Britian 1483-1529 HVIII in Eng & Europe


Domestic policies

  • expected that a monarch was keep law and order, to administer the country efficiently and to raise taxes when necessary
  • all tudor monarchs feared internal rebellion since they had no standing army or police to re-establish royal authority
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administrative efficiency

  • no major reforms of gov admin under Wolsey, who was acting as H's 'business manager'
  • 1526, H demanded reform of the royal household after he concluded that he had been denied access to sufficient counsellors through Wolsey's exec control over the appointments to the counsel
  • Wolsy then turned this challenge to his own pol advantage in the Eltham Ordinance for the Regulation fo the Court
  • they effectively boosted his control over both the Counsel and the Privy Chamber
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local govt & justices of the peace

  • relationship between the court and country were crucial to nation pol stability 
  • central govt needed the support of local magistrates especially the Justices of the Peace
  • H & Wolsey contiuned HVII's policy of building links between the country and the court 
  • local magnates and JPS were invited to attend court and participate in a ceremony of swearing allegiance to the king 
  • some were given unsalaried positions at court 
  • the 'carrot' for those who recieved a position at court was the hope of further patronage
  • the 'stick', for any of the King's servants who disobeyed the rules was they could be moved to the Star Chamber
  • Wolsey's household was noted as a training place for local gov
  • Wolsey used his powers in the Star Chamber to expell alleged corruption in the counties
  • the court of law served as positive function in ensuring administrative efficiency
  • Wolsey insisted many JPs as possible attended the star chamber to be 'sworn in' and thear a homily on the duties of JP and the links between central and local gov
  • he knew the crown needed active JPs to implement its policies
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legal reforms

  • as Lord Chancellor, Wolsey was in a considerable position to reform many absuses of the legal system
  • intellectually interested in the whole process of law making, and everyday presided in the Court of Chancery 
  • Wolsey  had a great impact in the Star Chamber w/ noblemen because of their influence, being able to avoid justice
  • 1516 he put forward the principles that any crime should be punished and planned the Star Chamber to practice these principles and the caseload then increased from 12pa to 120pa
  • He openly asked for complaints to be brought to the court & investigated a wide range of crimes 
  • a criticism sees that Wolsey's reforms were never planned ahead for the next workload and therefore was unable to hear all the suits in the Star Chamber by 1529, it had nearly collapsed under the work load 
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legal reforms

  • as Lord Chancellor, Wolsey was in a considerable position to reform many absuses of the legal system
  • intellectually interested in the whole process of law making, and everyday presided in the Court of Chancery 
  • Wolsey  had a great impact in the Star Chamber w/ noblemen because of their influence, being able to avoid justice
  • 1516 he put forward the principles that any crime should be punished and planned the Star Chamber to practice these principles and the caseload then increased from 12pa to 120pa
  • He openly asked for complaints to be brought to the court & investigated a wide range of crimes 
  • a criticism sees that Wolsey's reforms were never planned ahead for the next workload and therefore was unable to hear all the suits in the Star Chamber by 1529, it had nearly collapsed under the work load 
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financial management - tax reform

  • Wolsey's most significant and lasting achievments were tax reform 
  • the old system of fifteenths and tenths was inefficient as it raised sufficient income 
  • Wolsey aimed to replace these taxes with directly-assessed subsidy from 1522
  • Wolsey & Hales moved towards a system whereby taxpayers were assessed individually under oath by local officials who were to be supervised by centrally-apointed commisioners
  • when parliament granted a subsidy, every adult whose incomes exceeded a prescribed limit had to pay tax
  • although the new system caused problems b/c many of the propertied classes, those hit hardest by the new assessments resented the new subsidy assessments
  • 1523, parliament voted subsidy at 4 shillings in the £ on good and land,but eventually less than hald the anticipated £800000 was raised 
  • the subsidy was collected in instalments rather than as the lump sum intended
  • growing resistance of the second instalment of the subsidy due in fed 1525
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the Amicable Grant 1525

  • Wolsey had to raise money for the war against France but being at loggerheads w/ parliament he did not want to risk calling a new parliament to raise the subsidy
  • instead, he instructed commissioners to raise a non-parliamentary tax which was named an 'Amicable Grant' to appeal to patriotic sentiments
  • tax payers did not recieve the tax amicably but rebelled at the imposition of a forced loan
  • Wolsey then had to backtrack and requested a benevolence contribution from selected tax payers
  • the angst at the grant caused opposition across english counties that ranged from refusal to pay to a full-scale revolt. the most serious in Lavenham where 10,000 men took part in a threatening uprising in the sense that it nearly spread. the revolt was suppressed by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk
  • whilst it was the kings fault for planning an expensive war, wolsey was forced to take the blame and had to publically pardon the Lavenham rebels 
  • the revolt was the most serious revolt in law order since Wolsey was the Kings chief minister
  • most of the time the country was at peace
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relations with parliament

  • called only 2 parliaments in 1515 and 1523
  • the first parliament was dominated by worries over the Church affairs and was so intense that Wolsey dismissed it before voting on taxation
  • the second parliament was overshadowed by the need to raise funds for the war against france
  • Wolsey chose to go to parliament to bully the commons into voting the subsidy 
  • the relationship was so tense between the two, and the amicable grant in 1525 was a result of this
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economic issues - enclosure

  • Tudor England suffered economic problems resulting in social tensions 
  • caused by poverty, food shortages, high prices, unemployment and crime, mainly due to population increase
  • Wolsey did not understand the population increase and so blamed it upon the enclosure of fields,percieved as evil by Humanist thinkers
  • Wolsey launched an investigation into the effectiveness of previous legistlation regarding enclosure from 1489, 1514 and 1515 which uncovered evidence against 246 landowners
  • 1523, he decision to reverse enclousre was unpopular with the Lords, as he hoped to gain money for the war in france
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economic issues - profiteering

  • Wolsey wanted to quell other social evils besides enclosure
  • he wished to protect ordianary people from extortionate overcharging for basic food
  • he dealt w/ food racketeers from the Court of the Star Chamber
  • 1518, he fixed poultry prices in LDN and investigated scarcity of other meats which angered butchers and cattle farmers
  • he issued proclamations against grain dealers who profiteered in grain, but did little in practice to enforce measures 
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  • HVIII's foreign relations conducted in the same way as his fathers
  • european power politics had been dominated since 1494 bu Italian wars
  • King of France presistently tried, and failed, to win control over Naples, Sicily and Milan
  • the warfare in southern Europe meant that english foregin policy in northern europe meant little more than a sideshow in Euorpean terms 
  • defining point in foreign relations came when Charles Hapsburg was elected HRE in 1519 combining powers as King of Spain and Duke of Burgundy
  • his victory the imperial election over Francis I meant there were two immensely powerful, rival dynastic powers in Europe, Hapsburg and Valois families 
  • HVII had conducted FP in a defensive matter but HVIII was unable to continue this policy because of his war-likenature and for the reason that FP always had an impact on domestic issues, and therefore tax was a restriction for the King 
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foreign policy historiographical debate

-traditional view of Henry or Wolsey's foreign policy, expressed by historian pre 1960s was that it was unrealistic, costly and failed to achieve significant territorial gains and was conducted for the benefit of his unreliable allies rather than English interests

Evidence to support traditional interpretation - the claim to the title 'King of France':

  • H's primary aim was to recover the title to the kingdom of France and so rebuild an English empire on the continent, but Wolsey didn't secure this title

War against France 1512-14:

  • English troops were sent to Bayonne to assist Ferdinand recapture Navarre rather than to secure realistic English interests
  • English troops took Therouanne and Tournai, both were soft targets. These 'victories' assisted Maximilian more than HVIII

War against France 1523-5:

  • Charles V disuaded HVIII from his plan to capture Boulogne, which would have been relaistic and useful, and encouraged him to campaign against Paris 
  • H came within reach of Paris but was let down by absence of promised imperial reinforcements
  • Charles V refused to honour his treaty obligation that he would marry Mary Tudor

costs: H spent about £1,400,000 fighting wars between 1512 and 1525

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foreign policy historiographical debate 2

-modern interpretation developed by Peter Gwyn, is that Wolsey did consistently pursue English interests, sometimes through war, but also through diplomacy and secured significant achievements. he understood need for flexibility in foreign relations and juggles conflicting interests of the rulers of France and HRE 

Evidence to support modern interpretation, the claim to the title 'King of France':

  • importance of this claim was not in actually achieving it, but to use the claim as a lever to force concessions out of the French

Diplomatic value of Therouanne and Tournai:

  • these towns were useful as negotiatioing tools to use in diplomatic bargaining

Diplomatic achievments:

  • Peace of LDN 1518, Wolsey's most sig achievment in forgein relations as, whilst it proved prestigious, it avoided danger of diplomatic isolation after Francis I marked his victory over the Swiss @ battle of Marignano by signing treaties w/ European powers
  • FOCOG 1520, Wolsey appeared to be reconciled to France. he intended to put pressure on Charles V to give him good terms in an alliance, showing his flexible approach to FP
  • at secret Treaty of Bruges 1521, Wolsey secured a realistic alliance w/ Charles V
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relations w/ France to 1521

  • relations fraught from the start, b/c new king dreamed of war against France to reclaim the ancient right of English kings to the throne of France 
  • the anti-war faction within the Counsel convinced H to 1-secure a peace treaty w/France in march 1510 2- discuss possibilities of war w/ Counsel in 1511, then dismiss the proposal as expensive & dangerous
  • from 1511, anti-war faction lost ground to the ascendant pro-war faction led by EARL OF SURREY, several reasons for this change in pol forturnes

1-by 1511, Surry had won argument in favour of war against France in Counsel

2-CofA encouraged her new husband to declare war against France

3-one of the key anti-war factions, Marg of Beautfort was dead proving useful to King & W

4-international situation changed, The League of Cambrai formed in 1508 by the Pope to attack Venice had been successful. Pope saw French as threat. he resumed his previous policy of playing off France and Spain against each other, forming the Holy League in 1511 - a papal, Spanish and Venetian alliance against France, which Eng joinned in Nov 1511

-was a diplomatic prop for his 1st war against France. by 1513, he also had an alliance w/ Maximilian

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war against France, phase 1

  • by fed 1512, H was in a position to delcar war on France,by restating the ancient claim that an ENglish king had a right to the kingdom of France
  • he called 2nd parliament to approve a subsidy for the war & the war had 2 distinct phases, beginning badly but then becoming much more successful after the project was taken over by Wolsey

PHASE 1 - to April 1513

  • H guided by father-in-law Ferd of Spain, under whose guidance sent an expedition, led by Marquis of Dorset to help Spainsh
  • Eng army landed near Bayonne in south-west France but proved ill-disciplined and achieved little more than distracting the French whislt F achieved his objective of taking Navarre
  • H's fleet was defeated off Brest
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war against France, phase 2 1514

  • Wolsey prepared and equipped a new army of 30,000 men to be led by King himself when it set out from Dover bound for Calais 
  • army was allied w/ HRE maximilian so advanced towards flanders as agreed capturing French fortress of Therouanne which was a threat to HRE 's territories in the Netherlands
  • french cavalry force easily defeated by superior no. of eng soldiers titled 'battle of spurs'
  • followed, a seige on french city of TOurnai, giving the king military glory he craved returning home in triumph 
  • war contiuned after King's departure but became costly, w/ pressure for peace increasing after Max and Ferd had settled peace w/ France 
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anglo-french relations post 1514

  • relations remained strained, and after Francis I's accession in 1515, the Pope feared further aggression in Italy and looked to H for support 
  • Francis had stirred unrest in Scotland against english regent, Queen Marg, who was H's sister
  • Franics then went on to confirm his dynastic power in Europe and by Sept 1515, had won a victory over invincible Swiss at Battle of Marginano in 1515, forced a treaty on the Pope, taken control of Milan and forced Queen Marg to flee from Scot
  • Wolsey had searched for allies against the French Regent but failed
  • most countries were engaged in treaty signing, whereby Francis gained land following signing of Treaty of Noyon w/ F's  successor, Charles I. Max made peace w/ Francis - leaving Eng isolated
  • Wolsey, seized the moment by continuing Anglo-French tension as a spring-board for his greatest diplomatic triumph known as 'Treaty of LDN' in 1518
  • treaty of LDN made possbile by Pope who called for peace between warring countires
  • Wolsey decided at the heart of European peace should be anglo-french treaty, strengthened by other nations who would collectively guarantee future peace - building Wolsey's rep as peacemaker and bringing glory on the King
  • consequence of improved relations led to FOCOG in 1520 were jousting, wrestling, music and ostentatious wealth were displayed at the meeting of H and Francis, although nothing of diplomatic value was achieved 
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relations w/ HRE to 1521

  • H had built allegiance w/ Max in 1513 and cooperated w/ him in 1st war against france
  • Max had signed into the Treaty of LDN too
  • yet, his death underminded the principles of the peace
  • the growth of english cloth trade to Flanders confirmed benefits of sustained anglo-imperial relations
  • elections of Charles V as HRE in 1519 created an empire powerful enough to challenge might of France
  • Wolsey had to work hard to sustain good relations meeting twice in 1520, but he refused the HRE's request to joing a war against France - demonstrating Wolsey's flexible and deft handling of foreign relations
  • he planned to seal the allegiance w/ marriage between princess mary and charles V 
  • over the period to 1521, end gradually moved into alliance w/ emperor and towards a declaration of war against France, once again
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english response to Hapsburg- Valois war

Outbreak of war, April 1521:

  • Francis I declared war on Charles V on April 1521 by invading Luxembourg
  • August 1521, a conference was called @ Calais attended by reps from France & Europe to find a way to avoid further conflict
  • Wolsey chosen as international peacemaker to negotiate a peace deal, yet he knew both sides were 'playing for time' 
  • he couldnt win international peace plaudits as a peacebroker and he knew H was looking to join the conflict, meaning eng had to ally with Hapsburg or Valois
  • whilst Calais conference underway, Wolsey met Charles V @ bruges where they secretly agreed to declare war on France if Francis refused to make peace
  • the treaty was to be kept secret until Francis paid next installment of French pension, after which Charles agreed to compenseate Eng for pension payments lost in war
  • Charles also here agreed to marry Mary, H's daughter by CofA
  • 1522, eng declared war on France, eng troops sent to Picardy where it became apparent Charles was more committed to fighting in northern Italy
  • Eng fortune improve din 1523 after DUKE OF BOURBON(powerful french noble) raised an army against Francis
  • plans drawn up to attack Paris by DUKES OF B& SUFFOLK w/ imperial forces from Netherlands
  • only SUFFOLK came close to Paris but was abdandoned by his allies
  • H lost interst in the war and Wolsey, again had to negotiate
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diplomatic revolution -eng response to wars

  • Wolsey pursued traditional line in English foreign relations  which was pro-imperial and anti-french
  • from 1525, relation with Charles V did not serve Eng interestsfor several reasons and Wolsey looked to build an alliance w/ France which was risky due to ingrained traitions and conservative factions @ court and threatened diplomatic isolation once again if Francis and Charles settled their enmity at English expense
  • Aug 1525 Wolsey had opened negotiations for peace w/French and subsequent talks led to TREATY OF MORE
  • creation of anti-Hapsburg League of Cognac in 1526 confirmed shift in diplomatic policy, league included France, and the Italian states w/ England's financial assitance
  • diplomatic revolution more marked in 1527 when Sack of Rome, Pope effectively became emperor's prisoner
  • Wolsey realised that he had even less chance of securing HVIII's marriage annulment so became more committed to anti-hapsburg position
  • TREATY OF WESTMINISTER which declared perpetual peace between Eng & France 
  • Wolsey travelled to Amiens to sign TREATY OF AMIENS an anglo-french agreement to attack Charles V 
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eng response to wars continued...

  • jan of 1528, eng declared war on Charles V 
  • Wolsey imposed a trade embargo on Eng cloth trade w/Burgundy as HVII had done, putting pressure on Charles to negotiate
  • in retaliation, Charles V ordered Eng merchants to be held hostage 
  • trade embargo led to widespread unemployment in England and coincided with a poor harvest, economic conditions and culminated in trouble in south west, east and East Anglian by March 1528 
  • Wolsey had no choise but to lift embargo and face a humilitating retreat 
  • 'Ladies Peace' of 1529 known as TREATY OF CAMBRAI negotiated by Marg of Austia and Louise of Savoy to settle conflict between France, the Empire and Pope
  • treaty excluded ENg leaving them diplomatically isolated, confirming Charles' victory over H
  • King pushed this diplomatic revolution - not Wolsey, who preffered to keep options open. 
  • after 1525, Wolsey lost his flexibility as King pushed for rigid policy: oppose Charles V
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relations w/ the papacy

  • HVIII had good relations w/papacy until disgareement over marriage annulment
  • Pollard argues Wolsey aimed to become pope himself 
  • 1527, when the Pope was effectively held prisoner by Charles V , Wolsey put himself forward as temporary pope though his proposal was dismissed
  • other historians agrue that Wolsey's immense efforts @ attaining the marriage annulment show he put king's interests before that of the papacy 
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relations w/ Scotland

  • Scot remained a great threat to HVIII becauase of it traditional alliance w/France 
  • James IV was married to Henry's sister Marg but did not secure loyalty to English monarch
  • as an Anglophobe, James had a history of supporting anti-Tudor impostures so there was no surprise when he intervened in Anglo-French war in 1512 when a SCottish army marched on Eng w/ intention of diverting Eng troops from France
  • this intervetion proved disatrous when scottish army was routed and King James killed @ BATTLE OF FLODDEN FIELD IN 1513
  • new king James V only 17mnths old and Queen Marg became regent but had little support among scottish nobles who were encouraged by Francis I to resist her
  • she handed her regency to DUKE OF ALBANY who was heir to the throne and a cousin to the king
  • Anglo-Scottish relations remained tense throughout Francophile Albany's gov
  • when H prepped for 2nd war against France in 1523, he tried to remove threat of invasion from north by offering the scots a 16 year truce and marriage between James V and Princess MAry on condition that Albany was removed 
  • Scots refused so H sent an Eng army to ravage the borders
  • marked improvements on Anglo-Scottish relations after Albany departed in 1524 and French had been defeated at BATTLE OF PAVIA in 1525
  • diplomatic revolution meant there were friendly relations between eng and france and subsequently scotland 
  • James V old enough to rule and encouraged by resurgent Anglophile party @ Scottish Court
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