Elizabeth I Reign

HideShow resource information

Who was Elizabeth I?

  • (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/af/Darnley_stage_3.jpg/640px-Darnley_stage_3.jpg)  
  • She was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
  • Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII by second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was executed two and a half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. 
  • In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel. She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers. Her rule was defined by factional rivalry. 
  • Her reign was divided into two periods: 1558-1579 were known as the Golden Age. Whilst the 1580's became known as the crisis years that saw war with Spain and economic problems.
1 of 44

Elizabeth and the Privy Council

  • Edward had 40 members in his council, Mary had as much as 50 at one point. Elizabeth's first council had 19 members and during the 1590's it reduced to 9 members. 10 of the 19 had been on Mary's council and the majority had served during Henry and Edward's reign. 
  • William Cecil replaced Paget became the Secretary of State again in 1558, and "became one of the greatest administrator-politicians in English history" (LOTH.) HOWEVER he had a rivalry with Robert Dudley, who irritated Cecil because he tried to woo Elizabeth and his radical views contrasted with Cecil's moderate Protestantism.
  • Elizabeth's Council's lacked key religious figures and clerics; Whitgift was the only one of Elizabeth's Archbishops of Canterbury to enter the council.
  • The council acted as an advisory body to the Queen but LOTH= Councillors could be "skillfull manipulators". He accused them of manipulating information. "Most of the correspondance with the Queen was recieved by Cecil as secretary, so he was in a position to deny her knowledge entireley". He also accused of Sir Francis Walshingham of fabricating the 'Stafford Plot' to convince her that her life was always in danger whilst MQofS lived. HOWEVER he also states that "Elizabeth respected the views of the extremely able men she appointed".
2 of 44

Elizabeth and Faction

  • LOTH = "Elizabeth's Council was rarely a united body". In 1569/70, there was a plan to destroy Cecil due to jealousy of his influence over Elizabeth and the thought of his foreign policy damaging England. Cecil and Dudley clashed on the issue of intervention in the Dutch revolt. 
  • Factional rivalry continued when Cecil's son, Robert took over as the Queen's Chief Minsiter and Robert Deverux, the Earl of Essex, who was successor to the Queen's affections. The dispute was mainly over the Queen's favour and patronage; although the Earl's association with an aggressive, Protestant foreign policy also deepened the rift.
  • LOTH = Elizabeth was wise and "never gave exclusive power to any single individual or faction" as it would "deprive her of the benefits of patronage and provoke discontent among those denied favour". 
3 of 44

Elizabeth Economics

  • LOTH = "Elizabeth and her government did not give Crown revenues the fundamental reform they badly needed."
    • When Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, she inherited a difficult financial situation and a debt of £227,000. 
  • By instinct, Elizabeth was a careful spender and believed in strict housekeeping. For most of her reign she avoided the expenses war - something which had crushed her fathers, brothers and sisters economy. 
  • Under Elizabeth, ordinary revenue increased from about £200,000 a year to £300,000. With the tight control of expenditure, the Treasury was able to record a large annual surplus on the ordinary account, she was able to pay off the debts which Mary had left her. In 1576 Chancellor of the Exchequor Sir Walter Mildmay said "Her Majesty ahth most carefully delivered this Kingdom from a great and weighty debt". 
  • LOTH = "Elizabeth's most impressive financial achievements was the funding of the great war against Spain...and the conquest of Ireland." Crown land worth over £600,000 was sold, including virtually all of the remaining monastic property to make money for the wars. Parliamentary taxation was requested more frequently and in multiples. 
4 of 44

Elizabeth Social and Finance Policy

  • To her credit, when Elizabeth died in 1603, the nation was only in debt to the tune of £350,000 - £123,000 more than in 1558, but this was spread over 40 years and was a remarkable achievemant 
  • The recoinage of 1560-61 slowed inflation, but the English population continued to rise. About 3 million in 1558, it rose to 4.2 million in 1603 - an increase of about 40%. More people meant more demand, and food prices rose about 75%.
  • Elizabeth did a great deal for the working man - The Statue of Artificers (1563) made apprenticeships were to last 7 years. Justices of the Peace were to fix wages. It was reasonably effective at regulating industrial labor, but had little effect on poverty and vagrancy. 
  • The English government passed various laws to try and cope with these social problems.Acts were passed throughout the reign and consolidated in the Poor Law of 1601. Elizabethan poor relief legislation distinguished the able-bodied from the the deserving poor, impoverished by misfortune and sickness - were to be given support and materials for a productive activity.
  • The resources of the English government were quite inadequate to the social and economic problems it faced, but the government did manage to maintain some stability. Even the dire harvests of the 1590s did not produce the rebellions and unrest of 1549.
5 of 44

Elizabeth and Overseas Trade

  • Elizabeth continued to maintain the diplomatic relations with the Tsar of Muscovy originally established by her deceased brother. She often wrote to Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible"), on amicable terms, though the Tsar was often annoyed by her focus on commerce rather than on the possibility of a military alliance. 
  • Trade and diplomatic relations developed between England and the Barbary states during the rule of Elizabeth. England established a trading relationship with Morocco in opposition to Spain, selling armour, ammunition, timber, and metal in exchange for Moroccan sugar, in spite of a Papal ban.
  • Diplomatic relations were also established with the Ottoman Empire with the chartering of the Levant Company and the dispatch of the first English ambassador to the Porte, William Harborne, in 1578.
  • The Dutch were England's major client for cloth exports and the port of Antwerp, in the Netherlands, was the main commercial centre for both imports and exports. The Netherlands, however, were then a Spanish province and this meant that the stability of the European market for English cloth, and the availability of imports in return, were affected by the state of relations between Spain, England and the Netherlands.
6 of 44

The Religious Settlement 1559

  • Subject to much debate:
  • AF POLLARD suggested Elizabeth set out to create the CofE according to her own wishes, and that she was succesful without much opposition. HOWEVER J E NEALE proposed that Liz was a conservative who wanted to restore Henrician Catholicism without the Pope; however returning religious exiles forced her to compromise with their demands, voiced through a puritan choir in the HoC. HOWEVER DR N JONES argues that the main struggle Elizabeth faced was with the HoL, which contained Marian bishops.
  • Surrounded by her new council which consisted of former supporters of Edward, notably William Cecil who had remained loyal to Elizabeth throughout the turbulant years. Elizabeth sought to revive the Royal Supremacy and reinstate the 1552 Prayer Book. 
  • The 1st act of her first Parliament established her supremacy as monarch and supreme governor in all matters spiritual and temporal. The Cath Bishops had opposed the Act of Supremacy in HofL, and refused to swear the oath of supremacy. They were deprived, imprisoned or allowed to resign. Elizabeth was able to appoint 27 new bishops, many of them men who had actively opposed Mary’s religious policies and who would support her in the HofL.
7 of 44

The Religious Settlement 1559 PART 2

  • The new Act of Uniformity required the use of a Book of Common Prayer in all churches, and provided a system of punishment for those who failed to use it. The 1559 Book of Common Prayer was based on its 1552 predeccesor - with some amendments: it instructed the priest to say the words of the 1549 and 1552 books when offering the bread and wine - the ambiguity was a compromise between Catholics and Protestants. The Act also made it compulsory to attend Church, recusants would have to pay a fine of a shilling.
  • The overwhelming majority of the parish clergy accepted the new order. They were accustomed to change. Yet about 200 priests were deprived of their livings or resigned, though often they continued to live in England. 
  • JOHN GUY said that "it is a paradox, at the time the Elizabethan religious settlement was made, it settled few".
  • FOR INSTANCE:  The 1552 Prayer Book took an even more conservative stance on vestments that went back to the second year of Edward VI's reign. The alb, cope and chasuble were all to be brought back into use. The appointment of the Henrician Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury "further outlined the mediocrity of the Settlement to radical eyes" (LOTH.). 
8 of 44

Elizabeth and the Catholics

  • LOTH.= Liz's main aim was "to squeeze the life out of the 'Old Religion' of Catholicism". The Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity imposed mild penalties for passive resistance by the Catholic laitiy involving a 12d. fine for recusants; whilst saying mass led to the death penalty with mere attendance resulting in a 100 mark fine.
  • LOTH.= "During 1560's there was little threat from Catholicism". According to a Privy Council survey, many Justice of the Peace were Catholic or at least sympathetic to the cause so were leniant in their punishments. 
  • There was "relatively little recusancy" although there is some evidence - there were as many 40 recusant priests in Lancashire, a predominantly Catholic county, alone - but "the dominant trend of the early years was one of outward conformity to the Church of Engand among the Catholics".
  • Reason for this: There was a lack of spiritual guidance from the Pope, only in 1562 did the Vatican prohibit Catholic attendance at Anglican services. The Catholic Phillip II was too preoccupied with the Mediteranian and the Netherlands to take serious action with England. 
  • Catholic threat came from individuals eg William Allen founded a seminary at Donai in the Southern Netherlands in 1568, to educate Catholics abroad and to train priests to return to England.
9 of 44

The Northern Rebellion of 1569 THE EVENT

  • In the late autumn of 1569, in the eleventh year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, insurrection, known as the "Rising of the North" took place at the head of which were Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Charles Neville, Earl of Westmorland.  
  • The Northerns Earls were able to recruit a following of 6,000 rebels - nowhere near as many as the earls hoped for. 
  • They captured Durham and restored Mass in the Cathedral. The Earl of Sussex marched out from York on 13 December 1569 with 7,000 men against the rebels' 4,600, and was followed by 12,000 men under Baron Clinton. 
  • Lord Dacre led a rebellion with 3000 men in January 1570 but they were crushed and the Northern Rebellion came to an end.
10 of 44

The Northern Rebellion of 1569 RELIGIOUS CAUSES

  • LOTH"For the Northern Earls of Westmorland and Northumberland religion appears to have been a genuine motive" but it was not the only one.
  • In January 1568 MQofS arrived in England-provided focus for followers of the old religion; if Elizabeth died, a Catholic heir would lead them back into the fold. It was her return that seemed the spark the rebellion.
  • Enthusiasm for Catholicism seems to have motivated the lesser members: eg Richard Norton had worn the badge of the Five Wounds of Christ in 1536. Other leaders of the rebellion Thomas Markenfield and Dr Morton both had travelled the Continent in the 1560's and had returned with zeal to awake the North. A proclamation was issued stating that the reason for their rebellion was to resist the 'new-found religion and heresy'>>HOWEVER may have been a ploy to gather support.
  • In 1570 the Pope excommunicated Elizabeth. By the terms of the Papal Bull, the English Catholics were absolve any oath of allegiance and commanded to disobey the queen or also face excommunication - ELTON describes this as "an unmistakable declaration of war". 
11 of 44

The Northern Rebellion of 1569 POLITICAL CAUSES

  • FLETCHER = "Political resentment ... was more important in attracting support to it than hatred of Protestantism".
    • The Northern Earls disliked Elizabeth's 'new men'. Elizabeth was aware of Catholic sympathisers in the North so placed men she trusted in positions of authority in the region eg Earl of Sussex was appointed President of the Council of the North, James Pilkington Bishop of Durham>>resentment at being passed over for offices they considered to be rightfully theirs was turned to outright anger by Pilkington's aggressive evangelical style. 
    • The Norfolk-Mary marriage plan, combined with the Duke of Norfolk's imprisonment, added to their frustrations. They believed they had no choice to lead a rebellion against an uncaring, aggressive and an increasingly deaf Protestant regime.
12 of 44

The Northern Rebellion of 1569 CONSEQUENCES

  • From this point on little mercy was shown from Elizabeth. Aproximately 800 perished on the gallows, and 57 noblemen and gentlemen were attainted by parliament, and their estates confiscated. Severe penal enactments were passed, by which anyone refusing to attend the reformed service was liable to fine and imprisonment; to become a priest, or to harbour one, or be present at mass, were crimes punishable with death. At York alone, 28 priests were hanged, bowelled, and quartered for exercising their sacerdotal functions and 11 laymen were executed for harbouring priests.
  • The Catholic cause was not helped by the 1571 Ridolfi Plot involving MQofS and Norfolk as a married alternative to Elizabeth, backed by Spanish arms and cash. As a result Norfolk was executed in June 1572 and the Spanish ambassador expelled.
  • New legislation was passed such as The Treason Act of 1571 which was created to dispose of the Catholic Threat.HOWVER survivalism continued, Church Papistry (lip-syncing to the Church) replaced recusancy. 
  • The Queen still sought to maintain her policy towards her Catholic subjects and resist pressure building up in Parliament to adopt a more draconian (harsh) legislation.
13 of 44

The Catholic Mission to England

  • The seminary at Douai, founded by William Allen in 1568, was established firstly to educate Catholics abroad and then to train a priesthood for England. 
  • In 1580, Edmund Campion, a Jesuit, outlined his task: "to cry alarm against foul vice and proved ignorance wherewith my countrymen are abused".
  • From the mid-1570's onwards the Catholic threat increased as the influx of seminary priests began at the rate of about 20 per year, rising to 29 in 1580. 
  • In June 1580 Camoion and Robert Parsons became the first two Jesuit missionaries. They provided organisation and structure of the mission. 
  • European situation also supported the tide of Catholic reformers coming to England - the election of Pope Gregory XIII in 1572 strengthened the Papacy's resolve to overthrow Elizabeth as 'the cause of such great harm to the Catholic faith".
  • The Throckmorton Plot of 1583, whereby French Catholic forces were to invade back by Spanish and Papal money and liberate MQofS and start a Catholic uprising, involving the Jesuits. GOVT fears were intensified by the Treaty of Joinville signed by Phillip II and the Catholic League in France and the Duke of Parma's clearing of the Netherlands for Catholicism at an alarming rate.
14 of 44

Elizabeth Response to Catholic Threat

  •  ELIZABETH's response:
  • An Act of 1581 redefined treason to include those who withdrew English subjects from allegiance to the Queen or her church.
  • Recusancy fines were increased to £20.
  • In 1584 the Act Against Jesuits and Seminary Priests was passed - commanding all Roman Catholic priests to leave the country in 40 days or they would be punished for high treason, unless within the 40 days they swore an oath to obey the Queen.
  • In 1585 Parliament ordered the expulsion of priests - making it treason to become a priest, with a death penalty given to anybody who helped a priest.
  • This harsh legislation aimed to undermine the organisation of the Jesuit mission and between 1586 and 1603, 123 out of 146 Catholics were executed under this Statute.
  • Between 1581 and 1586, 30 priests were executed and 50 were put in prison, yet a further 176; in 1588 21 priests were put to death and a further 53 between 1590 and 1603.
15 of 44

Importance of the Mission

  • AF POLLARD = 187 priests died for the mission and the government was unable to halt the movement.
  • HAIGH = the mission did not focus its attention on strong Catholic areas like the North; instead devoted its manpower to the wealthy South-East. After 1585, 50% of missionary priests travelled to the S-E where only 20% of detected recusants lived. HOWEVER PROFSSOR MCGRATH argues the Jesuits were of importance - for a Catholic Mass was essential and without the role of the seminary priests this tradition may have been lost and Catholicism may have disappeared.
  • LOTH = as the Spanish Armada illustrates, "patriotism and the defence of a hereditary monarch were greater priorities than personal religious conviction".
  • One group of Catholics opposed the militance of the mission - the Appellants, who wanted their religion to be tolerated once more. LOTH- "this marked a triumph for the Settlement of the Queen". 
  • By 1603 the CofE was an established Protestant country with the Catholics as the minority.
16 of 44

What were Puritans?

  • Puritan =
    • Referred to themselves as 'True Gospelers' or 'the Godly'.
    • Believed in Calvinist concept of double predestination of the 'elite' (those destined to go to heaven) and the 'reprobates' (those destined for hell).
    • The Bible was the only source of religious instruction and a Godly life required total conformity to the Word.
    • For them loyalty to God should become before loyalty to the monarch and a truly reformed Church had to seperate itself from the power of the monarch.
    • They were opposed to all 'Popish' items such as stained glass windows, statues, vestments...
17 of 44

Elizabeth and the Puritans

  • Puritans believed the 1559 Religious Settlement compromised the 1552 Prayer Book - the 'ornaments' rubric of the Act of Uniformity, requiring the use of Catholic vestments, had incorporated the 'rags of Popery' into the Church service;the alb, cope and chasuble were all brought back; stone altars had not been removed; the use of wafers rather than bread was very reminiscent of a Catholic mass.
  • In the 'Vestiarian Controversy', puritans rejected vestments as they had no biblical support.They also rejected the use of wafers, kneeling during communion and objecting to plays and songs on Holy days.
  • The first Convocation of the English Clergy of Elizabeth's reign, held in 1563, restored the position of the Thirty-Nine Articles in the Church of England. It was agreed that 'Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation' but did not accept the Calvinist theory of double predestination. 6 articles of reform of a strong Puritan flavour was narrowly defeated by the moderate reformers by 59 votes to 58 votes.
  • When in 1566 Archbishop Matthew Parker issued his 'Advertisements' to address the issue of clerical dress and ceremony, enforcing the Elizabeth's settlement; 40 London clerics were deprived of their livings for refusing to accept their orders.
  • As a result the Puritans had to find another way of pushing through their reforms. 
18 of 44

The Presbyterian Movement

  • What is presbyterianism? It's a form of Protestant Church government in which the Church is administered locally by the minister with a group of elected elders of equal rank, and regionally and nationally by representative courts of ministers and elders.
  • A central figure was Thomas Cartwright - who was appointed Professor of Divinity at Cambride in 1569. In a series of lectures on the Act of the Apostles in 1570 he advocated the abolition of Episcopacy on the grounds that bishops had no biblical basis. and proposed an alternative, Calvinist system. 
  • LOTH: "Pali. became the focus for the Presbyterian attack". In 1572 two 'Adominations (warnings) to the Parliament' were presented by John Field and the second by Cartwright. 
    • The first warning was a bold appeal to public opinion, which landed and Field in Newgate Prison. They argued that instead of the popish hierarchy of the CofE as established, an equality of ministers was needed who would then form a consistory (governing body) for each congregation as in the Genevan model. It was defeated in Parliament and the Queen responded hostily. Radical puritans kept a low profile from then onwards with Cartwright fleeing abroad into exile in 1574.
  • The appointment of Edmund Grindal as the new ABofC gave hope to the movement. He had proved to be more sympathetic to the cause than his predecessor Matthew Parker. Grindal had ordained Field in 1566 and supported the Puritan stand against vestments during the Vestiarian Controversy.
19 of 44

Grindal and Whitgift

  • There was a broad consensus between radical Puritans and the moderate Protestants in regard to prophesyings - meetings for prayer, preaching, discussion and instruction from the Bible. Many bishops turned a blind eye to these prophesying's out of sympathy and a common sense of Protestant purpose. The Queen however did not approve.
  • Grindal was suspended as ABofC over his refusal to suppress prophesying's.  He stood firm, and in 1578 was informed that the queen wished to have the archbishop deprived. She was dissuaded from this extreme course. Elizabeth suggested he should resign; he declined to do so, and after apologising to the queen he was reinstated towards the end of 1582. He died soon after. John Whitgift was his successor. Whitgift shared Elizabeth's hatred of Puritans. In his policy against the Puritans and in his vigorous enforcement of the subscription test he thoroughly carried out the her policy of religious uniformity.
  • He drew up articles aimed at nonconforming ministers, and obtained increased powers for the Court of High Commission. His actions gave rise to the Marprelate tracts,pamphlets which circulated illegally in England in the years 1588 and 1589. Their principal focus was an attack on the episcopacy of the Anglican Church.
  • Through Whitgift's vigilance the printers of the tracts were discovered and punished, and to prevent the publication of such opinions he had the Act against Seditious Sectaries passed in 1593, making Puritanism an offence.
20 of 44

Elizabeth and Parliament

  • LOTH. = "Subordinate to the crown in it's medievil youth, it grew to become the dominant institution in English politics". 
  • NEALE argued that the HoC made significant progress during Elizabeth's reign. An effective opposition arose in the Commons.
  • HOWEVER revisionists have contested that the Commons did not even attempt to act as an opposition to Elizabeth and did not rise at the monarch's expense - They only came to Elizabeth when she called on them. Infact they only met 13 times in her 45 year long reign. She only called them to pass acts of parliament. They also approved taxes and provided support, advice and money for the monarch. Their role was significantly smaller then the role of the Privy Council.
  • HOWEVER on numerous occasions MPs and the Crown disagreed. The quality of ministers improved during Liz's reign. Eventualy 4/5 of the MP's came from well-educated backgrounds rather than townsmen. Furthermore, a growing proportion (rising from 26% in 1563 to 44% in 1593) had some legal training - meaning they were more confident and compotent law makers. 
21 of 44

Parliament Vs Elizabeth (Religion)

  • Protestant zeal, as NEALE argued was a major factor to the conflict Liz had with her parliament. The Puritans felt compelled to put religious duty befoe their desire to be obediant servnts to the Crown. NEALE identified 43 members of the Parliament from 1563-7, the Puritan Choir, as leaders of the Puritan agitation.
  • In 1566, 1571, 1572, 1586 and 1593 Liz objected to Puritan bills on the ground that Parli. had no right to raise the questions without her permission. HOWEVER when William Strickland proposed a bill in 1571 to reform the Prayer Book, Liz's order to exclude him from the Commons roused members to such angry protest that she re-admitted the offender. [AN EXAMPLE OF POWER OF PARLIAMENT]
22 of 44

Parliament Vs Elizabeth (Marriage & Succession)

  • LOTH: = The topic of marriage resulted in "coninual acrimony" throughout the reign.
  • Upon Elizabeth's ascension it became very important to Parliament that Elizabeth should marry and produce a Protestant heir to the throne. Parliament was worried that if Elizabeth died childless, Mary Stuart, a Catholic, would probably become queen of England. They feared that if that happened, all Protestants who held power under Elizabeth would be persecuted. In 1572, the Catholic plot to murder Elizabeth was discovered and Mary queen of Scots was traced back to it. The MP’s urged Elizabeth to have her executed but Elizabeth was in two minds about the situation involving her cousin.
  • In 1566, the Commons supported by the Lords, resolved to hold up the Subsidy Bill until Elizabeth settled the succession. An angry Queen promised she would "marry as soon as I can conveniantly". When she issued an 'express commandment' that the matter of marriage should no longer be discussed by Parli. Paul Wentworth led the members in a protest in the defence of 'the liberty of the free speech of the House'.  Elizabeth responded by dissolving the Parliament. [Shows power Queen had over Parliament]
  • Then in 1593, a bill to settle the succession upset Elizabeth so much that the Privy Council imprisoned the MP responsible and their leader, Peter Wentworth, remained in the Tower till his death in 1597. [Shows power Queen had over Parliament]
23 of 44

Parliament & Elizabeth Co-Operation

  • NEALE argues that the 1559 Religious Settlement was forced upon Elizabeth. HOWEVER NORMAN JONES argues that Elizabeth was committed to doctirnal Protestantism.The Supremacy and Uniformity were seperated into the two bills and again passed the HoC with ease. The Marian Bishops opposed the Act of Supremacy in HofL, and refused to swear the oath of supremacy. They were deprived, imprisoned or allowed to resign. Elizabeth was able to appoint 27 new bishops, many of them men who had actively opposed Mary’s religious policies and who would support her in the HofL.JONES argues argues that the new Church was actually established by an alliance of Crown and Commons against the Lords. Elizabeth was never denied funds and only in 1566 did she think it was wise to accept a reduced sum. During the war years, members only offered minimal opposition to the requests for multiple subsidies (2 in 1589, 3 in 1593 and 1597, 4 in 1601) eg only one MP objected the double subsidy in 1589. This was uprecedented; no Parli. before had ever before passed multiple subsidies; when Mary attempted to do so in 1558 there was a backlash from the Commons.
  • As for the Puritan Choir, MICHAEL GRAVES claims they were not as organised as Neale portrayed. LOTH= there is "no evidence of a significant Puritan opposition which was willing or able to lead the Commons against the Crown".
24 of 44

Elizabeth's Early Difficulties with Foreign Policy

  • February 1559 - Phillip asks for Elizabeth's hand in marriage and continue the Anglo-Spanish alliance. She refused. 
  • In August 1558, before Liz's ascension, the representatives of Spain, Eng, Scot & France began to negotiate an end to a war. April 1559 - The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was signed. It gave up Calais; the French promised to return Calais to England after 8 years or forfeit 500,000 crowns. Good things= the port was a financial drain. Bad things= LOTH "A major blow to England's prestige".
  • Threat that France would support the claim assert French control over Scotland and support MQofS claim to the English throne.
  • May 1559 - the Scottish Protestants rebelled against Mary of Guise; the prospect of a Protestant, anti-French Scotland pleased Liz. HOWEVER the French sent a large army to suppress the revolt. William Cecil urged the importance of intervention. HOWEVER Liz thought it was "against God's law to aid any subjects against their natural princes or their ministers". Eventually Liz was won over.
  • Feburary 1560 = Liz sent Norfolk to conclude the Treaty of Berwick with the Scots and English soldiers were marched into Scotland. By July, the Treaty of Edinburgh was signed - French and English troops agreed to leave Scotland; Mary gave up her right to the English throne and the French conceded self-government to the Scots.
25 of 44

Continuation of Problems with France & Scotland

  • The first of the French Wars of Religion began in June 1562 (a civil war between the Catholic majority and the Protestant Huguenots). Lord Robert Dudley and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (anxious to match Cecil's Scotland success) strongly urged intervention on the side of the Huguenots -- without intervention they would collapse and France would again become a formidable enemy.
  • October 1562 - an English army sailed to France and occupied Le Havre. Phillip complained she was once again supporting rebels. As a result, Liz did not let her troops leave Le Havre and help the Huguenots. Huegenots defeated and persuaded to make peace that involved the promise of religious toleration if they help remove the invading English. English forced to retreat from Le Havre in July 1563.
  • August 1561 - MQofS returned to Scotland. Her return was not welcomed by Liz or her government. Mary accepted Elizabeth's title. but asserted her claim to be next in line to the throne. Liz privately agreed. MQofS married Henry Steward, Lord Darnley; however his assassination and her reported role in the incident led to a rebellion and her abdication in July 1567. The restoration of full Protestant control was beneficial to England, especially with the Anglophile views of the Earl of Moray and new Regent of Scotland. HOWEVER the presence of MQofS in England only caused further trouble for Elizabeth's reign.
26 of 44

Early Quarrels with Spain - the Netherlands

  • England's adoption of Protestantism and support of Protestant rebels abroad damaged Anglo-Spanish relations. 
  • 1st real crisis concerned the Netherlands. Cardinal Granvelle, Phillip's Chief Minister in the Neth's was willing to take on Liz's heretical policy with force. The efforts of English traders to spread Prot in the Neth's angered him further. Further problems also arose with the wool trade. Neth's clothmakers resented the higher prices charged by English merchants to cover the increased taxes of the Book of Rates of 1558. Granvelle banned the import of English cloth - IMPORTANT 78% of all English exports were cloth - Liz retaliated by banning all Neth's imports. The dispute was damaging to both sides: English tried to find alternative trade options notably Hamburg and began to develop trade routes with the Baltic and Russia. This damaged A-S relations LOTH: "A-S co-operation no longer seemed to be an economic necessity". 
  • Changing point in A-S relations came in 1567 - Duke of Alva marched Spanish army into Neth's to prevent a recurrence of unrest that happened in 1566. Increased threat of Spanish attack from two fronts - Netherlands was just a mere 30 miles of water to the coast of England. Spain was now the principle threat.
27 of 44

England Vs Spain Naval Disputes

  • Another matter of dispute was America - Spain claimed all of Northern and Central America and attempted to prevent unauthorised trade between the settlements and seamen from European countries. One of the most famous of these seamen was John Hawkins who had Elizabeth's support in his slave trade. Spain's attempts to stop this trade culminated in a Spanish squadron's attack on Hawkin's fleet in the Mexican port of San Juan de Ulua in September 1568 resulting in the deaths of 500 English men. This was another grievance betwen the two countries. LOTH critical of her response which "drove Phillip to consider England an irreconcilable enemy, and the eventual result was to bring on the invasion that her policy was intended to avoid".
  • Situation worsened in November 1568, the Gold Bullion Incident occured, where 5 Spanish ships carrying £85,000 for the Duke of Alva to pay the costs of his army were intercepted and seized by Elizabeth. REASONS?: To cause problems for the Spanish army in the Netherlands? Remind Spain of England's domination of their sea route to the Netherlands? CONSEQUENCES: Trade between the Neth, Eng and Spa came to a standstill. A campaign was led to destroy Cecil, the man who urged the seizure and thereby brought England into conflict with Spain.
28 of 44

Elizabeth and the French Alliance

  • In 1570, Liz began to encourage the idea of marriage between herself and the Duke of Anjou, the son of Catherine de Medici, Queen Mother of France, and a brother to the French King. REASONS: England needed the support of France if she was to protect herself against Spain, Anjou had sympathies with the Protestant Hugeunots. PROBLEMS: The political elite appeared divided. There were those who supported the marriage such as William Cecil and the Earl of Sussex, and those who were ardently opposed such as Robert Dudley.  If she married, then she risked her popularity and support for her regime, but she was now in her late forties, and if she did not marry Alencon, then this could be her last chance at marriage, and having a child to succeed her to the throne. 
  • Marriage talks fell through BUT a defensive alliance was signed in April 1572 - The Treaty of Blois. WERNHAM Elizabeht ''had gained a French shield' from Spain. HOWEVER agreement faced its difficulties - France wished to make a joint attack on the Neth's and divide it up between the two. HOWEVER continental territory would be military burdensome and inordinately expensive.BUT above all the thought of French expansion alarmed the English as they would have more the southern coastline of the Channel. 
  • FURTHERMORE France was hit by more civil war. In August 1572, the Guise faction initiated a massacre that claimed the lives of 13000 Huguenots with within a month.  It had a profound effect on the English public, with an awful amount of hostility being shown to the French monarcy. 
29 of 44

English Security and Elizabeth's Failure

  • During the 1570's with "the two great powers of western Europe so embroiled in domestic difficulties, England's security could hardly have been better ensured" (LOTH).
  • CHARLES WILSON criticsed Elizabeth's excessive caution during the 1570's led to her failure to exploit the situation and achieve permanent security by not giving greater assistance to the Dutch rebels and thereby allowing the Spanish to recover a position of threatening power. There was also widespread public support for intervention - it had strategic benefits, but many English-men felt a strong obligation to help their fellow Protestants. MOREOVER a failure to join the struggle would result in a Catholic victory and a massive assault on the last Protestant stronghold - England. The majority of Elizabeth's councillors favoured intervention - notably Dudley and Sir Francis Walshingham.
  •  BUT she feared a lessening of her authority among those who would consider a female monarch week. She was also confident the ancient rivalry between France and Spain would prevent them from uniting and leading a Catholic crusade against England. She also disliked the uncertainties of war - "Whatever the religious zealots, the pious men of blood, might say, she would not gamble England's future on such a barbourous and unpredictable holocaust" (WERNHAM
30 of 44

The Netherlands

  • LOTH = Elizabeth "sought to stave off both France expansion and Spanish victory" of the Netherlands.
  • On 7 occassions in the years following 1572, Elizabeth sent money and allowed volunteers to cross to the Netherlands to fight the Spanish. She formaly approved and invested in Francis Drake's expedition of 1577-80 to the Pacific and encouraged the seizure of Spanish gold to aggravate Phillip's financial woes and make the Neth's army more difficult to sustain.
  • The policy was unsuccesful. The Spanish anxious to end England's interference conceded much to England - they re-opened trade in 1573, settled the bullion incident in 1574 and banished Catholic refugees from the Netherlands.
  • In 1576, the 'Spanish Fury', a violent mutiny of Spanish soldiers drove all 17 provinces in the Netherlands to rebel. In 1577, Liz agreed to send troops to support the Dutch. Thousands of English troops volunteered. Elizabeth sent the States General £20,000 to hire mercenaries.
  • The Dutch held off the Spanish till 1578 but when the impressive Duke of Parma took control of the Spanish army, the Dutch were too make peace with Parma in January 1579. Elizabeth's goal had failed. LOTH = "the failure to achieve any lasting solution in the Neth's meant continuing and seemingly interminable danger".
31 of 44

Spain Ascendant

  • During 1580's the Spanish became very strong:
  • The Spanish attacked Portugal in 1580 and Phillip was proclaimed king in April 1581. This gave Spain the riches of Portugal's African and Oriental possessions and increases his navy.
  • In 1583 Phillip's great admiral the Marquis of Santa Cruz, propoes that he should lead an armada from Spain to overthrow 'the heretic woman'. But he did not feel prepared.
  • In 1582-4, Parma had re-conquered most of Calvinist-held land, Anjou was defeated withdrawing from the Neth's in June 1583. July 1584, William of Orange, his main opponent in the Neth's is assassinated. Then in December 1584 he signed The Treaty of Joinville with the French Catholic League.
32 of 44


  • March 1585 - Catholic League take to arms and demand  Henry III should root out heresy. Henry submits to the league in June.
  • Elizabeth and Cecil become aware of the "awesome power Spain was acquiring" (LOTH) and in August 1585 Elizabeth and the Dutch sign the Treaty of Nonsuch by which she became protector of the Dutch and and despatched an army of 7000 men with Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester in charge.
  • Detailed prepartions were ordered by Phillip in Janaury 1586. It is unclear whether he would have launched such an enterprise if England had not signed the treaty and remained arms length from the Dutch. 
33 of 44


  • On 28 May 1588, the Armada set sail from Lisbon and headed for the English Channel. The fleet was composed of 130 ship and 18,000 soldiers; whilst 30,000 more Spanish soldiers awaited the arrival of the Armada in the Netherlands.
  • On the day the Armada set sail, Elizabeth's ambassador in the Netherlands, Valentine Dale, met Parma's representatives in peace negotiations. On 16 July negotiations were abandoned, and the English fleet stood prepared, if ill-supplied, at Plymouth, awaiting news of Spanish movements. The English fleet outnumbered the Spanish, 200 ships to 130, while the Spanish fleet outgunned the English.
  • As the Armada sailed up the English Channel, it was attacked by an English force lead by Sir Francis Drake. 
  • After a few unfortunate situations the English were victorious and only 67 ships out of 130 returned to Spain. Over 20,000 Spanish sailors and soldiers were killed. Throughout the whole campaign, the English lost no ships and only 100 men in battle. 
34 of 44

Problems Facing the Spanish Armada

  • PROBLEM 1 - In 1587, Drake attacked Cadiz harbour and destroyed or damaged a number of ships that were being prepared by the Spanish for the Armada. An event known as Singeing the King of Spain's Beard in which 100 of Spanish ships were sunk or destroyed. 
  • PROBLEM 2 - Spain's Lord High Admiral was the famous Santa Cruz. He was a respected and successful admiral. He died in 1586. The admiral chosen by Philip to lead the Armada after Cruz's death was a very rich and successful general called the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Though a good general, Medina Sidonia had never been to sea before and when he did get on board his ship, he got seasick. 
  • PROBLEM 3 - The Armada first sailed in April 1588. It hit a terrible storm and many ships were damaged. They had to return to port to get repaired. Phillip later blamed the Armada's failure on the weather saying "I sent you out to war with men, not with the wind and waves."
35 of 44

Aftermath of the Spanish Armada

  • Despite the Aramda's defeat it did not mark the end of the Anglo-Spanish war.
  • Fortunately for the English, the armadas of 1596, 1597 and 1599 were all scattered by strong winds. 
  • LOTH: "For all its remarkable feats, the navy could not win the war for England; it could only, as in 1588, prevent invasion and defeat".
  • The arrival of 34,000 Spanish troops in Ireland in 1601 illustrated Phillip III's willingness to respond in kind to the English Intervention in the Netherlands. The Irish and Spanish were eventually defeated - but the strugge required the deployment of 25000 English troops and the massive expenditure of £2 million. 
  • On the plus side no threat from Scotland - the young James VI was a strong Protestant and hopeful of becoming the next King of England. In 1586 he signed the Treaty of Berwick with Elizabeth making Scotland and England allies.
  • Phillip died in 1598 and Elizabeth in 1603 meaning it was down to their successors, Phillip III and James I, to acknowledge that neither side could benefit from continued warfare. The Treaty of London signed in 1604 ended the war. 
36 of 44


  • PENRY WILLIAMS "Elizabeth's government inherited an alarming situation in Ireland". Although Ireland was one of her two kingdoms, Elizabeth faced a hostile, and in places virtually autonomous, Irish population that adhered to Catholicism and was willing to defy her authority and plot with her enemies.
  • Under Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I, the English in Ireland tried a number of solutions to pacify the country. One long-term solution were plantations, in which areas of the country were to be settled with people from England, who would bring in English language and culture while remaining loyal to the crown. Plantation had been started in the 1550s in Laois and Offaly. After a neutral period in 1558–70, Pope Pius V declared Elizabeth a heretic in his 1570 papal bull. This complicated the conquest further, as her authority to rule was denied and her officials were considered by observant Roman Catholics to be acting unlawfully. Most Irish people of all ranks remained Catholic and the bull gave Protestant administrators a new reason to expedite the conquest. 
37 of 44

The Nine Year's War

  • The Nine Years' War or Tyrone's Rebellion took place in Ireland from 1594 to 1603. It was fought between the forces of Gaelic Irish chieftains Hugh O'Neill and his allies, against English rule in Ireland. 
  • Hugh O'Neill came from the powerful Ó Néill clan of Tyrone, who dominated the centre of the northern province of Ulster. He was brought up by the Hovenden family in the Pale and was sponsored by the English authorities as a reliable lord. In 1587, he persuaded Elizabeth I to make him Earl of Tyrone, the English title his grandfather had held. 
  • In 1591 he begun contact with Philip II of Spain, appealing for military aid against their common enemy and citing also their shared Catholicism. With the aid of Spain, O'Neill was able to arm and over 8,000 men, unprecedented for a Gaelic lord, and so was well prepared to resist any further English attempts to govern Ulster. The war began to build up: by 1599 the English garrison in Ireland numbered 17,300 soldiers - the largest English army of Elizabeth's reign - and were under the command of Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. HOWEVER he proved no match for the Irish.  Essex entered a parley with O'Neill and agreed a truce that was heavily criticised by his enemies in London, despite Elizabeth's admission soon afterward that it was "so seasonably made...as great good...has grown by it." Anticipating a recall to England, he set out for London in 1599 without the Queen's permission, where he was executed after attempting a court putsch. 
38 of 44

The Beginning of the End

  • He was succeeded in Ireland by Lord Mountjoy, who proved to be a far more able commander, though his greater success could just as well have been because he was provided with all of the administrative support Essex lacked.
  • In addition, two veterans of Irish warfare, George Carew and Arthur Chichester, were given commands in Munster and Ulster respectively.
  • In November 1599 O'Neill sent a 22-paragraph document to Queen Elizabeth, listing his terms for a peace agreement. These called for a self-governing Ireland with restitution of confiscated lands and churches, freedom of movement and a strong Roman Catholic identity. 
  • In 1601, the long promised Spanish expedition finally arrived in the form of 3,500 soldiers at Kinsale, Cork. Mountjoy immediately besieged them with 7,000 men. 
  • The English force might have been destroyed by hunger and sickness but the issue was decided in their favour at the Battle of Kinsale. In January 1602, O'Donnel took the decision to attack the English. Forming up for a surprise attack, the Irish chiefs were themselves surprised by a cavalry charge, resulting in a rout of the Irish forces. The Spanish in Kinsale surrendered after their allies' defeat.
39 of 44

Elizabeth's Death

  • Elizabeth's senior adviser, Burghley, died on 4 August 1598. His political mantle passed to his son, Robert Cecil, who soon became the leader of the government. One task he addressed was to prepare the way for a smooth succession. Since Elizabeth would never name her successor, Cecil was obliged to proceed in secret. He therefore entered into a coded negotiation with James VI of Scotland.
  • The Queen's health remained fair until the autumn of 1602, when a series of deaths among her friends plunged her into a severe depression. 
  •  In March, Elizabeth fell sick. She died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace. A few hours later, Cecil and the council set their plans in motion and proclaimed James VI of Scotland as James I of England.
40 of 44

Elizabeth OVERVIEW

  • Elizabeth and her Governmont
    • Traditional historians viewed her as a ‘Great Queen’ who struggled against a confident government. Revisionists perceive her government as stable and co-operative institutions, free of tension.  HAIGH believes that Elizabeth undermined her effectiveness by ruling through personal relationships e.g William Cecil and Robert Dudley- resulted in faction.
  • Ellizabeth and her Parliaments
    • The traditional view of authors such as NEALE claim that Elizabeth’s relations with her Parliaments were far from harmonious.   Revisionists including LINGARD, ELTON, GRAVES, POLLARD and RUSSEL believe that Elizabethan Parliaments were based on co-operation, with little tension evident.  Sharpe is also of this view.
  • Elizabeth and the Religious Settlement
    • Traditional writers such as NEALE and MacCULLOCH, viewed the Elizabethan Church Settlement as a compromise, a “Via Media” between all radical forces. However, the revisionists, who include WILLIAMS, DORAN, POLLARD, GREEN and LOADES, have put forward the thesis that the Settlement, in some way, reflects Elizabeth’s personal view.
41 of 44


  • Elizabeth and th Puritans
    • NEALE, ROWSE and GREEN assert the traditional view that the Puritans were a force to be reckoned with.  However, there are more revisionist authors such as WILLIAMS, LAKE and GUY, who claim that the Puritans, for various reasons, posed no significant threat.
  • Elizabeth and the Catholics
    • Traditional opinion claims that the Elizabethan age was one of greatness when England established itself a leading power in Europe.  WERNHAM believes that her policy towards the Netherlands was one of consistency with clearly defined aims.  Regarding the control of foreign policy, ROWSE says that the Queen dominated over a strong Council united against a Catholic enemy.
    • Revisionists have devoted much attention to foreign policy, arguing that Elizabeth lacked the resources to fulfil an active foreign policy and that she merely reacted to events as they occurred.  MacCAFFREY writes of Elizabeth’s realism in foreign policy.  LOADES claims that her policy was defensive, while Williams challenges the view that her Council was united.
42 of 44


  • Elizabeth and the Economy 
    • Traditional historians claim that this period witnessed the birth of capitalism and great economic improvement.  Some also claim that the agricultural revolution took place here and not in the 19th century.   KERRIDGE claims there was an agricultural revolution given the transformation in production techniques, more efficient use of labour force and improvement in some methods.
    • Revisionists believe that the gentry were affected by the Elizabethan economy as their fortunes both rose and fell due to the irregularity of markets. MacCAFFREY claims that Elizabeth did not want to tax the rich for fear of alienating them therefore resulting in little economic improvement. MacCAFFREY also claims long term planning was not a feature of the Elizabethan economy.
43 of 44


  • Elizabeth and Society
    • MINGAY and SMITH both maintain that socially some degree of change was occurring but this cannot be classed as revolutionary as the change was not consistent and not everywhere. Historians have also acknowledged that England witnessed change both at the top of society and also at the very bottom.  At the top end we witness the expansion of the social elite to incorporate more groups and at the bottom we also see a great increase. The government had now to deal with the problem of vagrancy due to the policies of Henry VIII.
    • STONE believes the peerage lost a degree of its authority and status. PALLISER claims that this period marked less of a decline in nobility and more of an expansion of gentry and professional classes. 
44 of 44


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »