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  • Thomas wolsey, cardinal archbishop of york 1515

    The son of an Ipswich butcher, in the early 1500s, Wolsey established himself as an indispensable administrator both for the crown and the English church. A court chaplain from 1507, in 1509 he was made royal almoner and, effectively, royal secretary.In 1514, Wolsey was created Archbishop of York and, a year later, he was made a cardinal by the Pope and Lord Chancellor by Henry VIII. By 1518 he held legatine powers in England but in 1522 (when Ad ...


  • Field of the cloth of gold 1520

    Wolsey and Henry VIII pursued an aggressive continental foreign policy. Although at war in the early 1510s, by later that same decade a grand alliance between England, France, Spain, the Papacy and the Empire was envisaged. Although the diplomacy ultimately foundered, one of the high points in discussion was the meeting of Henry VIII and Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold outside Calais in 1520. The meeting lasted over two week ...


  • Henry made 'defender of the faith' 1521

    On 23 October 1516, at Wittenberg (in modern Germany), Martin Luther nailed ninety-five theses condemning papal indulgences to the door of a church. Later, this was considered the pivotal action marking the start of the religious reformation in Europe. England and Scotland both rejected Luther\'s ideas and remained supporters of the Catholic church. In 1521, as a reward for attacking Lutheran ideas, Pope Leo X conferred the title of fidei defenso ...


  • The reformation of parliament 1529 - 1536

    A non-contemporary description of the parliament which met throughout the Reformation crisis of the early 1530s. In its first session (November-December 1529), the parliament petitioned Henry to take action against Cardinal Wolsey. Subsequently, the parliament passed acts which defined the nature of the break with Rome and the foundation of the Church of England. In 1532 (a year after Henry VIII had been recognised as Supreme Head of the Church i ...


  • Henry viii and the act of supremacy 1534

    Henry wished to divorce Katherine of Aragon as he was conscious that the Old Testament forbade a man from lying with his brother\'s wife. Henry saw his lack of male heir by Katherine as a judgement from God as to his sinfulness.The first discussions concerning the subject had taken place in secret in May 1527 but, by July 1529, the Pope had declared that the matter could only be settled in Rome. After further inquiries, Clement VII refused to gra ...


  • Wales incorporated into england 1536

    An act of parliament in 1536 (followed by a second in 1543) attempted to regularise the relationship between Wales and England. The Marcher Lordships - on the border of England and Wales - were abolished; new counties were established; and Justices of the Peace (on the English model) were empowered to undertake judicial roles. Although a Council of Wales (with enhanced powers) was retained, English was made the official language of administration ...


  • The dissolution of the monasteries 1536 - 1540

    Between 1536 and 1540, Henry dissolved all the monasteries that had not previously been dissolved. This proved very unpopular, as despite individual abuses, monasteries still played a major role both in the spiritual life of the population and in local economies. Furthermore, it led to exaggerated rumours that Henry intended to despoil the parish churches and to tax cattle and sheep. As a result, in 1536 there were major risings in Lincolnshire a ...


  • David beaton, cardinal archbishop of st andrews 1538

    Despite urging from his brother-in-law, James V did not follow the same path as Henry VIII in splitting with the Catholic Church. Indeed, if anything, James V drew himself closer to Rome. With England on the verge of breaking away, James was able to extract financial and religious concessions from the Pope which meant that James was, in his own way, as powerful a leader in terms of the Scottish Church as Henry was in terms of the English.James wa ...


  • Henry viii, king of ireland 1541

    The Tudors had always been concerned with the Irish situation. In 1494, Henry VII had sent Edward Poynings to Ireland as deputy in order to strengthen links with England. Within a matter of weeks the Irish Parliament, meeting at Drogheda, had passed Poyning\'s Law which stated that Irish legislation was only valid when confirmed by the English Privy Council.Despite this, Ireland continued to be a cause of some concern. In the aftermath of the Eng ...


  • Battle of solway moss and the 'rough wooing' 1542

    In November 1542, a Scottish army entered the border marshes of Scotland and England. They were met by an English force led by Sir Thomas Wharton, and routed. James V was ill at Falkland Palace, and the news of the defeat, coupled with the birth of a daughter, Mary, rather than the son the king longed for, is traditionally said to have led him to turn his face to the wall and die.Peace between the two countries was agreed in the 1543 Treaty of ...


  • Edward vi and the act of uniformity 1547 - 1553

    Edward VI (1547-53) was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour (Henry\'s third wife). He became king on Henry\'s death in 1547, at the age of nine, and the government was entrusted to his uncle, the Duke of Somerset. Somerset fell from power in 1549 and was replaced by the Earl of Warwick, later created Duke of Northumberland. Northumberland was primarily concerned with the enforcement of the Act of Uniformity which imposed the First Book of Co ...


  • Jane grey, 'the nine day queen' 1553

    In regards to the succession, Edward had dismissed the claims of his half sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, arguing that they were both illegitimate. Instead he nominated Lady Jane Grey - Henry VIII\'s Protestant great-niece - as his successor. She was married to one of Northumberland\'s sons and was proclaimed Queen when Edward died - after horrendous illness - in 1553 (aged fifteen). However, Mary simultaneously proclaimed herself Queen in Norfolk a ...


  • Mary i and philip ii 1553

    Daughter of the Katherine of Aragon, Mary (1553-58) became queen in 1553. Determined to return the country to its religious position at the beginning of her father\'s reign, Mary agreed to marry Philip II of Spain. By the end of 1554, and despite protest, England had a Spanish king, and was once again subject to the Pope. Some 300 people were burnt for heresy including several leading churchmen and even Archbishop Cranmer of Canterbury (who was b ...


  • Accession of elizabeth i 1558

    Elizabeth (1558-1603), the Protestant daughter of Anne Boleyn, acceded to the throne on Mary\'s death in 1558. After she was crowned, her first task was to bring about a broad religious settlement, accepting those aspects of Protestant doctrine which were consistent with order, and rejecting those which were not. It was not until the 1580s that the Reformation gained general acceptance. Elizabeth did not condemn the contemporary stereotype of wom ...


  • Personal rule of mary, queen of france, and queen of scots 1559 - 1565

    Mary had been married to Francis, dauphin of France (son of Henry II) in 1558. Although Francis became King (and Mary Queen) of France in 1559, he ruled for a little over a year before dying from an ear infection.Mary, dowager of France, was no match to the political influence of Henry II\'s dowager queen, Catherine de Medici. Before the marriage ceremony in Notre Dame, Mary had secretly signed away Scotland\'s sovereignty and declared that, if ...


  • Scottish reformation parliament 1560

    Meeting without the sanction of the Crown, a group of noblemen and burgh representatives met in Edinburgh in August 1560 to enact bills to define the Reformation in Scotland. Tensions had been mounting since the mid 1550s with an active civil war being undertaken by Mary of Guise (the dowager queen and regent) backed by French forces and the Lords of Congregation (Protestants) backed by English forces. The confrontation had been settled (with a b ...


  • Beginnings of the slave trade 1562

    On a voyage to West Africa in 1562, Captain John Hawkins, an English trader and naval commander, began English involvement in the Slave Trade. From West Africa, Hawkins proceeded to the Caribbean where he sold a number of people he had either captured or purchased while trading in Africa. ...


  • Deposition of mary, queen of scots, and scottish civil war 1567

    In May 1565, Mary, Queen of Scots, married her cousin, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. This antagonised not only Elizabeth of England but also a group of Scottish noblemen. Although a son, Charles James (the future James VI), was born of the marriage in July 1566, circumstances soon escalated. Darnley was an unpopular, disease-riddled, drunk. Since her return to Scotland, Mary had relied heavily on a group of continental servants and this provoked a ...


  • Plots against elizabeth i 1569 - 1586

    Although Elizabeth was the last of the Tudor monarchs, she was occasionally under threat from dissident factions who sought to depose her and place an alternative monarch (usually, Mary, Queen of Scots), in her place. In 1569, the Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned in the Tower for plotting to marry himself to Mary, Queen of Scots, and thus provide a strong Catholic phalanx within England. A month later, Durham was seized by the Catholic earls of ...


  • Drake circumnavigates the globe 1578 - 1580

    On 13 December 1577, Francis Drake, on board his ship the Pelican, left Plymouth on a voyage that would take him round the world. In August 1578, Drake passed through the Magellan Strait (the south of South America) and entered the Pacific Ocean. By June 1579, Drake had landed on the coast of modern California (which he claimed for England as \'New Albion\'). On 26 September 1580, the navigator returned to Plymouth in his ship, renamed as the Gol ...




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