Henry VIII - Factions During Henrys Reign

Table summarising key points regarding factions during Henry VIII's reign 

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Faction Details
The Anti-Wolsey Faction
· Members of the Faction:
The Duke of Norfolk
Anne Boleyn
Thomas Boleyn
· Wolsey's downfall could be attributed to the growth of the anti-Wolsey faction.
· They put pressure on Henry to dismiss Wolsey; some historians believe that they
provided Henry with the opportunity however couldn't have destroyed Wolsey on
their own.
Key features driving factional opposition to Wolsey:
· Resentment of cost cutting exercises: the expulsion of the minions and the Eltham
· Resentment of campaign against enclosures
· Resentment of Wolsey's close relationship with the king and his influence over
· Resentment of Wolsey's low birth
· Treatment of the nobility in the Court of Chancery and in Star Chamber
The Boleyn Faction
· Members of the faction:
Anne Boleyn
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cromwell
· Played a vital role in initial changes
· Aimed to secure the break with Rome and the Royal Supremacy that would secure
Anne's marriage to the king
The Anti-Boleyn Faction
· A new faction headed by Edward Seymour encouraged opposition to Anne. If was
joined by Cromwell.
· Edward hoped to get rid of Anne with his sister Jane, a demure lady-in-waiting who
had already caught Henry's eye.
The Reformist Faction
· Members of the faction:
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cromwell
Edward Seymour
· Emerged out of the Boleyn faction
· Aimed to ensure that the collapse of Henry's marriage to Anne did not push reform
off course
· More radical than the king in their religious beliefs, but careful not to go beyond
what the king would find acceptable
· Regarded the Royal Supremacy as the starting point for reform
· In the mid-1530s, it focused on reforming the doctrine and practices of the Church
The Conservative Faction
· Members of the faction:
Duke of Norfolk
Bishop of Winchester
· Opposed the pace of change set by the reformist
· Regarded by Royal Supremacy as the finishing point for reform
· Gained the upper hand in 1539 as a result of the king's dissatisfaction with his
marriage to Anne of Cleves
· Promoted orthodox Catholic beliefs in the doctrine and practices of the Church
The Howard Faction
· The conservative faction had long been looking for a way to bring Cromwell down,
and the perfect opportunity now arose. The Duke of Norfolk brought his niece
Catherine Howard to court and the king was soon infatuated with her
· Norfolk was delighted to find that the king wanted to marry his niece. The only
obstacle was Cromwell and the Cleves marriage.
· On the same day of Cromwell's execution, Henry marred Catherine of Howard, his
marriage to Anne of Cleves being annulled.

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