England, Ireland and Scotland became a battleground for belief.
Religious change ebbed and flowed. Catholicism had slowly retreated
from much of the Three Kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland by
the early 1600s in the face of the success and expansion of the
Protestant Reformation, supported and promoted by Protestant
authors like John Foxe. But Catholicism never entirely faded from
Mary I as a Catholic monarch was determined to root out all traces of the Protestant Reformation in her kingdoms when she became queen in 1553. This was a personal as well as a religious and political issue for Mary - it was her mother, Queen Katherine, whom Henry VIII had divorced, beginning the Protestant Reformation in England. Henry and his ministers' actions had also made Mary officially illegitimate. When she came to power she was determined to undo every Protestant alteration made by father and brother since 1533 and thoroughly purge Church and State of those not absolutely loyal to her vision of a renewed and revitalised Catholic England. Along with her close adviser Cardinal Reginald Pole, she ordered the reorganisation of all major institutions to promote and support the new policy, beginning with replacing Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer with traditional Catholic texts.
Portrait of Queen Mary I (Mary Tudor)