Theme 1: Monarchy and Government - Changes in the structure of government

  • Created by: f_grant
  • Created on: 18-05-19 12:29

The monarchy

  • Guarantor of stability and order desired by God
  • 1529-1588 - added power of Head of the Church
  • Primogeniture challenged by Mary - Act Concerning the Regal Power 1554
  • Defenders of the royal prerogative - all acts still approved by parl
  • Compromise and cooperation - Henry delegated to chief ministers, Edward and Mary more dedicated to changes in defence of the realm. Elizabeth was surrounded by key advisers
  • Relatively effective govt - Act of Supremacy 1534 made monarchy more powerful
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The Privy Council

  • After 1536 - led by president and governed by collective responsibility. Day-to-day govt of realm
  • Drafted bill to be passed in parl and advised monarch directly (acted as Henry's chief minister after death of Cromwell)
  • After 1554 - managed national finances and defence
  • Edward - bypassed by Somerset but restored by Northumberland - increased council to 33, restored members to 'inner council' and created smaller committees
  • Mary - PC of 20. Philip established council of most trusted advisers. Returned England to influence of Rome
  • Elizabeth - advisery role with fewer members, led by William Cecil. Met everyday by 1590s. Added prosecution of heresy. Supervised poor laws, enforced reformation and fixed prices and wages.
  • Though PC could advise monarch, this could be ignored.
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Government Finances

  • Henry:
    • New taxes (Wolsey's subsidy) and retrenchment by Acts of Resumption.
    • New Courts - Court of Augmentations 1536 and Court of First Fruits and Tenths 1540
    • 1542-1551 raised 1.27 mil from debasing coinage
    • Country faced bankruptcy on death
  • Edward:
    • Different offices established. Court of Augmentations absorbed Court of General Surveyors 1547
  • Mary:
    • All financial bodies became part of the Exchequer. Increased income and decreased expenditure: avoidance of war and creation of Surveyor General of the customs and work of the Lord Treasurer.
  • Elizabeth:
    • Rebased coinage late 1550s. 
    • Increase in ordinary sources of income by 50% but didn't exploit all sources.
    • English crown solvent
    • Left debt of £350,000 on death
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The Royal Court and Household

  • Court key in distribution of patronage - more signif than passing of parliamentary statutes
  • Privy chamber - intimate contact with monarch, increasingly political
  • Factions - fought for control over monarch
  • Female monarchs reduced political imp of chamber. Elizabeth shifted political work outside of chambers to Cecil. 
  • Emergence of favourites under Elizabeth 
  • Court essential in creating and maintaining cult of the Virgin queen - 'golden age'
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The Legal System

  • The Court of King's Bench - Subject and monarch
  • The Court of Common Pleas - Subject and subject
  • The Court of Star Chamber (members of PC) - used under Wolsey. 12-120 cases. Tried to combat enclosures
  • The Court of Requests - access to justice for poor under Wolsey
  • Cromwell - harmonised system, regional differences abolished. Canon law fell under control of crown after Act of Supremacy.
  • Elizabeth - Exchequer given greater role - from 1585 became an appeal court. Increase in statutes.
  • Edward - repealed all Henry's catholic and heresy laws
  • Mary- removed Edward's laws and attempted to rewrite laws of Henry
  • Elizabeth - repealed Mary's heresy laws and restored the supremacy
  • By 1558 the legal power of the crown increased everywhere but Ireland
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