The Mid Tudor Crisis : Edward

  • Created by: samantha
  • Created on: 10-10-12 10:15

Edward's Upbringing & Character

  • Youngest Child = babied, protected, more care given to him than usual for male heirs
    • not brought up in the normal way = denied oppurtunities i.e jousting
  • Traditional relationship with Henry : saw him infrequently --> attempt to 'toughen'
  • Cared for by 'Mother Jack' (nurse) : Biological mother Jane Seymour died after birth
  • Subsequent wives had little to do with him : Only Katherine of Parr showed affection
  • Had an 'army' of personal assistants : 3 physicians, 6 surgeons, 3 apothecaries = high medical care. Had a french tutor who was calvinist = maybe influenced Ed's protestantism
    • Wherever Edward went so did his servants: 3 gentleman & 5 grooms always present
  • Walls and floors of his aparments were washed x3 a day: great care taken over health
  • Nature & Nurturing made him stiff and aloof, healthy child
  • Interests: money, troops, treaties, 100 year war : studious, intelligent and devout
  • Enjoyed observing jousting, hunting, rackets, archery and horse riding
  • Cold towards others : In his chrnoicle he did not metion grandmothers death, mentioned elizabeth twice, made an entry on Somerset (uncle)'s death
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Legacy of the Mid Tudor Crisis

  • Traditional view = crisis --> Revisionist view = good government
  • Problems oh Henry's reign carried through to Edwards
  • Final years of Henry's reign to Marys death are considered to be 'Mid Tudor Crisis'
  • crises if authority =monarchs compromised by factional disputes
  • social/economic crisis = poor harvests, debasement of coinage = inflation
  • Foreign Policy crisis = England had second rate status amongst European Powers
  • religious disunity = political conflict --> all those that surrounded Edward were protestant
  • powerful catholic faction at large
  • Henry's loss of effective control is revealed through the way in which his will was altered : result made lord Hertford protector of Edward
  • foreign policy = expensive --> war against France: to pay for wars Henry sold off crown assets and debased the coinage
  • prices rose but wages stayed the same : peasant farmers struggled --> enclosure
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Reign of Edward


  • traditional religion was attacked: more bible based culture replacing visual Catholicism
    • images and statues were removed
  • Roman Catholic mass (Latin), catholic doctrine and practice replaced under 1549 act of uniformity = service in English
    • led to western rebellion (1549): changes = too radical, rebels demanded return to the religious practices of Henry's reign


  • Whitney Jones: weakness of the monarchs accompanied by a decline into factionalism are the main reasons behind cause of economic/social distress
  • fundamental lack of political authority transformed problems such as population growth, unemployment and vagrancy into a crisis
  • 1549 rebellions = considered to be response to failing economy
    • symptoms of structural instability
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Edward's Reign


  • some interpret Somerset was a liberal minded man who wished to increase freedom and welfare of the poor
  • economic distress led to rebellions: Kett rebels believed Somerset was on their side
    • some nobles felt the same
  • So called 'good duke' Somerset overthrown by bad duke Northumberland
  • Northumberland considered as bad duke as historians doubt his religious sincerity
    • convinced his motives were hunger for power
  • Northumberland pushed country into further Protestantism : cement appeal with Cranmer and King Edward VI
  • Self centredness proven when the young King fell ill
  • Northumberland persuaded Edward to disinherit his half sisters & specify Lady Jane Grey as heir
  • On Edwards death council initially supported Greys succession but Mary was able to build support due to principle inheritance, Northumberland's support collapsed
  • Attempted to catch Mary through military resources: found forces deserting him
  • Council declared Mary Queen, Northumberland = tyrant, arrested, converted, executed
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Mary's Reign


  • Politically naive zealot: reintroduction to Catholicism = widely unpopular
  • burning of protestants backfired: reputation as 'Bloody Mary', victims martyred
  • Catholicism led to diasters in domestic and foreign policy: brought catholics into parliament whom had little political knowledge


  • Mary & council faced aggressive opposition from parliament based on objections to religious policy: wanted return of monastic lands from nobles --> unlikely 
  • Forced to back down issue before parliament accepted re-institution of papal authority
  • Obsession with marrying Philip II of Spain = horrified English 
    • behaviour of troops in Netherlands led to a reputation of cruelty
    • England under control of Spain was not favourable
  • Mary = lucky to survive Wyatt rebellion
  • Marriage led to involvement with war against France = loss of Calais
  • reign had a lack of positives : sterile, heretical sister = heir, poor harvests,flu
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Rise of Somerset

  • 1/16 councillors appointed in Henry VIII's reign, appointed in will to govern country during Edward's minority (regent) : will did not stipulate how to rule. 
  • thought that Henry attended a court of equals
  • Somerset personally brought Edward to London and presented him to council 31st Jan
    • taking control from the beginning : pattern continued
  • council proclaimed him as the protector and governor of king : Lord Protector Somerset
  • Somerset used will of Henry to reward himself with dukedom
  • March 1547: Somerset gained power to approve the Kings councillors
    • In practice he was a substitute king
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Somerset: Foreign Affairs --> Scotland & France

  • Rough Wooing: experienced initial success but expenditure became an issue
  • cost of fighting = factor in 1549 rebellions
  • Somerset's aim = stick to treaty of Greenwich --> Marry Mary of Scots 
  • Strategy = whittle Scots down by building forts and Garrisons in S. & E. Scotland
    • expected Scots to believe presence meant resistance was futile
  • Sept. 1547 Battle of Pinkie = success for English & Somerset --> built more defences
    • too expensive, made Scots hate the English more rather than give up
  • Made strategic mistakes: too expensive, ineffective
    • failures enabled French reinforcement to be established
    • enabled French to smuggle Mary out & marry dauphin 
  • Somerset's policy fell apart : spent over 1/2 million on war with Scotland
    • 50% more than Henry in half the time = humiliating
  • 1549 Henry II declared war on England
    • forced to return Bolougne, French demanded Calais too
  • More than Somerset could handle : spent more money fortifying Calais and Bolougne
    • had to withdraw from scotland
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Somerset: Economic Policy

  • Henry VIII left economic problems as a consequence of his foreign policy
  • 1547-9 = inflation due to poor harvest, increased population = pressure on food. 
  • Short term causes: 1. War in Scotland, 2. Debasement of Coinage
  • Sir Thomas Struth: in order to overcome economic problems we need a recoinage
    • wise economically not politically as Somerset would not be able to fund wars
  • rising prices meant common people believed the economic problems = greed of nobility
    • Enclosure: common land restricted, poor lose out, nobility make more money
    • believed enclosure contributed to economic problems
      • fewer jobs as less people are needed to look after land/animals
  • Somerset promised to sort it : failed --> 1548-9 commissioners to investigate enclosure
    • Only Hales did anything to tackle this : found evidence of illegal enclosure but there was nothing he could do to amend it, land owners did not like being told what to do
  • Somerset introduced parliamentary legislation making enclosure illegal : blocked
    • nobles refused, Somerset made a proclamation making landowners furious
  • became unpopular with both classes as he failed them both and acted like a king
  • Lattimer blamed nobility = class war, Ridley called for poor relief = failed
  • Somerset was preoccupied with foreign policu
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Somerset: Religious Policy

  • Edwards reign saw a move towards protestantism: Somerset employed John Hooper
  • religious policies = cautious --> book of common prayer (1549,Cranmer) = moderate
  • issued protestant ideas (not extreme) = did not want to upset people --> failed
    • couldn't please anyone : too far or not far enough
  • Ash Wed. = Ridley denounced images of Saints --> iconoclasm in London
  • Injunctions issued : reiterate Cromwell's injunctions --> Duffy: Charter of revolution
    • included destruction of images and possessions, Clergy had to dissuade dying parishioners to leave payments
  • Duffy: visitations set up to make sure it was followed through
  • Sept. 1547 = images removed in St Paul's Cathedral, policy extended over city churches
  • Haigh: Somerset blundered into total ban on images in London and got away with it
    • ban extended to the rest of country, many parishes hid their images 
  • Dec 1547 act passed to dissolve chantries & other religious guilds to obtain money
    • viewed as an attack on the community angering the commons
    • bishops ordered to draw up inventories making people panic : asset *********
  • Body: act to dissolve chantries = main reason for the rebellion
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Somerset: Religious Policy Cont.

  • reformers were already holding services in English before the act was passed
    • moving faster than parliament --> too fast = radical?
  • attacks on cult of Virgin Mary especially in Cranmer's archdiocese
  • some reforms were unpopular in other areas : government feared rebellion
  • despite radical changes, book of common prayer sparked the rebellion
  • 1549 parliament passed act of uniformity
    • everyone must use book of common prayer, (English version of catholic prayer book)
    • Gardiner (conservative) found the book OK
    • vestments were to stay the same
    • book was intended to keep everyone happy
  • all around the country people had different dialects: English did not suit all
  • communion became more of a thanksgiving in the book of common prayer
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Rebellions of 1549

  • considered to be the worst year of the whole Tudor period:rebellions in East Anglia & SW
    • considerable civil unrest among the rest of the country --> Guy: class war
  • Government couldn't cope with thin resources, Somerset's preoccupation with foreign policy and the preparation for a french invasion 
  • In some cases things got out of hand as gentry would not interfere: their moral duty to 
  • South West had no help --> made situation worse


  • Difficulties surrounding enclosure: caused resentment from both classes
  • Religious uncertainty: Chantries, book of prayer, iconoclasm
  • Economic: debasement of the coinage, inflation, taxation, wars
  • Bad local government: Elton = Kett's artiicle says purpose was to ensure good laws statues and proclomations made for good people were no longer disregarded by the Justices of Peace. Breakdown of trust between classes
  • Social problems: failure of crops, population growth, unemployment, removed poor relief
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Somersets Style of Government

  • Intensely personal: undermined and ignored the advice of council, using his own household officials as the country's administrators
    • His style was too kingly for others
  • Councillors complained that only Wolsey amongst commoner had produced letters so princely written. Paget's letters to Somerset spoke of 'your foreign affairs' 'your navy' 'your order for religion'
  • frequently used proclamations to announce decisions for changes in law, doing so more frequently than any other Tudor ruler
  • 1549 as he was fighting for survival Somerset wrote of the 'poor commons being injured by the extortion's of gentlemen'
  • in the same month a proclamation was signed = 19/29 Councillors accused Somerset of a malice and evil government, pride, covetousness and extreme eambition
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Somerset's Fall and Dudley's Rise

  • Troops needed to put down rebellions : national leaders were infuriated
  • Somerset revealed as incompetent: must take good deal of blame for disrupting the country's life and had not shown an ability to contain the agitation that he helped to raise
  • Left opportunity for Dudley (Northumberland) to intervene: ambition and lack of religion aided him = party outraged by Somerset's religious changes, some just furious at his behaviour in general
  • Somerset allowed back on council however he rounds up troops and gets himself into trouble leading up to his execution
  • Northumberland secured friendships by handing out land to nobility
  • many key supporters in coup = conservatives whom hoped for regency to preside over Mary
  • Second coup = get rid of those who helped Somerset
    • exercise greater power as he does not have fear of ejection from conservatives
      • ejected Southampton and Arundel
  • declared himself as a duke and lord president of the council
    • did not want same role as Somerset
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Government under Northumberland

  • Cranmer was influencing king --> protestant styled government
    • Northumberland reinforced this by employing protestants such as Marquis of Dorset
  • Oct 1551 appointed himself as duke and appointed his own hard man John Gates as vice chamberlain of household to establish control over court
  • Hoak : rehabilitated Northumberland as other historians view him as a villain
    • tough but intelligent politician, one of the most able governors of Europe in 16th Cent
  • Loades: capable but mistakes cost him his reputation
  • made use of Cecil (Somerset's advisor) --> rising politician and effective administrator
  • Somerset formed a counter coup but was outwitted by Northumberland
    • got Somerset executed, England more settledPaget was removed from council and sent to tower in Northumberland's quest for power
  • Counter coup and possession of the dry stamp led to Northumberland showing little trust
  • Northumberland achieved a measure of stability in national finances
    • brought an end to wars with Scotland and France, reductions in crown expenditure, received payment of £133,333 for return of Bolougne, Crown income improved by increasing revenue from the church by unscrupulous methods: melting church plate for Bullion
  • Under influence of Mildmay = analysis of shortcomings of in financial admin
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Religion under Northumberland

  • Northumberland = man of minimal religious convictions
    • removal of conservatives and appointment of protestants shows protestant inclinations
  • twofold strategy on church = made Somerset's policy more clearer, wanted money
  • protestantism reflected the interests of the King himself
    • Edward was reaching the age of Majority and Northumberland needed to stay in his favour: took his role seriously, wanted to destroy idolatry
  • Duffy : flood-tide of radicalism -->widespread removal of alters, replaced with communion tables.
  • Political will of king,Cranmers theological shift, influence of radical churchmen (Ridley, Hooper) and criticisms of the book of prayer led to break 
  • removal of remaining conservative ceremonies no longer fitted with regimes : conservatives could no longer find anything in the prayer book that they could accept
  • Radical reform of communion service including the replacement of water with ordinary bread --> need for decisive change from ambiguity : showed influence of Zwinglism in the Eucharist declaration "in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee"
  • Protestant nature confirmed 42 articles of Religion: variations of protestantism ambig.
  • Crown in financial difficulties due to protectorate --> systematic policy of extracting wealth from the church  
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Impacts of Religious Change under Northumberland

  • protestants = minority @ start of Ed's reign --> 20% Londoners protestant by 1547
  • Kent, East Sussex, Essex, Bristol, East Anglia ports had protestant minorities
    • elsewhere almost non existent
  • Catholicism strong in the north : particularly Lancashire and midland counties
  • Historians have tried to access parish records to find out what people really believed
    • Church wardens accounts signify how readily a parish gave consent to cromwellian injunctions/ Somerset's commissions
    • Church wardens = steadily put into effect crowns decree regarding destruction of Catholic habits
  • Hutton & Whitiny : expenditure on church goods declined after 1540
  • MacCullock: already in the 1540's the old world was losing its enchantment
  • Scarisbrick & Haigh : largely a reaction to destructive attitude of the crown
    • little point in putting money into the church if it is to be confiscated by the crown 
  • Catholic beginnings to wills disappeared 1538 --> before Northumberland's rule
  • Haigh: not much evidence of protestant wills either
    • 70% of northern wills 1540-6 left money to their parish, Eds reign only 32%
    • represents crisis at parish level ,evidence of decline of Church diocese of Exeter, decline in candidates for ordination 
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Edward's Final Years

  • Edward = healthy child but fell ill 1553 in January
  • Jan = chest infection or TB , April = improvement , May = predicted recovery 
  • late May = death predicted after serious relapse and possibly contracting septicaemia
  • "I am faint; Lord have mercy upon me and take my spirit'
  • only when his condition deteriorated, succession became an issue
    • those who wanted to avoid Marian succession: return to Catholicism
    • unlikely that there was any long term planning
  • Edward was too young to pass porclomations: needed parliamentary support
  • selected lady jane grey to be heir : staunch protestant, married to Northumberland's so
  • Both Edward and northumberland appear to have a role in the will
    • original notes jotted down in january in Edwards own hand, wanted to bar Mary's succession = Catholic, Initially suggested Lady Jane's heir as she was Henry's neice
  • crunch came when Ed suffered relapse: couldnt wait for janes heir, 12th Jun Northumberland visited Edward = minor can't make a  will or override parliamentary stature, Marys claim still stands regardless of his will
  • legitimate claim lay clear with Mary, Montague refused to make will for danger of treason =declared him a traitor, Montague agreed: warned that it was not legal
    • Signatories include Cranmer, Privy councillors, 22 peers, judges, house officers
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Northumberland's Final actions and Edward's Death

  • announced conversion to catholicism = publically said he erred from the faith
  • tried to convince the privy council that they neeeded him
  • spoke to gardiner (whom he imprisoned) and wrote a letter to Arundel begging him to plead on his behalf
  • Edward undoubtedly supported a change in the succession
  • successful coup by northumberland could have riskked civil conflict
  • Mary was successuful because she acted without hesetation: preperation and legit claim
    • attracted a broad spectrum of support
  • Northumberland failed because he failed to use full military resources (protecting Jane)
  • had he distributed military differently he would have potentially succeeded
  • lack of time to devise successful claim for jane led to failure
  • Mary able to make claim to the throne via Northumberlands failures
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