Defending against internal and external enemies, 1571-88,

Crown, government and parliment 

The political authority of Elizabeth I 

The role and minister and factions

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Lord Burghley 1520-1598

  • Sir William Cecil remained the most influential of Elizabeth's minister.
  • However, his status changed in1572 when he succeed the Marquis of Winchester as Lord Treasurer and was raised to the peerage as Baron Burghley - making matters easier for him.
  • He no longer had to deal with the bureaucratuc pressures that he had taken up so much of his time as Principal Secretary. 
  • However, he still had a vitally important role, coordinating the privy council, managing parliament and supervising the Exchequer and the Court of Wards.
  • As Lord Treasurer, he adoped  a conservative approach to royal expenditure. 
  • This prudence was to pay off from the mid-1580s when it became necessary to spend more money on war in the Netherlands and defense of England against the Armada.
  • His failure to reform the crown's system of raising revenue would cause serious problems in the later stages of Elizabeth's reign.
  • As a result, as Wallace MacCaffrey has argued, 'major deficiencies in the crown's fiscal adminisration went unchecked or grew worse' with declining revenues from customs, crown lands and wardships.
  • This then caused immense problems later in the reign with the financial pressures created by the war against spain.
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Sir Francis Walsingham 1532-1590

  • A cambridge- educated lawyer whose family had courtly connections.
  • He had spent the reign of Queen Mary in extile studying law at Padua in Italy.
  • First appeared in the Crown's emplyment in 1568.
  • Was promoted to Secretary in 1573 in the aftermath of the reshuffle in which Burghley had been appointed Lord Treasurer.
  • A conscientious bureacrat, he exercied relatively little influence over domestic affairs.
  • But was concerned principally with diplomacy and espionage.
  • He was a fervant Protestant.
  • He enjoyed close family connections with many prominent Elizabethans who shared his religious views. 
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Sir Walter Mildmay 1521-1589

  • Walsingham is his brother in law.
  • Mildmay was a Cambrigde- educated lawyer.
  • He enjoyed rapid advancement during the final years of Henry VIII reign and the reign of Edward VI on account of his skill as a financial administrator.
  • Regarded with suspicion by Mary, he was, nethertheless, too able to be removed from all public services.
  • He had retured to full favour under Elizabeth, who he served for many years as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
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Sir Christopher Hatton 1540-1591

  • Attracted the Queen's attention allegedly in part on account of his skill as a dancer.
  • Hatton was promoted through the royal household to become Vice Chamberlain and a privy Councillor.
  • His role in the government resembled that of Leicester, based on the personal chemistry between the Queen and himself rather than a cool appraisal of his political abilities.
  • Hatton often had been assumed to have had Catholic leanings and he certainly adopted a convervative approach in religious matters.
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The Privy Council

  • Reshaping of the Privy Council took place in 1570s.
  • The influence of the traditional conservative aristocracy was reduced with the downfall and execution of Norfolk and the death of Lord Treasurer Winchester.
  • A nucleus of firmly Prostestant coucillors was appointed: Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Walter Mildmay, Sir Ralph Sadler, Sir Henry Sidney and the Earl of Warwick.,
  • Their advancement was balanced by the promotion of more conservative figures, such as Sir James Crofts and Sir Christopher Hatton.
  • According to John Guy, these changes resulted in an 'inner ring' of eight councillors. Some of these were militant Protestants. (Walsingham, Leicester, Mildmay and the Earl of Bedford)
  • The only relatively conservative figures were Sussex and Hatton.
  • Despite the changes in personnel, little changes in terms of the effectiveness of the Privy Council during the 1570s and the early 1580s.
  • Piecing together the discussions and debates that took place within the council is more problematical.
  • Nevertheless, historians have confidently asserted that the council offered cohesive descision making.  
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