Somerset and Northumberland Governmental Policy

  • Created by: Luciieee
  • Created on: 02-04-15 20:26

Somerset and Northumberland Governmental Policy


  • Somerset gains power by overthrowing Regency Council (set up in H8's will to exercise power during E6's minority) and establishes himself as Lord Protector
  • Somerset gave power to his own favourites e.g. appointing Sir Michael Stanhope as Chief Gentleman of Privy Coucil - leads to disaster when his brother, Thomas Seymour, starts scandal by creating rumours of affair between himself and 15 yr old Princess Elizabeth, then plots against own brother with Earl of Southampton
  • Northumberland also gained power via a coup in October 1549 - Southampton particularly had personal motivations as Somerset had removed him from Council b4 reinstating him
  • North's second coup against key conservatives e.g. Southampton and Arundel - seems as though done to consolidate own power esp. as they aided him in coup
  • Somerset's counter coup forced North to change his governmental style e.g. presumed enemies like Paget placed in Tower, North + Gates' power began to increase as had access to dry stamp so could put king's signature of document


  • however, evidence North. under pressure from other members of Council e.g. poor response to rebellions of 1549 created enemies, support from other key nobleman like Earl of Arundel + Lord St John
  • clear North didn't want the excessive concentration of power Somerset had - made himself Lord President of the Council
  • 2nd coup may be due to fear of being overthrown - was this really necessary as they aided him?
  • Hoak - Northumberland no worse than any other Tudor politician + actually acted in rational and defensible way to his circumstances

Overall comparison

Traditional historiography - Somerset = "Good Duke", Northumberland = "Bad Duke" - this is completely false as clear Somerset more interested in gaining power than Northumberland Although North did become more like Somerset towards end of reign - reaction to Somerset's coup - clear he saw a need to defend himself and as Hoak said this is something any other Tudor politician would have done e.g. Elizabeth's councillors pressed for the rather unjust execution of Mary, Queen of Scots because she was perceived as threat to the throneDevise alone which has ruined Northumberand's reputation


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