HENRY VII and Lady Jane Grey

HENRY VII and Lady Jane Grey
The Unknown Tudors
Take cornell notes on the following reading and write questions in the margin. Make sure to add
both level 1 (simple fact) questions (such as What monarch did Lady Jane follow to the throne),
Level 2 (essay type) questions (such as What were the most beneficial reforms of Henry VII?)
and Level 3 (thinking out of the box) questions (such as Was coming to the throne to support my
religious beliefs like Lady Jane did worth her punishment? Would I do the same thing?) For one
of your level 3 questions write a response in your journal.
The battle was over. On a stretch of high ground in the midland heart of
the kingdom twenty thousand men had met in fierce, clumsy combat, and the
day had ended in the decisive defeat of the stronger army. Its leader, the King,
had been killed fighting heroically, and men had seen his naked corpse slung
across his horse's back and borne away to an obscure grave. His captains were dead, captured, or in
flight, his troops broken and demoralized. But in the victor's army all was rejoicing. In following the
claimant to the throne his supporters had chosen the winning side, and when they saw the golden
circlet which had fallen from the King's head placed upon their leader's, their lingering doubts fled
before the conviction that God had blessed his cause, and they hailed him joyously as their sovereign.
The day was 22 August 1485; the battlefield was to be named after the small neighboring town
of Market Bosworth; the fallen King was the third and ablest of English monarchs who bore the name
Richard; and the man whom the battle made a king was to be the seventh and perhaps the greatest of
the many great monarchs who bore the name Henry.
The very fact that Henry Tudor became King of England at all is somewhat of a miracle. His
claim to the English throne was tenuous at best. His father was Edmund Tudo, a Welshman of Welsh
royal lineage, but that was not too important as far as his claim to the English throne went. What was
important though was his heritage through his mother, Margaret Beaufort a descendant of the great
kiing Edward III. This descent from King Edward was through his third son, John of Gaunt.
Upon ascending to the throne, the main problem facing Henry was restoring faith and strength
in the monarchy. He also had to deal with other claimants, with some of them having a far stronger
claim than his own. To deal with this, Henry strengthened the government and his own power, at the
expense of the nobles. Henry VII rapidly and firmly took up the duties of the monarchy, restoring
order and checking waste. He raised the crown far above the nobles, and formed an alliance with the
middle class, acting through their representatives in the House of Commons, who feared the return of
the days of civil war, and realized that their survival and livelihood was dependent on the king's
protection. Thus, Henry drew his strength from the loyalty of the common classes, not from the feudal
nobility. Henry VII outlawed livery, and the maintenance of private armies. The armed bands who,
wearing their feudal badges, had overawed the countryside, intimidated sheriffs, and bullied juries,
now had their days numbered. Putting an end to the brigandage of the nobility required numerous
statutes, since the feudal lords did not readily give up the practice of private war. But, by the end of
Henry's reign, the typical English nobleman had been forced into other occupations than the medieval
ones of riot and civil war. Henry also had to deal with a treasury that was nearly bankrupt. The
English monarchy had never been one of the wealthiest of Europe and even more so after the War of
the Roses. Through his monetary strategy, Henry managed to steadily accumulate wealth during his
reign, so that by the time he died, he left a considerable fortune to his son, Henry VIII.
In November 1487, the Star Chamber Act created the Star Chamber as a court of appeals for
those who were unable to get justice in courts controlled by the nobles. This Act allowed members of
the King's council to form themselves into a court, and hold judicial sessions in the Star Chamber.
Henry VII's reforms had the effect of transforming the judicial system, from one dominated by the
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whims of the nobility, to one based on a system of law, grounded in a commitment to the General
Welfare. However, unlike the United States, England has never had a written constitution, not even to
this day.
Under Henry VII, England experienced a fundamental shift from feudalism, to a policy of
government-directed economic development, based on a conscious design to promote the General
Welfare. Henry's reform of the economic system, while not complete, laid the basis for transforming
England into a modern nation. He strove to increase the productivity of the population through
government-directed improvements in infrastructure, technology, and the living standards and
productivity of the population. Henry was the first English king in a century to be solvent, something
he achieved through careful management, and by limiting wasteful expenses. The kings of France and
the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V had incomes ten times larger, but squandered their money on
expensive wars. Henry mandated state control of foreign trade, for the purpose of promoting national
economic development. Much of his legislation was designed in a consciously protective spirit. The
development of both a navy and a merchant marine were central to the kingdom's military and
economic security. The merchant fleet would supplement the small royal navy, as well as allow
England to control its own trade. Central to Henry VII's economic policy was the promotion of English
manufactures. The most prominent of these efforts was Henry's treatment of the wool trade and the
cloth industry. Henry placed an export duty--in some cases, as high as 70 percent--on the export of
undressed wool, to encourage the development of a native cloth industry. Meanwhile, the duty on
exported cloth was never higher than nine percent of its value. A 1489/90 statute gave English clothmakers the right to buy wool, before it could be exported.
Henry VII created a national army, centralizing control over the military and ending the power of the
nobility to make war. Central to this effort was the development of the navy.
When Henry ascended to the throne, there were only four ships owned by the Crown, and
pirates roamed the Channel unchecked. Henry built three large men-of-war, which became the nucleus
of the navy. The ``Harry Grace a Dieu,'' was a 1,000-ton, four-masted ship, with about seventy guns
and a crew of 700. Many of the guns were manufactured in England. The government also subsidized
the construction of merchant ships, under an agreement that these ships could be hired into the navy in
time of crisis. Meanwhile, the city of Portsmouth was developed as a fortified naval station, capable of
meeting the needs of a permanent navy which would be a crucial development for later Tudor
Henry VII was clearly a successful king. He had several goals that he had accomplished by the
end of his reign. He had established a new dynasty after 30 years of struggle, he had strengthened the
judicial system, the navy, industry, the economy, the treasury, and had successfully denied all the other
claimants to his throne. The monarchy that he left to his son was a fairly secure one and most definitely
a wealthy one.
Henry had seven children by Elizabeth of York, four of whom survived infancy: Arthur, who
died shortly after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon (a point of some importance during "The
Divorce"), Henry, Margaret and Mary.
---------------------------Following the death of Edward VI, the least well known, briefest, and most tragic of the
Tudor reigns began, the nine day monarchy of Lady Jane Grey. Her father was Henry
Grey, marquess of Dorset, later duke of Suffolk. Her mother, Lady Frances Brandon,
was the daughter of Princess Mary of England, sister of Henry VIII, and her second
husband, Charles Brandon. Jane had been named heiress to the English throne in her
great-uncle Henry VIII's will, but only if his son Edward and daughters Mary and
Elizabeth died without issue.
Well-educated as was fit for a young lady who was however distantly in line for succession for
the throne, Lady Jane Grey became the ward of Thomas Seymour, second husband of Henry VIII's
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widow, Catherine Parr. After his execution for treason in 1549, Lady Jane Grey returned to her parents'
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in 1549 became head of the council advising and ruling
for the young King Edward VI, son of King Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour. Under his
leadership, England's economy improved, and the replacement of Roman Catholicism with
Protestantism progressed.
Northumberland realized that Edward's health was fragile and probably failing, and that the
named successor, Mary, would side with the Roman Catholics and probably would suppress
Protestants. He arranged with Suffolk for Suffolk's daughter, Lady Jane, to marry Guildford Dudley,
son of Northumberland. In late April or early May, the betrothal was announced. Jane had protested
the union but was persuaded by 'the urgency of her mother and the violence of her father'; in other
words, persuaded by verbal and physical abuse. They were married in May, 1553. Northumberland
then convinced Edward to make Jane and any male heirs she might have the successors to Edward's
crown. Though just fifteen at the time, she was known for her Protestant piety and learning; it was this
religious devotion which persuaded Edward to alter the succession. Deeply pious himself, he could
not leave the throne to his Catholic sister, Mary. Northumberland gained the agreement of his fellow
council members to this change in the succession. This act bypassed Henry's daughters, the princesses
Mary and Elizabeth, whom Henry had named his heirs if Edward died without children. The act also
ignored the fact that the duchess of Suffolk, Jane's mother, would normally have precedence over Jane,
since Lady Frances was the daughter of Henry's sister Mary and Jane the granddaughter.
After Edward died on July 6, 1553, Northumberland had Lady Jane Grey declared Queen, to
Jane's surprise and dismay. Jane went on, 'On hearing this I remained stunned and out of myself and I
call on those present to bear witness who saw me fall to the ground weeping piteously and dolefully
lamenting the death of the King, I swooned indeed and lay as dead.' Jane went on to say that she did
not want the crown and , 'it pleaseth me not. Jane then rose from the floor saying, '...If to succeed to
the throne was indeed my duty and my right, that He (God)would aid me to govern the realm to His
glory.' It was then Jane realized the extent of Dudley's duplicity. He had manipulated Edward,
knowing the devout Protestant king wanted the throne to go to his equally devout cousin Jane; but, all
along, Dudley simply wanted his own son crowned king. None of the lords cared whether England
was a righteous nation; no one cared about Edward's will. Instead, her royal blood was to be used to
maintain Dudley's control of England, to make his family into royalty. She was outraged and angry.
And Jane was a Tudor herself, as proud of her royal background as she had a right to be. The Dudleys,
that arrogant, pretentious family, had no right to exploit her. She told those assembled that she would
gladly make Guildford a duke, but he would never be king.
For Jane's father-in-law, the architect of the plan to make her queen, her accession had gone
smoothly. He controlled London - with the Tower and armory, the treasury, and navy - and no
councilors offered resistance. Jane's only rival for the crown was Mary Tudor, thirty-seven, often ill,
with no organized support or wealth. Her situation was so dire that her champion, the Emperor
Charles V, urged his ambassador to be friendly with Dudley; he wanted the duke's promise to protect
Mary. Every observer considered the throne won by Dudley. But none of these learned men
considered the feelings of ordinary Englishmen. And they, unlike their aristocratic lords, would not
gain wealth of prestige by supporting Jane or Mary. So their support was based solely on ideas of right
and wrong - to them, it was wrong for Jane to be queen and right for Mary to be queen. It was that
simple. Support for Lady Jane Grey as Queen quickly disappeared as Mary gathered her forces to
claim the throne. On July 19, Mary was declared Queen of England, and
Jane and her father were imprisoned. Later, rather unwillingly, Mary
was forced to order Jane’s death due to plots by Protestants to overthrow
Mary and bring young Jane back to the throne. It is hard, when dealing
with Lady Jane, not to romanticize her life, yet there is considerable
evidence to suggest that Jane was not the meek and mild young girl as
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she has so often been portrayed. She was passionate about her religious beliefs, sometimes to the point
of precociousness. However, to those who knew her, she was a young lady with maturity, confidence
and intelligence beyond her years.
“Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life.... As the preacher sayeth, there is a time
to be born and a time to die; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth.' Jane Grey's
message to John Brydges, lieutenant of the Tower of London, 1554