Edward Seymour - 1st Duke of Somerset - became Lord Protector in 1547.
Key Points in power:
- Over-threw the regency council set up by Henry VIII for Edward VI.
Somerset had to rely on his close supporters to successfully take control (key figures: Thomas Seymour, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Sir William Pagnet, Earl of Arundel). He rewarded his supporters with titles and substantial grants of Crown-lands. He used members of his own household to govern, which build up resentment throughout the Privy Council towards his place in power. Somerset tried to control this resentment by exploiting Cranmer's book on Homilies and Obedience (1547), as it stressed the need to obey the law and higher authority.
- The execution of Thomas Seymour, his brother.
This demonstrates Somersets lack of control over his councilors, and the progressive signs of weakness within his government as a Lord Protector rather than a monarch. Thomas Seymour had been given patronage up to "Lord Seymour of Sudley", however was dissatisfied with this and wanted to enhance his career by marrying the Princess Elizabeth. Seymour plotted with Southampton, and planned to turn Edward VI against his brother. This led to his execution as a traitor, however shows the start of a deteriorating government.
- Continuing the war with Scotland.
Somerset wanted to enforce a marriage negotiation between the infant Mary Queen of Scots and Edward VI to unite the crowns of Scotland and England. This was part of the age-old belief that the English have a claim to the Scottish crown. Somerset started quite successfully in the war with Scotland- he was a military man- and won the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. However, his success began to unravel as his garrisoning technique of invasion proved expensive, and difficult to maintain. This wasn't help with the strategic mistake of not barricading the Firth of Fourth, which allowed French troops to get involved (the auld-allience), and threatened an Anglo-French war. Somerset decided to pay for the Scottish war by debasing the coinage, which had disastrous effects on inflation, and by raising the taxes. Unluckily for Somerset, this all happened in the famous year of 1549, which was tainted by frequent internal rebellions which threatened Somerset's control.
- Radical religious reform.
From the start of Edward's reign in 1547, changes were made to the church in England to try and convert England to a fully protestant church…