The Tudors: Who's Who
VIII ruled from 1509 until 1547. During
time he famously had six wives in his quest for a
demanding a divorce from his first wife, Catalina de Aragon, he angered the Pope
and the Spanish king. They refused his wishes, so Henry being Henry, he set up
his own church - the Church of England, and made himself its head in 1534.
to cause a massive rebellion called The Pilgrimage of Grace
in 1539 led by Robert Aske.
was Henry's pride and joy, his son from his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward was
just eight years old when he became king, so his uncle, the Duke of Somerset,
made all the decisions. In the late 1540s England was in turmoil - rising food
prices and the loss of common lands under the spread of enclosures had increased
poverty and hunger.
The spread of rebellious ideas was massive and the
authorities stamped down hard on anyone thought to be planning revolt. Even
playing football was punishable by hanging because it brought large crowds of
The main event was Kett's Rebellion in 1549, in East
Anglia. Hundreds of rebels were executed.
the daughter of Catalina de Aragon, so not surprisingly when she became queen in
1553, she began reversing all the changes her father had done, and set about
restoring Catholicism in England. Those who refused to 'recant' (admit their
errors) were burnt at the stake.
Although only 250 people were executed, propaganda
such as Foxe's Book of Martyrs meant that the name 'Bloody Mary' stuck!
tried to set up a compromise Anglican church after she succeeded in 1558, which
would appeal to both Catholics and Protestants. However in 1570 she was
ex-communicated by the Pope, which meant that
English Catholics' loyalties were questioned, especially in the 1580s when
England was at war with Catholic Spain.
In 1588 the Spanish sent an armada of ships and an
army to try and invade England. The focus of the persecution of Catholics had
changed from heretical (religious) reasons to reasons of treachery and national
Elizabeth died in 1603 with no heir, paving the way
for her Scottish cousins, the Stuarts, to rule England.