1485 Battle of Bosworth Field



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1485

Battle of Bosworth Field

Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at the battle. This begins the reign of the Tudors. Henry VII is a very competent but arguably not popular King.

  • He reorganises the country’s nobility so that they are much less of a threat to his personal and dynastic security. Nobles are put under bonds and recognizances to ensure their good behaviour. Also, the nobility are moved away from their traditional power bases.

  • Henry VII suffered three major attempts on his throne by Lambert Simnel, Perkin Warbeck and Edmund de la Pole.

  • Financially, Henry VII was a miserly King. He amassed a fortune of over £1 million by his death and increased the King’s income dramatically during his reign.

  • Henry VII’s biggest failure was in war. He had never been able to win a glorious war to establish his legacy.

1491

Birth of Prince Henry

Henry is born. As second son, he is not educated and raised to be King, but instead by his mother.

1502

Death of Prince Arthur & Papal Dispensation

Death of Prince Arthur six moths after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry now becomes the only chance for Henry VII’s Tudor dynasty to continue. Henry VII manages to obtain a papal dispensation to enable his second son Henry to marry Catherine of Aragon. This stated that the marriage had never been consummated, and thus it was perfectly legal for Henry to marry Catherine in the future.

1503

Death of Henry’s mother

Henry had been raised by his mother and this seems to have affected him greatly.

1509

Henry VIII becomes King

Less than two weeks before Henry becomes King, he married Catherine of Aragon. One of his first acts as the new King was to release many of the “political prisoners” of his father’s reign. In particular, he had Henry VII’s financial administrators Empson & Dudley arrested on charges of treason the day after his accession to the throne. They were both executed in the next year.

Immediately, Henry VIII desires to be a glorious King. He models himself on Henry V (the King who won at Agincourt) and will seek military glory as one of his major policies as King.



1511

Death of first child

Katherine of Aragon gives birth to Prince Henry at Richmond Palace. Henry only lived for 52 days and died on 22nd/23rd February. Henry VIII was devastated.

Movements towards war

Henry VIII joins the Holy League against France. This was a good move for Henry as it showed his intentions to be a glorious King.

1512

England joins with Spain to attack France

In April, 12,000 troops were sent to invade France along with Spain in a two-fronted war. Henry had been betrayed by Ferdinand of Spain who only wanted to use the English troops as a diversion so that he could capture Navarre.

Dysentery and drunkenness engulfed the troops and they were eventually recalled. The expedition had been a complete disaster and Henry had found out the hurtful truth of international politics and alliances.

1513

The Battle of the Spurs (vs France)

Henry arranges an alliance with Maximillian (HRE). They agree to invade France together. Henry personally led this invasion of France with 30,000 men. The campaign met with very little French resistance and resulted in the capture of two towns, Therouanne and Tournai. The battle was called the “Battle of the Spurs” in recognition of the speed at which the French had retreated. The English army was provided by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and was his first major step into the hierarchy of English politics. Because of the success, he was appointed Bishop of Tournai.

The Battle of Flodden Field (vs Scotland)

Whilst Henry was away fighting in France, the Scots attacked under James IV. The remains of the English army was left under the control of the Earl of Surrey and Catherine of Aragon! King James and many of his lords were slain, along with perhaps 5000 of his men. This was important as it greatly reduced the power of the nobility in Scotland. Catherine gave King James’ bloodstained cloak and dismembered head as a present to her husband! Henry’s own sister (Margaret) now became regent of Scotland. There should now be very little problems from North of the border for the rest of Henry’s reign. However, the wars had been very costly, approximately £960,000.

1514

The Anglo-French Treaty

Henry was essentially forced into making peace with France. Both Ferdinand and Maximillian had lost interest in attacking France and the new Pope, Leo X, favoured peace over war. England got possession of Tournai and Louis XII agreed to pay the arrears of the English pension granted to Henry VII in the 1490s. The treaty was sealed with the marriage of Henry’s younger sister Mary to the elderly Louis XII.

1515

Death of Louis XII

Francis I now becomes the new King of France. He is a very determined young King who desires military glory and power. He immediately starts causing trouble, sending the Scottish claimant, the Duke of Albany, to try and overthrow the regency of Henry’s sister, Margaret.

Act of Resumption

Wolsey introduces an act that allows Henry to gain back land that was previously given to Nobles at no cost. Although not greatly used, it was still incredibly unpopular.

Wolsey imprisons Vergil

Vergil was imprisoned because Wolsey intercepted an unflattering letter to the Pope about Henry and Wolsey. It was a trivial affair, but Wolsey made an enemy of Vergil (who would later publish the Anglica Historia in 1534 which tore the character of Wolsey apart.

1516

Death of Ferdinand

He was succeeded by his Grandson, the archduke Charles. Charles was keen to avoid conflict with France and so made a peace with them at Noyon. (Treaty of Noyon)

Birth of Mary

Mary was the first and ultimately only child of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon that would survive. She had already been preceded by a still-born girl and three short-lived brothers.

1517

Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation begins

The Protestant Reformation begins when Martin Luther nails his "95 Theses" against the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, on the church door at Wittenberg.

Peace of Cambrai (without England)

Charles’ other grandfather, Maximillian, joined the treaty between France and Spain to create the new Peace of Cambrai. Despite Henry and Wolsey’s efforts, England had been left out of international politics and was now humiliated.

1518

The Treaty of London

Since the beginning of 1518, Pope Leo X had been calling for a European crusade against the Turks. Wolsey took the plans and adapted them to suit the European powers and to put England at the centre of the diplomatic peace negotiations.

The treaty guaranteed non-aggression between the major European powers and built in the principle of collective security (if one was attacked, all would come to their aide).

The treaty heaped prestige on Henry and Wolsey. An Anglo-French treaty was signed that gave back Tournai in return for further French pensions and Henry’s infant daughter, Mary, was now betrothed to Francis I. Wolsey also profited greatly. He refused to allow Cardinal Campeggio to enter the country until he had been given the title of Legate a latere.



1519

Death of Maximillian

This set up a power struggle between Charles and Francis I. The seven electors of the Empire chose Charles to become the new Holy Roman Emperor, completely upsetting the power balance in Europe. However, England now became an important potential ally for both France and Spain/HRE.

1520

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

This was a chance for both France and England to show off their Renaissance credentials. It was mostly funded by England (cost millions of pounds). Each camp occupied about 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of land, and included a large pavilion to serve as a great hall, another for a large chapel, and numerous gilded tents to house the kings’ enormous retinues (which numbered in the thousands at both camps). Some idea of the size of Henrys following may be gathered from the fact that in one month 2200 sheep and other dishes in a similar proportion were consumed.

Despite the splendor of the occasion, little of diplomatic value was achieved. Though Henry and Francois agreed in principle to an alliance, it was just two weeks later that Henry met with Charles V himself in England. By the terms of this new treaty between England and the Empire, each agreed to not sign any new treaties with France for two years.

The previous betrothal of Henry’s daughter Mary was also now broken. She was originally betrothed to the son of Francis I, but a new betrothal to Charles V himself was established.


1521

Henry writes the Defence of the Seven Sacraments.

King Henry VIII receives the title "Defender of the Faith" from Pope Leo X for his opposition to Martin Luther. Henry wrote Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, the Defence of the Seven Sacraments, a book that defended the rituals of the Catholic Church such as Baptism and the taking of the Eucharist (body and blood of Christ)

1522

Wolsey breaks up Anne Boleyn & Henry Percy’s proposed marriage

Anne Boleyn met and fell in love with Henry Percy, a member of the Cardinal Wolsey entourage. The couple were betrothed but split up by Cardinal Wolsey on the orders of King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn blamed Cardinal Wolsey and swore to take revenge on him. 

1523

The Tudor Subsidy

This was quite a new system of taxation, by which Parliament granted taxes of stated amounts on property and incomes, based on direct and realistic assessments of the wealth of individual taxpayers. Under Wolsey it was not fully exploited, but it did increase the King’s income. In 1516, the subsidy yielded £44,000 and in 1525 this had increased to £64,000.

War vs France 1523-24

The 1523-25 campaign saw Henry VIII allied with the Emperor Charles V against Francis I. Henry's army came within reach of Paris and yet was forced to turn back because of Charles's failures elsewhere. Despite some short term gains, the war proved costly in both time and money (£430,000).

1525

The Battle of Pavia

This was the decisive military engagement of the war in Italy between Francis I and Charles V, in which the French army of 28,000 was virtually annihilated and Francis himself, commanding the French army, was taken prisoner. Francis was sent to Madrid, where, the following year, he concluded peace and surrendered French claims to Italy.

This was an important turning point in international politics for England, as Charles V had no interest in allowing Henry to share in the spoils. England would now have to change its alliance permanently to control the power of Charles V. They would have to become friends with France!



The Amicable Grant

The Amicable grant was a tax imposed on England in 1525 by the Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey. Called at the time "a benevolance", it was essentially a forced loan that was levied on one-third of both the clergy and laity's incomes. The Amicable Grant should have been levied with Parliamentary authority, but was not, and so the legal framework for its collection was extremely weak. There was a lot of resistance to the tax and it provoked an open rebellion in Suffolk and a taxpayer strike. Wolsey was forced to abandon the Grant within a year. Wolsey's attempts to bypass parliament further ruined his relations with this key body and Henry's wish to attack France had to be shelved (the Treaty of the More, 1525).

1526

Henry is obsessed with Anne Boleyn

King Henry VIII becomes totally obsessed with Anne Boleyn and he falls madly in love.

1527

King's Secret Matter

The King's Secret Matter" was no longer a secret. It became publicly known that Henry was seeking a divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon and Henry looked to Cardinal Wolsey to achieve this.

Treaty of Westminster

Wolsey attempts to unite France and England against Charles V. They declare war on Chares in 1528 but it all comes to nothing due to public unrest in England. Henry is forced into negotiating a truce.

1528

A sort of war against Charles V, but not really!

England and France declare war on Charles V. Since Wolsey wanted to avoid military action he determined on a trade embargo as the means to force Charles into negotiations, following the example of Henry VII. However, the combination of the third worst harvest of the sixteenth century in 1527, with widespread unemployment resulting from the cessation of the cloth trade, led to widespread trouble in the south-west, the south-east and East Anglia between March and May. The embargo was ended and Wolsey and Henry were forced into another humiliating climb-down

1529

Catherine fights

Catherine lodged an appeal to Rome against the authority of the Legatine Court and the ability of Wolsey and Campeggio to try the case.

Trial at Blackfriars

Wolsey and Campeggio opened court at Blackfriars. Henry and Catherine appeared before the court on 18th June. Catherine challenged that authority of the Court and the qualification of the two legates to hear the cast. She stated her wish for the case to be heard in Rome, but this was denied. On 21st June Henry told the court of his fears that his lack of a male heir was due to his marrying his brother's wife. Catherine, in reply made a very moving speech asserting the validity of her present marriage. She stated that she did not recognise the authority of their court and wanted the case referred to Rome. When permission was refused she left the court. Catherine did not attend the court hearing again. On 16th July the Pope decided that the divorce case should not be heard in England but should be heard in Rome. Wolsey had failed to obtain the annulment for Henry and had made Henry look foolish.

Wolsey is arrested.

Henry charges Wolsey with “praemunire” (acknowledging a

foreign power above the King) and strips him of all his major titles except Bishop of York. Politically he is now ruined. Thomas More succeeds Thomas Wolsey as Lord Chancellor.

Treaty of Cambrai

In august, Charles V and Francis I sign the Treaty of Cambrai establishing peace between the two countries. England is once again isolated from international politics.

Reformation Parliament

November—Henry opens the “Reformation Parliament”. This lasts for 7 years and assesses the anti-clerical feeling in the country. The major work is the Probate, Pluralities and Mortuaries Act.

1530

Henry seeks the approval of scholars

Henry commissions some of the major European Universities to assess the “Great Matter”. Several universities replied favourably.

Collectanea satis copiosa

Henry’s leading supporters put together the Collectanea satis copiosa - a collection of old manuscripts that supported the concept of the King as head of state and church.

Death of Wolsey

November: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was arrested on false charges of treason and died at Leicester on his way to London, some say of a broken heart. His last words were:

if I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he would not have given me over in my grey hairs.”



1531

The Church is fined

The Church was fined for endorsing Wolsey’s Papal posts. Ordered to pay £118,000. The clergy were then pardoned. In the Pardon of the Clergy, Henry insisted that he be referred to as the Sole Protector and Supreme Head of the English Church and clergy.

1532

Cromwell reduces the power of the Church

Cromwell introduces a petition against the church having legal jurisdiction. He convinced parliament that it

contravened their power.



Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates

Henry introduces the “Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates”. This stated that bishops who were not consecrated by Rome (in exchange for a considerable payment) would be consecrated by the English Church instead.

Thomas More resigns

Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor in protest to the attacks on the Church and the demand that he acknowledges Henry as “Supreme Head” above all others.

Submission of the Clergy

Henry introduces the “Submission of the Clergy”. Clerical courts could now only meet with the King’s permission, new canon laws had to be approved by Henry and existing laws were to be inspected and any that undermined royal authority were to be removed.

Anne is pregnant

Henry had given up on getting a positive result from Rome. Anne was now pregnant. Henry had to move very quickly to ensure that his child would not be a bastard and therefore illegitimate for the throne. The Great Matter had to be sorted once and for all.

1533

Henry and Anne marry in secret

Shortly before dawn on 25th January, in the presence of four or five witnesses, sworn to secrecy, Henry and Anne were married in the King's private chapel at Whitehall.

Act in Restraint of Appeals

Parliament passes the Act in Restraint of Appeals. This effectively negates any appeals that Catherine of Aragon could make to the Pope and thus makes the issue over her marriage’s legitimacy firmly in the hands of the English Court.

Annulment secured

On the 13th May, Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury) declared Henry's marriage null and void on the grounds that it was contrary to divine law.

More snubs Anne’s coronation

More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn as the new Queen.

Elizabeth is born

A daughter, Elizabeth, was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Henry was obviously disappointed that the baby was not a boy and blamed both God and Anne for denying him the heir he so desired.

Pope’s authority completely overhauled

An order was issued that stated that the Pope had no more authority in England than any other bishop. From now on he would be referred to as the Bishop of Rome. The break with Rome had happened so gradually that there was very little opposition to the move.

1534

The Act of Supremacy & Treason Law

This declares that Henry is the Supreme Head of the English Church. The Treason Law also made it an executable offence to speak out against the King or his Queen.

Act of Succession

This Act was introduced to exclude Mary from the succession and settle it instead on the children born from his marriage to Anne.

Execution of Elizabeth Barton (The Mad Maid of Kent)

She was a nun and friend of Bishop John Fisher. She openly spoke out against Henry, especially against the marriage to Anne Boleyn. She claimed that Henry would soon die due to his evil marriage to the Protestant Anne. She was executed!

More is arrested

More was asked to appear before a commission and swear his allegiance to the parliamentary Act of Succession. He steadfastly refused and was arrested and placed in The Tower four days later.

The Tudor Subsidy

Cromwell re-establishes the Tudor Subsidy as an annual peacetime tax for the continued defence of the country.

The Oath of Succession

The King's councillors were to take the oath first, after which they would supervise their inferior officers. The sheriffs would ensure that the Justices of the Peace took the oath and they in turn would ensure that all house-holders took the oath. Refusal to take the oath would be tantamount to treason.

Soon after, Henry wanted to be sure that his subjects knew that Papal supremacy had been replaced by royal supremacy. He ordered all parish priests to erase all references to the Pope from the prayer books. All preachers were told that their parishioners must be left in no doubt that the King, and only the King, was Head of the Church.



1535

Bishop Fisher executed

John Fisher, aged 76 years, was beheaded on Tower hill at 10 am on June 15th.

Execution of Thomas More

The execution took place on July 6, 1535. On the scaffold, he is widely quoted as saying to the executioner is that his beard was completely innocent of any crime, and did not deserve the axe; he then positioned his beard so that it would not be harmed.

Beginning of the end for Anne

Anne Boleyn was prematurely delivered of a stillborn child. Henry was devastated by this and began to question whether he should have made the marriage with Anne in the first place. She had not been the dutiful, obedient wife he had hoped for. Also, one of Anne’s maids, Jane Seymour, had succeeded in attracting Henry and was being openly courted by him

Valor Ecclesiasticus

Cromwell ordered investigations into the monasteries of England.

1536

Death of Catherine of Aragon

In January, Catherine of Aragon died. Henry and Anne celebrated by wearing yellow around the Court.

Act for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries

A bill was presented to Parliament by Cromwell which would, when passed, authorise the closure of all monasteries with a revenue of less than £200 per year. About 376 monasteries fell into this category.

The smaller monasteries were dissolved due to being full of “manifest sin, vicious, carnal and abominable living is daily used and committed among the little and small abbeys, priories, and other religious houses of monks, canons, and nuns”.



Court of Augmentations

The Court of Augmentations was established along with three lesser courts (those of General Surveyors, First Fruit and Tenths, and Wards and Liveries) following the dissolution of the monasteries. Its primary function was to gain better control over the land and finances formerly held by the Catholic Church

The speedy downfall of Anne

In April, Henry signed an order that authorised commissioners to enquire into any kind of treason committed by his wife. Within 3 weeks, Anne Boleyn was arrested, sent to The Tower and charged with having committed adultery with some half dozen men including her brother George. She was charged with plotting her husband's murder and with promising to marry one of her lovers when the King was dead. At the trial, her previous lover, Henry Percy, and her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, were amongst the judges. She was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to die either by beheading or burning, whichever was the King's choice.

Execution of Anne

On May 19th Anne was executed behind closed doors in The Tower, possibly due to Henry’s fear of what she might say publicly. However, she spoke no ill of the King and simply stated that she had been judged “by the law”.

Henry marries wife No 3.

On the 30th of May 1536 Henry and Jane Seymour were married.

Act of Union

Wales was enfranchised under the Act of Union, given the right to send 24 MPs to Parliament. This made it much more under the control of the Parliament in London. English was also enforced as the official language.

The Act of the Ten Articles

These were a series of injunctions introduced by Cranmer and Cromwell to improve the conduct of the clergy and the worship of the people. Sermons were to be preached at stated periods against Rome. Relics were not to be exhibited for gain. A good home life was deemed preferable to pilgrimage. Children were to learn the Lord's Prayer, The Holy Creed and The Ten Commandments in English among other things. This was a big move towards Protestantism in England.

The Lincolnshire Rebellion

The first of the uprisings occurred in Lincolnshire in October 1536 and lasted about two weeks – from the 2nd to the 18th. While it did not last long, the revolt did represent a major threat to the government. This was because those in the rebellion were not just the ‘common’ people. Nobles were also involved in the Lincolnshire Uprising – a group of people whom the government had usually been able to rely on to support it.

Pilgrimage of Grace

The Pilgrimage of Grace – was very similar to the one in Lincolnshire. ‘Commoners’ made up the bulk of the numbers while nobles were also in its ranks. However, one major difference was that the Yorkshire rebels were well led. Robert Aske, an able lawyer from an important Yorkshire family, became the accepted leader of the Yorkshire rebels.

The rebels wanted Henry to stop his attacks on the Church and the monasteries and return the country to following the Pope. Aske believed that Henry himself was not at fault as he was thought to be a decent and well-meaning king. Aske lay the blame on ‘evil’ advisors, especially Thomas Cromwell.



  • Henry was a clever politician. He received the rebel demands – but failed to give a reply to them for several weeks. In this time he hoped that the rebel organisation would start to show weaknesses. It would be a tall order for Aske to keep all 35,000 men organised. Henry bought more time by asking the pilgrim envoys to clarify certain points that he failed to fully understand. He suggested that the leaders should meet up to construct a clearly written and detailed set of demands. At the same time Norfolk was ordered to end the rebellion in whatever way he thought necessary.

  • The ’24 Articles’ were presented to Norfolk at Doncaster on December 6th. It was agreed that if the rebels disbanded:

1) The king would receive the demands.

2) A freely elected Parliament would discuss them.



3) All pilgrims would be pardoned for their part in the rebellion.

  • Aske and the 300 other rebel leaders at Doncaster believed that they had won a great victory. He travelled to London at the king’s request to meet Henry who had asked to be briefed about the feelings of the people so that any future problems could be avoided. Aske saw this as a sign that the king was a decent person and that it was advisors who were failing the country. In fact, Henry was simply buying time. He had already determined that the north had to be taught a military lesson. However, he wanted from Aske as many names as was possible so that individuals could be brought to account.

  • By now the pilgrims were in disarray while the army of Norfolk was poised to strike when it chose to do so. With no chance of successfully fighting Norfolk’s army, the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace agreed to Henry’s order that they should come to London to answer questions. By early May, fifteen of the main leaders were under arrest despite the promise of a pardon. Two juries were established in Yorkshire to decide whether the men should stand trial in London. The juries were made up of the friends of those arrested. This process was known as indictment. It was a heartless procedure as those who best knew the likes of Aske and Danby were now asked to essentially sign their death warrants as no trial in London would spare them. All the accused unsurprisingly were found guilty of treason. Most were executed in London but Aske was taken back to Yorkshire where he was executed. This was meant to be a gesture of how much in control of the events Henry was.

Council of the North

After the Pilgrimage of Grace, Cromwell strengthened the Council of the North, and undermined the influence of local noble families. This further brought the North under the control of London and Henry. The control of the council was given to Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy.

1537

Birth of Edward but death of Jane

In January, Jane Seymour dies 12 days after the premature birth of a son, the future King Edward VI. Henry is absolutely devastated. He will eventually be buried next to Jane in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary are soon declared bastards by Henry.

The Bishops’ Book

This was an attempt to outline what the English Church believed in. It was drawn up by the Bishops and it restored the four lost sacraments (but with a reduction in their importance). A draft was sent to Henry but he didn’t have time to read it. His later revisions in the King’s Book f 1543 suggest that he was not happy with the result.

1538

Attacks on the religious shrines and Excommunication

Henry now turned his attention to religious shrines in England. For hundreds of years pilgrims had visited shrines that contained important religious relics. Henry decided that the shrines should be closed down and the wealth that they had created given to the crown. The Pope and the Catholic church in Rome were horrified when they heard the news that Henry had destroyed St. Thomas Becket's Shrine. On 17 December, the Pope announced to the Christian world that Henry VIII had been excommunicated from the Catholic church.

Execution of John Lambert

Lambert was a priest, but was very protestant in beliefs. He was tried and executed for refusing to recognise the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (transubstantiation).

The Matthew Bible

This was the first official English translation of the Bible to be published.

1539

The Second Act of Dissolutions

This dissolved a further 552 monasteries.

Act of The Six Articles

Henry puts forth the Act of The Six Articles, a religious stature, was passed at the 'instance' of Henry VIII. It set forth the position of the English Church on six fundamental points in an effort to stem the growth and influence of the English Protestants. It undermined Cromwell’s previous reforms.

1540

Wife No 4: Anne of Cleves

They were married for political reasons; in fact, Anne was chosen by Thomas Cromwell, the Lord Chancellor. This marriage was politically convenient, as Henry needed a strong political alliance with Lutheran Germany to establish ties between England and the other protestant countries so that England would not become totally isolated. Their marriage soon became a political embarrassment when the alliance between the Catholic powers failed. The marriage was annulled on July 9, 1540.

Court of the First Fruits and Tenths

The Court of First Fruits and Tenths was set up in 1540 to deal

with the income derived from clerical taxation.



Right of Sanctuary abolished

The right of sanctuary was largely abolished too in 1540, meaning that there could be no refuge from the forces of law and order in churches. Previously, criminals could claim sanctuary in a church for 40 days and then leave the country without prosecution.

Downfall and execution of Cromwell

The disaster of the king's marriage to Anne of Cleves was all the opportunity that Cromwell's opponents, most notably the Duke of Norfolk, needed to press for his fall from grace. Whilst at a Council meeting on 10 June 1540, Cromwell was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Cromwell was subjected to an Act of Attainder and was kept alive by Henry VIII until his marriage to Anne of Cleves could be annulled. Having been discredited by his enemies and betrayed by his master, Cromwell was beheaded on Tower Hill on 28th July. After his execution, Cromwell's head was boiled and then set upon a spike on London Bridge, facing away from the City of London.


Wife No 5: Catherine Howard

Henry and Catherine were secretly married on July 28. Catherine had been previously engaged to her cousin, Thomas Culpepper. She was thought to have had affairs with him and two others; Henry Mannock, a music teacher, and Francis Dereham. In November 1541, the King learned of these supposed affairs and became irate. He allowed Parliament to pass a bill of attainder declaring it treason for an unchaste woman to marry the king. On February 14, 1542, two days after the bill was passed, Catherine was beheaded in the Tower of London for crimes of treason.


Likely exam questions:


  • How successful was English Foreign Policy in the 1510s and 1520s?

  • How far do you agree that English Foreign Policy was largely driven by Wolsey’s own personal ambitions and interests?

  • Do you agree with the view that Scotland / France / Spain remained a threat to England between the years 1509-40?

  • Do you agree with the view that Henry VIII’s foreign policy in the years 1514–25 failed because he lacked the resources to fulfil his aims?



  • How successful were Wolsey’s domestic policies?

  • How far do you agree that it was Wolsey not Henry who was in charge of government?

  • Do you agree with the view that, although Wolsey appeared the dominant figure in the government of England in the years 1515–29, in reality he merely followed Henry’s bidding?

  • Do you agree with the view that, in his years as Lord Chancellor, Wolsey strengthened Henry VIII’s control of his kingdom?

  • Do you agree that the main reason for Wolsey’s fall from power was his failure to secure the annulment?



  • Do you agree with the view that the Reformation of the 1530s was caused mainly by Henry’s desire for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon?

  • Do you agree with the view that the main reason for Henry’s failure to obtain the annulment of his marriage in the years 1525–29 was the determined opposition of Katherine of Aragon?

  • Do you agree with the view that the most significant changes of the 1530s were political rather than religious?

  • Do you agree that the main cause of the English Reformation was the character and influence of Anne Boleyn?

  • Do you agree with the view that the decisive influence in shaping the Reformation of the 1530s was Thomas Cromwell’s idea of a nation state?

  • Do you agree with the view that the break with Rome was brought about primarily by Henry’s desire for a male heir?



  • Do you agree with the view that the main cause of the Pilgrimage of Grace was a widespread dislike of religious changes?

  • Do you agree with the view that, in 1536–37, opposition to religious changes posed a serious threat to Henry VIII’s rule?

  • Do you agree with the view that the dissolution of the greater monasteries was largely driven by financial motives?


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