Mary I Reign

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Who was Mary Tudor?


  • When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because of religious differences. On his death their first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, was initially proclaimed queen. Mary assembled a force in East Anglia and successfully deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. 
  • In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556.
  • As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her half-brother. 
  • Her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed after her death in 1558 by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn.
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  • Just before Edward VI's death, Mary was summoned to London to visit her dying brother. She was warned, however, that the summons was a pretext on which to capture her and thereby facilitate Lady Jane's accession to the throne. She instead fled to East Anglia, where she owned extensive estates and where many adherents to the Catholic faith, opponents of Dudley, lived.
  • On 9 July, from Kenninghall, Norfolk, she wrote to the privy council with orders for her proclamation as Edward's successor. 
  • By 12 July, Mary and her supporters had assembled a military force at Framlingham Castle, Suffolk. Dudley's support collapsed, and Mary's grew. Jane was deposed on 19 July. She and Dudley were imprisoned in the Tower of London. Mary was officially proclaimed Queen in July.
  • CSL DAVIES called it "the only succesfull rebellion in Tudor England". 
  • Mary was fairly leniant in regard to the punishment for the alteration of the succession - only executing Northumberland, John Gates and Thomas Palmer. She freed the Conservative bishops imprisoned under Somerset and Northumberland - Gardiner, Bonner, Tunstall.
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Faction Under Mary

  • By July 1553 Mary had 21 loyal and devoutly Catholic men in her council - but PENRY WILLIAMS says they lacked the political experience or social weight to rule the council.
  •  A few days later she was joined by more experienced men - the Earl of Arundel, Lord Paget and Lord Rich. Within a matter of weeks, the Privy Council had increased to 44 men. CHRISTOPHER HAIGH criticsed the size of Mary's council, claiming it was to be that effective. HOWEVER of the 44 councillors, 19 were active in attendance (and these were career politicians, men of Mary's household had less influence).
  • One ofther significant figure in her reign, was Simon Renard, who she appointed Chancellor, a man described by WILLIAMS as a man of "subtle intelligence combined with high ambition and sensitive vanity". He was a persusaive diplomat as demonstrated by when he negotiated the marriage of Queen Mary I , with the future King Philip II of Spain. 
  • Another prominent figure would be Bishop Gardiner, who was involved in a viscious rivalry with Paget, the keeper of the Privy Seal eg they clashed during discussions of the royal marriage in 1554, when Gardiner proposed she marry Edward Courtenay, whilst Paget argued for Phillip of Spain.
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Who was Philip of Spain?

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  • He was King of Spain from 1556 and of Portugal from 1581 .From 1554 he was King of Naples and Sicily as well as Duke of Milan. During his marriage to Queen Mary I (1554–58), he was also King of England and Ireland. From 1555, he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands.
  • Their marriage at Winchester Cathedral on 25 July 1554 took place just two days after their first meeting. Philip's view of the affair was entirely political. 
  • Under the terms of the Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain all official documents, including Acts of Parliament, were to be dated with both their names; the marriage treaty also provided that England would not be obliged to provide military support to Philip's father in any war; he was given title of king and stated that he "shall aid her Highness ... in the happy administration of her Grace’s realms and dominions.". In other words, Philip was to co-reign with his wife.
  • Upon Mary's death, the throne went to Elizabeth I. Philip had no wish to sever his tie with England, and had sent a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth. However, she delayed in answering, and in that time learned Philip was also considering a Valois alliance.
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Mary's Foreign Policy PART 1

  • Mary was known to be supportive of the Habsburg family. 
  • Marriage.... Mary had two possible suitors -- An English Suitor Edward Courtenay and a foreign one, Philip of Spain.
  • Courtenay = great grandson of Edward IV, his father the Earl of Devon and Marquis of Exeter had been devout Catholics and a confident of Mary. HOWEVER this opened the danger of factional quarrells and LOTHERINGTON brands him "socially awkward, unreliable in religion, debauched, weak and lacking in common sense."
  •  Phillip = Mary was half-Spanish herself, Phillip was an ardent Catholic, and was an experiencedd politician serving as regent of the Netherlands in 1549-50 and as Regent of Spain since 1551. 
  • The official Spanish proposal of marriage was presented to Mary by Simon Renard, the Imperial Ambassador, in October 1553. By the end of the month Mary had formerly accepted the proposal. HOWEVER it seems Mary had "failed to anticipate the furore that the Spanish marriage proposal stirred up in England". 
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Spanish Marriage

  • Mary’s planned marriage to Philip of Spain, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, cultivated even more the relationship England believed she had with the Holy Roman Emperor. HOWEVER, there were those in England who cautioned against too strong an alliance with the Emperor, as they feared that this could only lead to war with France. However, those involved in trade were less concerned as part of the inheritance of Philip of Spain was the Netherlands and a marriage would, in their eyes, present far more commercial opportunities for them and even greater wealth.
  • LOTHERINGTON - "The Spanish marriage was largely responsible for the one major disturbance of the reign" the Wyatt's rebellion - the fact he uses the word 'disturbance' plays down the threat of the Rebellion.
  • The Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain was passed by the Parliament of England in April 1554 to regulate the future marriage and joint reign of Queen Mary I and Philip. The Act stated that King Philip would take part in governing Mary's realms while reserving most authority for Mary herself AND stated England would not get involved in Spain's wars.
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Mary's Foreign Policy PART 2

  • 1555 proved to be a decisive year in Mary’s reign. By this year it was assumed by many that Mary would not provide a child for the succession. In October 1555, Charles V abdicated and gave over his land to Philip (Spain, the Netherlands, Naples and the New World). 
  • In March 1556, Philip persuaded Mary to support Spain in a war against France. The Privy Council knew that England could not afford a foreign war but reluctantly agreed to declare war on France. While the war went well for the Earl of Pembroke, who led the English army, the same was not true for the garrison at Calais. While Pembroke was involved in a decisive battle against the French at St. Quentin in 1557, a French force defeated the English garrison at Calais, which fell on January 13th 1558. 
  • The loss of Calais was a humiliating blow for the English government. It managed to find the money to finance an army of 7,000 soldiers and 140 ships. HOWEVER, rather than attack Calais, the force attempted to take Brest. They found that Brest was too heavily defended and captured a much smaller port, Le Conquet, instead.
  • Many expected a decisive battle between Henry II and Philip II. Instead, both men preferred to negotiate a settlement. The death of Mary in November 1558 took England out of the equation. 
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Wyatt's Rebellion

  • The precise reason for the uprisings has been subject to much debate. Many historians, such as D.M LOADES, consider the rebellion to have been primarily motivated by political considerations, not easily separated from religious ones in the 16th century, and notably the desire to prevent the unpopular marriage of Queen Mary I to Prince Philip of Spain. Xenophobia no doubt played a role in the rebellion;t he rebels explained that the reason for the rebellion was "to prevent us from over-running by strangers." 
  • In January 1554 he assembled a force of between 2500 and 3000. He posed as the rescuer of the Queen from foolish advice. The rebellion at first appeared like it had a good chance of success:
    • WHY DID IT FAIL? LOTHERINGTON = Mary's response.
    • She refrained from appealing to Charles V=aware that the presence of foreign troops on English soil would only add to the xenophobia feel. She instead played on Londoner's fear of an incursion into the city by armed men. 
    • LOTH.= Above all she benefitted from Wyatt's errors. His attack on London was delayed which gave Mary time to rouse support. Mary's supporters occupied London Bridge in force, and the rebels were unable to penetrate into the city. The army eventually dispersed.
    • Wyatt surrendered, and was tried and executed along with approximately 90 rebels, many of whom were hanged, drawn and quartered. 
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Who was Reginald Pole?

  • Hen VIII offered him the Archbishopric of York or the Diocese of Winchester if he would support his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Pole withheld his support and went into self-imposed exile in France and Italy in 1532. May 1536, Reginald Pole finally and definitively broke with the King. In 1531, he had warned of the dangers of the Boleyn marriage. 
  • The death of Ed VI on 6 July 1553 and the accession of Mary I to the throne of England hastened Pole's return from exile, as Papal Legate to England. In 1554, Cardinal Pole came to England to receive the kingdom back into the Roman fold. HOWEVER, Mary and the Emperor Charles V delayed him until 20 November 1554, due to apprehension that Pole might oppose the Queen's forthcoming marriage to Charles's son, Philip of Spain.
  • As Papal Legate, Pole negotiated a papal dispensation allowing the new owners of confiscated former monastic lands to retain them, and in return Parliament enabled the Revival of the Heresy Acts in January 1555. 
  • Under Mary's rule, Pole was finally ordained as a Priest on 20 March 1556 and consecrated as ABofCant 2 days later. In 1555, Queen Mary began permitting the burning of Anglicans for heresy, and some 220 men and 60 women were executed before her death in 1558. REX H POGSON says Pole shares responsibility for these persecutions which, despite his intention, contributed to the ultimate victory of the English Reformation. 
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Mary's Religious Policy PART 1

  • WILLIAMS - "The restoration of the Catholic Church was Mary's supreme purpose" and was her main policy.
  • From January 1554 onwards the imprisonment of ministers drove around about 700 Protestants to seek refuge across Europe. Another wave of refugees left for France after the defeat of Wyatt's rebellion.
  • In the first Parliament of October 1553 the First Statute of Repeal was passed. This repealed most of the religious legislation passed during Edward VI's rule. It restored the orders of services as they applied at the end of Henry VIII's reign. Encounters her first problem -- many members of the political elite, on whose Mary support depended, had benefitted financially from the acquisition of monastic lands. In the HoC, 80 MP's voted against the repeal of Edwardian religious laws, but it was passed with a majority of 270 votes Those who voted against it were deemed by Simon Renard as 'not ment of importance'.
  • In the Autumn of 1553 married members of the clergy were deprived of their livings - across the country aproximately 20% of priests had married.
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Mary's Religious Policy PART 2

  • ROBERT TITTLER said "the year 1554 must be deemed pivotal in the effort towards Catholic restoration". 
  • April 1554 - The Oxford Disputations - Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer were made to take part in a number of public disputation. It was an attempt to humiliate and ridicule them - not entirely effective.
  • July 1554 - Mary marries Phillip (TITTLER = the Protestant cause was "spurred on by apparant affront to national pride of the Spanish match")  -- Protestants in many parts of England continued to be served by a flourishing underground of preachers, organisers, and literature smuggled in from abroad.
  • Pole returned in November 1554 -- he was key to the Catholic restoration. 
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Mary's Religious/Social Policy

  • Perhaps the most defining feature of Mary's reign was the persecution of heretics - leading traditionalists to refer to her as "Bloody Mary".
  • CSL DAVIES referst to Mary's reign as "a cruel age". 
  • John Rogers, who was burned at the stake in London, becomes the first Protestant martyr under Mary I of England.
  • Altogether 289 Protestants suffered the heretic's gruesome fate of being burnt at the stake; some of it's famous members including Thomas Cranmer and Bishops Hooper and Ridley.
  • DAVID LOADES said "Protestantism gained more than it lost by being subjugated to persecution". John Rogers was a popular preacher and his death elicited widespread public sympathy. 
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Mary's Economic Policy

  • LACEY BALDWIN = Marian financial reforms "were fundamental for Elizabeth's solvency and thus for Elizabethan achievements as a whole".
  • Mary's government had good relations with England's merchants and were able to increase both the level of custom duties and the number of commodities on which duty was assessed. The new Book of Rates was introduced in 1558 - a boon for Elizabeth, but too late to benefit Mary. LOTHERINGTON = "The Marian book survived until 1604 giving Mary greater success in this area even than Henry VIII or Edward VI".
  • Also developed trade: 
    • TITTLER = "Marian initiatives in the Baltic matured more slowly" - the Baltic Equivalent to the Muscovy Company was not founded till 1579 during Elizabeth's reign - but "Marian initiatives lay at the root of the latter achievement". 
    • The Company of Merchant Adventurers was rechartered as the Muscovy Company by Mary I of England in 1555. 
  • The years 1555 and 1556 saw very bad weather (floods in Fall 1555 were followed by a drought in the Spring of 1556). This caused extremely poor harvests. The debilitated population was also hit by an epidemic of influenza that killed about 20% of the population.
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  •  She was the first woman to successfully claim the throne of England, despite competing claims and determined opposition, and enjoyed popular support and sympathy during the earliest parts of her reign, especially from the Roman Catholics of England.
  • However, her marriage to Philip was unpopular among her subjects and her religious policies resulted in deep-seated resentment. The military losses in France, poor weather, and failed harvests increased public discontent. Philip spent most of his time abroad, while his wife remained in England, leaving her depressed at his absence and undermined by their inability to have children. 
  • By the seventeenth century, Mary's persecution of Protestants had led to her sobriquet Bloody Mary. In the mid-twentieth century, H. F. M. Prescott attempted to redress the tradition that Mary was intolerant and authoritarian by writing more objectively, and scholarship since then has tended to view the older, simpler, partisan assessments of Mary with greater scepticism. Although Mary's rule was ultimately ineffectual and unpopular, the policies of fiscal reform, naval expansion, and colonial exploration that were later lauded as Elizabethan accomplishments were started in Mary's reign.
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Faction Under Mary P2

HOWEVER LOTHERINGTON argues that the Council maintained a united front as demonstrated by the Wyatt's Rebellion. He also says that despite some of the councillors reservations, Mary was able to obtain their agreement for 3 controversial issues: the ful return to Rome in terms of religion, her marriage to a Spanish king and the declaraiton of war with France. 

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Mary's Foreign Policy Overview

Mary’s foreign policy brought little credit to England. She relied too much on her Spanish advisors, who worked to better the position of Spain as opposed to England. There is little doubt among historians that Philip used his marriage to advance the cause of Spain with no thought as to the impact of his policies on England. 

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Mary's & Pole

  • He presided at the 1555/6 Legatine Synod at Westminster. It was decided that all prelates (high ranking members of the clergy) were live to 'spare and frugal lives' and to take care that they only ordained suitable candidates. There was a huge emphasis on the quality of the clergy - this was also highlighted at the Synod in which it was decided that 1/40th of the income from vacant benefices should be used for maintaing seminaries in the region.
  • AF POLLARD said "sterility was the conclusive note on Mary's reign". HOWEVER JENNIFER LOACH said that once Edward was dead the Churches were once again "flooded with colour and altars, statues" etc. and tha suggests that the Royal marriage in July 1554 was a lavish affair. 
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