Duke of Somerset Historiography



Traditionalists = "good duke". 

  • Henry's Legacy and Situtation Somerset Inherited
    • Roger Turvey said Somerset "inherited an impossible diplomatic and miliary position". 
      • Evidence to support this: He faced a hostile France and an unpredictable Scotland, a country divided betwen two different religions, colossal debts.
  • Effective Politician
    • AGR Smith -- The Act of Uniformity was a "shrewd statesman- like measure". Shrewd=sharp, astute. 
  • Friend of the poor
    • AJ Pollard -- Somerset was a man whose "aims were essentially noble".
      • Evidence to support this: In 1548 and 1549, he sent out commissions to investigate grievances about loss of tillage (land of cultivation i.e farming), encroachment of large sheep flocks on common land, and similar issues.
  • Religion
    • Eammon Duffy says that Somerset's encouragement of iconoclasm was a "charter for revolution".

Revisionists = dislike him.

  • Political Rule
    • Jennifer Loach described Somerset was "autocratic by tempermant". Autocraticac = tyrannical, ruling with absolute power. Michael Tillbrook agreed saying Somerset's "arrogant and dictatorial manner created enemies". John Lotherington said Somerset used the Privy Council as little more than a rubber stamp.
      • Evidence to support this: He issued 77 proclamations over the course of 2 years, this is a huge contrast to Henry's use of proclamations; he issued on average 6 a year during his reign.
    • Nigel Heard said he "failed to show the leadership necessary" to be succesfull.
      • Evidence to support this: Thomas Seymour's plotting and subsequent execution demonstrate Somerset's lack of control over his councillors. It




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