Was there a Tudor revolution in government? This is a contentious historical issue and has been argued about by historians. G R Elton first raised the argument in 1953s and his main arguments for a “revolution in Tudor government were that until the 1530s the government of the country was based upon the Royal Household i.e. the state equated with the King’s private estate. It was during the 1530s that Cromwell reduced the role of the Royal Household in government and substituted instead a bureaucratic administration. i.e. a system of government by officials, responsible only to their departmental chiefs who in turn were responsible to a chief executive – Cromwell – presiding over the Privy Council. Cromwell also created a unified and independent sovereign state. This revolution was achieved by a series of reforms which ended papal supremacy and made the king the supreme head, eroded the ancient privileges of the nobility, used parliamentary statute to bring about changes, thus increasing its importance and reformed the administration of government, making it more efficient and bureaucratic and making it less dependent on the officials of the King's household. But is this the case? Was there a Tudor Revolution in government? Other historians have claimed that Elton’s arguments are overstated as many of the reforms happened under the reigns of Edward IV (1461-70) and Henry VII (1485-1509) (Starkey and Guy). Therefore wasn’t Cromwell returning to old practices? Or did he simply make the existing systems work rather than creating them? Further counter arguments have been that the administrative changes were not firmly rooted until the 1560s under Elizabeth 1st. Other historians see the 1530s as the years contributing to a developing trend which began with the accession of Edward IV in 1461 and continue to at least 1561; therefore the term revolution has been debated, surely it is evolution not revolution. Topic and the situation in late medieval times. Situation in post Cromwellian times. Does this show a revolution in government? (Criticism or support of Elton’s theory? Household Finances Edward IV introduced a new system of finance which did not use the exchequer and treasury. Instead the money was control by offices in their private rooms (Privy Chamber). The Privy Chamber was deprived of receiving revenue and the Exchequer was revived so that it received customs and parliamentary taxation and set up new departments of state. e.g. Henry VII developed the Chamber to such an extent that most revenues went there rather than the Exchequer. By 1540 increasing specialism had been introduced with 4 new courts. This gave the monarch significant control over day –to-day decisions about income and expenditure. Privy council did increasing assume corporate responsibility especially for finance and legal administration. Cromwell introduced new financial institutions to work alongside the Privy Chamber. Court of Augmentations, Court of first fruits and 10ths, Court of wards and liveries Court of general surveyors. The Council The King met regularly with his advisors. This was a large (c50 -60 men) group which included noblemen, clergy and members of the King’s household The council was reduced to a group of c19 men. Of the 50 adult peers alive, only c10 were members of the Privy Council. Starkey: The elimination of the household from the government and the dominance of the national bureaucracy under the Privy Council is WRONG! Men were thus obtaining lands and titles because they held offices, not the other way round. Members were expected to attend regularly and could no longer act as individuals, but as a collective. The Privy Council now functioned as a corporate board – letters from it were written in the name of the Council and signed collectively. Letters signed in this way were regarded by their recipients as legal instruments of the government without the need for further validation by formal seals e.g. the privy seal or the king’s stamp It’s discussions were minuted and it became more specialised e.g. the Star Chamber now limited itself to specialist legal work Courtiers and councillors were the SAME people. There is no retreat of the PC from administration instead there is constant interaction. So the Privy Chamber and the Privy Council formed an inner ring which overlapped and got power from the King. No revolution or evolution – due to royal personality that things changed. During H8 did a more professional P Council emerged??? Historians disagree whether it appeared before 1530, in 1530 or c1540 after Cromwell fell e.g. there were precedents regarding the Privy Council. 1526 Eltham Ordinances planned to reduce the size of the Council to 20, to meet daily at 10am and 2pm in the King’s dining chamber. How did Cromwell find the time? – 1536 = dissolution of monasteries; fall of AB; Pilgrimage of Grace Half the members on the reorganised PC were religious conservatives and enemies of Cromwell. Unthinkable that Cromwell would have so stacked the cards against himself Royal Household Medieval idea of “personal monarchy” (where the monarch was directly involved in the decision making through his offices in the royal court) All action centred upon his person and thus advisers, ministers et al moved around with the King. This caused practical problems e.g. how to access archives and records? Thus, departments of government went ‘out of court’ and became The King’s Privy Chamber no longer had control of revenue (see household finances) 1536 – Court of Augmentations set up to deal with monastic wealth 1540 – Court of Wards fully established 1540 – Court of First Fruits However it is important to note that b) and c) were set up shortly after Cromwell’s fall. Did he set them in Starkey: The elimination of the household from the government and the dominance of the national bureaucracy under the Privy Council is WRONG! Courtiers and councillors were the SAME people. There is no retreat of the PC from administration instead there is constant interaction. So the Privy Chamber nad the Privy Council formed an inner ring which overlapped and got power from the King. No revolution or evolution – due to royal static, based in London e.g. the Exchequer – in the 12thc, the Courts of common-law. motion? personality that things changed. Harriss: Radical objection that there was a transition from medieval household to bureaucratic government. Nonhousehold nature of government in 1350-1450. It is the Yorkist and Early Tudor which regressed to an earlier form of government due to the nature of the War of the Roses (civil war). But how could the King enact his will when he was such a distant from the instruments of government? E.g. no document was authentic unless issued under the Great Seal, but the Great Seal was kept by the Chancellor. The answer was to develop a “Privy Seal” with which all authorisations sent to Chancery had to be stamped. It was the demands of the 1530s that led to Cromwell returning to the “more formalised government of the late middle ages”. However it relied on the personal effort of the king and chamber to power the machine. So the system broke if the king was inactive or weak. RETURN NOT REVOLUTION. If looking for a revolution you need to look from 14th – 176th century. A trend will emerge that shows “1530 as a RESUMPTION of normal development after a period of emergency” Did Cromwell turn it into a “bureaucratic government where specialised departments and trained officials managed the routine of government matters? Late medieval government already exhibited elements of bureaucratic govt. H7’s revival of the “household” interrupted a trend in which government was being extracted from the household. Cromwell reverting back to it???? Cromwell’s dominance prevented the return to bureaucratic govt. It was his fall which permitted a return to the earlier pattern of development! Royal control over the whole Kingdom Wales had been conquered by Edward I (c1284). The Council of the Marches was created by Edward IV in the 1470s. 1537 = Council for the North established in York. It was controlled from London so it could suppress trouble. It replaced the Penny Williams: Control of central government over outlying regions was tightened, especially in Wales and Ireland, where the Ireland: English authority in Gaelic Ireland (The Pale). France: England controlled the area of Calais temporary council which had existed from Edward IV’s time. Therefore separatism was replaced with centralisation. 1536: Council for the Marches of Wales, based in Ludlow. Wales was now incorporated into England. The marcher lordships were dissolved and some were annexed into existing Welsh and English counties. Others were divided into 5 new counties. The Welshmen were given the “benefits” of common law like the rest of England. But it was at the expense of their local custom, JPs were provided based on the English model. pressure of events forced into reality developments that had long been maturing. Wales had been conquered by Edward I. The Council of the Marches was created by Edward IV in the 1470s. English control of Wales had begun to improve from that point. Ireland: no attempt was made to assert English authority in Gaelic Ireland i.e. beyond the Pale. Calais: even though administered more effectively, full control was elusive In 1536 Calais was provided with two parliamentary burgesses (political representative). In Ireland Cromwell tried to enforce English authority in the Pale. Cromwell also attempted to control local government e.g. by introducing in 1536 the “Abolition of Franchises and Liberties”. This allowed the Crown to make inroads into local feudal jurisdiction. Parliament Most Kings needed to have control over parliament. In Medieval times parliament only met to grant taxes and to pass laws e.g. in Henry VII’s reign it met 7 times between 1485 and 1509. Henry VII rarely needed to call them because he did not rely on them to grant him money for wars, unlike his son. During Henry VII’s reign the commons were gaining in power and he recognised their importance. However, while Henry conversed with the Lords, he rarely spoke directly to the Commons. They communicated their thoughts to the king via the Speaker of the Commons. Parliament was important in passing the legislation that led to the “Break with Rome” and the “Royal Supremacy” (see previous notes for supporting evidence) Think about the amount and scope of the legislation passed. In the 1530s every important step was embodied by the parliament. Penny Williams: the authority of parliament as a law making body was already well established… the decline of the government (under Lancastrians) had resulted from the collapse of royal authority. ..Henry VII and Wolsey were faced with the quite exceptional task of rebuilding the crown’s power. Parliament was important in legislation the break with Rome and Reformation; think about amount of legislation, scope of legislation (see previous notes) 1530s every important step embodied by the pmt. Role of the principle Secretary The recognised role of the principle secretary was to enforce the King’s wishes. They often had control of the Royal seals. Royal seals lost their significance e.g. the functions of the old Privy Seal were taken over by Cromwell as Lord Privy Seal. Therefore Cromwell was signing his own letters rather than using the seal. . Principle Secretary’s role was extended as he acquired control over pretty much everything from finance, home and foreign affairs to defence and religion The importance of the position of King’s secretary was dependent on the personality and priorities of the man doing the job. ‘it was attached to the man not the office’(Elton). Nobody made much of the job until William Cecil in Elizabeth’s time. Historians AGR Smith: 1530s was revolutionary up to a point but argues that the 1540s and 1550s were also significant because of the continued transfer of Church lands and the advance of the Protestant Reformation. J Guy: 1530s as significant but argues that change occurs gradually over course of Tudor century. So a ‘readjustment’ There was a change from household of king to greater control by privy council – but an examination of this change needs to encompass Elizabeth’s reign. “Henrician politics increasingly focused on the Court, therefore the Privy Council lived and moved there. Cromwell was therefore successful as a politician until 1538-9 because he responded to royal demands and immediate needs.” Privy Council was not created by Cromwell especially as the later Privy council was dominated by religious conservatives who opposed Cromwell. Starkey: rejects notion that any kind of revolution, or evolution, took place. argues that systems were dependent upon the character of the monarch, and that each monarch revived previous practices. Thus denies the existence of any developmental pattern in the methods of government. What do you think?? Was it A revolution in government? A returning to old practices? Simply making the existing systems work rather than creating a new one? An evolution not revolution?