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Tudor Minute January 17: The Edict of St. Germain

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for January 17.

Today in 1562 Catherine de Medici of France issued the Edict of St. Germain. This was the official recognition in France of the French Protestants, or Huguenots, and it tried to walk a middle line in Catholic France. It recognized the existence of Protestants, and granted freedom of conscience and private worship, though it did forbid Protestant worship in towns because it would start a riot too easily. Sadly, it would not have the effect that Catherine wanted it to – instead stirring up anti Protestant sentiment. The first religious war in France began later that year with a massacre of Protestants in March. This is important to England because it was the massacre of St Bartholomew’s Day a decade later that would so affect Elizabethan Protestants. French Huguenot refugees poured in to England telling their horror stories of the massacre, which lasted for weeks, and it led England to deeply fear the Catholics, and what they might do if they were to seize control in England. Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s Spymaster, was in France during the massacre and he was deeply affected by it, and spent the rest of his life fighting against Catholics in England.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.