Henry VIII dates


1509 and 1510

1509: Henry becomes King

In April, Prince Henry is proclaimed King following his fathers death. Days later, he imprisoned and later executed the much hated leaders of the Council Learned in Law, Empson and Dudley. This was a strategic move to get the people back on side with the monarchy.

In June, Henry married his late brothers widow, Catherine of Aragon. They were coronated together, King and Queen later that month. This enabled relations with Spain to remain cordial

1510: French foreign policy

In 1510, Empson and Dudley were executed, leading to the abolition of the Council Learned in Law. 

The Treaty of Etaples was also renewed with France, securing the French pension for the forseeable future. Additionally, the Holy League was created, between England, Spain, Holy Roman Empire, Venice and the Pope, against the French, beginning Henrys foreign policy aim of being a warrior king. He did not agree with the good relations with France and wished to exercise power over the kingdom. 

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1512 and 1513

1512: French invasion 

Under false pretence, Henry followed orders from Ferdinand of Spain to invade France. He was used by Maximillian and Ferdinand, who made significant gains in Navarre, while Henry achieved nothing. 

1513: Battle of Flooden

In early 1513, the Scottish brought in their alliance with the French, the Auld Alliance, when James IV of Scotland invaded England, in support of their ally France following the invasion the previous year. However, the battle turned out to be disasterous for the Scots, as James was killed in Battle, leaving his infant son James V as the ruler. Henry did not take advantage of this.

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1514 and 1515

1514: Thomas Wolsey

In 1514, Henrys younger sister married King Louis of France, which ended abruptly in 1515 with Louis' death. Francis I took the throne of France. Mary went on to marry an English noble.

In 1514, concillior government also came to an end, with the appointment of Thomas Wolsey as chief minister. This happened because many of Henry's councilors were more conservative in the face of Henrys impulsive nature, and disagreed with his aim of starting wars, especially with France. Wolseys main concerns were the legal system, domestic policy, politics, management of the church and foreign relations. 

1515: Treaty of Cambrai

In 1515, Ferdinand of Spain died, leaving Charles V to rule the country. He sought a French alliance against the English, and the Treaty of Cambrai was signed. 

In December, Wolsey was also appointed Lord Chancellor

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1516 and 1518

1516: Court of Star Chamber

The Court of Star Chamber had been introduced by Henry VII, as an addition to the regular courts of law. In 1516, Wolsey extended its uses to increase fair and cheap justice, in particular with private lawsuits. It had an ability to enforce the law where  other courts were burdened by corruption and influence.

Princess Mary was also born in this year, made heir presumptive

1518: Treaty of London 

This is considered Wolseys greates achievement. The Treaty of London was a non-aggressive pact between England, France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. England agreed to return Tournai and in turn, the French would carry on paying the pension. They also agreed to keep the troublesome French noble with a claim to the Scottish throne, out of Scotland. The countries agreed not to attack each other, and if one came under attack, the others would send aid

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1519 and 1520

1519: Governement and Wolsey

Before 1519, the Privy Chamber was a particular trouble to Wolsey. It was run by the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber and they did not trust him. Therefore, in 1519, Wolsey replaced the Gentlemen with his own supporters, meaning his influence over them grew. 

Furthermore, a committee was set up in relation to the Court of Star Chamber, in order to better deal with cases of the poor

Charles was also elected Holy Roman Emperor, meaning the same man was now in charge of both the Holy Roman Empire and Spain.

1520: Field of Cloth of Gold

In 1520, Wolsey organised the Field of Cloth of Gold, between France and England. The relations between the two countries were poor and both men saw the other as a fierce rival. Although English and French relations were revieved, not much was actually achieved

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1521 and 1525

1521: Treaty of Bruges

In 1521, the Treaty of Bruges was signed between Spain and England and the Holy Roman Empire, securing relations once more

1525: Battle of Pavia and Amicable Grant

In 1522, Wosley had conducted a national survey to see who could afford to pay more tax by looking at tax payers wealth. Funds gathered from this were insufficent for war against France, so in March 1525, Wolsey attempted to raise money for a French invasion by increasing taxes illegally. He did it without Parliaments approval and although this did not cause a rebellion, there was widespread discontent and huge resistance. As a result, the attempt for a grant failed.

In 1525, Henry also faced humiliation at the hands of Charles, who had reigned victorious against France in an Italian war. Henry seriously misjudged the power and status of England when he offered an alliance against the French with Charles to result in a joint invasion. Charles rejected this, showing that England was not in line with the more powerful empires yet, and came as an embarrassment to Henry.

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1526: Eltham Ordinances and League of Cognac

In 1526, Wolsey reformed the finances of the Privy Council. The ordinances further reduced the number of Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber. He also removed the Groom of the Stool and replaced him with one of his own men. This job was considered the most important as it was the most intimate with Henry and was often a position in the kings upmost confidence. These were seen as proof that Wolsey wanted to see a more modern office 

Furthermore, the League of Cognac was formed in 1526, an alliance that descended into war between France, the papacy, Venice and England against the growing power of the Hasburg empire of Spain and Holy Roman Empire

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1527: Treaty of Amiens and Kings Great Matter

In 1527, Henry offered support to the French against the Holy Roman Empire/Spain. This contributed to the growing conflct between whether Henry actually showed alliegence to France or not

1527 also saw the beginning of the Kings Great Matter. Catherine of Aragon had been unable to produce a male heir for Henry and he was falling madly in love with Anne Boleyn. She was refusing to have relations with Henry as a mistress. This led to Henry asking Wolsey to find a way to annule the marriage between himself and Catherine. In May, Wolsey called a fake court to try Henry of living in sin. This was possible because a verse in the Old Testament found that marrying a brothers widow was a sin, and therefore the marriage was illegal in the eyes of God. In court, Henry readily admitted to sinning in this way. Catherine disagreed with the verdict on the grounds that their marriage was never consumated and appealled to the Pope.

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1529 and 1532

1529: Fall of Wolsey:

The Pope listened to Catherine and sent Cardinal Campeggio to hear her case. The hearing was adjourned in July of 1529, in Catherines favour. Henry had not gotten what he wanted and this meant Wolsey had failed. He was charged with praemunire (punishable by death as a form of treason) and surrendered all his possessions and property to the king, including Hampton Court Palace. He wasconvicted but died in November, before he could be tried and executed

The goverment went from Chief minister back to concillior 

1532: Cromwell appointed Chief Minister

In 1532, Thomas Cromwell was made Chief minister, ending concilior government once again. He was appointed with the business of getting an annulment for Henry. In 1531, Henry had started pressurising the church with the help of Cromwell, by accusing the entire clergy of praemunire and fining them. Once Cromwell was appointed, this continued; in 1532 alone there was an Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates which reduced income of the clergy in England, the House of Commons provided a supplication against Ordinaries (church officers with power to execute laws), and there was a formal submission of the clergy to Henry

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1533 and 1534

1533: Break from Rome

1533 saw the bulk of the Break from Rome. In December of 1532, Anne Boleyn found out she was pregnant after finally agreeing to sleep with Henry. They secretly married soon after, in January 1533. The marriage between Henry and Catherine was officially annuled in May of 1533, with Anne having been crowned Queen in April; Annes daughter was born in September of the same year

Henry also continued using Parliament to break from Rome. They passed the Act of Restraint of Appeals, meaning legal decisions always fell to the king from then on and Catherine could no longer appeal to the Pope.

1534: Break from Rome

The most important Act to be passed in 1534 was the Act of Supremacy. This proclaimed Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church in England, ending the Popes authority over England. There were several other Acts passed including: the Treason Act, which defined treason as that of the spoken word as well as in writing, The Act of Annexing First Fruits and Tenths to the crown, which increased the financial burden on the clergy, as well as the first Act of Succession, which declared Mary illegitimate and Elizabeth as the heir to the throne. 

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1536: Execution of Anne Boleyn and Pilgrimage of G

By 1536, Anne has a huge influence within Henrys court and Cromwell felt threatned by her position in relation to Henry. As a result, he persuaded Henry that she was involved in adultery. This was considered treason as it was an act against the king and she was executed for it in May of 1536. Henry married Jane Seymour only a few days after Annes death. A succession act declared Elizabeth illegitimate in the face of her mothers death. Perhaps out of desperation, it also declared that kings could determine their heir by will, meaning that if he did not have a legitimate heir by the time he died, Henry could have declared his illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy as his heir. 

1536 also saw the beginning of the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1535, Cromwell had conducted the Valor Ecclesiasticus, which was an evaluation of the churchs wealth. There was an act passed to dissolve the monasteries with less than £200 annual income, with the funds going to Henry. This process would carry on until 1540. The Ten Articles Act came this year.

The Pilgrimage of Grace also happened this year. Under the leadership of Robert Aske, the rebels aimed to reverse all the changes to the church Henry had made, in particular the dissolution of the monasteries, as the loss had greatly affected community. There was also a resentment of taxation. Henry tricked the rebels into backing down, saying he would listen to their demands, but a flair of violence meant he had an excuse to execute leaders. It seemed to only increase the rate of religious change

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1537 and 1539

1537: Birth of Edward

Prince Edward was born in 1537, meaning Henry finally had a legitimate male heir to the throne. He was declared heir presumptive, even though he would still be a minor when he came to the throne. Jane Seymour also died due to birth complications

1539: Act of Six Articles

A further act was passed to mean the remaining monasteries were dissolved from 1539 onwards. 

The Act of Six Articles went back on what had been said in the Act of Ten Articles three years before. Ten had declared that instead of having 7 sacraments, the church in England only recognised 3. It had also set that statues were not to be worshipped, and that masses for the dead were not accepted. Six reaffirmed that transubstantiation was real, and that an individual didnt need to receive both body and blood at communion. Generally, it reverted many of the more radical Protestant ideas of Ten, which was a huge set back for the likes of Cromwell and Archbishop Cramner.

Anne of Cleves also arrives and the two marry. This was to be an unhappy partnership

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1540: Fall of Cromwell

Cromwell had arranged the marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves, hoping to improve diplomatic realtions between England and Germany. However, Henry had only seen portriats of her and when she arrived, was not impressed with her appearance. Henry didnt like her, and the marruage was politically unwelcome both at home and abroad. The marriage was quicly annulled and destroyed Cromwells reputation. He was accused of treason and executed in July 1540.

Henry married Catherine Howard

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1542 and 1543

1542: Howard executed and Solway Moss

The remaining years of Henry VIII's  reign saw factional rivalries take over goverment as each person tried to secure a spot for Edwards reign. Power lay with the conservatives, in particular the Duke of Norfolk. However, his position slipped when Catherine Howard, who was his neice was exposed as having had an affair with her cousin and was executed for treason in February. Norfolk managed to escape the blame but his reputation was damaged and Henry went onto the marry Katherine Parr. 

The 1540s also began a poor relation between Scotland and England. The Battle of Solway Moss was caused by Norfolks attempts to destroy the Scottish border. James led an army into England but was killed, leaving his infant daughter Mary Queen of Scots on the throne, yet another thing Henry did not take advantage of. 

1543: Treaty of Greenwich

The Treaty of Greenwich proposed the betrothal of Edward and Mary but the Scots refused to ratify it, as they did not want Mary growing up in England. 

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1544 and 1545

1544: Succession Act

This final Act repealed the 1536 one, legitimising Mary and Elizabeth as heirs, should Edward have no children of his own. This was confirmed in Henrys final will, which also stated that should none of Henrys children have heirs, the succession would go to his sister Marys children. 

1545: Battle of Ancrum Moor

Francis I of France sent one final invasion to Scotland to invade England. The English were defeated at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, although the French failed to recapture Boulogne. Both countries reached peace as they ran out of money. 

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1547: Death of Henry VIII

Henry VIII finally died in January of 1547, leaving his 9 year old son Edward as ruler. 

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