The next section in the chapter 3 “A Long and Illustrious History” is The Tudors and the Stuarts. This chapter is about the kings and queens of England from the end of the Middle Ages through King William III and Queen Mary in 1689.
The War of the Roses
- – In 1455 two powerful families fought a civil war in England to determine who would be king. They were the House of Lancaster and the House of York.
- – The symbol of the House of Lancaster was a red rose. The symbol of the House of York was a white rose. Because of these symbols, the war became known as the War of the Roses.
- – The final battle of the war was the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. King Richard the III, leader of the House of York, was killed by Henry Tudor, leader of the House of Lancaster. Henry Tudor then became King Henry the II and was King of England.
- – After the war King Henry the VII married the niece of King Richard the III, uniting the two houses into the House of Tudor.
King Henry VII
- – After the War of the Roses, King Henry VII decreased the power of the nobles in Parliament and centralized power within the central administration
- – He increased savings and built up the monarchy’s financial reserves.
- – When he died his son, Henry the VIII took the throne
King Henry VIII
- – King Henry VIII was most famous for having six wives, and for breaking with the Church of Rome after divorcing the first.
- – His six wives were:
- Catherine of Aragon, (Spain) gave birth to a daughter, Mary. Henry VIII divorced her after she was too old to have any more children. Henry VIII wanted a son to be his heir.
- Anne Boleyn (England) gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. She was beheaded after being accused of adultery.
- Jane Seymour gave birth to a son, Edward. She died shortly after.
- Anne of Cleves (Germany), had no children. She was married to Henry VIII for political reasons and were divorced soon after.
- Catherine Howard, had no children. She was also accused of adultery and executed.
- Catherine Parr, had no children. She and Henry VIII were married at the time of his death.
- Henry VIII’s children at the time of his death were Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward.
– To divorce Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII needed the approval of the Pope, who refused. After this refusal, Henry broke away from Rome and founded the Church of England. In this church the King, not the Pope would have the authority to appoint bishops and to order people would worship.
-King Henry VIII was not the only one protesting the Church of Rome. There was an ongoing movement across Europe called The Reformation. The Protestants, broke away and formed their own churches. Differences between the Protestants and the Roman Church were:
- The Bible was read in the local languages, not in Latin
- Protestants did not pray to saints
- Protestants believed that a person’s personal relationship with God was more important than submitting to the Church.
- In the 16th century, the Protestant movement gained power gradually across England, Wales and Scotland. English efforts to bring Protestantism, along with other laws, to Ireland was met with resistance. There was a large amount of blood shed in the attempt.
-While King Henry VIII was in power Wales formally became united with England by the Act for the Government of Wales. As a result, the Welsh sent members to the English Parliament.
-Henry VIII established control over Ireland, a movement begun by his father, Henry VII. Henry VIII was succeeded -by Edward VI, his son with Jane Seymour.
-Edward VI was Protestant
-During his reign, the Book of Common Prayer was written to be used in the services of the Church of England
-Edward VI died at the age of 15 after 6 years on the throne.
-He was succeeded by his half-sister Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
-Mary I was a Roman Catholic. As queen, she persecuted Protestants and became known as “Bloody Mary”.
-She died after a short reign and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I, Henry VIII’s daughter with Anne Boleyn.
-Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant but was much more moderate about religion than Mary I.
-The Church of England was the official church. Everyone had to attend their local church, but Elizabeth did not tell people what to believe.
-In 1588 Elizabeth and her army defeated the Spanish Armada which had been sent to restore Catholicism to England.
-Queen Elizabeth was one of the most popular monarchs in England. She succeeded in tempering the English Parliament, which had conservative Protestant views.
- – Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, was Elizabeth’s cousin, and a Catholic. When Scotland was taken over by the Protestant Church, Mary fled to England in hopes of finding sanctuary. Elizabeth however, believed that Mary wanted the English throne for herself. She held Mary in prison for 20 years. Mary was eventually executed for plotting against Elizabeth.
- – The reign of Elizabeth I was also a time of English patriotism and pride. English ships discovered new trade routes, and colonies were settled overseas. These colonies were often populated by those who disagreed with the religious beliefs of the day. Sir Francis Drake and his ship, The Golden Hind, was the first to circle the globe during this period.
- – The arts also flourished under Elizabeth I. The most notable poet and playwright of the day was William Shakespeare. His plays and poems are often quoted even today.
- – Elizabeth I had no children. She was succeeded by her cousin, King James VI of Scotland. James VI
- – King James VI was ruler of Scotland before becoming King of England, Ireland, and Wales. Scotland remained a separate country.
- – During his reign, the King James’ Bible was published. It is a version that is still used in this day.
- – During the reign of Henry VII and Henry VIII, Protestantism was introduced to Ireland, although not very successfully. In the northern Irish territory of Ulster, James VI continued the practice of taking large amounts of land, called plantations, from the Roman Catholic Irish and giving it to the Protestant Scots and English. This lead to long lasting unrest between the countries.
- – James VI was not as skilled at managing Parliament as his cousin Elizabeth I. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings, which meant that Kings were chosen by God and did not have to seek approval from Parliament.
- – James VI was succeeded by his son, Charles I. Charles I
- – Charles I also believed in the Divine Right of Kings, which decreased his ability to work successfully with Parliament. Early in his reign he dismissed Parliament, and raised money for his projects using other methods. Remember that a King could not raise taxes without the approval of Parliament, as stated in the Magna Carta. For 11 years he was able to fund his projects without Parliamentary approval.
- – Charles I attempted to order the Protestant Church in Scotland to use a revised Prayer Book. This led to unrest and the raising of a Scottish Army. Charles could not raise money for his own army without the help of Parliament, so he recalled Parliament after 11 years.
- – Many in Parliament at this time were Puritans, a group of Protestants that advocated a strict conservative version of the religion. They also did not agree with the revised prayer book and did not approve the funds for the English Army, even after the Scottish Army invaded England.
- – Around the same time the Roman Catholics in Ireland were becoming uneasy over the increasing power of the Puritan faction, and began to rebel. With Scotland and Ireland in upheaval, Charles I could not raise an army without approval and funding from the (Puritan) Parliament. Parliament used this power to demand control of the English army, something that would limit the power of the English King. This began a civil war between those who supported the King (called Cavaliers) and those who supported Parliament (called Roundheads).
- – The civil war was won by the Parliamentary side in 1646 after the King’s army lost at the Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby. Charles was taken captive. Still unwilling to compromise, he was executed in 1649.
- – Oliver Cromwell was a general in the Parliamentary army that defeated Charles I. After the Parliamentary victory, there was no king to rule England. England declared itself a Commonwealth, and at least to start, the army was in control. Cromwell was sent to Ireland to suppress the revolt of the Roman Catholics. He succeeded, but his forces were so violent in doing so that he remains controversial in Ireland to this day.
- – Cromwell was next sent to Scotland. The Scots refused to recognize Parliamentary authority and believed that Charles II, (the son of Charles I) was the rightful ruler of England. Cromwell defeated the army in Scotland at the Battles of Dunbar and Worchester. Charles II escaped to Europe and the Parliament now controlled Scotland as well as Ireland and Wales.
- – In recognition of his victories in Ireland and Scotland, Cromwell was recognized as the leader of the republic and was named “Lord Protector”. He ruled until his death in 1658.
- – He was succeeded by his son, Richard, however Richard could not control the army and was a poor leader. It because apparent that England was once again in need of a king. In 1660 Parliament invited Charles II to end his exile and return to England as king.
- – Charles II was able to successfully compromise with Parliament during his reign. Neither the Roman Catholics nor the Puritans gained power during this time.
- – During his reign both plague and fire assaulted London. Much of the city had to be rebuilt, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. The new St. Paul’s was designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren.
- – In 1679 the Act of Habeas Corpus became law. This very important law stated that no one could be held in prison without a trial. Habeas Corpus is Latin for “you must present this person in court”, meaning that everyone must have a court trial.
- – In the same way that Elizabeth I encouraged the arts, Charles II encouraged scientific study. He founded the Royal Society to promote “natural knowledge”. Two founding members were Sir Edmund Halley, who discovered Halley’s Comet, and Sir Issac Newton, who proved the law of gravity.
– Charles II died in 1685 and left no legitimate children. He was succeeded by his brother, James II.
- – James II became King James II of England, Wales and Ireland, and King James VII of Scotland.
- – James II was Roman Catholic and allowed Roman Catholics to serve as army officers,
something that had previously been forbidden by Parliament. He also arrested several
Protestant bishops of the Church of England.
- – The general impression from the public was that James II wanted to make England more
Roman Catholic. His daughters were Protestant however and the general public feeling was that one of them would succeed him, returning the country to more Protestant ways. Later in his life James had a son, which changed this opinion. A son would inherit the throne before a daughter would, and James would raise his son as a Roman Catholic.
- – James’ elder daughter was married to William of Orange, a Protestant ruler from the Netherlands. Influential Protestants in England encouraged William to invade England and declare himself king. This would insure that England remained under Protestant rule.
William III and Mary II
- – William moved to invade England. When his army reached the English border there was no resistance from the English. James II fled the country, leaving William and Mary to rule jointly. This bloodless coup became known as the Glorious Revolution as there was no fighting involved.
- – The Glorious Revolution also insured that no king could rule without Parliament’s approval.
- – James II retained some support in Ireland and Scotland, where his supporters were known
as Jacobites. He invaded Ireland where he was defeated at the Battle of Boyne by William’s army. William reestablished English rule in Ireland. Because of this rebellion there were restrictions put on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. In addition Roman Catholics could not participate in government.
- – James II also attempted to invade Scotland, but was defeated at Killiecrankie. After this uprising all Scottish clans were required to swear an oath to King William. All of the members of the MacDonald clan of Glencoe were executed because they were late in taking the oath. This caused tensions between the Scottish and the English government.
- – Some people particularly in Scotland, believed that James II was still the rightful king. They either joined him in exile in France or supported him secretly.