The TUDOR PERIOD is the period between 1485 and 1603 in England and
Wales and includes the
Elizabethan period which ends with the
completion of the reign of
For a political narrative, see
House of Tudor
* 1 Population and economy * 2 English Reformation
* 3 Tudor government
* 3.1 Henry VIII
* 3.1.1 Cardinal Wolsey
* 3.2 Edward VI: 1547-1553 * 3.3 Mary I: 1553-1558 * 3.4 Elizabethan era: 1558-1603
* 4 Popular uprisings
* 5 Daily life in the period
* 5.1 Poverty * 5.2 Health * 5.3 Homes and dwelling * 5.4 Education * 5.5 Pastimes
* 6 Monarchs * 7 See also * 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 9.1 Reference books * 9.2 Political history * 9.3 Religious, social, economic and cultural history * 9.4 Historiography * 9.5 Primary sources
* 10 External links
POPULATION AND ECONOMY
Following the Black Death and the agricultural depression of the late 15th century, population began to increase. It was less than 2 million in 1450, and about 4 million in 1600. The growing population stimulated economic growth, accelerated the commercialization of agriculture, increased the production and export of wool, encouraged trade, and promoted the growth of London. The other cities were quite small.
The high wages and abundance of available land seen in the late 15th century and early 16th century were replaced with low wages and a land shortage. Various inflationary pressures, perhaps due to an influx of New World gold and a rising population, set the stage for social upheaval with the gap between the rich and poor widening. This was a period of significant change for the majority of the rural population, with manorial lords beginning the process of enclosure of village lands that previously had been open to everyone.
Main article: English Reformation
The Reformation transformed English religion during the Tudor period.
The four sovereigns, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I
had entirely different approaches, with Henry replacing the pope as
the head of the
Church of England
Historians agreed that the great theme of Tudor history was the
Reformation, the transformation of England from Catholicism to
Protestantism. The main events, constitutional changes, and players at
the national level have long been known, and the major controversies
about them largely resolved. Historians until the late 20th century
assumed that they knew what the causes were: on the one hand, a
widespread dissatisfaction or even disgust with the evils,
corruptions, failures, and contradictions of the established religion,
setting up a undertone of anti-clericalism that indicated a rightness
for reform. A second, less powerful influence was the intellectual
impact of certain English reformers, such as the long-term impact of
John Wycliffe (1328-1384 ) and his “
Lollardy ” reform movement,
together with a stream of Reformation treatises and pamphlets from
Social historians after 1960 began in-depth investigations of English religion at the local level, and discovered the orthodox interpretation was quite mistaken. The Lollardy movement had largely expired, and the pamphleteering of continental reformers hardly reached beyond a few scholars at the University of Cambridge -- King Henry VIII had vigorously and publicly denounced Luther's heresies. More important, the Catholic Church was in a strong condition in 1500. England was devoutly Catholic, it was loyal to the pope, local parishes attracted strong local financial support, religious services were quite popular both at Sunday Mass and at family devotions. Complaints about the monasteries and the bishops were uncommon. The kings got along well with the popes and by the time Luther appeared on the scene, England was among the strongest supporters of orthodox Catholicism, and seemed a most unlikely place for a religious revolution.
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547), flamboyant, energetic, militaristic
and headstrong, remains one of the most visible kings of England,
primarily because of his six marriages, all designed to produce a male
heir, and his heavy retribution in executing many top officials and
aristocrats. In foreign-policy, he focused on fighting France--with
minimal success--and had to deal with Scotland, Spain, and the Holy
Roman Empire, often with military mobilization or actual highly
expensive warfare that led to high taxes. The chief military success
came over Scotland. The main policy development was Henry's taking
full control of the Church of England. This followed from his break
from Rome, which was caused by the refusal of the Pope to annul his
original marriage. Henry thereby introduced a very mild variation of
the Protestant Reformation. There were two main aspects. First Henry
rejected the Pope as the head of the Church in England, insisting that
national sovereignty required the Absolute supremacy of the king.
Henry worked closely with Parliament in passing a series of laws that
implemented the break. Englishmen could no longer appeal to Rome. All
the decisions were to be made in England, ultimately by the King
himself, and in practice by top aides such as Cardinal Wolsey and
Thomas Cromwell. Parliament proved highly supportive, with little
dissent. The decisive moves came with the Act of Supremacy in 1534
that made the king the protector and only supreme head of the church
and clergy of England. After Henry imposed a heavy fine on the
bishops, they nearly all complied. The laws of treason and were
greatly strengthened so that verbal dissent alone was treasonous.
There were some short-lived popular rebellions There were quickly
suppressed. The league level in terms of the aristocracy and the
Church was supportive, with highly visible main refusals came from
Bishop Fisher and Chancellor Thomas More; they were both executed.
Among the senior aristocrats, trouble came from the Pole family, which
For 17 years 1512 to 1529, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey exercised more power than any commoner in English history. Operating with the firm support of the king, and with special powers over the church given by the Pope, he dominated civic affairs, administration, the law, the church, and foreign-policy. He was amazingly energetic and far-reaching. In terms of achievements, he built a great fortune for himself, and was a major benefactor of arts, humanities and education. He projected numerous reforms, but in the end English government had not changed much. For all the promise, there was very little achievement of note. From the king's perspective, his greatest failure was an inability to get a divorce when Henry VIII needed a new wife to give him a son who would be the undisputed heir to the throne. Historians agree that Wolsey was a disappointment. In the end, he conspired with Henry's enemies, and died of natural causes before he could be beheaded.
Geoffrey Elton argued that
Dissolution Of The Monasteries, 1536-40
Main article: Dissolution of the Monasteries
The king had an annual income of about £100,000, but he needed much more in order to suppress rebellions and finance his foreign adventures. In 1533, for example, military expenditures on the northern border cost £25,000, while the 1534 rebellion in Ireland cost £38,000. Suppressing the Pilgrimage of Grace cost £50,000, and the king's new palaces were expensive. Meanwhile customs revenue was slipping. The Church had an annual revenue of about £300,000; a new tax of 10% was imposed which brought in about £30,000. To get even larger sums it was proposed to seize the lands owned by monasteries, some of which the monks farmed and most of which was leased to local gentry. Taking ownership meant the rents went to the king. Selling the land to the gentry at a bargain price brought in £1 million in one-time revenue and gave the gentry a stake in the administration. The clerical payments from First Fruits and Tenths , which previously went to the pope, now went to the king. Altogether, between 1536 and Henry's death, his government collected £1.3 million; this huge influx of money caused Cromwell to change the Crown's financial system to manage the money. He created a new department of state and a new official to collect the proceeds of the dissolution and the First Fruits and Tenths. The Court of Augmentations and number of departments meant a growing number of officials, which made the management of revenue a major activity. Cromwell's new system was highly efficient with fare less corruption or secret payoffs or bribery than before. Its drawback was the multiplication of departments whose sole unifying agent was Cromwell; his fall caused confusion and uncertainty; the solution was even greater reliance on bureaucratic institutions and the new Privy Council.
Role Of Winchester
In dramatic contrast to his father, Henry VIII spent heavily, in terms of military operations in Britain and in France, and in building a great network of palaces. How to pay for it remained a serious issue. The growing number of departments meant Many new salaried bureaucrats. There were further financial and administrative difficulties in 1540–58, aggravated by war, debasement, corruption and inefficiency, which were mainly caused by Somerset. After Cromwell's fall, William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester , the Lord Treasurer , produced further reforms to simplify the arrangements, reforms which united most of the crown's finance under the exchequer. The courts of general surveyors and augmentations were fused into a new Court of Augmentations, and this was later absorbed into the exchequer along with the First Fruits and Tenths.
Impact Of War
Henry's war and
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset 's war with
France and Scotland cost England huge sums of money. Since 1540, the
Privy Coffers were responsible for 'secret affairs', in particular for
the financing of war. The
EDWARD VI: 1547-1553
Further information: Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland
Although Henry was only in his mid-50s, his health deteriorated rapidly in 1546. At the time the conservative faction, led by Bishop Stephen Gardiner and Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk that was opposed to religious reformation seemed to be in power, and was poised to take control of the regency of the nine-year-old boy who was heir to the throne. However when the king died, the pro-reformation factions suddenly seized control of the new king, and of the Regency Council, under the leadership of Edward Seymour . Bishop Gardiner was discredited, and the Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned for all of the new king's reign.
The short reign of Edward VI marked the triumph of Protestantism in England. Somerset, the elder brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour (married to Henry VIII) and uncle to King Edward VI had a successful military career. When the boy king was crowned, Somerset became Lord Protector of the realm and in effect ruled England from 1547 to 1549. Seymour led expensive, inconclusive wars with Scotland. His religious policies angered Catholics. Purgatory was rejected so there was no more need for prayers to saints, relics, and statues, nor for masses for the dead. Some 2400 permanent endowments called chantries had been established that supported thousands of priests who celebrated masses for the dead, or operated schools or hospitals in order to earn grace for the sould in purgatory. The endowments were seized by Cromwell in 1547. Historians have contrasted the efficiency of Somerset's takeover of power in 1547 with the subsequent ineptitude of his rule. By autumn 1549, his costly wars had lost momentum, the crown faced financial ruin, and riots and rebellions had broken out around the country. He he was overthrown by his former ally John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland .
Until recent decades, Somerset's reputation with historians was high, in view of his many proclamations that appeared to back the common people against a rapacious landowning class. In the early 20th century this line was taken by the influential A. F. Pollard , to be echoed by Edward VI's leading biographer W. K. Jordan . A more critical approach was initiated by M. L. Bush and Dale Hoak in the mid-1970s. Since then, Somerset has often been portrayed as an arrogant ruler, devoid of the political and administrative skills necessary for governing the Tudor state.
Dudley by contrast moved quickly after taking over an almost bankrupt administration in 1549. Working with his top aide William Cecil , Dudley ended the costly wars with France and Scotland and tackled finances in ways that led to some economic recovery. To prevent further uprisings he introduced countrywide policing, appointed Lords Lieutenants who were in close contact with London, and set up what amounted to a standing national army. Working closely with Thomas Cramner , the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dudley pursued an aggressively Protestant religious policy. They promoted radical reformers to high Church positions, with the Catholic bishops under attack. The use of the Book of Common Prayer became law in 1549; prayers were to be in English not Latin. The Mass was no longer to be celebrated, and preaching became the centerpiece of church services.
Purgatory , Protestantism declared, was a Catholic superstition that falsified the Scriptures. Prayers for the dead were useless because no one was actually in Purgatory. It followed that prayers to saints, veneration of relics, and adoration of statues Were all useless superstitions that had to end. For centuries devout Englishman had created endowments called chantries designed as good works that generated grace to help them get out of purgatory after they died. Many chantries were altars or chapels inside churches, or endowments that supported thousands of priests who Masses for the dead. In addition there were many schools and hospitals established as good works. In 1547 a new law closed down 2,374 chantries and and seized their assets. Although the Act required the money to go to "charitable" ends and the "public good," most of it appears to have gone to friends of the Court. Historian A.G. Dickens has concluded: To Catholic opinion, the problem set by these legal confiscations ... the disappearance of a large clerical society from their midst, the silencing of masses, the rupture of both visible and spiritual ties, which over so many centuries have linked rude provincial man with a great world of the Faith....The Edwardian dissolution exerted its profounder effects in the field of religion. In large part it proved destructive, for while it helped to debar a revival of Catholic devotion it clearly contain elements which injured the reputation of Protestantism.
The new Protestant orthodoxy for the
Church of England
MARY I: 1553-1558
Main article: Mary I of England
Mary was the daughter of Henry VIII by
Catherine of Aragon
Catholic historians, such as John Lingard , thought Mary's policies failed not because they were wrong but because she had too short a reign to establish them and because of natural disasters beyond her control. However, her marriage to Philip was unpopular among her subjects and her religious policies resulted in deep-seated resentment. The military losses in France, poor weather, and failed harvests increased public discontent. King Philip spent most of his time abroad, while his wife remained in England, leaving her depressed at his absence. These undermining factors were related to their inability to have children.
Protestant writers took a highly negative view, blasting her as
John Knox attacked her in his First Blast of the
Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558), and she was
prominently vilified in
Actes and Monuments
ELIZABETHAN ERA: 1558-1603
Main article: Elizabethan era
Historians often depict Elizabeth's reign as the golden age in
English history in terms of political, social and cultural
development, and in comparison with
Continental Europe . Calling her
"Gloriana" and using the symbol of
However Elizabeth's final two decades saw mounting problems that were left for the Stuarts to solve after 1603. John Cramsie, in reviewing the recent scholarship in 2003, argued: the period 1585-1603 is now recognised by scholars as distinctly more troubled than the first half of Elizabeth's long reign. Costly wars against Spain and the Irish, involvement in the Netherlands, socio-economic distress, and an authoritarian turn by the regime all cast a pall over Gloriana's final years, underpinning a weariness with the queen's rule and open criticism of her government and its failures.
Numerous popular uprisings occurred; all suppressed by royal authorities. The three largest were:
* The largest and most serious was the
Pilgrimage of Grace . It
disrupted the North of England in 1536 protesting the religious
reforms of Henry VIII, his
Dissolution of the Monasteries and the
policies of the King's chief minister,
DAILY LIFE IN THE PERIOD
Main article: Poor Law A woodcut from circa 1536 depicting a vagrant being punished in the streets in Tudor England.
About one-third of the population lived in poverty, with the wealthy expected to give alms to assist the impotent poor . Tudor law was harsh on the able-bodied poor , i.e., those unable to find work. Those who left their parishes in order to locate work were termed vagabonds and could be subjected to punishments, including whipping and putting at the stocks.
The idea of the workhouse for the able-bodied poor was first suggested in 1576.
See also: Health and diet in Elizabethan England
Although home to only a small part of the population the Tudor municipalities were overcrowded and unhygienic. Most towns were unpaved with poor public sanitation. There were no sewers or drains, and rubbish was simply abandoned in the street. Animals such as rats thrived in these conditions. In larger towns and cities, such as London, common diseases arising from lack of sanitation included smallpox , measles , malaria , typhus , diphtheria , Scarlet fever , and chickenpox .
Outbreaks of the Black Death pandemic occurred in 1498, 1535, 1543, 1563, 1589 and 1603. The reason for the speedy spread of the disease was the increase of rats infected by fleas carrying the disease.
Child mortality was low in comparison with earlier and later periods, at about 150 or fewer deaths per 1000 babies. By age 15 a person could expect 40–50 more years of life.
HOMES AND DWELLING
The great majority were tenant farmers who lived in small villages. Their homes were, as in earlier centuries, thatched huts with one or two rooms, although later on during this period, roofs were also tiled. Furniture was basic, with stools being commonplace rather than chairs. The walls of Tudor houses were often made from timber and wattle and daub , or brick; stone and tiles were more common in the wealthier homes. The daub was usually then painted with limewash , making it white, and the wood was painted with black tar to prevent rotting, but not in Tudor times; the Victorians did this afterwards. The bricks were handmade and thinner than modern bricks. The wooden beams were cut by hand, which makes telling the difference between Tudor houses and Tudor-style houses easy, as the original beams are not straight. The upper floors of Tudor houses were often larger than the ground floors, which would create an overhang (or jetty ). This would create more floor-surface above while also keeping maximum street width. During the Tudor period, the use of glass when building houses was first used, and became widespread. It was very expensive and difficult to make, so the panes were made small and held together with a lead lattice, in casement windows . People who could not afford glass often used polished horn, cloth or paper. Tudor chimneys were tall, thin, and often decorated with symmetrical patterns of molded or cut brick. Early Tudor houses, and the homes of poorer people, did not have chimneys. The smoke in these cases would be let out through a simple hole in the roof.
There was an unprecedented expansion of education in the Tudor period. Until then, few children went to school. Those that did go were mainly the sons of wealthy or ambitious fathers who could afford to pay the attendance fee. Boys were allowed to go to school and began at the age of 4, they then moved to grammar school when they were 7 years old. Girls were either kept at home by their parents to help with housework or sent out to work to bring money in for the family. They were not sent to school. Boys were educated for work and the girls for marriage and running a household so when they married they could look after the house and children. Wealthy families hired a tutor to teach the boys at home. Many Tudor towns and villages had a parish school where the local vicar taught boys to read and write. Brothers could teach their sisters these skills. At school, pupils were taught English, Latin, Greek, catechism and arithmetic. The pupils practised writing in ink by copying the alphabet and the Lord\'s Prayer . There were few books, so pupils read from hornbooks instead. These wooden boards had the alphabet, prayers or other writings pinned to them and were covered with a thin layer of transparent cow's horn. There were two types of school in Tudor times: petty school was where young boys were taught to read and write; grammar school was where abler boys were taught English and Latin. It was usual for students to attend six days a week. The school day started at 7:00 am in winter and 6:00 am in summer and finished about 5:00 pm. Petty schools had shorter hours, mostly to allow poorer boys the opportunity to work as well. Schools were harsh and teachers were very strict, often beating pupils who misbehaved.
Henry VIII shut the monasteries and their schools, and the overall level of schooling declined. He refounded many former monastic schools—they are known as "King's schools" and are found all over England. During the reign of Edward VI many free grammar schools were set up to take in non-fee paying students. There were two universities in Tudor England: Oxford and Cambridge . Some boys went to university at the age of about 14.
Watching plays became very popular during the Tudor period. This
popularity was helped by the rise of great playwrights such as William
Christopher Marlowe as well as the building of the
Henry VII (1485–1509) *
Henry VIII (1509–1547) *
Edward VI (1547–1553) *
Mary I (1553–1558) *
* ^ John Guy (1988) Tudor England, Oxford University Press, p. 32
* ^ David M. Palliser, The Age of Elizabeth: England under the
later Tudors, 1547-1603 p. 300.
* ^ Ian Dawson, The Tudor century (1993) p. 214
* ^ Peter H. Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the
English Reformation (Yale UP, 2017).
* ^ G. R. Elton, The Tudor Constitution: Documents and Commentary
(1960) pp 318-19
* ^ Ronald H. Fritze, Historical Dictionary of Tudor England,
1485-1603 (1991) 419-20.
* ^ John Cannon, The Oxford Companion to British history (1997) pp
* ^ E. W. Ives, ‘Henry VIII (1491–1547)", Oxford Dictionary f
National Biography, (2009) accessed 8 Aug 2017
* ^ Richard Rex, Henry VIII and the English reformation (Palgrave
* ^ S.T. Bindoff, Tudor England (1950), p 78
* ^ J.D. Mackie, The Earlier Tudors 1485 – 1558 (1952), pp
* ^ 'The G.R. Elton, Tudor Revolution in Government (1953).
* ^ He was a distant relative of
* Harrington, Peter. The Castles of Henry VIII. Oxford, Osprey, 2007.
* Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2008) * Bindoff, S.T. Tudor England (1950), short scholarly survey. online * Bucholz, Robert, and Newton Key. Early modern England 1485-1714: A narrative history (2009); University textbook * Collinson, Patrick, ed. The Sixteenth Century: 1485-1603 (Short Oxford History of the British Isles) (2002) * Elton, G. R. England Under the Tudors (1974) online complete copy * Fritze, Ronald H. ed. Historical Dictionary of Tudor England, 1485-1603 (1991), 818pp; 300 short essays by experts emphasis on politics, religion, and historiography. excerpt * Guy, J. A. The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction (2010) excerpt and text search * Guy, J. A. Tudor England (1990) a leading comprehensive survey excerpt and text search * Kinney, Arthur F. et al. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Tudor England (2000) 837pp; also published as Tudor England: An Encyclopedia * Mackie, J. D. The Earlier Tudors, 1485–1558 (1952), comprehensive scholarly survey online * Morrill, John, ed. The Oxford illustrated history of Tudor survey essays by leading scholars; heavily illustrated * O'Day, Rosemary. The Routledge Companion to the Tudor Age (2010); also published as The Longman Companion to the Tudor Age (1995) online * Tittler, Robert and Norman Jones. A Companion to Tudor Britain. Blackwell Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-631-23618-X . * Wagner, John A. Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World: Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America (1999) online edition * Wagner, John A. and Susan Walters Schmid, eds. Encyclopedia of Tudor England (3 vol. 2011). * Williams, Penry. The Later Tudors: England, 1547-1603 (1995) online
* Black, J. B. The
* Wernham, Richard Bruce. Before the Armada: the growth of English foreign policy, 1485-1588 (1966). a standard history of foreign policy
* Wernham, Richard Bruce. After the Armada : Elizabethan England and the struggle for Western Europe, 1588-1595 (1985)
* Williams, Penry. The Tudor Regime (1981)
RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL HISTORY
* Butler, Katherine.Music in Elizabethan Court Politics (2015) * Campbell, Mildred. English yeoman under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts (1942). * Clapham, John. A concise economic history of Britain: From the earliest times to 1750 (1916), pp 185 to 305 covers 1500 to 1750. online * Dickens, A.D. The English Reformation (1965) online * Doran, Susan, and Norman Jones, eds. The Elizabethan World (2010) essays by scholars * Duffy, Eamon. Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants and the Conversion of England (2017) excerpt * Lipson, Ephraim. The economic history of England: vol 2: The Age of Mercantilism (7th ed. 1964). * Manley, Lawrence, ed. London in the Age of Shakespeare: an Anthology (1986). * Marshall, Peter. Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017) excerpt * Notestein, Wallace. English people on the eve of colonization, 1603-1630 (1954). scholarly study of occupations and roles online * Notestein, Wallace. A history of witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718 (1911) online * Palliser, D. M. The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors, 1547-1603 (2nd ed 2014) wide-ranging survey of social and economic history * Rex, Richard. Henry VIII and the English Reformation (2nd ed. 2006) online * Rowse, Alfred Leslie. The England of Elizabeth (2003). * Sim, Alison. The Tudor Housewife (McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 2001). * Tawney, R.H. The agrarian problem in the sixteenth century (1912) online. * Williams, Penry. Life in Tudor England (1969) * Williamson, James A. The Tudor Age (1961) 500 pp online edition * Willis, Deborah. Malevolent nurture: Witch-hunting and maternal power in early modern England (Cornell UP, 1995). * Youings, Joyce. Sixteenth Century England (The Penguin Social History of Britain) (1991)
* Breen, Dan. "Early Modern Historiography." Literature Compass
* Duffy, Eamon. "The
English Reformation After Revisionism."
Renaissance Quarterly 59.3 (2006): 720-731.
* Elton, G.R. Modern Historians on British History 1485-1945: A
Critical Bibliography 1945-1969 (1969), annotated guide to 1000
history books on every major topic, plus book reviews and major
scholarly articles. online
* Furber, Elizabeth Chapin, ed. Changing Views on British History
(1966) ch 3
* Fussner, F. Smith. Tudor history and the historians (1970) online
* Haigh, Christopher. "The recent historiography of the English
Reformation." Historical Journal 25.4 (1982): 995-1007.
* Loades, David. "The
* Bland, A.E., P.A. Brown and R.H. Tawney, eds. English economic history: select documents (1919). online 733pp; covers 1086 to 1840s. * Elizabeth I: The Collected Works Leah S. Marcus, Mary Beth Rose 700pp; primary and secondary sources, with an emphasis on literature * Stater, Victor, ed. The Political History of Tudor and Stuart England: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2002) online * Tawney, R. H., and Eileen Power, eds. Tudor Economic Documents (3 vols. 1924). vol 1 on agriculture and industry
* Williams, C.H. ed. English Historical Documents, 1485-1558 (1957), a wide-ranging major collection
* Archer, Ian W. and F. Douglas Price, eds. English Historical Documents, 1558-1603 (2011), a wide-ranging major collection
* The Tudors information page edited by