Edward VI dates


1547: Edwards accession

In 1547, Henry VIII died, leaving his 9 year old son Edward as ruler. Before his death, he had set up a Regency Council, designed to prevent what Richard III had done when he had stolen the throne from his nephew. He appointed Edwards uncle, Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, as the ruler of the Regency Council to rule on behalf of Edward until he became of age. It consisted of 16 members, with any decisions requiring a majority. Despite this, the council was quick to delegate all of its power to Somerset. Initially, Somerset relied on Archbishop Cramner, Viscount Lisle and Sir William Paget, becoming Protector. As time went on, this general approach retracted and he ruled largely on his own, ignoring the advice of his council, causing growing resentment. He pitched the members against one another, to cause factional rivalry, to make his individual rule easier. 

The Battle of Pinkie in September was a success for England, as Somerset defeated the Scots. Somerset had wanted the marriage between Edward and Mary to go ahead as planned in the Treaty of Greenwich, but although the battle was won, the Scots were aggrieved by what he had done and called off the marriage, sending Mary to France instead to marry Dauphin, heir to the French throne. This meant Somerset had underestimated the Scottish-French relationship, and had therefore failed his aim of securing the marriage. 

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1547 continued and 1548

There were also many religious changes in 1547. Edwards council was significantly more radical in terms of religion and protestantism, and made many early changes to signify a coming age. In February of 1547, there was a denunciation of images in London, resulting in iconiclasm. Furthermore in July, injunctions were issued to reflect the radical attitudes in government. They attacked the traditional church practices of catholicism like stained glass windows, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Finally, in December, there was a dissolution of chantries and guilds, as the crown needed money to fund a foreign policy. 

In 1548, there was a poor harvest, making Somerset's economic policies even worse. He had already face inflationary pressure and reduction in wages. Initially he debased the coinage to finance the Scottish wars and raised £537,000. After the poor harvest, he had even more problems to deal with, and he set up enclosure committees to investigate the problem that was causing upheavel, although little was achieved. He introduced the sheep tax, but this caused more problems than it solved as it was a factor in the Western Rebellion. 

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1549: Western and Ketts rebellions

Edward's council was much more protestant that Henry had been, meaning the 1549 Book of Common Prayer came as a shock to many. It included a need for uniform services and but was a much more moderate change than those of 1547

The Western Rebellion in June was one of two rebellions in the reign, also known as the Prayer Book Rebellion. It was sparked by the religious change, running deeper than the new book. The rebels wanted a complete reversal of religious change, seeing it as destroying worship. There was also a distrust between landowners and the labourers, especially due the sheep tax being implented. There was a foreign mercenary sent to deal with it in August 1549

Similarly, the Ketts Rebellion took place in July of 1549, in East Anglia. It was caused by hatred of local governments and local administration, as well as a resentment of Norfolk foldcourse systems. The initial attempt to crush it failed, causing humiliation for Somerset. Instead, he sent an army with foreign mercenaries under the control of the Earl of Warwick (later Northumberland). It too was brutally suppressed in the August of 1549. Kett was convicted of high treason and hanged. 

In 1549, Somerset was also replaced by Northumberland, after a coup was staged against him, claiming his ruling was insignificant. He surrendered after being promised he would not be charged with treason. 

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1550 and 1552

Following the coup, Northumberland was declared the Lord President of the Council, showing he had a willingness to work with the council. He purged it of any conservative influence, and set up a clear protestant regime. Working with the Privy Council, Paget found himself excluded and replaced by William Cecil. Somerset made an attempt to retake his position but was caught and executed for it. This event led to Northumberland becoming less concillior. 

The revised Book of Common Prayer released was significantly more radical than that of 1549. It removed all remaining conservative practices and ceremonies, making changes to baptism communion, confirmation and the funeral. It also banned popish vestments and put restrictions on church music. The Forty Two Articles of 1553 cemented the Protestant leanings. This immense change led to a decrease in church expenditure as people stopped giving money to the church in their wills. There was also a decline in church attendence and a decline in ordinations. 

Northumberland was increasingly more successful with foreign and economic policy, ending the wars with the Scots and the French, which reduced crown expenditure, and receiving £133,333 from the French. 

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1553: the Devyse

By February 1533, Edward was very sickly and reported to be dying. Northumberland was desperate to prevent Mary coming to the throne, as he knew she would quickly reverse all of the Protestant change for Catholicism. Despite being just 12, Edward was set in his Protestantsim and was prepared to exclude his sisters from the succession. This led Northumberland to create the Devyse. This was the plan to change the succession from Mary and Elizabeth, to Lady Jane Grey. Edward agreed to it and the plan was sent to parliament. However, Edward died and parliament fell before it could be passed as legal. This did not stop Northumberland though, and Lady Jane Grey was crowned Queen in July. This lasted just 9 days, before Mary rose up with an army and public support and took the throne back, ending Northumberlands power. 

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