Edward VI Reign (1547-1553)


Who was Edward VI?


  • Crowned King of England and Ireland in February 1547 at the age of 9.
  • He was the third monarch in the Tudor dynasty, but the first monarch to be raised a Protestant.
  • His father, Henry VIII, in his will set up a regency council of 16 loyal exocuters who would rule till Edward was able to do so. 
  • The Council was first led by his uncle, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset (1547-1549) and then later John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and later Duke of Northumberland.
  • Edward's reign was marked by economic problems and social unrest that in 1549 ended in riot and rebellion.
  • Although his father had severed the link between the Church of England and Rome, Henry VIII had never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony. It was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England.
  • In February 1553 Edward fell ill, and died in July aged 15. 
1 of 30

Who was Edward Seymour?

  • (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Edward_Seymour.jpg)
  • Brother of Henry VIII's third wife, and Edward's mother, Jane Seymour.
  • When Jane married Henry in 1536, Edward was created Viscount Beachamp and then Earl of Herford in the October 1537. He then became Warden of the Scottish Marches and continued in royal favour after his sister's death.
  • He was a skilled soldier; in March 1544 he was Liutenant-General of the North and instructed to punished the Scots for their repudiation of the treaty of marriage between Prince Edward and the infant Mary Queen of Scots. He landed at Leith in May, captured and pillaged Edinburgh, and returned a month later.
  • Upon Hnery's death. Henry's will named 16 execeutrs who were to act as Edward's Council until he reached age 18. 13 of the 16 council members elected Edward Seymour as Lord Protector.
2 of 30

How did Somerset seize power?

  • 13 of the 16 members of the Regency Council voted in favour of him becoming Lord Protector. He was eligible for the role=relationship with Edw VI, and eligilibity reinforced by his military successes in Scotland and France. ALTHOUGH David Loach suggests he may have done deals with some of the executors, who almost all recieved hand-outs. He was known to have made deals with William Paget who he promised more influence and appointed to his secretary and made Thomas Wriostheley the Earl of Southampton.  He also placed his own men in the Privy Chamber, appointing Sir Michael Stanhope as Chief Gentleman -- to influence the young king.
  • Then in March 1547, he recieved letters from Edward VI granting him the almost monarchical right to appoint members to the Privy Council himself and to consult them only when he wished. G.R ELTON - "from that moment his autocratic system was complete". He proceeded to rule largely by proclamation, calling on the Privy Council to do little more than rubber-stamp his decisions. 
  • In the early weeks of his Protectorate he only met opposition from the Chancellor, Thomas Wrioshteley, whom the Earldom of Southampton had evidently failed to buy off, and from his own brother, Thomas Seymour. Wriostheley, a religious conservative, objected to Somerset's assumption of monarchical power over the Council. ALTHOUGH Wriostheley found himself dismissed from the chancellorship on charges of selling off some of his offices to delegates.
3 of 30

Who was Thomas Seymour?


  • He was the brother of English Queen Jane Seymour and younger uncle to King Edward VI.
  • He was very ambitious and his brother, Edward Seymour, far surpassed and out-distanced him in their rivalry over control of their nephew. 
  • He demanded governorship of the king's person and a greater share of power. Edward tried to bribe his brother with barony, an appointment to Lord Admiralship and a seat of the Privy Council - but it seems this was not enough. DAVID LOADES described Thomas Seymour as a "worm in the bud".
  • LOADES also accused him of being a "beggerly king" who stole pocket money from the young king. He also tried to encourage Edward throw off the protector and "bear rule as other kings do".
  • In Jan 1549, the Council had Thomas arrested for various charges including treason and embezzlement of the Bristol mint. Lack of clear evidence for treason ruled out a trial, so he was condemned instead by an Act of Attainder and beheaded in March 1549.
4 of 30

Somerset's Foreign Policy PART 1

  • NIGEL HEARD – Somerset's foreign policy was “influenced by the situation left by Henry VIII”.  JOHN LOTHERINGTON – Somerset's “most important task was to face the twin challenge in foreign affairs of a hostile France and an unpredictable Scotland”.
  • Somerset wished to carry on Henry's policy of rough-wooing, hoping to marry the 10-year-old Edward VI to the 5-year-old Mary Queen of Scots. However France re-initiated the Franco-Scottish alliance between themselves and Scotland – sending 4,000 troops in June of 1547.
  • In September 1547 a joint land and naval invasion of Scotland was launched. Somerset and Dudley led an army to Berwick. They invaded Scotland with 16,000 infantry and 4,000 mercenaries; they were supported at sea by 30 war ships.
  • At the Battle of Pinkie in September 1547, between 6,000 and 15,000 Scottish troops were "cut to pieces by the English cannon and cavalry". Penry Williams says this "victory enabled Somerset to put into operation his strategy of establising English garrisons in Scottish castles". He was able to establish two dozen by the end of 1547. 
5 of 30

Somerset's Foreign Policy PART 2

  • Problems Arise:
    • HOWEVER th defeat at Pinkie united quaralsome Scottish nobles and began to support the French. Agreement was in return for military aid, MQofSc would marry Henry II's son, Prince Dauphin. In June a French fleet of 10,000 landed in Scotland and by August MQofS was in France.
    • Meanwhile Somerset remained in London, concerned with domestic issues. HEARD said Somerset seemed "unwilling to take decisive action".  In July 1548, the 10,000 French troops, supported by 8,000 Scots besieged Haddington, which had a garrison of 5,000 men. Somerset eventually sent the Earl of Shrewsburry to Scotland with a 12,000 infantry and 1,800 cavalry to relieve Haddington. He was succesfull. 
    • Somerset was also worried that the French army was amassing around Boulogne. 
    • However the situation was worsened in 1549, when the peasant uprisings began.  Eventually, Somerset did withdraw troops from the north to guard the English coast from the threat of a French fleet. August 8 Henry II declared war on England and began to besiege Boulogne.
6 of 30

Somerset's Foreign Policy OVERVIEW

  • HEARD says "although it is widely agreed that although he was a good field general, as Commander-in-Chief he was indecisive and afraid to delegate authority", HEARD also blames his "military indescision and his unwilligness to redeploy troops in 1549 that allowed the popular uprisings to get out of hand".
  • HOWEVER HEARD also says "it is suggested that he had inherited an almost impossible diplomatic and military position of 1547" and says he was "bound by Henry VIII's will to arrange a marriage" and that hostility during Henry's reign made "it inevitable that Somerset would have been forced into war to achieve this objective".
  • JOHN LOTHERINGTON describes the sum spent on the Scottish campaign as "prodigious". Somerset spent £580,000 on one Spanish campaign, with £351,000 being spent on troops alone - 50% more than Henry VIII had spent in 5 years. He debased the coinage, rasing £537,000 in the years between 1547 and 1551. He also made £160,000 from the dissolution of 2374 chantries. 
  • JOHN LOTHERINGTON describes Somerset's legacy in foregin affairs as "failure in Scotland, a continuing struggle against France and extremely straitened finances." 
7 of 30

Somerset's Religious Policy PART 1

  • Exiled Protestant preachers like Becon, Turner and Hooper returned. European reformers also sought refuge in England, especially after Charles V's success in the 1547 Battle of Muhlberg in which the Protestant Schmalkaldic League was crushed e.g Martin Bucer became Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. 
  • Somerset had to be cautious - he was "keen to avoid antagonising Charles V" who was in a very strong position (so Somerset allowed Charles' cousin Mary to follow Catholicism). 
  • November 1547 - Parliament met to revoke the Act of Six Articles of 1539 which had affirmed the doctrine of transubstantiation, the King's Book of 1543 which reinforced it and the the Act for the Advancement of True Religion of 1543, which had effectively made Bible reading an upper class male preserve.
    • This was met by some opposition, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, but his protests led to his brief imprisonment in the Fleet Prison from September 1547 to January 1548. He was later confined in the Tower of London in June 1548 and ultimately lost his bishopric in 1551.
8 of 30

Somerset's Religious Policy PART 2

  • LOTHERINGTON - "the first real measure against the Catholic Church came in the Chantries Act of 1547". A total of 2374 chantries were shut down. Doctrinal reasons - chantries clearly an expression of Catholic doctrine of purgatory, a superstitious belief. Secular reasons - needed money for his Scottish wars (made £160,000 from the dissolution of these chantries).
  • Various other minor pieces of reform: February 1549 - act passed by Parliament allowed priests to marry, around 20% did. 
  • LOTHERINGTON - "The major piece of religious legislation of the Somerset years was the Prayer Book of 1549 and its attendant Act of Uniformity". It leant towards Protestantism eg the Lutheran idea of the 'priesthood of all believers' rather than the Catholic view of the priest being an intermediary between God and the lay-men. Yet on a major issue of the Eucharist more moderate Catholics and Protestants could derive some comfort from the ambiguity of the Prayer Book's phrasing. Pleased conservative: priests still wore traditional vestments and there was still a railed-off altar at the east end of the Church. HOWEVER the Catholics had lost: clerical celibacy, Communion in One Kind only, images and wall painting and the religious ceremonies such as Candlemas and Ash Wednesday
9 of 30

The Prayer Book Rebellion June 1549

  • In 1549, the Cornish lower orders feared that the Act of Uniformity was going to be imposed on them, rose in rebellion and set up an armed camp at Bodmin. The West Country elites seemed unwilling to take any action against the rebellion on behalf of the government.
  • The main leaders were the local clergy and it was they who began to draw up a series of articles listing demands to stop changes in religion.
  • In Devon there was an independant uprising at Sampford Courtenay. By late June the Devon and Cornish rebels had joined forces and began to blockade the nearby town of Exeter with an army of 6,000 men. 
  • Lord Russell was sent to crush the rebels, which he eventually did in August of 1549 at the Battle of Sampford Courtenay where 2,000 rebels were killed.
10 of 30

Causes of Prayer Book Rebellion

  • Causes
    • HEARD - "Certainly only the Western Rebellion was directly linked with religion". RICHARD FLETCHER - "It was the announcement of the new liturgy in the prayer book to be uniformly used on Whitsun 1547, that turned opposition into a full scale rebellion." Many Cornishmen such as John Ressigh argued that only a King could introduce new religious laws. Demands in the rebels manifesto included: wanting to keep Bibles in Latin, wafers instead of communion bread in services, wanting their children to be confirmed younger and their were complaints against inadequate clergy who withheld burials and baptisms to get higher fees.
    • Devon JPs had asked for a delay on the new poll tax on sheep - sheep counting had started in May, and there rumours that geese and pigs would be taxed too.
11 of 30

Somerset's Economic Policy

  • He inherited a difficult situation. The population of the country was increasing but employment opporutnities were not. Therefore, England was experiencing an increase in vagrancy with the potential for an increase in crime. 
  • The debasement of the coinage had a dramatic effect on the econmy, despite rasing £537,000 from it in the years between 1547 and 1551, it worsened inflation. Inflation was already bad in 1547 but debasement only exacerbated the problem. This combined with the poor state of the Antwerp market and serious dearth in milk, butter and cheese meant inflation hit the public hard. Prices rose whilst wages remained the same. HOWEVER PENRY WILLIAMS questions the urgency of solving inflation as harvest had been good in the Somerset years.
  • There is little doubt that Somerset and the Privy Council faced problems that had solutions that were beyond them. The evidence indicates that the Privy Council was more concerned about public disorder, rebellion and riots stemming from food shortages than the day-to-day existence of the poor. 
  • NIGEL HEARD writes "what can be said is that [Somerset] failed to show the leadership necessary for the absence of an adult monarch".
12 of 30

Somerset's Social Policy

  • AF POLLARD described Somerset as a man "pursuing aims that were essentially noble" - Traditionalists call him the 'good duke'.Whilst Revisionists like PENRY WILLIAMS says Somerset was "not a liberal friend of the poor, but a man prepared to use stern measures against vagrants". 
    • The Vagrancy Act, an act described by CSL DAVIES as "the most savage act in the grim history of English vagrancy legislation", contraditcts the traditionalist perception of him. It was passed in 1547 meaning any body refusing to work would be treated as a vagabond, branded with a 'V' and condemned to slavery for two years. The act was repealed two years later due to its severity.
    • However he did establish two enclosure commisions, issued in 1548 and 1549, which supports the traditional image of him being a friend to the poor. Seymour seemed to favour ending enclosure and giving peasants security of land tenure. 
13 of 30

Kett's Rebellion

  • In June 1549 there are enclosure riots in Norfolk. Local gentleman Robert Kett becomes leader of the 'mob' and the riot becomes more organised.
  • Mid July an organised camp on Mousehold Heath, just outside Norwich, is set up. Kett now has 16,000 men under his control. The rebels then proceed to take Norwich. 
  • Somerset issues a pardon on the condition they all return home. The offer is ignored. On the 30th July, the Marquis of Northampton is sent to deal with the rebellion. It ends in disaster. This is the first sign of resistance.
  • Late August, Dudley arrived in Norwich with 12,000 men. He makes some limited attempts at negotiation. On 26th August, Kett risks battle at the Battle of Dussindale, were 3,000 rebels were lost.
  • The demands of the rebels include: rent prices should be set at the level they were at 1485, no lord should pasture animals on common lands and parishoners should be able to choose their own priests. 
  • DANIELE CARAMANI described the Western Rebellion as "the most formidable opposition to the reformation that England saw". 
14 of 30

Kett's Rebellion Causes and Consequences

  • Causes:
    • Economic = GUY "the 1549 revolts were the closest thing Tudor England saw to a class war".  In the Tudor period local land owners began to enclose common land and use it to graze their own sheep. This enclosure allowed landowners to create great wealth by selling wool, the life-blood of the economy in many areas of the country. By enclosing common land and using it to raise sheep, landowners became rich but at the same time peasants and yeomen farmers, who used common land for subsistence farming and raising animals, now found it difficult to surive, let alone thrive. 
  • Consequences:
    • Dudley used maritial law to deal with the rebels. Once the battle was won he kept control of the city in an arbitary way and as many 250 rebels were hung, including Kett, without trial.
    • Somerset was humiliated after the 1549 rebellions and was made to appear weak in contrast to Dudley who now looked extremely firm if not ruthless.
15 of 30

Fall of Somerset P1

  • The sequence of events that led to Somerset's removal from power has often been called a coup d'etat.
  • HEARD says "by the autumn of 1549 foreign and domestic affairs had reached a crisis point". The spread of Protestantism across England "had left England in a very exposed position without a powerful continental ally", Somerset had failed to achieve a marriage with MQofS, instead pushing Scotland into a marriage alliance with France, England was fighting two wars on two fronts adding to the economic woes.
    • Religion - PENRY WILLIAMS says there were rumours that Somerset's opponents intended to restore the old religion and to make Mary Regent, but he concludes that religion played only a small role in Somerset's downfall.
    • Social Policy - many blamed Somerset for encouraging and prolonging the Kett's Rebellion. Furthermore the wars had gone badly. 
    • His personality - WILLIAMS blames his "neglect of the Privy Council...and his arrogant manner". LOTHERINGTON agrees, saying he merely used the Privy Council as a rubber-stamp - over 2 years he had issued 77 proclamations, whilst Henry VIII only issued 6 proclamations on average a year.
16 of 30

Fall of Somerset P2

  • Some time in August 1549, Dudley and the other leading nobles plotted to remove Somerset from power. 
  • While Dudley was the ultimate victor of the coup, Thomas Wriostheley, the Earl of Southampton was also an important figure in the conspiracy.
  • At the start of October, Somerset's opponents mustered their forces with word reaching Somerset soon after. He issued a proclamation calling all loyal subjects to rally to King and Protector at Hampton Court. 18 councillors, including John Russell the Earl of Bedford and William Herbert Earl of Pembroke, issued counter-proclamations.
  • By October the 6th his opponents, consisting of most of the privy council had mobilized 7000 horsement and foot-soldiers in London.
  • Only 3 councillors - Archbishop Cranmer, Sir William Paget and Secretary Smith - remained loyal to Somerset; while 17 councillors out of the 25 signed the proclamation in London.
  • Paget advised Somerset to submit and implored the London councillors to be reasonable. They promised to spare Somerset's life. He was arrested and imprisoned and in the words of WILLIAMS the "the Protectorate was finished"
17 of 30

Somerset Overview

  • Traditionalists such as A.F POLLARD and S.T. BINDOFF hold a very positive view of Somerset as being a good duke. POLLARD described Somerset as a man "pursuing aims which were essentially noble". WK JORDAN described him as a "very great man whose magnanimity was never to be forgotten".
  •  A more critical approach began to develop in the mid-1970's by historians like M. L. BUSH and DALE HOAK. JENNIFER LOACH also criticses Somerset, saying at times he could be "both cold and ruthless" in pursuit of material advantage and added that amongst his other shortcomings he was "autocratic by temperamant". HOAK see's him as having an "abrasive arrogance". 
  • Another revisionist view of him as being inept and incompotent - HEARD writes "what can be said is that he failed to show the leadership necessary for the abence of an adult monarch".
18 of 30

Who was John Dudley?

  • He was an English general, admiral and politician, who led the government of the young King Edward VI from 1550 to 1553, and unsuccesfully tried to install Lady Jane Grey on the English throne after the King's death.
  • Dudley served as Lord Admiral from 1537 to 1547, during which time he set novel standards of navy organisation and was an innovative commander at sea. Dudley took part in the 1544 campaigns in Scotland and France, and was one of Henry VIII's intimated in the last years of the reign.
  • He was also leader of the religious reform party at court, despite his own religious views being an enigma. 
  • In 1547 Dudley was created Earl of Warwick and, with the Duke of Somerset, distinguished himself in the renewed Scottish War at the Battle of Pinkie. During the country-wide uprising of the 1549 Dudley put down the Kett's rebellion in Norfolk, again establishing his military prowess.
  • Convinced of the Protector's incompotence, he and other privy councillors forced Somerset out of office in October 1549. Having averted a counservative reaction in religon and a counter-coup which could have destroyed him alongside Somerset, Dudley emerged in early 1550 as de factor regent of the 12 year-old Edward VI.
  • In October 1551 he became Duke of Northumberland.
19 of 30

How did Dudley seize power?

  • Both Dudley and Thomas Wriostheley, the Earl of Southampton had co-operated to overthrow Somerset- but it seemed neither was willing to take second place in government.
  • Dudley originally posed as a Henrician Catholic, "promising to restore the true faith, but had then thrown off the mask and gained supremacy with the help if Protestant allies".  
  • Wriostheley was seen to be the leader of the conservative faction and therefore aligned himself with Mary. Dudley however knew the power Edward held, and the Privy Chamber was key to that. Soon after Somerset's imprisonment, 4 new gentelmen joined the chamber - Dudley's allies including Sir Thomas Darcy and his own brother Andrew Dudley. 
  • Within six weeks of the coup d'etat Dudley extended his influence over the Privy Council with the Bishop of Goodrich of Ely and Henry Grey the Maquis of Dorset.
20 of 30

How did Dudley seize power? P2

  • The Earl of Southampton was plotting to implicate Dudley in the charges against Somerset.  In January 1550, Southampton was banned from court, Somerset was freed and allowed to return to court and Dudley became Lord President - it was his job to preside over the council meetings rather than rule as Somerset had. He took a more collegial approach.
  • As Lord President he was now able to appoint and dismiss his own ministers - he excluded Southampton and other conservatives and rewarded his allies - Lord Thomas Darcy, Sir John Gates and Sir William Cecil - all became councillors.
  • HOWEVER Somerset began to attract political sympathizers and hoped to re-establish his power by removing Dudley from the scene, "contempling", as he later admitted, the Lord Presiden'ts arrest and execution.
  • Somerset was arrested, having been accused of having planned a "banquet massacre", in which the Council were to be assaulted and Dudley killed. Somerset was acquitted of treason, but convicted of felony for raising a contingent of armed men without a licence. He was executed on 22 January 1552. 
21 of 30

Northumberland's Religious Policy PART 1

  • His "personal religious views are an enigma" according to LOTHERINGTON. 
  • The first religious change came in May 1550 when a new Ordinal, the service book used at the ordination of new priests, was issued. It showed it's radical tone by ending the minor orders of sub-deacon, acolyte etc. and by urging new ministers to preach the gospel. 
  • Ardent reformers like Nicholas Ridley and John Hooper were rewarded - Ridley became Bishop of London and Westminster in April 1550 and Hooper became Bishop of Gloucester in July.
  • In 1552 the Second Edwardian Prayer Book was published, and LOTHERINGTON thought that "in every way the new book marked a radical revision of the 1549 Book". It broke the earlier compromise between the Catholics and Protestants by insisting that only forms of worship derived from the Scripture were valid.
    • the medievil vestments were abolished in favour a plain white surplice
    • the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation was abolished and replaced with deffered to a purely spiritual presence of Christ.
    • the 'black rubric' was inserted to affirm that kneeling during Communion no way implied adoration.
22 of 30

Northumberland's Religious Policy PART 2

  • Like it's predecessor the 1552 Book was accompanied by an Act of Uniformity to enforce it's use.
  • Northumberland's religious reforms were completed by Cranmer's Forty-Two Articles which represented a decisively Protestant interpretation of the Christian faith. Although this was shelved due to unfortunate timing of Edward's death; but Cranmer's work was later reincarnated during Elizabeth's reign. 
  • Clerical marriage was allowed in 1549, and the deprivations under Mary's reign give some of the extent of clerical matrimony: 88 out of 319 in Essex and 1 in 3 in London.
  • HOWEVER at the end of Edward's reign only 1 in 5 Londoners were Protestant, with even smaller figures north of London which remained predominantly Catholic. 
23 of 30

Northumberland's Social Policy

  • PENRY WILLIAMS describes how some historians believe Northumberland's social policy as "harsh and unfeeling towards the poor". HOWEVER he says this is an unfair interpretation, commenting on how Parliament under Northumberland introduced a new Poor Law, which ordered the appointment in every parish of official collectors who would ask parishoners for alms and distribute these among the poorthis was the first provision for poor relief since a short-lived Act of 1536. The successive poor harvest of 1549, 1550 and 1551 threated food prices and the Council tried to ensure the supply of food at a reasonable price. 
  • Northumberland did little with enclosures, but did repeal the tax on sheep and cloth - a grievance of the rebels during the 1549 rebellions. 
24 of 30

Northumberland's Economic Policy

  • Northumberland inherited a dire financial and economic situation, Northumberland sought "to have his majesty out of debt".
  • Northumberland established a commission to explore the waste and inefficiency in the 'courts' or departments which handled the royal revenue. The commission's recommendation were largely to be put into effect during the reign of Mary.
  • Northumberland also recognised the inflationary effects of bad coinage, and in 1552 he began the long business of revaluing the currency, which had the effect of slowing inflation, although the process was not completed till the reign of Elizabeth.
  • One effect of Somerset and Northumberland's reform of the coinage was the rise in price of English woolen cloth on the Antwerp market - which partly explained the collapse of exports in 1551. English merchants urged the government to discover new trading companies.
    • In 1551 William Hawkins opened up trade in cloth, timber, iron and sugar along the Barbary Coast. By 1553 English ships were trading as far as the Gold Coast in West Africa.
    • Richard Chancellor was able to reach the port of Archangel in the White Sea and established diplomatic links with the Tsar of Muscovy, which Mary would benefit from and culmintated in the founding of the Muscovy Company in 1555.
  • In his three and a bit years in office he managed to reduce the crown's debt from £260,000 to £180,000.
25 of 30

Northumberland's Foreign Policy

  • Dudley ended the French wars. The Treaty of Boulogne was signed in March 1550. Under the terms of the treaty, the English had to withdraw from Boulogne in return for a ransom of 400,000 crowns. They also had to remove their remaining garrissons from Scotland and agree not to restart the war unless provoked by the Scots. HEARD said "the humiliating peace alliance with a traditional enemy was seen as a national disgrace" 
  • Furthermore, Northumberland was able to negotiate a marriage between Edward VI and Henry II's daughter Elizabeth. The French promised a dowry of 200,000 crowns. 
  • HOWEVER England's relations with the Habsburgs was a lot less positive. Charles V was opposed to the Anglo-French alliance. A consequence of this was a breakdown of commercial contacts with the Netherlands. In April 1550 Charles issued an edict allowing the Catholic Inquisition to arrest any heretics in the Netherlands; this outraged many English merchants, the edict helped to bring about the collapse of the Antwerp Cloth market.
26 of 30

Northumberland's Downfall and 'The Devise'

  • In February 1553 it became evident that Edward's health was disintegrating; under the Succession Act of 1544 the Crown was to pass Mary and then to Elizabeth if Edward died childless. A document was written by Edward VI entitled 'My devise for the Succession' which Edward bypassed his half-sisters, Mary and ELizabeth, and provided for the succession of the Protestant Lady Jane Grey.
  • Who wrote the Devise? = Controversial!
    • WRD JONES portrays Northumberland as a devious plotter. PENRY WILLIAMS holds the view that Northumberland persuaded Edward to sign the Devise in order to "avoid his own political eclipse".
    • Whilst others like DAVID LOADES write that "Northumberland was defeated by a cruel twist of fate" and believe that Edward wrote the devise off his own accord to prevent the return of Catholicism, which his sister Mary would undoubtedly revive.
27 of 30

Northumberland Overview

  • Traditionalists dislike Northumberland. DIARMAID MACCULLOCH revealed that Protestant writers like John Foxe concentrated on the pious King Edward's achievements and reinvented Somerset as the "good Duke"—it followed that there had also to be a "wicked Duke".  This interpretation was enhanced by historians like A. F. POLLARD, who saw Somerset as a champion of political liberty whose desire "to do good" was thwarted by, in Pollard's phrase, "the subtlest intriguer in English History".
  • HOWEVER since the 1970s, critical reassessments of the Duke of Somerset's policies and government style led to acknowledgment that Northumberland revitalised and reformed the Privy Council as a central part of the administration,and  DAVID LOADES believes he"took the necessary but unpopular steps to hold the minority regime together".
  • NIGEL HEARD has a balanced view: "While Northumberland did little to resolve the underlying economic problems, he did check inflation, and ease the worse of the social distress."
  • LOTHERINGTON: "a genuine and able reformer"
28 of 30

Consequences of the Prayer Book Rebellion

  • Consequences:
    • In total over 5,500 people lost their lives in the rebellion. Further orders were issued on behal of the king by Somerset, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer for the continuation of the onslaught. Under Sir Anthony Kingston, English and mercenary forces moved across Devon an Cornall executing many people before the conclusion of the rebellion.
    • Had disastorous effects for Somerset - many historians agree that these rebellions were key to his downfall.
29 of 30

Consequences of the Devise

  • Consequences:
    • When Edward died in the evening of 6th July 1553, Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England. But Mary was on the move. She had the full support of the East Anglian gentry.On the 14thJuly he marched 2 000 men to Suffolk, but they deserted him en route. The Privy Council declared for Mary, and Northumberland was arrested in Cambridge. He was executed on 22nd August 1553 along with his son and his unfortunate daughter-in-law.
30 of 30


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »