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L. I: To understand the events that led to England’s religious break with Rome and the consequences of this

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L.I: To understand the events that led to England’s religious break with Rome and the consequences of this.
Lesson one of two


  • Martin Luther’s book titled DE Captivitate Babylonica

  • Henry VIII book titled Assetio Septem Sacramentorum

  • Fames made from tissue paper.

  • Sash saying defender of the faith.

  • Love letter to Anne

  • Sash stating Act of Supremacy


  • One child to act as a servant who will sit next to the teacher and give out props to characters.

  • Martin Luther

  • Henry VIII

  • Catherine of Aragon

  • Pope

  • Anne Boleyn

  • Lord Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey

  • Thomas Cranmer

  • Thomas Cromwell

  • Various chn to act as rebels, protestants, monks etc

There are questions throughout for the class to answer/discuss, use-talking partners before sharing responses with the class.

Denotes an action is to take place e.g a character asked to stand, move or is given a prop.

Denotes a line a character is to repeat after the teacher (with obvious gusto and dramatic acting)


Sit chn in a circle and state the L.I. Tell Chn they must be ready for questions throughout.

It is 1520. At this time Henry VIII was on the throne and was a very religious man following the Catholic teachings of the Pope in Rome. Ask what do we know about Henry VIII already. Target different aspects of Henry’s life to different parts of the circle. Include; what were his pastimes, marriage, who was his father, how did he come to the throne? What do we know about his marriage? What do you think his personality was like? Discuss and share.
Finally, ask, what was the most important thing he felt he needed? Come to the conclusion that it was a son. Tell chn that this lesson will teach the chn the extreme lengths he went to for this at the cost of many lives. Refer back to the L.I stating that his desperation for a son led to England’s religious break with Rome and the destruction of the monasteries in England.
Chn sit in circle. Split the circle in half. Half will be Protestants and the other half Catholics. (Cheer for own side and hiss to the opposition.) Protestants were named Protestants because they ‘protested’ against some of the catholic teachings’ (Catholics hiss at Protestants and vice versa)

Our tale begins in 1520 with a man named Martin Luther

(Choose Martin to stand preferably from Protestant side and give him the book prop) he expressed the views of the protestants (hiss Catholics) in his booked named DE Captivitate Babylonica (servant give book prop).
Henry VIII, a Catholic read this and was outraged

Henry stands with hands on hips repeats I am outraged I shall write my own book opposing this.

So he wrote Assetio Septem Sacramentorum (Servant gives him prop)

Henry repeats this book shows that Luther’s ideas were rubbish. I demand all of his books are burned.
Catholics chant ‘burn the book, burn the burn, burn the book’. One catholic take the book throws it on the floor and stamps on it. The servant places the flames on it. Catholics cheer, Protestants hiss.
News reaches the pope in Rome who is head of the catholic Church.

Choose Pope to stand he rubs his hands together.

Get him to repeat: I am very pleased with Henry king of England (Catholics cheer) I think I will give him a new title he will be known as the ‘Defender of the faith

(servant gives him a sash, Henry wears it).

All is well for a time between Henry and the Pope (get them to walk around circle with Pope patting Henry on the back.) Whilst the characters are doing this ask; What do you think this title means? How would other Catholic countries view the relationship between the King of England and the Pope? Ask SEN do you think this makes Henry look powerful or weak?

Main section
Time moves on (Pope and Henry back to places) it is now 1527, how many more years is that later? Henry is still married to his first wife. Choose Catherine to stand next to Henry.

Ask: who is this? Catherine of Aragon. Where is she from? Spain, a very Catholic country with an extremely powerful and faithful Catholic king. She is now 42. Has she had any chn? Can she have anymore? Why is having only a girl a problem for Henry? What do you think is going through his mind? Yes, he needs a son. What does he need to do? What do you think he does next?

Ask for Anne to stand.
Henry writes a letter to Anne stating (servant takes letter to Henry) he reads the letter I wish you were in mine arms or I in yours, for I think it is a long time since we kissed’. Catherine pretends to faint.
Anne repeats the following. I believe the king loves me but I will not be his mistress I shall only be his wife. Ask: What does the King do now? Ask chn to discuss what they think will happen. Share

Henry decides he must divorce Catherine he repeats. I will divorce Catherine.

Catherine repeats No never I have been loyal for 21 years.

Catherine stamps her feet and repeats You can only divorce me if the Pope allows it.

(Catholics shout HA! And point at the king)

Then Catherine repeats The Pope will not allow it as he is a Catholic and it is against our religion

Catholics again shout HA!
Henry repeats: I will send my Lord Chancellor. Ask chn, why does Henry think the Pope will agree to his divorce?

Choose Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey to stand and give him a money bag and picture of Hampton court.

He repeats: I am the second most powerful man in England, I am rich and own the beautiful Hampton court I am so clever, I will convince the Pope. (Catholics boo)

Henry repeats: he will convince the Pope or his head will roll!

Chancellor shakes.
Wolsey reasons and begs with the Pope (Walk round in circle pretending to reason)

Pope shouts; NO! I will not allow it. It’s against the church and the king of Spain is Catherines nephew, he will be furious and show great anger towards me.
Wolsey goes back to Henry repeats: Sorry he refused.

Henry repeats: It is the year 1529, I have made you powerful, look how you repay me. Now you are sacked, give me all your money and your Palace Hampton court to me now. Go, or I will chop your block off! (Wolsey runs off and sits down in his place).
(Henry walks around in circle)
Ask chn with partners recount the events so far. Allow a few minutes then ask pairs to share the story step by step.
It is now that Henry changes the lives for every person living in England and ultimately causes death for many in his Kingdom. He decided to take the English church away from the Pope and declared himself Head of the Church of England.
Henry repeats and shouts. I am Henry VIII Supreme Head of the church of England the Pope has no godly power in England anymore.
Everyone puts hands on cheeks and exclaims shock
He appointed Thomas Cranmer (choose and get him to stand)

Henry repeats Thomas Cranmer you are now my Archbishop of Canterbury

Cranmer repeats: Thanks I am the most powerful person in England after the King
Ask chn Can you guess what the King made his first job?
Henry repeats; Cranmer give me a divorce so I can marry Anne.

Cranmer repeats: Certainly your Lordship

Henry repeats: Better make it quick Anne is already pregnant.
Henry decided there should not be any mention of the Pope in any English prayer books

He ordered Parish priests to cross out words about the Pope in all the Bibles.

He did not want to change the teachings just change that he was Head of the church and not the Pope. He also decided that all people should swear an oath to him as head of church. He made this a law called the Act of Supremacy. Servant replace sash with one stating Act of Supremacy
Get half chn to swear an Oath and others to stay quiet.
Henry repeats: All those who do not swear the oath will be beheaded!
Ask chn Did this leave the people much choice? What would you do in this situation?
This is not all the king did. With the changes of the church came the destruction of the monasteries. How do you think a monk and Nun would live in a monastery? Chn discuss and share.

Choose Thomas Cromwell to stand.

Henry repeats: Thomas Cromwell I demand you go to all the monasteries and check that the monks and Nuns are living as they should.

Thomas. Okay dokey.

Henry repeats: take any extra money and jewels and kill anyone who will not bow to me as supreme Head of the church of England!

Thomas repeats: |I will smash statues, burn books and hang anyone who disagrees.

Many monks were killed and the monasteries were stripped bare. A group of people in the north rebelled against what was happening and were angry that the king was charging such high taxes to make himself rich.

Get a group of chn to stand they chant: Lower taxes leave our monasteries and monks alone (repeat).

Thomas repeats you shall all die in the name of the king.
It was a common sight in the north of England to see corpses hanging from gibbets (similar to a cross) throughout Henry’s reign. Henry and Cromwell continued to close down all the Monasteries and religious shrines. By the end of 1540 he had shut them all. The king had taken all the land, money and goods. He used this new wealth to fight unsuccessful wars.
The changes Henry created were a test for years and years to come for the people of England, many lost their lives over the question of religion and lived in fear.

Anne Boleyn’s reign lasted only three years, she produced one daughter and was beheaded, accused of adultery.


Ask chn to re-cap with their partner the events from the point of Henry’s divorce. What were their opinions? Do you think he was justified, why?

SEN questions: Who did they like? Who did they dislike? Why? Do you think Henry was right to do what he did?
Now ask how many lives did Henry affect with his Act of Supremacy. Allow chn to discuss with partners and then share with class. C.T list on paper or mini w/b ;

  • Martin Luther

  • Henry VIII

  • Catherine of Aragon

  • Pope

  • Anne Boleyn

  • Lord Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey

  • Thomas Cranmer

  • Thomas Cromwell

  • Nuns, monks, people of England

Explain to chn that the next part of this lesson will be looking at the events discovered today from one of these characters points of view with the chn taking on the role of one of these characters.

Lesson two

L.I: To understand the events that led to England’s religious break with Rome and the consequences of this.

L.I: To understand points of view of characters in history and the reasons for their actions.


Sugar paper



  • Split chn into 8 mixed ability groups.

  • Ask for main characters chn decided were key in the Dissolution of the monasteries (Chn gave these at the end of previous lesson Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Pope, Anne Boleyn, Lord Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Cromwell, Nuns, monks, people of England- one group)

  • Allocate a character to each group

  • On sugar paper chn list in bullet points answers to the following questions. (These could be written on card for each table or on whiteboard). Who were they? What did you want Why? Where did they fit into Henry plan? Why? What did they have to do? Why? What happened to them? Why? (Allow 5 –10 minutes).

  • One member from each group shares their character with the class and the information they collected. Ask other groups if there is any additional info that could be added (gps do this accordingly).

  • C.T choose one character. Ask class what emotions do you think this character went through? How do you think they felt about the position they were put in? Scared, happy, sad, think Why to all of these emotions. Chn discuss these with partners and then to the class. C.T list ideas on main whiteboard

  • Now ask each group to do this for their character and record on their sugar paper.

  • C.T and T.A to go around groups and support and draw out ideas.

  • Ask volunteers to share ideas with class.


  • Chn now have a glossary of information, which they will use in their independent activity.

  • Their task is to put forward their point of view/argument against/for the way they were treated by Henry VIII at this time in history. The group acting as Henry VIII will put forward his reasons why he thought he was right to act as he did.

  • Groups work together to write a short speech. Each speech should follow the following

  • Success criteria

  • 5w’s (who, they are, where they are from, when it took place, why they were involved)

  • What did they want? Why?

  • What happened to them? Why?

  • How they felt about this? Why?

  • What was the conclusion to their involvement?

  • Allow chn 15-20 minutes to plan, rehearse their speeches.

  • One member from each group reads the speech (or chn can share it) to the rest of the class.


  • Ask chn, does finding out more about the individual characters and understanding their actions change your opinions about them? Ask chn to discuss and then share.

  • Ask chn think back to the questions we asked about the characters at the end of the last session. Has anyone changed their mind about their answers? Discuss and share why.

  • Why is it important to look at different characters and reasons for their actions in history?

NOTE: Chn each write up a copy of their groups speech during a handwriting session. These will be placed in topic books

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