After you read the article please do say a prayer for the repose of his soul. The whole article can be read HERE
Michael Davies: Well round about 1953 or 1954 when I was doing my ‘A’ level examinations at school they changed the syllabus and so the syllabus for my year included the Reformation in England. I had a very good history teacher. He was an agnostic actually but he was very objective and it just seemed obvious to me that neither King Henry the Eighth nor Elizabeth the First had any mandate from God to start a new religion, which is what happened. Most people in England think Henry the Eighth founded the Church of England. Of course he did but then it went back to Catholicism under Mary Tudor.
John Bishop: Yes for a few years.
MD: But his daughter Elizabeth the First could be said to be the substantive founder of the Church of England.
JB: Is there any truth in the legend that she secretly practised Catholicism? Lighting the candles and telling the Rosary beads in the privacy of her apartments? That for the sake of politics she played both ends against the middle?
MD: Well she wasn’t really very religious at all. Her religion was really herself. You know she had her own liturgy in the Chapels Royal with her own vestments. Remember when she was dying she wouldn’t lie down and she wouldn’t let any Anglican minister come to her. She said they were just ‘hedge priests’.
JB: I wonder what that meant? I know the term ‘hedge priests’ applies to those valiant priests who risked arrest, torture and death to bring the sacraments to the people of Ireland during the times of persecution
MD: Yes. I have always found that a very strange expression on her part.
JB: She had heard about them then.
MD: Oh yes she knew them very well.
JB: Perhaps she not only feared them but secretly admired them. Perhaps it was a bit of conscience at the end.
MD: Well she offered to make St Edmund Campion Archbishop of Canterbury if only he would recant.
JB: I find this very interesting. Of course your love of history started for you with a famously good teacher as you say. So then you went on to become a teacher yourself after your military service. Just tell me something of that Michael. You see, in contradiction to present day ignoramuses who have never been within a mile of a Regimental Sergeant Major’s moustache and condemn defending the territory and serving one’s country in time of trouble, I uphold the military virtues.
MD: So do I.