Finished Hisorical Enquiry Middleton Essay

Submitted By middletongeorge
Words: 4038
Pages: 17

To what extent did Tudor Rebellions threaten Tudor Monarchy between 1485-1603? The Tudor dynasty encountered two distinct types of rebellion, those that aimed to usurp the power of the monarchy like the ‘Pretenders’’ and those with the ambition to change government policy, such as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Several factors gradually increased the ability of Tudor Monarchy to defend itself against threat. From a broader context, there was significant parliamentary developments such as an enormous increase in the amount it was used to implement policy and legislation by comparison with that customary of the Middle Ages. Subsequently this led to the creation of Tudor bureaucracy, which placed less pressure on the Monarch, enabling it to divorce itself from government failings and redirect possible repercussions to influential ministers. The establishment of the dynasty in 1509 significantly strengthened Tudor Monarchy. It created a precedent that the House of Tudor was the legitimate ruling family of England providing an invaluable source of legitimacy. The formulation of a centralised state coincided with a gradual erosion of the political potency of noble families due to their desire to obtain patronage and influence. This was a remarkable contrast to the difficulties associated with bastard feudalism endured by Henry VII. Whilst these factors did reduce Tudor Monarchy’s susceptibility to threat, it was a gradual process and was certainly not sufficient to deter rebellions from taking place. This evolution in government coexisted with a similar evolution of threat. The 16th century was dominated by ideologically driven rebellions, created by Henry VIII’s inability to beget a strong male heir and the compelling religious changes of the Reformation Parliament. Perhaps, rebellions of this type are less threatening than usurpation plots because they aimed to change government policy and not the regime itself. However, the diverging ideologies resulted in faction politics that arguably created instability and the necessary conditions for further rebellions to occur. Nevertheless, only with hindsight do we know the Tudor dynasty lasted as long as it did which suggests its longevity must be down to its ability to overcome threat. The monarchy’s reaction to rebellion is arguably the most accurate way of assessing its threat yet that assumes that the monarchy was always in a position to react proportionally to the threat posed. A more persuasive argument is that Tudor Monarchy was most threatened at its weakest point in terms of its capability to assert its authority and defend its integrity. Therefore when assessing a rebellion’s threat, a greater relevance should arguably be placed on the strength of the crown at the time than the potential isolated impact of the rebellion itself. The Lambert Simnel plot in 1487 was the most threatening rebellion any Tudor Monarch faced. The plot culminated with the battle of Stoke, which not only threatened the life of Henry VII but it also overtly challenged the integrity of the crown through the prospect of Simnel having a superior claim to the throne, posing as Edward IV’s son. Whilst Henry won the battle, the result could just as easily been reversed. Furthermore, Henry lacked dependable support and undoubtedly feared a reoccurrence of the disloyalty that he himself had benefitted from at the battle of Bosworth. Turvey and Rogers support this view suggesting, “Stoke could have been another Bosworth, with Henry this time in the role of Richard III”1. The possibility of this reoccurrence actually happening became even more plausible when the Earl of Lincoln defected to the side of the rebels. Overall, the threat of the battle of Stoke wasn’t exclusively confined to the fighting but also threatened Henry’s authority on the throne by potentially exposing his lack of experience and support. It is clear from Henry’s reaction that he felt extremely threatened by the Simnel plot. The body of