The Mid Tudor Crisis: Mary

  • Mary I
HideShow resource information

Mary I

  • Haigh: Mary had to fight for what she is entitled to, proclaimed Queen in Catholic areas
  • naval squadron sent to make sure Mary did not escape to see Charles V for support
    • Mary did not take such action
  • Once council realised attmepts were futile they abandoned Northumberland
  • Diaries of londoners: street parties, welcomed Mary to throne
  • Scale of popularity reflected devotion to fait --> massses being held etc
  • Melton Mowbray built alters immediately, Yorkshire & London held masses
  • Robert Parkyn (priest): all this came to pass ewithout compulsion of any act, statute, proclamation or law --> actions are therefore illegal, people willing to pay to restor cath.
  • Changes not widely accepted: trouble in london, kent essex, norfolk etc
  • Mary inherited religious fivisions: unlikelty to calm as she sides with catholicism
  • not trained to become queen: little political knowledge
    • those closest to her schas as Rochester and Waldegrave also had little political experience, those who did have experience worked under Northumberland
  • Gardiner= experienced politician, loyal catholic
  • Council = inexperienced vs experienced, catholics vs protestants
1 of 17

Mary I Cont.

  • appointed 50 councillors over 5 years : faction ridden government, met in modest rooms, never all met at once
  • Mary's decision to marry Philip of Spain was never discussed in council
  • meetings could have been raucus --> no chief whip to ensure all were there
  • councillor = honorary title provided by Mary , dominated by the likes of Gardiner, Paget etc
  • trusted group of advisors inc. Pole (not part of Privy council), queens cardinal
  • mary differentiated between formal process of conciliar advice and courtly processes
  • Mary lost confidence with Paget due to his opposition for restoration to Rome
  • Never fully trusted Gardiner: failed to support mother during divorce and break with Rome
    • regarded as indispensible and upon his death there was a gap left in government that was never filled satisfactorily. Pole distanced himself from secular issues
  • Mary thrown back onto advice of the foreigners whose judgement she trusted implicitly
    • Philip II of Spain and Simon Renard (spanish ambassador)
2 of 17

Interpretations of Mary

  • Giovanni Michiel: brave and valiant, courageous and resolute, never shown cowardice, wonderful grandeur, innocent, lively faith
  • Giacamo Soranzo: low stature, thin, sickly, great benignity and clemency, patient, merciful, intelligent as she can read in Latin, speaks latin, french, spanish and understands italian, plays lute and spinet, taught many of her maids of honour, elegent, magnificent
  • Mary's Speech (1554): marriage shows her devotion to faith, loves her subjects as a 'mother doth love a child', cares for the people
  • Knox (Calvinist): women ruling = repugnant in nature, subversion to good order
  • G.R.Elton: arrogant, assertive, bigoted, stubborn, rather stupid, bitter and narrow minded woman, seized a power that she was utterly unsuited for
  • D.Loades: Iron streak,executed traitors ruthlessly, had no reputation for clemency
  • Tittler: embittered by claims of illegitimacy and lack of support in her mothers divorce, fatally shaped, distrustful, came to place faith in ideals rather than people, uncompromising devotion to her faith, strong desire to marry, deprived of mother in adolescence, roots made her have a preference for spaniards
3 of 17


  • Marriage = cause of rebellion --> Mary = anxious to wed, produce an heir to secure catholic sucession: mater of urgency due to age and for stability of religion
  • English candidate for marriage = Edward Courtenany (Earl of Devon)--> would bring factional rivalty and his family would become more influential
    • Courtenany lacked courtly skills, Mary never took him seriously
    • recieved backing from Gardiner: did not support spanish marriage --> offends public
  • Mary's preferance for Philip II was clear, enforced by Renard
    • Philip = spanish, catholic, political experience
    • Charles V more keen for the match than his son
  • Phlilip saw it as a duty to marry her - not cpmpleted without difficulties
  • English opinion = hostile --> treaty drawn up to protect interests
  • Philip given title of King but not power that came with it, no feriegners permitted to hold english office and if Philip predeceased Mary he would have no claim to the throne
  • Foreign Policy could still be influenced by Philip, persuaded Mary to join spanish foreign policy, still possibility of producing an heir
4 of 17

Wyatts Rebellion

  • Rebllion planned November '53 (before treaty) Mary made spanish preferance known
  • broke out in devon (led by courtenany), Hertforshire, Kent and Leicstershire
  • Plans leaked out in January = forced into action
  • Only Kent was exposed to a seriious uprising (Wyatt had force of 3000 men)
  • If plans had not leaked it is likely that Mary would have failed as there is no way she could have controlled 4 rebellions --> Wyatt alone got all the way to London
    • did not get in because London closed gates --> luck for Mary, Rebellion lost momentum


  • Rebels did not want to see Catholic restoration, should not be overplayed as a motive
    • identified as the main cause in John proctors writings --> commisioned by government to direct attention away from opposition to marriage
  • xenophobia = did not want foreigners in pwer
  • economic hardship = decline in cloth industry over a long period
  • political instability = gentry lost office, fear that Philip could affect career oppurtunities
5 of 17


  • Protestants = minority that could not be ignored, Lady Jane Grey executed, Elizabeth arrested --> Gardiner and Paget did not try to retrieve the whole truth due to links with courtenany and realisation that she could potentially be the next monarh
  • Marriage put of until late july : philip put off travelling to england for severla months
  • Paget fell out of favour and Renard was no longer at the centre of power
  • Initial experience reinforced predjiduces of England : foul weather, unwelcoming court, hostility between Philip's retinue and english courtiers, marrying a woman 11 yr older
    • spent little time in his new kingdom
  • On a political level the marriage failed = mary failed to get pregnant, england drawn into dynastic habsburg-valois dispute : war made worse by pro french pope Carafa
    • Catholic Mary at war with Pope = difficult position
  • 90 rebels executed including Wyatt = became a martyr
    • dipped handkerchiefs in his blood
6 of 17

The State of the Marriage

  • did not have courtship prior to marriage = Philip did not put effort in to learn english
    • met for the first time 2 days before the marriage
  • Complicated langauge barriers, Marys ring came from the emperor not Philip
  • Philip had a lack of social skills = being by himself was his greatest pleasure
  • made an effort to treat Mary with 'warm affection
  • Mary thought she was pregnant on two occasions (54&58) --> possible she was never pregnant at all, phantom pregnancy or possible tumour
  • Philip set out to intergrate himself : gave out pensions and gifts from his own financial resources
  • Tensions arose as Philip brought his own spanish court on arrival but also had an English court prepared : had to send some away = hostility
  • Some of his spanish counterparts were outraged that he did not recieve appropriate respect: Mary's throne higher and more ornate etc.
  • London = anti spanish feelings causing disturbances
    • Summer 1555 disturbance led to 6 deaths
    • 13th June mob attacked church in which a number of spaniards were worshiping
    • anti-english sentiments: spanish believed English were heretics
7 of 17

Restoration of Catholicism

  • Despite widespread evidence of popular catholicism= more troublesome than thought
  • Protestantism attracted adherents in London and south, Church of England enshrined in Statute Law --> members of political elite whom Mary was dependant on voted against repeal of edwardian laws : benefited from such changes
  • 800 persons went into exile in protestant areas i.e Geneva, Strausburg etc
  • Mary operated coutiously to begin with --> prominent clergy deprived of their livings and foreign protestants were forced to leave
  • Legislative attack began on protestantism in 1st parliament (1553)
    • repealled Ecclesiastical laws passed during Edwards reign, restored service to how it was at the end of Henry's reign
  • Did not alter the legal status of the Church of England
    • Dilemma for Mary = had to rely on parliamentary legislation to secure reversal of Royal Supremacy = Mary had to acknowledge superiority of law over divine law
  • leglal changes made enabled action to be taken against protestant clergymen
    • all clergy men who married when permitted to do so could be deprived of their livings
    • over 1/4 deprived --> some reinstated when they gave up their wives
    • created problems for the church: added to the 'man power' shortage in church
8 of 17

Restoration of Catholicism Cont.

  • Status of Church not resolved until 3rd Parliament (Nov 54-Jan 55)
  • private land from monastaries delayed the process: Pope and Pole = land to be returned to the church --> Renard and Charles: land in hands of catholics
  • Gardiner insisted arrival of Pole must bring confirmation of continued ownership
    • each realised failure to do so would lead to parliamentary blocking
  • Julius & Pole insisted that the english church should submit to Rome first
    • then dispensations may be granted to landowners on an individual basis
        • Council, Charles & Philip = politically impossible, Pope accepted advice
  • Pole = in a position to travel to England to take up position as legate
  • 3rd Parliament reserved the act of attainder that had been passed against Pole
  • fate of church lands remained in convention until issue was resolved
  • Pole = insisted civil rulers had no right to dispose property of the church
  • Other councillors = no foreigner had jurisdiction over english property
  • Mary sympathised with Pole, threatened to abdicate = bluffing --> lead to protestantism
  • Statute of appeal would include papal dispensation = greater legal force
  • Now possible for the act of repeal to pass laws
    • price payed = reconcilliation delayed and vital time lost
9 of 17

Restoration of Catholicism Cont.

  • Poles attitude made him subject of suspicion to landowners = reputation never recovered,
  • Mary had to acknowledge the jurisdiction of statute law in matters involving religion
  • Pope Julius died 1555 --> succeeded by anti spanish Paul IV: suspicious of Pole
  • Paul declared war on spanish 1555: England dragged into it
  • Mary @ war with pope
  • Pope withdrew Poles legatine (1557), Named Peto legatine = divide leadership of Church
    • blow to Pole's prestige, no longer acting on behalf of pope
  • Pope declared Pole as a heresy suspect --> Mary would not let Pole go to Rome to face the heresy charges
  • Mary sought to operatethrough Pole and refused to accept papal authority: placed Mary in a similar position to her father --> worsened relationship between Mary & Pope
  • Restoration started out slow = less time to do anything effectively
    • led to Mary being in conflict with the pope dividing catholicism in England
10 of 17

Religious Policy: Treatment of Heretics

  • burning of heretics gained her a reputation as 'Bloody Mary'
  • 289 protestants burt at stake: inc famous Cranmner, Hooper, Ridley, Latimer
  • Fate of victims wrote in John Fox's Acts & Monuments : protestant propaganda
  • 21 clergymen, 8 gentry = most were of humble status: used as local detterents
  • Main locations of burnings: London, Canterbury, Colchester --> No burnings in Durham
  • view = crown stratergy that was misfired
  • First 2 deaths: Rogers & Taylore (popular preachers) elicited widespread sympathy47
  • Humble status of most victims increased martyrdom
  • Council began to worry about the effects: servants, apprentices & young banned
  • Policy failed to extinguish heresy: failure linked to lack of time
11 of 17

Other Religious Policy

  • Not purely repressive: Pole saw his role in pastoral terms
  • Resources needed to be restored and quality/quantity of priests returned
    • correlation between strength of catholicism & recruitment
  • lancashire provided fertile territory for ordination, not so much with Kent
  • Pole tried to improve pastoral provision
    • new bishops appointed by Mary & Pole took pastoral responsibilities seriously
  • 1556-7 Poles legate synod made his expectations clear
  • Bishops were to reside to their dicocese, preach & oversee relgious lives of parishoners
  • Proposed: each cathedral should have a seminaru attatched to train new recruits
    • never put into effect
  • success depended on commitment at parish level
    • guarenteed in Lancashire & Durham, different matters down south
12 of 17

Reforms Under Mary

  • given time and resources Pole & Mary may have been  able to restore catholicism
  • divisions between crown & papacy led to delays in restoration
  • Mary ct off from wider developments before accession: out of  touch
  • Philip had no first hand experience of English sentiment before marriage
  • Tittler: Pole took england as he remembered it rather than as it was
    • Marian church: too dependent on repressive approach
  • Relationship between MAry & parliament = cautious co-operation
  • substantial minority of MP's opposed reversal of edwardian religious legislation
  • concern for property rights ensured ex monastic lands would not be restored: Mary pressed the point
  • bill in 1555 allowed seizure of property of protestants: defeated
  • 1554 parliament rejected bill that included Philip in the protective clauses & proposed new law on treason = prevented coronation as king
  • refused to exclude Elizabeth from succession
  • Pollard: Mary's reign = sterile/failure: written under protestant framework
  • Mary's reign did see some success = experienced during Elizabeths reign
13 of 17

Reforms Under Mary


  • improved wool trade: England had little else to offer
  • run trhough twin monopolies if Merchant Adventureres and Merchants of the Staple
    • former dealt with sale of woolen cloth, latter with sale of wool itself
  • made meaningful attempts to protect adventurers against competition from Hanseatic leauge, dound new home for staple as Calais fell to french power in 1557
  • Continued Edwardian government interest in developing trade links with Russia & Baltic
  • Muscovy company given privaleges of  charter in 1555
  • imported useful naval supplies, sold herbs, wool and metal work in return
  • Useful footholds made in guinea and Morocco


  • Protected traditional industries against rising capitalism
  • Retail trades act 1554 protected merchants monopolies, woolen cloth act 1557 fined those making cloth outside of traditional jurisdiction
  • strategy: grant x2 as many requests for charter incorperation as previous governments
    • helped towns to raise revenue for poor relief and competition from other towns
14 of 17

Reforms Under Mary


  • Northumberland sought to improve administration of crown finances: set up commission to investigate shortcomings of the system & reccomend reforms
  • Some changes implemented in1554 even though the person largely responsible (Mildmay) was treat with suspicion on rleigious grounds
  • Mary attempted to exploit custom duties: hundreds of commodities untaxed
    • existing rates had fallen behind inflation
  • adopted new book of rates 1558: Paulet & Winchester set up office of Surveyor of General customs
  • prevented court of exchequer taking over, muddied finances of Courts of Wards and liveries, insisted on applicationn of advanced methods of auditing and accounting
  • mistake = remitted final part of Edwards las subsidy = cheap popularity
  • although debt rose it did not raise as heavily as expected = war with france
  • english crown in less debt than other european powers
  • long term security of crown boosted plans for recoinage drawn up 56-8
    • implemented by Elizabeth
    • Loades: financial management has been tight and effective
15 of 17

Reforms Under Mary


  • Huge mortality rate from flu, series of harvest failures, high tax for wars with france
  • emphasis on law enforcement against grain hoarders, Yorkshire experimented with JP's as overseers of the poor (adapted by Elizabeth)
  • encouraged development of 5 private charities into citywide system of welfare (london)
  • increased crown debt, it also encouraged a climate of austerity at court fitting the times


  • Tittler: conscious support offered to corporate towns
  • reign witnessed relatively urban outlook: tried to guarentee strong local government
  • invovled issuing charters of incorperationconfirming existing right or conferring new ones
    • move towards uniformed structure & power of town councils
  • Marian government responded favourably to pressure from towns
  • fulfilled a need that had been created by changes resulting from reformation: destruction of most institutions that offered poor relief: taken over by boroughs
16 of 17

Reforms Under Mary


  • completed reorganisation of admin and finance in the navy
  • 6 new ships built, many others reparied
  • crown finances budgeted peace time allocation of £14000 to navy: Liz reduced
  • system worked effectively with highly efficient treasurer to to the navy (Gonson) answering to Lord Treasurer Winchester
  • reforms laid basis for organisation of the navy that was crucial for Elizabeth to defeat the spanish armada
  • reformed at the end of Mary's reign = methods for raising troops = important for a country that lacked a standing army
  • effected through 2 complementary acts of parliament
  • Guy: 'a landmark in English Military organisation'
17 of 17


Terri Otieno


AW! I have found my true love! Thank you Sammy

Similar History resources:

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