Tudor times refers to a period in English history when the Tudors of Welsh origins, ruled England. The Tudors ruled England from 1485 to 1603 and under them, a number of vital developments took place which permanently changed England’s outlook.
The War of the Roses, between the Houses of Lancaster and York, also paved the way for the ascent of the Tudor family.
The first Tudor King, Henry VII, was able to defeat the last York King Richard III and assumed the throne. With him began the Tudor period of England.
Richard III was the last reigning monarch of the York dynasty who was very unpopular at the time. Even though he was a descendant from the House of York, he wasn’t even popular among a major portion of the Yorkist faction prevalent at the time.
Henry VII capitalised on this discontent and united his own Yorkist supporters for war against Richard III. The two sides clashed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and Richard III was defeated.
This effectively ended the York reign, Henry VII was proclaimed the next King of England and the Tudor dynasty was to begin.
One of the first major acts by Henry VII upon assuming the throne was to marry Elizabeth of York. This cemented his claim to throne and augmented his support among the Yorkist faction.
It also effectively closed the rift between the houses of Lancaster and York which had existed for a long time and became the basis of the War of the Roses.
After his ascent, Henry VII tried to avoid wars with other nations and focused on solidifying the dynastic hold on throne by marrying his sons and daughter to other royal houses. He further implemented strict monetary policies so that the depleted coffers of the treasury could be replenished again.
This was the last battle fought in the 15th century directly linked to the rival dynastic claims of different families. In the battle of Stoke Field, the dissenting Yorkists attempted, for the last time, to dethrone the Tudor family’s ascent under Henry VII and reclaim the throne for a direct Yorkist heir.
Interestingly, the candidate who championed the royal claim on the side of the Yorkists was Lambert Simnel, a pretender who claimed to be Edward, the Earl of Warwick. In the battle of Stoke Field, Simnel and his Yorkist supporters fought Henry VII’s forces and after a bitter battle, were decisively routed. The outcome of this battle firmly established the Tudor claim to throne.
After the death of Henry VII, his son Henry VIII became the King of England. Henry VIII is known as a pleasant and gentle boy in his early years but a cruel and unpredictable monarch in his later times.
He initially cared little for his rule and indulged in a comfortable life but later in his reign, he found a renewed interest in overlooking his realm.
Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragorn, the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. But she couldn’t provide him an heir. He strove to have the marriage annulled and marry another woman for an heir but the Papal office was reluctant in granting this annulment. This finally led to the schism between England and Catholic Rome.
Henry VIII attempts to divorce Catherine and the reluctance of the Pope to grant an annulment which would bring this about, lead to a rift between the English throne and the Catholic Church.
Ultimately, all efforts to have the marriage annulled through a Papal decree failed. Upon this, English parliament passed a bill severing ties with the Catholic Church and establishing the King as the head of the Church of England. The first Archbishop appointed by Henry VIII immediately annulled the marriage and paved the way for Henry VIII subsequent marriages.
The reign of Henry VIII put a significant distance between the Catholic Church and England. This was strengthened when Henry VIII twice married Protestant women, in the long list of his marriages.
The first Protestant he married was Anne, the daughter of a German duke of Protestant faith. Henry VIII had hoped to secure an alliance with Protestant German states through this marriage but the marriage proved short-lived.
His son, Edward VI, who would succeed him, was raised under Protestant tutors. And so the seeds of Protestantism sown in the reign of Henry VIII came to fruition during Edward VI time.
Edward VI was only a child of nine when he became the King of England in 1547. Most of his rule was overlooked by Edward Seymour, who assumed the rule of the Regent and effectively controlled most of the decisions made during the reign of Edward VI.
The King himself, though very young, had his heart set on Protestant reforms and took many steps which enraged the Catholic population. It led to a rebellion and massacre of the Cornish population. Edward VI died in 1553 and was succeeded by his half-sister, Mary I, who was a staunch Catholic.
Mary I assumed the English throne in 1553 and married Prince Philip of Spain in 1554. Her marriage with a Catholic prince and her personal beliefs as a Catholic were a marked changed from the Protestant leanings of her predecessors.
Mary attempted to diminish the influence of Protestantism in England. To that end, she carried out several measures, some as harsh as burning Protestants at the stake. Her reign proved unpopular and her attempts at restoring Catholicism unsuccessful. She died in 1558, succeeded by the long reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
The Tudor times was a period from 1485 to 1603 during which the Tudor dynasty ruled England. The Tudor dynasty came to the English throne at the culmination of the Wars of the Roses when Henry VII defeated Richard III and ascended to power.
He came from the Tudor line and firmly established the Tudor dynasty on the throne. The dynasty ran through Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and finally, Elizabeth I. Tudor times also marked the decisive ascent of Protestantism in England.