A2 Edexcel History Revision

Revision cards for Section A of the Unit Three, Option A - History paper. In slightly the wrong order - Spain, Factions, Religion, Government + two runaway faction pages at the end


Anglo-Spanish Relations under Mary I, 1553-58

Predictably, England's relations with Spain in these years were good because of Mary's marriage to Philip II of Spain.

  • She had always been a supporter of the Holy Roman Empire, but her marriage agreement had safeguards aimed to prevent England becoming involved in Spain's wars.
  • 1555 is considered a turning point. It was assumed by this point that Mary would not have a child. Stephen Gardiner, a key catholic influence, died. In October, Charles V abdicated Spain and the Netherlands to Philip II.
  • March 1556 - Philip persuaded Mary to support Spain against France. This was disastrous, and England lost Calais.
  • It seems that Philip used the marriage to advance his cause in Spain. After Mary died in 1558, he no longer saw England as an ally.
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Elizabeth's Early Relations with Spain, 1558-67

For the first decade of Elizabeth's reign, relations with Spain were amicable, albeit drifting.

  • Philip proposed to Elizabeth despite their differing religious beliefs. Many MP's and Councillors believed Elizabeth would marry Philip II, but she refused.
  • Philip remained friendly with Eizabeth as he preferred her on the throne to the pro-French, Catholic Mary Queen of Scots.
  • The two countries may have drifted in their relations because of Elizabeth refusing Philip's proposal.

After this decade there were two main areas of conflict between the two countries:

War in the Netherlands & The Activities of English Sea Pirates

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Elizabeth, Protestants, Rebels & The Dutch

Elizabeth didn't want to support any rebels against a legitimate heir in case the same happened to her, but she was left with no choice.

  • Many Protestants who had fled Mary returned to England radicalised and spread sympathy for the Protestant rebels in the Netherlands.
  • The Duke of Alva and 50,000 troops attacked the Dutch rebels, and Elizabeth feared that once this was complete Spain would turn their attention to the developing Protestant England.
  • Madrid saw Elizabeth's allowance of volunteers to support the rebels as provocative.
  • The English ambassador in Spain was called back to London, and vice versa. de Spes, the new Spanish ambassador in England, was incompetent and tactless.
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The Affair of the Spanish Bullion, 1568

This caused relations to deterioirate dramatically. Elizabeth seized Spanish ships carrying payment for Alva's armies in the Netherlands.

  • Spain responded to this by seizing English merchant ships in Spanish ports. This led to 5 years of bad relations.
  • Relations were thawing by 1572, but Elizabeth expelled Dutch pirates from her ports, which backfired as they then captured the Dutch port Brill and rekindled rebellion against Spanish troops in the Netherlands.
  • 1576 - Mutinous unpaid soldiers sacked Antwerp and killed civilians. The government pressured the Queen to help rebels and accept sovereignity over them.
  • Waslingham and Leicster appeared to be pressuring the Queen the most, with Cecil taking a diplomatic backseat as he disagreed.
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The Increased Threat of Spain, Portugal and the Ca

Spain became more formidable after aquiring Portugal. They had more power, wealth, naval power and lands.

  • 1584 - To make situations worse, The Catholic League was formed which meant France and Spain were less likely enemies, and may turn on the Protestant England.
  • 1585 - Elizabeth gave into pressure from Waslingham and Leicster, and signed the Treaty of Nonsuch.
  • She agreed to send 5,000 foot soldiers and 1,000 cavalry to help the Netherlands.
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War with Spain

Even in 1585, Elizabeth wanted/pursued peace with Spain, however each countries' activities made it seem hopeless.

  • War was never officially declared, but the activites of Leicester in the Netherlands and Drake at sea were seen as acts of war.
  • Elizabeth tried to limit Leicester's activities to defensive rather than offensive but he took little notice.  
  • On paper, Spain had a good strong economy, but in reality it was being damaged by Dutch raids. Philip decided to remove Elizabeth as she seemed to be the cause of such things.
  • Many advised against the Armada of 1588, but Philip believed it was a holy mission.
  • The complete failure of the Armada effectively removed the Spanish threat of invasion in England.
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Anne of Cleves Marriage and Cromwell's Fall

Encouraged by Cromwell, Henry signed a marriage treaty with Anne of Cleves in 1539. He was convinced Anne would be politically and personally acceptable.

  • Meeting her on 1 Jan 1540, he instantly disliked her. Marriage was not consummated. Cromwell had to find a divorce for unwanted wife.
  • This was complicated for Cromwell, as Henry had been introduced to Catherine Howard, neice of the Duke of Norfolk, at Stephen Gardiner's house. This would strengthen Cromwell's enemy.
  • He may still have survived as he was high in royal favour, but his opponents used the Church to attack Cromwell.
  • Evidence was brought forward of a heretic cell in Calais, implicating and incriminating Cromwell.
  • He tried to accuse Lord Lisle of dealing with Cardinal Pole, but the divorce matter and his religious sympathies were enough to condemn him.
  • Cromwell taken to Tower on 10th June. Condemned and executed on 28th July. Acknowledged no guilt.
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Catherine Howard & Conservatives vs. Cranmer

The ascendancy of the Conservatives did not last long. Evidence was brought before the Council of Catherine Howard's persistent adultery on November I.

  • Unlike Anne Boleyn, these were undoubtedly true and Cranmer informed Henry via a peice of paper during Mass.
  • Henry included Cranmer and associates of Cromwell on a commission to investigate. Catherine's two lovers were executed in February 1542.
  • This was a severe blow to the conservative cause. Her relatives were expelled from Privy Chamber, but Norfolk saved his own interests by quickly condemning his neice.
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Gardiner vs. Cranmer

The Conservatives remained strong enough to attack Cranmer in 1543, accusing him of heresy using evidence from his own clergy.

  • Gardiner misjudged the King and Cranmer's relationship. He put Cromwell in charge of his own investigation.
  • In 1554, Germayne Gardiner the Royal Secretary was executed for denying the Royal Supremacy.
  • Cranmer, Viscount Lisle, the Earl of Hertford and the Duke of Suffolk argued that Gardiner must have known and supported his nephew's views. Henry agreed he should be questioned in the Tower.
  • Gardiner found out what was happening from an ally in Privy Chamber and sought a personal audience with the King.
  • Quick access to the king and personal appeal had won out, and Gardiner gained a full pardon for previous views.
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Conservates vs. Reformers and Catherine Parr

The King married for the sixth and final time to Catherine Parr in July 1543. The Queen was open to new religious ideas.

  • She had little influence on Henry but her household became a centre for discussion and practice of new religious ideas.
  • The Conservatives made every effort to accuse her of heresy.Wriothesely and Rich interrogated Anne Askew and tried and failed to make her name other members of Court.
  • Upon hearing that they had obtained permission to investigate her, Catherine threw herself at the King's mercy, promising to accept Henry's views and judgement.
  • She suggested her discussions only took place because of Henry's interest in the topic.
  • When Wriothesely arrived to arrest the Queen, he was quickly sent away again.
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The Reformers Remove Gardiner from Court

A party committed to reform had grown strong at the center of court. The central figure was Groom of the Stool, Sir Anthony Denny.

  • From October 1546, Chief Gentlemen and brother-in-law to the Queen Sir William Herbert was also prominent.
  • The ambitious, greedy Edward Seymour was to lead the reformers. He was allied to John Dudley, Viscount Lisle.
  • Gardiner's position was already weak after trying to expose the Queen's heresy in July 1546.
  • The King was further turned against him after being told he had refused an exchange of lands. He was exluded from the Council and this time he was kept away from the King.
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The Reformers remove the Howards

This involved not only removing the Duke of Norfolk, but also his son Henry, Earl of Surrey.

  • On 2nd of December, Surrey was questioned about disloyalty to the King. He was already in poor favour for bad defence at Boulogne and speaking rashly about his family's right to Protect King Edward.
  • Surrey and his father were sent to the Tower. He was tried and convicted of only one charge made against him and executed on 19th January 1547.
  • Norfolk had confessed knowing of his son's treason and was condemned to die on the 28th January. He was saved by the King's death the preceding night.
  • Hertford had served his purpose, and removed his two main enemies from court at an incredibly crucial time.
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Henry's Death and Will, Control of the Dry Stamp

Controlling the Privy Council meant controlling access to the King and control of the Dry Stamp.

  • Custody of the Dry Stamp went to John Gates and Anthony Denny. Henry's will was of great interest. It named the succession and the regency council of sixteen. After the removal of Garidner and Howards, it was decidedly Reformist.
  • The last version Henry was probably aware of named succession as Edward + heirs -->Mary+heirs --> Elizabeth + heirs. This was dated 30 December, but probably signed late January after secret changes were made.
  • Changes contradicted earlier assertions and said the Regency Council could invest authority in a single individual. It also rewarded lands and titles that Henry had "not lived to implement".
  • The Hertfords controlled the Dry Stamp and access to the King. They witheld the news of Henry's death for three days allowing them to take custody of the new King.
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Religious Change under Somerset, 1547-49

Somerset himself was a Protestant but first and foremost a politician who feared foreign invasion.

  • The Royal Supremacy was maintained. The 1547 Act of Six Articles still in force but pressure to move away from this.
  • Risk of Catholic Rebellion, Mary and Charles V could become focus of discontent.
  • 1547 Book of Homilies and English Bible in all churches. Supertitious imagery removed, chantries closed. Clergy could marry and people had freedom to discuss religion.
  • Act of Six Articles was repealed and 1549 Prayer Book was enforced by an Act of Uniformity.
  • It was written by Cranmer and contained both Protestant and Roman Catholic elements.
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Religious Change under Northumberland, 1549-53

Northumberland was a politician first and foremost and seemed to adapt his religion to suit his own needs.

  • Pressure increased from Radical reformers like John Hooper. Mary, backed by the HRE, led the Catholics.
  • 1550 - Stone altars replaced with wooden ones.
  • 1552 Prayer Book was radical, removed all Catholicism. No vestments, prayers for the dead or real prescence of Christ.
  • More European reformers came to England such as Martin Bucer.
  • Edward became more significant as he grew older, he encouraged preaching and wanted to persecute Mary. He encouraged reformers and pushed for 1552 Prayer Book.
  • Opposition included 1549 Rebellions, Gardiner and Bonner.
  • Little persecution and no martyrs. Most people accepted religious change through effective propaganda, Treason Act and machinery of coercion.
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Mary Reverses Religious Change, 1553-58

Mary was a devout Roman Catholic who believed her reign was a holy mission to restore the true faith.

  • 1553 - Parliament returned Church to how it was in 1547. They refused to repeal the Act of Supremacy (involved returning lands).
  • 1554 - Heresy laws passed. Anti-Papal legislation since 1529 was undone. Married clergy excluded and Protestants fled abroad.
  • 1555 - Burnings. Gardiner dies.
  • 1556 - Cranmer burned. Pole's reform programme "Twelve Decrees" attacks abuses and heresy.
  • 1557 - Some small monasteries restored. Mary refuses to let Pole go back to Rome.
  • 1558 - Death of Mary and Pole.Recently Mary's actions reviewed in positive lights, burnings still considered excessive.
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Opposition to Mary's Religious Change

Only in London was there a strong reaction against the burnings, including rioting and unrest.

  • 1554 - Wyatt's Rebellion. Religion was a factor, but it was more against the Spanish marriage.
  • Most people accepted and welcomed the changes. The powerful classes were more willing to accept them because church lands were not restored.
  • Protestantism did survive - it was kept alive by martyrs at home and radicals abroad.
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Religious Change Under Elizabeth, 1558-66

Elizabeth herself was a Protestant who believed in key Protestant ideas such as Justification by Faith Alone

  • Elizabeth wanted a National Church that would unite the people after previous radical and harsh regimes.It would satisfy both with only extremists unhappy.
  • THE ELIZABETHAN RELIGIOUS SETTLEMENT - enforced by an Act of Supremacy making Elizabeth Supreme Governor, and an Act of Uniformity concerning beliefs and the 1559 Prayer Book. (masterstroke in compromise).
  • The Royal Injunctions issued to clergy concerning practice and ritual that satisfied both religions.
  • 1563 - 39 Articles passed through Convocation and a firmly Protestant doctrine. Confirmed by Parliament in 1571.
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How was the Settlement effected and opposed?


  • Mainly through Visitations by Bishops (more radical than Elizabeth preferred).
  • 1566 - Archbishop of canterbury Parker clamped down on doctrine, administration of prayers, sacraments and vestments in his "Advertisements".
  • Vestments provoked controversy as extreme Protestants didn't want to wear the suplice. A group left the church and formed "Separatism".


  • There was a moderate nature and lack of persecution which meant little opposition. Recusansy fines were not collected vigilantly and there was no rebellion until 1569.
  • Extreme Protestants (Puritans) pressured Queen for change through Parliament but were well controlled. Extreme Catholics plotted against her in 1569, 1571, 1583 and 1586.
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The Privy Council

Emphasis nowadays is upon a Parliament that supported and co-operated with the King.

  • Elton argues that in the 1530's a monarch-centered government was replaced by a system of departments.
  • Thomas Cromwell was a key person in this. Government was smaller, more efficient, and less dependent upon the King.
  • The "inner circle" of about 19 people in of the 1540's mainly advised and effected Royal policy.
  • An informal and uncertain number of people had been transformed into a small and efficient body.
  • The 1537 Council shows all but one of fourteen memebers were office holders - embership was select.
  • Act of Precedence showed seniority was based on office-holding, and the 1540 was a manifestation of a noble council - 10/11 offices mentioned in the Act were only ever held by noblemen.
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Cromwell and the Privy Council

Cromwell seems to have not been creating new systems but making a contribution to earlier developments in Henry's reign.

  • Cromwell was responsible for organising agendas, sometimes conducting meetings and implementing decisions.
  • Seeing the Privy Council as solely Cromwell's achievement is contradicted by the fact lots of other noblemen wanted it, it would threaten his own positions and his enemies were guarunteed membership.
  • The Pilgrimage of Grace attacked Cromwell, who took a backseat allowing the Privy Council to assume a prominent role.
  • Cromwell still kept control over the Privy Council (containing many political opponents) because his staff did all the secretarial work.
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Financial system implemented by Henry VII was so effective it continued into his son's reign and was not modified until 1530's.

  • Treasurer of the Chamber - handled royal revenue and ensured cash was readily available. Did so at an increasingly national level until it needed replacing as it's role in dealing with King's personal financial needs.
  • The Exchequer - handled income from justice and customs.
  • Groom of the Stool - controlled the Privy Purse which dealt with political affairs and matters of state. This was temporary as Cromwell took over financing policy and Groom of the Stool returned to personal financial needs.
  • 1536 - Marks the creation of organised financial departments.
  • Court of Genral Surveyors, Court of Augmentations, Court of Wards and Court of First Fruits and Tenths.
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Finance at the end of Henry's Reign

By the end of Henry's reign there were six financial departments functioning independently.

  • This owed much to Thomas Cromwell and his beliefs in bureaucratic institutions being better than the Household style of government.
  • It can be seen as a response to changing needs of the 1530's.
  • The Privy Chamber played a role in storing surplus money in the Royal Coffers.
  • Therefore, there was a bureaucratic revolution in collecting and accounting, but hoarding and spending was still a household affair.
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Local Control

Local control was important at this time of change for communicating and effecting royal policies.

  • There was little change in this during Henry's reign, but an exploitation and development of existing methods. The Council of the North was established and Wales was included in the Shire system.
  • The unpaid JP's saw an increase in work that required supervision. They were rewarded with lands, titles and positions.
  • People at the center of court played an important role across the country. Privy Chamber members were often JP's and could be sent on commissions or to raise troops from their own areas.
  • The Privy Chamber made a substantial contribution to the army when the King went to war.
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Parliament was seen as an irregular part of government, but was necessary for granting taxes and legislation, and was regular enough to obtain certain privileges.

  • Increased frequency in Parliamentary sessions in last 11 years of Henry's reign with only four years going without session. In the previous 20 years, only five sessions had taken place.
  • Parliament's scope had been expanded and there was no area from which it was excluded.
  • Henry gained support from the meetings and allowed members to put forward their own Bills and opinions.
  • Cromwell's prescence may have increased the practice of introducing Bills in the Commons and the attendance of MP's in the Commons.
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The Role of Parliament under Edward

Two main functions of passing laws and granting subsidies continued. Frequent Parliaments continued (two in six years).

  • The Break with Rome and all relating legistlation had been passed through Parliament. Therefore any future religious changes had to be confirmed in the same way.
  • SOMERSET - used Parliament less frequently, ruled autocratically through proclamation, which led to problems. Privy Council was often bypassed.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND - used Parliament more as he learned from Somerset's mistake. He was Lord President of the Council and used the Privy Council effectively.
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The Role of Parliament under Mary

Mary undid religious changes using Parliament, and didn't challenge the refusal to return Church lands.

  • Under Mary co-operation rather than conflict existed. Sessions were shorter but notbecause of conflict, but because business was pre-planned.
  • Parliament refused to let Philip be crowned King.
  • They also rejected propositions to exclude Elizabeth from the succession.
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Capabilities of Government

Could the government function without a strong monarch?

  • Yes, but only for a while.
  • Privy Council by it's very nature was faction ridden and this could still work but things were delayed.
  • If one faction or individual got too powerful, it could harm the government.
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Why did the attempt to establish Lady Jane Grey as

A Devise was made in the last month of Edward's life that excluded Mary and Elizabeth from the succession and named Lady Jane Grey as Edward's heir.

  • This was argued that both Elizabeth and Mary were illegitimate, and if they married foreign powers it would compromise the independence of England. These were both weak arguments.
  • If Northumberland ignored the Devise, he would face criticism form those he forced to sign it. He would face opposition from proclaiming himself as ruler as there was no precedent for it. If he upheld the Devise he would face the wrath of Mary and her supporters.
  • The Devise failed and Mary succeded for three reasons.
  • 1) No-one had faith in Northumberland's plan or wanted to support him.
  • 2) Mary was legitimate and gathered ten times more troops.
  • 3) Edward had acted illegally as a minor and was not allowed to change such things.
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The Downfall of the Duke of Somerset

The Privy Council brought several grievances against the Duke of Somerset.  

  • Poor leadership
  • Mishandling of foreign policy
  • Favouritism
  • Money making and extravagance
  • Social policy
  • Religious policy
  • The conservatives opposed Somerset's plans for a new council and began mobilising around 2,500 troops. Somerset unsuccessfully appealed for Russell's troops. He ordered all soldiers to leave London.
  • Somerset, Edward and 400 troops moved to Hampton Court. He summoned hundreds of poorly armed peasants to defend the King.
  • Somerset and Edward moved to Windsor Castle. Conservatives accused Somerset of kidnapping the King and rousing the commons. Somerset surrendered and was arrested.
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