The English Reformation began as a dispute over questions of canon law, and reforming the existing system was one of the state's earliest objectives. A draft proposal for this, known as the Henrician canons, has survived, revealing the state of English canon law at the time of the break with Rome, and providing a basis for Cranmer's subsequent, and much better known, attempt to revise the Canon Law, which was published by John Foxe under the title "Reformatio legum ecclesiasticarum" in 1571. Although it never became law, it was highly esteemed by later canon lawyers and enjoyed an unofficial authority in ecclesiastical courts. The Henrician canons and the "Reformatio legum ecclesiasticarum" are thus crucial for an understanding of Reformation church discipline, revealing the problems and opportunities facing those who wanted to reform the Church of England's institutional structure in the mid-Tudor period, an age which was to determine the course of the church for centuries to come.
This volume makes available for the first time full scholarly editions and translations of the whole text, taking all the available evidence into consideration, and setting the "Reformatio" firmly in both its historical and contemporary context. Gerald Bray is Anglican Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.