Throughout the Tudor period it is understood that there was a shift in power towards the crown, however, how true is it to say that it was a fundamental shift or a gradual change over time consisting of each of the monarch’s influences resulting in a revolutionised end to the Tudor Dynasty. The modern outlook on this supported by the views of J.L. Mackie is that time played the biggest factor and it was a gradual change, though this is opposed by the traditionalist view of Elton who considers there to be, ‘a Tudor Revolution in Government between 1533-1540’1. There are key factors which affect the question such as the role of parliament and religion which need addressing to be able to give a justified view on the period.
Post War of the Roses Henry VII consolidated his position on the throne by naming allies as nobles taking land from those who had fought for the Yorkist Rose; this reduced claims to the throne and ensured that Henry had a controlling factor in lands far from London. The crown was stabilised by Henry VII as he ordered parliament to swear an Oath to the King making it less likely for him to be opposed. Nobility and the crown go hand in hand through the Tudor era with Henry VIII using them to attempt to control the lands further away from London and more likely to revolt. Henry VIII took a far more relaxed role as Monarch to his Father which could suggest that power to the crown was weakened slightly from the great strides that Henry VII had made to secure the crown. Edwards reign had a key use of Nobility as Somerset and Northumberland managed to seize control of the power during this period as a result of Edwards’s young age, however Somerset was unsuccessful in his time in power which would propose that the position of the Crown was weakened at this point symbolising that it was a gradual change over time rather than a shift in power. Elizabeth made careful selections in her nobility by employing experts, ensuring she received the best advice. Elizabeth had a better control over the nobility and commanded more respect than Mary could muster from the Gentry, this leads to the view of Penry Williams, ‘There was still great nobles in Elizabethan England but successfully rising against the centre was no longer conceivable’. This shows that there was perhaps a gradual change in power over time in which the Crown commanded more respect and loyalty from the nobles which stabilises the monarchs rule in the country.
The War of the Roses saw the economic state of England deplete greatly. Henry VII managed to restore some of these funds with an increase in taxes and careful spending. He created trade links with the allied nations and didn’t partake in expensive battle. This cautious spending meant that the funds in the treasury were able to rise and English finances were more established than they had been in years. Henry relied on what was known as, ‘the profits of justice,’ which referred to fines issued to law breakers, At this point mainly wealthy Yorkist supporters. Henry VIII inherited a far better treasury than his father had done but dwindled much of the money on a non profitable war with France and living a lavish lifestyle. This image reflected poorly within the country earned him the title, ‘Copper Nose’, following the Great Debasement. The countries finance doubled from £120,000 to £250,000 annually following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The view of David Starkey is that, ‘parliaments role to increase taxes gave it some control over the Monarchy’2, this suggests that the economic problems though started by the Monarchy the unpopularity was fuelled by the Government making them less popular than the Crown suggesting that though power was lost on both accounts people were not supporting either.
Somerset and Northumberland spent their years trying to prepare a country for Edward to lead,