U.K. History - the Tudors

U.K. History: the Tudors (1485 to 1558)


Henry VII successfully defended his kingship against all who came into question as rivals (besides his wife Elisabeth only Edward, Count of Warwick, the grandson of Edward IV imprisoned in the Tower and later executed) or with false claims as such (Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck), and legally secured it by a parliamentary law (November 7, 1485). Even if the establishment of direct English rule over Ireland failed for the time being, it was strengthened in 1494 by a law of its governor (Poynings’ Law) the legal position of the King of England on Irish soil; He was also able to calm things down on the Scottish border by clearing border disputes and by signing a marriage contract between his thirteen-year-old daughter Margarete and Jacob IV. Purposefully and with great caution, he expanded the power of the crown and created legal, economic and financial order in a country that had been considerably shaken by the civil war between the aristocratic parties. Above all, Henry VII succeeded. by reorganizing the financial management and thoroughly exhausting the various sources of royal income, to increase the Crown’s income from about £ 52,000 at the beginning of his reign to about £ 113,000 annually in the final years of his reign. The economy flourished, the foundations for an English fleet were laid; His successors could build on the achievements of Henry VII.

In contrast to his father’s sober style of government, Henry VIII (1509–47) was the typical Renaissance ruler who knew how to magnify his royal status.

According to Softwareleverage, the outstanding event of his reign was the separation of the English Church from Rome. It took place because Henry VIII, for reasons of state, that is, to secure the dynasty through a male succession, in 1533 on a divorce of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the marriage of his lover Anna Boleyn existed, which shortly afterwards gave birth to only one daughter. Since the Pope had refused to sanction the divorce, a state church independent of Rome was founded, the head of which – with all secular and spiritual rights – was the king (Supreme Head Act, 1534). The second momentous act was the dissolution of the monasteries (1536–39), which became the property of the crown and temporarily strengthened its financial reserves. The real beneficiary of this reallocation of property, however, was not the king, but the gentry, in whose hands until the end of the reign of Henry VIII. Two thirds of the monastic land was sold through the sale. With this largest reallocation of property in the English modern era, the economic basis for the political rise of the gentry in the 17th and 18th centuries was laid. In contrast to the continental Reformation, which was originally a renewal of faith, the English Reformation presented itself from the very beginning as a piece of consciously national, anti-Rome politics, based not only on anti-Roman resentment dating back to the 14th century, but itself could also be based on a general popular anti-clericalism. Both found expression in the English Parliament, which sanctioned the political requirements of the government with an extensive body of legislation and thus on the one hand raised the separation of Rome to a concern of the nation, on the other hand it also strengthened its position as a partner of the crown within the framework of the unwritten constitution. In this policy, the king relied on the expertise of his chief minister T. Cromwell, who after the overthrow of T. Wolsey(1529) as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Seal Keeper and Vicar General of the Church of England became the founder of the modern central English state through his administrative reforms. Now a closer body (Privy Council) was removed from the traditional, many-headed council of the king, as the nucleus of an independent bureaucracy, which performed central administrative tasks as a so-called “star chamber” and functioned as an extraordinary court (Court of Star Chamber).

In the field of foreign policy, the antagonism between France and Spain-Burgundy-Habsburg has determined European history since Henry VII took office. England became a sought-after ally, the island’s guardian of European equilibrium. While his father had moved cautiously and hesitantly in the field of foreign policy, Henry VIII initially resumed the fight with the old enemy France, but then withdrew to the role of mediator under the influence of his advisor T. Wolsey. Only for a short time (1522-25) did he let Emperor Charles V. win as an ally, on whose side he stepped again when France allied with Scotland (1543-46) and thus threatened the island very directly. On Irish soil, Henry VIII expanded the rule that had previously only existed on the east coast, but encountered resistance. The conversion of the previous title “Lord” into “King of Ireland” remained a claim that could only be realized in the 18th century. In spite of his six marriages, Henry VIII had only one son, who, still underage, was named Edward VI. (1547–53) succeeded him, initially under the direction of his uncle Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, from 1549 under that of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. After the Protestants had hitherto been persecuted as heretics, England now opened up to the Reformation. In 1549 the Book of Common Prayer was introduced (revised second version 1553) and thus an important step towards the standardization of worship in the Episcopal High Church was made; the Reformation was now not only a political but also a denominational event.

After the early death of Edward VI. undertook Henry VIII. ‘s daughter from his first marriage, Mary I (1553-58), the radical attempt to England due back to Catholicism. The Archbishop of Canterbury, T. Cranmer, was a victim of his faith with many others. The papal legate R. Pole took his place. Politically, Maria (called “Bloody Mary” because of the bloody persecution of English Protestants) joined Spain and married the Spanish King Philip II in 1554. The war with France in 1558 brought England the loss of Calais, its last mainland position.

U.K. History - the Tudors