foxe also tried to revive interest, devoting many pages to Luther in part four of Acts and Monuments and bringing out a Psalms commentary in 1577.174 These translations went through several editions into the next century. What is significant, as Geoffrey Elton noted, is that the works published were works of consolation rather than controversy:175 it was not until 1579 that The Freedom of a Christian Man was finally published.176

In the 17th century177 Luther continued to be understood as a pastor. Eventually his Table Talk was published in 1652 in a translation made in prison by Henry Bell that sought to expunge some of the unpalatable aspects of Luther’s thought and that was initially censored by the authorities.178 Although there were occasional uses of Luther by antinomians in the religious conflicts from the 1640s onward, Luther had faded from view sufficiently that in 1683 there were no celebrations of his birth: his legacy became ambiguous. John Troughton, for instance, a nonconformist, published a volume which bore the title Lutherus Redivivus: Or the Protestant Doctrine of Justification by Faith Onely, Vindicated (1677), since he felt the doctrine was under threat by the presence of Arminianism. Somewhat ironically, then, High Calvinist ministers had adopted Luther for their own peculiar purposes.179

There was remarkably little written about Luther in the 18th century. Famously, John Wesley notes that he was listening to a reading of Luther’s Preface to Romans when he underwent his conversion in 1738, but he does not seem to have been affected by his theology afterward. In the 19th century some Romantics paid homage to Luther, including Coleridge, who mimicked Luther’s Table Talk and felt attracted to Luther’s personality.180 Carlyle too treated Luther as a hero.181 The Oxford movement, especially Newman, campaigned against Luther’s understanding of justification by faith,182 to which Julius Hare responded with his lengthy Vindication of Luther against His Recent English Assailants.183 For the most part, at least with regard to Luther, it is the Oxford movement that has prevailed. Even where Anglicans have emphasized the Reformation, they have tended toward a Calvinist or pietist direction far removed from Luther and his teachings. For Anglican theology, and for Britain in general, Luther remains a distant figure who for the most part is unread and seldom taught.

Further Reading

Clebsch, William A. England’s Earliest Protestants. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964.Find this resource:

Doernberg, Erwin. Henry VIII and Luther: An Account of their Personal Relations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1961.Find this resource:

McEntegart, Rory. Henry VIII, the League of Schmalkalden, and the English Reformation. Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell Press for the Royal Historical Society, 2002.Find this resource:

McGoldrick, James Edward. Luther’s English Connection. Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Publishing House, 1979.Find this resource:

Rupp, E. G. Studies in the Making of the English Protestant Tradition. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1947.Find this resource:

Trueman, Carl. Luther’s Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.Find this resource:

Other Reading

Elton, Geoffrey. “Luther in England.” In Studies in Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government. Edited by G. R. Elton, 4:230–245. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Hall, Basil. “The Early Rise and Gradual Decline of Lutheranism in England 1520–1600.” Humanists and Protestants 1500–1900. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1990.Find this resource:

Horie, Hirofumi. “The Lutheran Influence on the Elizabethan Settlement, 1558–1563.” Historical Journal 34 (1991): 519–537.Find this resource:

Maas, Korey D. The Life and Theology of Robert Barnes. Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell, 2010.Find this resource:

McGoldrick, James Edward. “Patrick Hamilton, Luther’s Scottish Disciple.” Sixteenth Century Journal 18 (1987): 81–88.Find this resource:

Rex, Richard. “The English Campaign against Luther in the 1520s: The Alexander Prize Essay.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 39 (1989): 85–106.Find this resource:

Ryrie, Alec. “The Strange Death of Lutheran England.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 53 (2002): 64–92.Find this resource:

Ryrie, Alec. The Gospel and Henry VIII: Evangelicals in the Early English Reformation. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Whiting, Michael S. Luther in English: the Influence of his Theology of Law and Gospel on Early English Evangelicals, 1525–35. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2010.Find this resource:


(1.) Richard Rex, “The Crisis of Obedience: God’s Word and Henry’s Reformation,” The Historical Journal 39 (1996): 863–894, 894.

(2.) Rex, “Crisis of Obedience,” 894; see also Basil Hall, “The Early Rise and Gradual Decline of Lutheranism in England, 1520–1600,” in Humanists and Protestants, 1500–1900, ed. Basil Hall (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1990), 208–236, 213.

(3.) Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

(4.) Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), 386–391.

(5.) Erwin Doernberg, Henry VIII and Luther: An Account of their Personal Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1961), 4–5.

(6.) Charles Sturge, Cuthbert Tunstal: Churchman, Scholar, Statesman, Administrator (London: Longmans, 1938), 361–362. See also Richard Rex, “The English Campaign against Luther in the 1520s: The Alexander Prize Essay,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 39 (1989): 86; J. S. Brewer, J. Gairdner, and R. H. Brodie, eds., Calendar of Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, the Reign of Henry VIII (London: HMSO, 1862–1932), series 3, pt. 1, appendix to the preface, ccccxxxviii–ccccxxxix. References are to the online edition, available at Hereafter LP.

(7.) LP 3:1233.

(8.) LP 3:1210.

(9.) Henry Ellis, ed., Original Letters Illustrative of English History (London: Bentley, 1846), third series, 3 vols., 1:239. I have modernized the spelling. Hereafter OL.

(10.) OL 1:240–241.

(11.) The proceedings of the Commission are printed in Latin in John Strype, ed., Ecclesiastical Memorials Relating Chiefly to Religion, and the Reformation of It, and the Emergencies of the Church of England, under King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, and Queen Mary I (Oxford: Clarendon, 1822), 1.2 (appendix), 21.

(12.) “The Sermon of John the Bishop of Rochester against the Pernicious Doctrine of Martin Luther,” in The English Works of John Fisher, vol. 1, ed. J. E. B. Mayor, Early English Text Society, extra ser., 27 (London: Trübner, 1876), 327.

(13.) John Fisher, Assertionis Lutheranæ confutatio (Cologne, 1523).

(14.) Rex, “English Campaign,” 87–88.

(15.) Rex, “English Campaign,” 88–89. See also Doernberg, Henry VIII, 22.

(16.) Rex, “English Campaign,” 87. See also OL 1:245.

(17.) OL 1:245.

(18.) LP 3:1411.

(19.) LP 3:1297.

(20.) Assertorio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martin. Lutherŭ, ædita ab inuictissimo Angliæ et Franciæ rege, et do. Hiberniæ Henrico eius nominis octauo (London, 1521).

(21.) An English translation of the papal bull is included in Thomas Webster’s translation: Assertio septem sacramentorum, or An Assertion of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther (London, 1687).

(22.) LP 3:1656.

(23.) Thomas Murner, Ob der Künig vss engelland ein lügner sey oder der Luther (Strassburg, 1522).

(24.) Hieronymus Emser, trans., Schutz und handthabung der siben Sacrament wider Martinum Luther (Leipzig, 1522). See WA 10/II:175.

(25.) WA 10/II:175–222 (Latin); 223–263 (German). Selections are translated in Doernberg, Henry VIII, 33–35.

(26.) WA 10/II:228.

(27.) WA 10/II:262.

(28.) WA 10/II:182. See Doernberg, Henry VIII, 29.

(29.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 29.

(30.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 30.

(31.) WA 10/II:222; Doernberg, Henry VIII, 33.

(32.) E. G. Rupp, Studies in the Making of the English Protestant Tradition (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1947), 90.

(33.) LP 4:40.

(34.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 43.

(35.) John Fisher, Defēsio regie assertionis cōtra Babylonicā captiuitatē, per … Johānem Roffensem episcopū, in qua respondet pro … Henrico. viiij. ad maledicentissimum Martini Lutheri libellū, in eundē regē sciptū plus[̄que] impudentissime (Cologne, 1525).

(36.) WA 8:410–476.

(37.) John Fisher, Sacri Sacerdotii Defensio contra Lutherum (Cologne, 1525).

(38.) [Thomas More], Eruditissimi viri Guilielmi Rossei opus elegans, doctum … quo pulcherrime retegit, ac refellit insanas Lutheri calumnias, quibus regem Henricum eius nominis octauum … insectatur (London, 1523), cited in Richard Marius, Thomas More: A Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 345.

(39.) Cited in Rex, “English Campaign,” 100.

(40.) Johann von Eck, Asseritur hic inuictissimi Angliæ regis liber de sacramentis, a calumniis & impietatibus Ludderi (Rome, 1523).

(41.) Rupp, Studies, 91.

(42.) WA BR 3:914.

(43.) LP 4:3297.

(44.) LP 4:3261.

(45.) LP 4:2371.

(46.) A copy of the letters, wherin the most redouted [and] mighty pri[n]ce, our souerayne lorde kyng Henry the eight, kyng of Englande [and] of Frau[n]ce, defe[n]sor of the faith, and lorde of Irla[n]de: made answere vnto a certayne letter of Martyn Luther, sente vnto him by the same and also the copy of the foresaid Luthers letter, in such order, as here after foloweth (London 1527). Early English Books Online Short Title Catalogue (hereafter STC): STC 13086.5,

(47.) Ein sendbrieve Martin Luthers, an den Konig zu Engelland Heinrichen (1527); and Bekenntnis, daß er den Titel auf Luthers Sendbrief an den König zu Engeland gemacht (1527).

(48.) WA 23:26–37.

(49.) WA 23:29.

(50.) WA BR 1:183; translation in Preserved Smith, ed., Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporary Letters (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1913), 1.192–193.

(51.) John F. Davis. “The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation,” Historical Journal 24 (1981): 775–790.

(52.) John Foxe, Acts and Monuments (1877 edition), 5.415–416. Hereafter AM.

(53.) Cited in OL 1:243.

(54.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 12.

(55.) See H. S. Bennett, English Books and Readers 1475 to 1557: Being a Study in the History of the Book Trade from Caxton to the Incorporation of the Stationers’ Company (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1969), ch. 3.

(56.) See William A. Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964); James Edward McGoldrick, Luther’s English Connection (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Publishing House, 1979); and Carl Trueman, Luther’s Legacy: Salvation and English Reformers (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994).

(57.) See R. Steele, “Notes on English Books Printed Abroad, 1525–48,” Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 11 (1912): 214–215.

(58.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy.

(59.) Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants; L. J. Tinterud, “A Reappraisal of William Tyndale’s Debt to Martin Luther,” Church History 31 (1962): 24–45; and Hall, “Early Rise.”

(60.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 54.

(61.) A compendious introduccion, prologe or preface vn to the pistle off Paul to the Romayns (Worms, 1526), STC 24438; also in The Works of William Tyndale, 3 vols. (London: Parker Society, 1848), 1.7–28.

(62.) Cited in Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 146.

(63.) It was published in London in 1564 as William Tyndale, A compendious introduction, prologue, or preface vnto the Epistle to the Romains, STC 24438.5.

(64.) That fayth the mother of all good workes iustifieth us before we ca[n] bringe forth anye good worke (Antwerp, 1528), STC 24454. Also in Works of William Tyndale, 1.29–126.

(65.) The obedie[n]ce of a Christen man and how Christe[n] rulers ought to governe, where in also (if thou marke diligently) thou shalt fynde eyes to perceave the crafty conveyance of all iugglers (Antwerp, 1528), STC 24446. Also in Works of William Tyndale, 1.127–344.

(66.) Rex, “Crisis of Obedience,” esp. 865–869.

(67.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 120. See also Michael S. Whiting, Luther in English: The Influence of His Theology of Law and Gospel on Early English Evangelicals, 1525–35 (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2010), 5–6.

(68.) Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 43. On Barnes, see Korey D. Maas, The Life and Theology of Robert Barnes (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell, 2010).

(69.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 51.

(70.) AM 5.415; Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 44–49.

(71.) AM 4.649–650.

(72.) James Arthur Muller, ed., The Letters of Stephen Gardiner (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1933), 166.

(73.) AM 5.416.

(74.) See Allen G. Chester, “Robert Barnes and the Burning of the Books,” Huntington Library Quarterly 14 (1951): 211.

(75.) LP 4:995.

(76.) Sentenciae ex doctoribus collectae, quas papistae valde impudenter hodie damnant (Wittenberg, 1530).

(77.) Cited in Rupp, Studies, 40.

(78.) A supplicacion vnto the most gracyous prynce Henry the viij (Antwerp, 1531), STC 1470.

(79.) STC 1471.

(80.) Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 65–66; and Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 190–194.

(81.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 196.

(82.) Maas, Barnes, 167–226.

(83.) See Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 14–17; 121–155; Brian Raynor, John Frith, Scholar and Martyr: A Biography (Sevenoaks, U.K.: Pond, 2000); and N. T. Wright, The Work of John Frith (Appleford, U.K.: Sutton Courtenay, 1978).

(84.) The list is in AM 5, appendix 6.

(85.) Dyuers frutefull gatherynges of scripture: And declaryng of fayth [et] works (London, 1532). STC 12731.6.

(86.) James Edward McGoldrick, “Patrick Hamilton, Luther’s Scottish Disciple,” Sixteenth Century Journal 18 (1987): 81–88; see Peter Lorimer, Patrick Hamilton: The First Preacher and Martyr of the Scottish Reformation (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable, 1857).

(87.) John Frith, A pistle to the Christen reader The revelation of Antichrist. Antithesis, wherin are compared to geder Christes actes and oure holye father the Popes (Antwerp, 1529), STC 11394.

(88.) John Frith, A disputacio[n] of purgatorye made by Ioh[a]n Frith which is deuided in to thre bokes. The first boke is an answere vnto Rastell, which goeth aboute to proue purgatorye by naturall phylosophye. The seconde boke answereth vnto Sir Thomas More, which laboureth to proue purgatorye by scripture. The thirde boke maketh answere vnto my lorde of Rochestre which most leaneth vnto the doctoures Assertionis Lutheranae confutatio Assertionis Lutheranae confutatio (Antwerp, 1531?), STC 11386.5. The text was also published by Foxe: AM 4, 563–571.

(89.) Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 117–136.

(90.) AM 5.5–6.

(91.) Trueman, Luther’s Legacy, 136–137, 143–150.

(92.) Clebsch, England’s Earliest Protestants, 82.

(93.) John Knox, History of the Reformation in Scotland (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), 1.15.

(94.) Roy Lutz Winters, Francis Lambert of Avignon, 1487–1530: A Study in Reformation Origins (Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publishing House, 1938).

(95.) AM 4.565.

(96.) The prymer of Salysbery use, bothe in Englyshe and in Laten (Antwerp, 1536), STC 15992.

(97.) Lorimer, Patrick Hamilton, 159.

(98.) John T. McNeill, “Alexander Alesius, Scottish Lutheran (1560–65),” Archiv für Reformationsgechichte/Archive for Reformation History 55 (1964): 161–191.

(99.) Robert Lindesay of Piscotie, The History and Chronicles of Scotland, ed. Aneas J. G. McKay, 3 vols. (New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1966), 1.308.

(100.) Lindesay of Piscotie, History, 1.308.

(101.) See Rory McEntegart, Henry VIII, the League of Schmalkalden, and the English Reformation (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell Press for the Royal Historical Society, 2002); and Friedrich Prüser, England und die Schmalkaldener, 1535–1540 (Leipzig: M. Heinsius, 1929).

(102.) See Rupp, Studies, 40–41.

(103.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 84–93.

(104.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 102.

(105.) WA BR 6:1861a and b. Translated in Doernberg, Henry VIII, 84–93.

(106.) Luther to John Frederick, January 11, 1536, WA BR 7:2283.

(107.) Luther to Caspar Müller, January 19, 1536, WA BR 7:2287.

(108.) An exhortation to the diligent studye of scripture, made by Erasmus Roterodamus. And tra[n]slated in to inglissh. An exposition in to the seventh chaptre of the first pistle to the Corinthians (Antwerp, 1529), STC 10493.

(109.) C. C. Butterworth, The English Primers, 1529–1545 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953).

(110.) A prymer in Englyshe with certeyn prayers [et] godly meditations, very necessary for all people that vnderstonde not the Latyne tongue. Cum priuilegio regali (London, 1534), STC 15986.

(111.) Butterworth, English Primers, 61.

(112.) A goodly prymer in englyshe, newly corrected and printed with certeyne godly meditations and prayers added to the same, very necessarie [and] profitable for all them that ryghte assuredly vnderstande not ye latine [and] greke tongues (London, 1535), STC 15988.

(113.) A very excellent and s[weete] exposition vpon the [two &] twentye Psalmes [of] Dauid called in latyn Dominus regit me (Southwark, 1537), STC 16999.

(114.) John Hollybush [pseud.], An exposicion vpon the songe of the blessed virgine Mary, called Magnificat Where vnto are added the songes of Salue regina, Benedictus and Nu[n]c dimittis (Southwark, 1538), STC 16979.7.

(115.) Goostly psalmes and spirituall songes drawen out of the holy Scripture, for the co[m]forte and consolacyon of soch as loue to reioyse in God and his Worde (London, 1535), STC 5892.

(116.) LP 8:871, 874.

(117.) MacCulloch, Cranmer, 137–138. See also John Schofield, Philip Melanchthon and the English Reformation (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2006), 57–67.

(118.) WA BR 7:2241.

(119.) John Stephenson, “Wittenberg and Canterbury,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 48 (1984): 165–184.

(120.) LP 9:1016.

(121.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 51–61.

(122.) WA BR 7:383.

(123.) Georg Mentz, ed., Die Wittenberger Artikel con I536 (Artikel der cristlichen lahr, von welchen die legatten aus Engelland mit dem herrn doctor Martnio gehandelt anno 1536) (Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968), 48–49.

(124.) Including J. J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1968), 402. Others, such as A. G. Dickens, in Thomas Cromwell and the English Reformation (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1977, 142), are more circumspect.

(125.) “The Institution of a Christian Man” in Formularies of Faith Put Forth by Authority during the Reign of Henry VIII, ed. Charles Lloyd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1856), 21–211.

(126.) G. W. Bernard, “The Making of Religious Policy, 1533–1546: Henry VIII and the Search for the Middle Way,” Historical Journal 41 (1998): 336.

(127.) H. E. Jacobs, The Lutheran Movement in England (Philadelphia: Frederick, 1890), 109.

(128.) Alec Ryrie, “The Strange Death of Lutheran England,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 53 (2002): 82.

(129.) Richard Rex, Henry VIII and the English Reformation (Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan, 1993), 146–147.

(130.) LP 9:223–225.

(131.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 60.

(132.) LP 9:153. See McEntegart, Henry VIII, 77–130. Schofield, Melanchthon, 90–112.

(133.) Doernberg, Henry VIII, 112. On Melanchthon, see Schofield, Melanchthon, 68–82.

(134.) WA BR 8:3228.

(135.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 111–113.

(136.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 115–127.

(137.) LP 13:497.

(138.) See Gerald Bray, ed., Documents of the English Reformation (Cambridge, U.K.: Lutterworth, 1994).

(139.) Charles Hardwick, A History of the Articles of Religion, 3d ed. (London: Bell, 1884), appendix 2. As with the Ten Articles, however, it is just as likely, as McEntegart suggests (Henry VIII, 114), that Cranmer drew on public confessions in drawing up the Forty-Two Articles.

(140.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 149–166.

(141.) WA TR 4:4699; LW 14:362–2. See further McEntegart, Henry VIII, 167–202.

(142.) Letter to Bucer, October 14, 1540, WA BR 8:3394.

(143.) Letter from Luther and others to John Frederick, October 23, 1540, WA BR 8:3396.

(144.) Letter from Luther and to John Frederick, October 23, 1540, WA BR 8:3397.

(145.) McEntegart, Henry VIII, 177–189.

(146.) LP 15:306.

(147.) LP 15:485.

(148.) LP 15:495, 498.

(149.) Bekantnus des Glaubens: die Robertus Barns: der Heiligen Schrifft Doctor (jnn deudschem Lande D. Antonius genent) zu Lunden jnn Engelland gethan hat. Anno M.D.xl. am xxx. tag des Monats Julij, da er zum Fewer one vrteil vnd recht, vnschuldig, vnuerhörter sach, gefurt vnd verbrant worden ist. Aus der englischen sprach verdeudscht (Wittenberg, 1540).

(150.) WA 51:449–451.

(151.) Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Putting the Reformation on the Map,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 15 (2005): 81.

(152.) Maas, Barnes, esp. 222–226.

(153.) Ryrie, “Strange Death,” 79. On this period, see Alec Ryrie, The Gospel and Henry VIII: Evangelicals in the Early English Reformation (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

(154.) Ryrie, “Strange Death,” 87.

(155.) MacCulloch, Cranmer, 338–347.

(156.) An exhortation vnto prayer thought mete by the kinges maiestie, and his clergy, to be read to the people in euery church afore processyions. Also a letanie with suffrages to be said or song in the tyme of the said processyons (London, 1544), STC 10620.

(157.) The primer in Englishe [and] Latin, set forth by the kynges maieste [and] his clergie to be taught learned, and read: and none other to be vsed throughout all his dominions (London, 1546), STC 16046.

(158.) Ryrie, “Strange Death,” 92.

(159.) Certayne sermons, or Homelies appoynted by the Kynges Maiestie, to bee declared and redde, by all persons, vicares, or curates, euery Sondaye in their churches, where they haue cure (London, 1547), STC 13639.5.

(160.) “A Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind, by only Christ our Saviour, from Sin and Death Everlasting,” in Certain Sermons or Homilies Appointed to be Read in Churches in the Time of the Late Queen Elizabeth of Famous Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1840), 23.

(161.) Cathechismvs, that is to say a shorte instruction into Christian religion for the synguler commoditie and profyte of childre and yong people. Set forth by the mooste reuerende father in God Thomas Archbyshop of Canterbury, primate of all England and Metropolitan (London, 1548), STC 5992.5.

(162.) OL 2:643.

(163.) The dysclosyng of the canon of ye popysh masse with a sermon annexed vnto it of ye famous clerke of worthy memorye. D Marten Luther (London, 1548), STC 17626.

(164.) Martin Brecht und Hermann Ehmer, eds., Confessio Virtembergica: Das württembergische Bekenntnis von 1552 (Holzgerlingen, Germany: Hänssler, 1999), 139–190.

(165.) Richard Taverner, The confessyon of the fayth of the Germaynes exhibited to the moste victorious Emperour Charles the. v. in the Councell or assemble holden at Augusta the yere of our Lorde. 1530. To which is added the apologie of Melancthon who defendeth with reasons inuincible the aforesayde confesyon (London, 1536), STC 908.

(166.) W. J. Torrance Kirby, “The Articles of Religion of the Church of England (1563/1571) commonly called the ‘Thirty-Nine Articles,’” in Reformierte Bekenntnisschriften, ed. Eberhard Busch and Mihály Bucsay, vol. 2/1 (Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008). This contains a critical edition of the text in both Latin and English. See Jacobs, Lutheran Movement, ch. 27. See also Gerald Bray, ed., Tudor Church Reform: The Henrician Canons of 1535 and the Reformatio legum Ecclesiasticarum (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell, 2000); and Edward Cardwell, ed., Synodalia: A Collection of Articles of Religion, Canons, and Proceedings of Convocations in the Province of Canterbury from the year 1547 to the year 1717, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1842).

(167.) Jacobs, Lutheran Movement, 218–282.

(168.) Hall, “Early Rise,” 226–228.

(169.) See Hirofumi Horie, “The Lutheran Influence on the Elizabethan Settlement, 1558–1563,” Historical Journal 34 (1991): 519–537, esp. 519.

(170.) Horie, “Lutheran Influence,” 530.

(171.) Horie, “Lutheran Influence,” 534; William P. Haugaard, Elizabeth and the English Reformation: The Struggle for a Stable Settlement of Religion (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 253–254.

(172.) John Whitgift, The works of John Whitgift, D.D., Master of Trinity College, Dean of Lincoln, &c. Afterwards Successively Bishop of Worcester and Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. John Ayre, 3 vols. (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press for the Parker Society, 1851–1853), 3.549–550.

(173.) For example: An exposition of Salomons booke called Ecclesiastes or the preacher. Seene and allowed (London, 1573), STC 16979; A very comfortable and necessary sermon in these our dayes made by the right reuerend father and faithfull seruaunt of Iesus Christ Martin Luther; concerning the comming of our Sauior Christ to Iudgement and the signes that go before the Last Day, which sermon is an exposition of the Gospell appointed to be red in the church on the second Sonday in Aduent (London, 1570), STC 16997.5; and A commentarie of M. Doctor Martin Luther vpon the Epistle of S. Paul to the Galathians first collected and gathered vvord by vvord out of his preaching, STC 16965.

(174.) A commentarie vpon the fiftene Psalmes, called Psalmi Graduum, that is, Psalmes of Degrees: faithfully copied out of the lectures of D. Martin Luther, very frutefull and comfortable for all Christian afflicted consciences to reade (London, 1577), STC 16975.5.

(175.) Geoffrey Elton, “Luther in England,” in Studies in Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government, ed. G. R. Elton, 4 vols. (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 4.237–238. See esp. A right comfortable treatise containing fourteene pointes of consolation for them that labor and are laden: VVritten by D. Martin Luther to Prince Friderik Duke of Saxonie, he being sore sicke, thereby to comfort him in the time of his great distresse (London, 1578), STC 16989.

(176.) A treatise, touching the libertie of a Christian. Written in Latin by Doctor Martine Luther (London, 1579), STC 16995.

(177.) J. Wayne Baker, “Sola Gratia: The Battle for Luther in Seventeenth-Century England,” Sixteenth Century Journal 16 (1985): 115–133.

(178.) See Preserved Smith, “English Opinion of Luther,” Harvard Theological Review 10 (1917): 140. Henry Bell, Doctoris Martini Lutheri Colloquia mensalia, or Dr. Martin Luther’s divine discourses at his table, &c., which in his life time hee held with divers learned men (London, 1652).

(179.) Baker, “Sola Gratia,” 133.

(180.) Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Specimens of Table-Talk (London: John Murray, 1835).

(181.) Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (London: Chapman & Hall, 1840), 107–132.

(182.) John Henry Newman, Lectures on Justification (London: Rivington, 1838).

(183.) Julius Hare, Vindication of Luther against His Recent English Assailants (Cambridge, U.K.: Macmillan, 1855).