England was a country that was under monarchy kind of rule during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries which was controlled by the Tudor Dynasty that ruled between 1485 to1603, what was commonly known as the Tudor period. The first king among the Tudors was Henry vii who ruled the period between 1485-1509, who was born at Pembroke in 1457 but later moved to Wales. He took over the throne after defeating Richard III who was then the king and crowned at the battlefield by the crown of his defeated enemy. Henry took over when England was experiencing an economic problem especially in the agricultural sector which contributed greatly to the low population that could not exceed three million people. A great economic and social revolution was experienced when he took over as king, whereby he encouraged agriculture. To a larger extent, it is during his leadership that urbanization started being realized in England as places for farming and settlement were separated.
Notably were seclusions strictly meant for grazing of animals such as sheep which were more than the human population. The biggest problem was land which was mostly owned by individuals who leased it to the landless, but in the later years they started the process of enclosure thereby rendering a lot of people pitiable with nowhere to get food. Before Henry VII took over, the country had a high state of social and economic lifestyle, whereby workers used to earn high wages and land for farming was available and in abundance. All these were replaced by shortage in land and low wages, the reason for shortage of land being the individuals owning large tracts of lands at the expense of the rest of the poor population (Brigden 9). This was started by the royal family as they believed that when one was on the throne, it meant he had a chance to own a large piece of land, that’s why when Henry VII took over he set aside a large piece of land for the royal family. In addition Henry vii was a king who many feared very much instead of loving him because of his approach to power and the way he countered his enemies whenever they came trying to steal the crown. Nevertheless there was a tremendous rise in population especially in rural areas posing various inflationary problems as the gap between the poor and the rich continued to widen.
Henry VII was succeeded by Henry VIII in the year 1509 and ruled until the year 1547. It’s during his reign that their arose a great conflict between the religion and the state, the Catholic Church was banned by the king and its possessions used to benefit the king. The monasteries were dissolved and the lands owned by the clericals either confiscated or the rent taken to the Tudor government as revenue. The government was able to collect a large sum of revenue thereby forcing Cromwell to change the financial system of the Crown so as to be able to manage the monies.
This was followed by the formation of a new institution (Court of Augmentations) with a new treasurer who was vested with the role of collecting the proceeds of dissolution and the first fruits and tenths on behalf of the state (Brigden 86). The main reason why Henry VIII disbanded the Catholic Church was because the Pope refused to grant him a divorce for his first wife who did not bear him a male child. Many schools which were attached to the monasteries were forced to shut down and later replaced with monastic schools which he founded using his own money.
Just as the kings on the throne were cruel to the other people not in the ruling class, so were the teachers on the school going children. His war with France and that of the Somerset with France cost England a huge sum of money. Edward VI took over from Henry VIII the year 1547 and held the throne until his death the year 1553.
The confiscation of the church property that had been started by the previous regime resumed, this was to the advantage of the crown. Reformation was experienced as he operated under intense pressure from the reformers of Northumberland. Just as his predecessor, he was anti-Catholicism thus he continued with the religious persecutions of the catholic clergies although in the beginning he had conformed to the religion. It was during his rule that English reformation was realized especially in the religious sector with the formation of the structure of the Church of England which was officially protestant. He played a major role in the education sector by the introduction of the grammar schools that were meant to take care of the non-fee paying students especially from poor families. However, there was a problem in the management of revenue as there were many state departments which had a lot of human resource than called for thus, being too expensive to run. Management of finances was a big problem as it was marked with inefficiency and corruption; moreover the management was still suffering from the effects of the war caused by the Somerset.
With the presence of the rule of Northumberland within his dynasty, the war was able to be suppressed by 1551. The largest uprising during the Tudor period was experienced when Edward VI was in power what was known as the Norfolk Rebellion of 1549 which was demonstrating against the enclosure of common land that led to the arrest and hanging of one of their leader known as Robert Kett on accounts of treason. His precedent was supposed to be Mary1, but since she was very inclined to foreign dances which were mostly in Catholic form, it did to please Edward and that made him to nominate Lady Jane Grey who was not a member of the Tudor monarch. This did not go well for her as there was rivalry between her and Princess Mary I and her reign as queen of England lasted for only nine days then Mary1 took over in 1553 (Brigden 210). The presence of Mary on the throne marked the return of the Catholic Church as she resumed by ordering the release of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Stephen Gardner who were Roman Catholics and had been imprisoned in the Tower of London. She faced many resistances from Elizabeth who was to be her next precedent and also from some of the Protestants, who were against her Catholicism and her marriage to Philip II who was Spanish.
Nevertheless, she was able to suppress the resistance and some of those implicated imprisoned or executed and at the same time she spearheaded reconciliation between England and Rome and developed friendly ties with those that his Father and half brother had made enemies because of their religion, and most notably she made them her personal advisers. There was repeal of the laws that were instituted by Edward VI especially religious ones which were abolished by Mary’s first parliament with the church doctrines being restored to the 1539 six articles. Though Mary was a devoted Catholic who was seen as one who would bring together the Catholics and Protestants, his regime was marked by a great number of Protestants being persecuted. The executions were carried out by burning what remained to be known as the Marian Persecutions; these executions of three hundred Christian contenders are the ones that earned her the name the “Bloody Mary” (Brigden 235).
Mary was a troubled queen who went through a number of health difficulties and even lost her eyesight before she met her death during the year 1558 and was succeeded by Elizabeth I. As depicted, the reign of the Tudors in England is characterized by a number of themes notably male chauvinism as the men see themselves being superior. King Henry VII seeks the authorization of the priest in order to divorce her wife because she does not give him an heir. Misuse of power is greatly brought out by the all the Kings and queens as they use their position to oppress those at the lower class. Embezzlement of public funds is seen by the way the financial institutions handled most of the public money whereby it was directed to the crown. England had a good land for agriculture yet most of its citizens in the rural areas were so poor, because land belonged to the few who were rich, to add to that, there is the enclosure system that was started during the reign of Henry VIII.
Reconciliation takes the center stage during Mary’s reign, as she leads England and Rome to come to an agreement and also reconciles with Elizabeth before she meets her death. In conclusion we see the relationship of events in the book as taking the same course and revolves around religion and power. All the rulers were after embracing their own religion which they thought should be the official Church of England. Mary is portrayed as a mediator and a reconciler. Thus when she takes over as the ruler, she seeks to bring reconciliation among the Catholics and the protestants. However, she fails to do so as she herself orchestras for the persecutions of the protestant contenders.
Brigden, Susan .New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485–1603. New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 2001.