The Later Tudors 1547-1603

  • Created by: alhl
  • Created on: 07-06-16 10:42

Edward VI – 1547-1553

-Edward was only 9 when he inherited the throne.

-The religious situation meant that Henry left a regency council, made up of both conservatives such as Paget and radicals such as Seymour.

-Within weeks Somerset had overthrown the regency council and awarded himself control.

1 of 15


-Edward Seymour awarded himself the title of Duke of Somerset in 1547, whilst he was rewarding his followers and supporters.

-His Government quickly sank and this is keenly seen in his foreign policy.

2 of 15

Foreign Policy - Somerset

-Somerset inherited a war with Scotland; he was a military man and so kept it going.

-He defeated the Scots in the battle of Pinkie in 1547 but it proved too difficult and expensive from there on out

-He engaged in a military strategy that proved unaffordable at a time of financial pressure, he was forced to pay for the war by debasing the coinage, which heightened inflation and added to the social distress he was so scared of.

-The war with Scotland and their co-operation with France brought around the prospect of France invading through the south of England, at a time when Somerset was at his most vulnerable – The year of rebellions, 1549.

3 of 15

Religious Policy - Somerset

-Religion under Edward saw a direct move towards Protestantism

-Somerset welcomes radicals such as Hooper and Becon. Somerset switched from being cautious – like his book of common prayer in 1549 – to full on attack on Catholicism, particularly in London.

-In 1549 a set on injunctions were issued, which were based on the 1538 injunctions devised by Thomas Cromwell, a radical minister under Henry VIII. Included the forbidding of burning of incense, encouragement to destroy religious imagery such as stained glass. Iconoclasm.

-The Chantries were dissolved in 1547 and the money was taken to the treasury.

-The tension with the public peaked with the release of the Book of Common Prayer – a moderate prayer book written by Cranmer in 1549. This, surprisingly, was the thing that started rebellion.

-The book was mostly just an English translation of Latin services, it was ambiguous in terms of transubstantiation, Gardiner in the tower was able to accept it, and the old ceremony and vestments could still be maintained, it was designed to keep both the Protestants and the Catholics happy, but resulted in neither of these things. Vernacular.

4 of 15


-This year was as Guy said; ‘The closest thing Tudor England came to a class war’

-It saw major discontent ubiquitously in England, and two major rebellions.

-Because of the on-going war with Scotland, the troops were thinly spread as it was. Somerset’s Government found it exceedingly difficult to cope with the disorder and it lead to Somerset losing his power and being over thrown.

5 of 15

Western Rebellion

-The Western Rebellion was mostly prompted by religious grievances.

 ~They attacked the new prayer book                                                                                                                                                      ~They wanted a return the Catholicism they had before (they clung to the traditions and the rituals)

-However they also had other motives

   ~They distrusted the new nobles in their area, after the execution of the Courtenay’s, they said that nobles were taking land and enclosing it for their animals, even though it was public land.                                                                                                               ~They resented the poll tax on sheep and the tax on wool and cloth. 

-They attempted to besiege Exeter but failed, and when Somerset did eventually respond, he sent forces to quickly squash the rebellion.

Overall, it appears that whilst the rebellion began as religious in motive; it only carried on because of the organisation of the priests, who were bound to demand a return to Catholicism. Due to the fact that it was the priests that wrote the demands, and that kept the ball rolling, we cannot truly know the causes behind the rebellion, but ‘To say that the Western Rebellion was purely religious in motive would be a vast understatement

6 of 15

Kett’s Rebellion

-Kett’s rebellion was not just organised by Kett, in fact it was a number of nobles.

-This rebellion was well organised and formed separate camps around London (the most prominent being at Mousehold Heath)                                                                                                

-It does not appear to be overly religious in motive; in fact, they preached the new Book of Common Prayer at camp, and received a sermon from a Protestant priest, Matthew Parker.

-More socially motivated.

~Local government officials were disliked in the area, the Norfolk landowners were abusing the system and keeping public land for themselves.                                                                                                                                                                                                ~The local nobles, the Howards, had been hated for years and this was a release of pent-up aggression.                                                 ~They were very anti-enclosure and believed the Government were on their side.

-In August the rebellion was brutally suppressed

Somerset was in a bad way. He had either provoked rebellion in the west, or encouraged it in East Anglia, his on-going wars were causing acute financial distress and he was dangerously close to provoking the French, as well as losing English possessions (Boulogne and Calais) on the continent. Most importantly perhaps, he had ticked off his fellow councillors by attempting to rule as a King, something he certainly was not, he was about to be painfully reminded of this fact.

7 of 15

Somerset’s Fall

-Somerset had insisted on ruling with the dry stamp

-He failed to delegate and his arrogant an dictatorial manner created enemies.

-Eventually the Earl of Warwick, along with Earl of Southampton and Archbishop Cranmer, who had a crucial place in the Kings trust, decided in 1549 that Somerset's rule should come to an end.

-However Somerset still had control over the King and when he realised he was in danger, he took him to Windsor castle and held him in a minor imprisonment situation until he was promised no charges of treason would be laid against him, and he surrendered.

8 of 15


-John Dudley (previously Earl of Warwick to Duke of Northumberland)

-He did not attempt to create the same system used by Somerset – crucially, he had learnt from the mistakes of his predecessor.

-Appointed himself Lord President of the Council; he had to out manoeuvre the conservatives and the radicals to put himself on top, playing them off against each other.

-When he did gain power, he delegated responsibility to people that had superior knowledge to him, he outwitted Somerset, who tried to plan a counter-coup.

9 of 15

Foreign Policy and Economics - Northumberland

-Northumberland brought an end to the wars against Scotland and France, returning Boulogne which brought a ransom of £133, 333.

-He debased the coinage once, before re-basing it, something which Mary would feel the benefit of later.

10 of 15

Religious Policy - Northumberland

-Northumberland himself was not a religious man (although his outmanoeuvre of the Conservatives at the start of his time in power highlighted that he was aiming for Protestantism)

-Edward was nearing eleven and was beginning to influence policy a lot more; Edward was Protestant, and he wanted a protestant country.

~This lead to a widespread removal of alters and their replacement by communion tables.

~Bishops who refused to order the removal were imprisoned, such as Day.

~This was then followed with the removal of conservative Bishops and their replacement with active Protestants.

-The new act of uniformity was confirmed with the release of the aggressively protestant 42 articles, which would become the 39 Articles of Elizabeth's reign, the only ambiguity was between the differing types of Protestantism they promoted.

11 of 15


-Trade was beginning to lack by the time Northumberland came to power

-Antwerp had begun to slack and in 1550 it collapsed all together.

-Northumberland therefore began looking for new outlets; he found the Gold Coast in Africa, and began pushing for the new world as well, although this didn't go very well.

12 of 15

The Succession Crisis

-The will left by Henry VIII said that should Edward die childless then Mary should ascend the throne, followed by Elizabeth, should she also fail to produce an heir.

-This was never a problem until January 1553, when Edward was taken ill, by March he was dying.

-This led to a massive problem – Mary was certainly going to adopt an aggressively Catholic religious policy (Northumberland’s sympathies for the protestants, and his adoption of a Protestant policy would put him in the firing line – he would certainly lose his job and most likely, his life.)

-He knew he had to stop Mary taking the throne, this was coupled with Edward's overwhelming urge to stop Mary from undoing his hard work in turning England Protestant and resulted in The Devise.

-This would ruin Northumberland’s reputation for centuries after, and result in a civil uprising.

13 of 15

The Devise

-The devise was a change to Edwards will

~He had previously stated that should he die childless, his throne should go to Lady Jane Grey's heirs male – to her sons.

~But by March he was dying, and Jane Grey had no sons to speak of, so he altered it to say 'and her heirs male' – meaning that the throne would go to Lady Jane Grey and then her sons. 

-There are a number of interpretations of the perpetrator of the Devise

~Traditional historians argue that Northumberland pushed it forward for his own ends; he would be in favour with Jane Grey and would so be able to further his own standing. He was also her father in law, so would benefit enormously as she would be a minor.

~However revisionist interpretations, from historians such as Hoak say that the Devise should be attributed to Edward rather than Northumberland; that he did it for his own independent reasons – Protestantism.

-Edwards death came as such a surprise that he had no real plan for implementing the Devise – he had no army ready, and no strategy.

~Mary had been tipped off about Northumberland’s intentions and was more prepared as a result.                                                       ~This again shows that he could not have been the main force behind the Devise – surely if he was so keen for it to happen then he would have been prepared right from the moment Edward was declared to be dying? He lasted until July, before declaring Mary  Queen on the 20th

14 of 15

Mary I – 1553-1558

-Mary had quite a bit of support for her claim to the throne during the succession crisis

-She interpreted this as England wanted a powerful and speedy return to Catholicism, when it was most likely an overwhelming loyalty to the Tudor monarchy

-people simply didn't want to see their royal line die out when it should not have                                                                  

 -A return to the old religion was expected across the country; people immediately began returning their churches and services back to Catholicism, even in London by August. 

-In many areas there was trouble, such as Kent and Essex.

-Mary herself had not been brought up to rule, and no matter how many people supported her, or how decisively she had acted upon Edward VI's death, she was not politically astute.

~She ended up appointing 50 councillors during her reign, which has led many historians to say that this caused acute factional rivalry between groups within Government

~backed up with the fact that her marriage to Philip was never formally discussed in Council – she relied solely on a minority inner circle of councillors dominated by people such as Gardiner, Winchester and Paget. She also trusted heavily upon foreign advisor’s – the Spanish ambassador Renard, and her

15 of 15


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The Later Tudors 1547-1603 resources »