Role of the Church
There were some 9500 parishes in England and the church was the one truly national institution. It remained the most important means of communication with the people and means of control.
Before the Reformation it provided the Tudors with it’s leading ministers Morton, Fox, Wolsey. The Church quickly recognised Henry VII and preached in his support. Wolsey controlled the North using his position as Archbishop of York.
After the Reformation the church was used by Cromwell to impose control. There was, however, concern about the loyalty of some Priests as their involvement in the religious rebellions indicates. Cromwell issued letters giving precise instructions to the Priests.
JP’s were used to check up on the Priests.
Under Edward Homilies were issued in 1547, Elizabeth reissued the Homily on obedience a further set being issued in 1563.
In addition under Elizabeth new royal festivals were created to reinforce loyalty to the monarch.
During the middle period the church lost some of it’s authority with the people. As Elizabeth’s reign progressed the Church became increasing loyal to the monarchy as the priests became Protestant and with increasing education they began to see themselves as on a par with the gentry.
Image of the monarchy
The Tudor’s tried to cultivate an image that they were appointed by God to help create a certain amount of mystique and respect. God had given sovereigns to the realm and expected them to be obeyed. This was a way of ensuring laws were accepted. There were various ways that they used image.
• Henry VII and Henry VIII built a large number of palaces. They were large and decorated with symbols of the Tudors: a clear sign to all who saw them from the fields, or who stayed with them, of the might of the monarchy.
• Paintings and portraits were used to add to the image of power and authority- i.e. Armada Painting- Rainbow Portrait. In Elizabeth’s time all portraits had to be checked by the government. Henry VIII employed Holbein.
• Paintings could only be seen by a few people so the Tudors used coins- shown most clearly in Edward’s reign. Images were designed for maximum political impact i.e. Edward crowned holding the symbols of state. Coins were the strongest way of promoting the monarch and were available to nearly everyone.
• Progresses helped the monarch to be seen throughout the nation. Henry VII went on progress around the North almost immediately he was trying to assert his authority. In 1535 Henry VIII went on a progress around the South West. It is no coincidence that there was no rebellion in this region during 1536. Henry did not go on many progresses and did not go to the North until 1543.
• The use of image was important to all the Tudors but reached it’s peak under Elizabeth with the promotion of Gloriana.
The Role of the Nobility
The nobility had a twofold role during the Tudor period…