Key Tudor Events

The Tudor dynasty ascended the English throne at the end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485.

Warwick Castle Battle Barnet war roses

Originally hailing from the Lancastrian faction, the Tudors unified the faction with the rival Yorkist faction through the marriage of the first Tudor king, ushering in a period of stability and cultural renaissance which lasted for well over a century.

The Tudor period is considered the bedrock on which the foundations of modern England were laid.

Henry Tudor

Henry Tudor

Tudor Key Events

1485 – The first Tudor monarch Henry Tudor became King

1485 – The Tudor period began after Henry Tudor defeated and killed King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.

1487 – Henry Tudor defeated Lambert Simnel at the Battle of Stoke.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII

1502 to 1522

15o2 – Arthur, the eldest son of King Henry Tudor and his apparent heir, dies.

1509 – King Henry Tudor died and was succeeded by his son, Henry VIII. Henry VIII was the second Tudor monarch.

1509 – 1547 – period of Henry VIII’s reign

1511 – Henry VIII joined the anti-French Holy League

1513 – England under Henry VIII faced a Scottish invasion. This invasion was stopped at the Battle of Flodden where James IV of Scotland was killed and the English army stood victorious.

1520 – Henry VIII and Francis I of France met at the Field of Golden Cloth. This meeting was one of the most lavish and extravagant kingly meetings of the time.

1522 – negotiations between England and France failed. Henry VIII declared war on France.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

1527 to 1537

1527 – Henry VIII decided to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragorn in 1527, The Church was a major obstacle in his doing so, barring his way to an annulment of his marriage

1527 – This disagreement with the Church became one of the key events which shaped Henry’s relationship with the Catholic Church and his consequent break with it.

1529 – Henry VIII fired his cardinal, Wolsey, after he failed to provide him a solution regarding him marriage with Catherine.

1533 – Act in Restraint of Appeal is passed by the parliament. Through this Act, England breaks its tied with the Catholic Church.

1533 – Henry appointed Archbishop Cranmer. Cranmer became one of the central supporting figures of English Protestantism.

1533 – Henry VIII’s marriage with Catherine was declared null by Cranmer and Henry married Anne Boleyn the same year.

1533 – Elizabeth, later to be one of the most popular English monarchs, was born

Queen Mary Tudor

Queen Mary Tudor

1536 to 1549

English Protestantism was laid along firmer basis in 1536. The year saw the dissolution of all monasteries and the confiscation of their lands by the Crown. The same year, English Bible was compiled and approved for use in churches and at other ecclesiastical occasions.

1536 – Henry VIII married the third time with Jane Seymour.

1537 – Jane gave birth to Prince Edward and died.

1542 – England under Henry VIII went to war with Scotland.

1544 – England and France went to war.

1545 – French attempted an invasion of England but the invasion was repulsed and the attempt failed.

1547 – Henry VIII died in and was succeeded by his son Edward VI. Edward was 9 at the time and his brief reign was marked by his zeal in support of Protestantism.

1549 – Edward VI issued the Book of Common Prayer to be used in churches and by the common people.

1553 – Edward VI died. He was succeeded by his sister, Mary. Queen Mary ruled from 1553 to 1558.

*The period was marked by attempts by Queen Mary to return England to Catholic ways. She married Philip II of Spain in 1554 but the marriage bore no issue. Mary died in 1558.

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

1558 to 1585

Queen Elizabeth ascended the English throne following the death of her sister, Queen Mary. Queen Elizabeth’s reign stretched from 1558 to 1603.

1559 – England under Queen Elizabeth intervened in Scotland on behalf of Scottish Protestants. Such English interventions all over British Isles would continue in subsequent centuries.

1562 – England decided to intervene in France but the attempt failed. The effort concluded in the signing of the Treaty of Troyes between the two kingdoms.

1570 – A Papal Bull issued by the Catholic Church castigated Queen Elizabeth and excommunicated her

1571 – The English Parliament approved an Act against the anti-Queen Papal bulls in 1571, affirming faith in the person of the Queen.

1585 – English supremacy at sea was pitted against the rising naval might of Spain. This culminated in the declaration of war between the two, given that Spain was an ardent support of Catholic Church while England opposed the Church.

1585 – War was declared between England and Spain in 1585.

Spain had began preparing a large fleet, to be called the Spanish Armada, in 1587. English naval officer William Francis Drake attacked Cadiz, the port where the Spanish fleet was being built, torching many ships. This set back the planned invasion of England by the Spanish fleet by at least one year.

Spanish Armada

Spanish Armada

1588 to 1603

1588 – the Spanish Armada finally set sail to invade England. A part of the fleet was wrecked due to poor weather while the rest was defeated by the English royal navy.

1593 – England began to support Henry IV of France in 1591. In 1593, Henry converted to Catholicism and England consequently withdrew its support.

1596 – Spain launched a second Armada in 1596 but the attempt to invade England failed due to poor weather conditions.

1603 – The long and fateful reign of Queen Elizabeth came to an end in 1603. Elizabeth never married and she was succeeded by James VI of Scotland.

Tudor Key Events Summary

The Tudor dynasty ruled England from 1485 to 1603. During this reign, England transitioned from medieval times to a period of cultural and intellectual Renaissance. Henry VIII laid the foundations of a cultural renaissance as well as military reforms along more modern lines.

These had reached their pinnacle by the reign of Queen Elizabeth when towering literary personalities like Shakespeare contributed to the ushering in of the English Renaissance. In this role, the Tudor era stands as a crucial period between the medieval and modern England, offering the best of both.