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  • Writer's pictureErin

Tudor London 1485 - 1603

Updated: May 27, 2018

1485 kicked off with Henry Tudor (VII) defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses. He dies in 1509 after a very successful reign and is buried in the Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey, along with his wife.

And so onto Henry VIII, one of the most famous and well known of English kings. After coming to the throne, he marries his first of many wives, Catherine of Aragon, and so his turbulent but exciting reign begins. Thomas Wolsey played a major part in Henrys "fame", starting in 1515 when he becomes Cardinal and Lord chancellor, and later the papal legate in 1918. This defines him as the head of the English church and the second most powerful man after the king. Thomas is effectively the kings right hand man, but this comes to an end in 1530 when he fails to arrange the kings divorce from Catherine, he faced charges of treason, but he in fact dies on his way to face his crimes.

Henry VIII moves on to Anne Boleyn in 1533, but only lasts 3 years and she is executed. Eleven days later Henry is yet again married, this time to Jane Seymour.

During this time the Parliament passes the Act of Supremacy (1534) which makes Henry the head of the English church. He separates England from the Roman Catholic church, and despite never being a protestant, the split from Rome was a huge success in the eyes of the Protestants across England. Between 1536 and 1540, Henry orders the destruction and closure of 560 monasteries and religious houses, known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

1540 marks the death of Oliver Cromwell; one of the greatest statesman for England, who changed the course of the English history. After his mentors death (Wolsey), Cromwell took to Henrys side as his most valuable advisor. He was executed as a traitor against the crown.

Henry then went through a quick succession of wives; Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. His 36 years reign comes to an end January 28th 1547, when he dies aged 57.

Henrys successor was Edward VI at a mere 9 years old (son of Jane Seymour. His reign didn't last long and he died in 1533 from tuberculosis. He was quickly succeeded by Lady Jane Grey - a distant descendant of Henry VIII, but her reign only lasted a few days. Mary I takes over, who was the first women to be crowned monarch of England in her own right. Mary is best known for her aggressive pursuit in the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland, with her attempt to stop the English Reformation which had begun at the beginning of the reign of her father - Henry VIII. During her five year reign, she ordered over 280 heretics to be burnt at the stake and was known as "Bloody Mary". Her successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn reversed her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism when she came to reign in 1558.

1577, Sir Francis Drake sets sail around the world in his ship the "Pelican" later to be renamed the "Golden Hind" - a replica is on display at St Mary Overie Dock, Southwark.

In 1587, Mary Stuart - Queen of Scots is executed when she was found guilty of treason to kill Elizabeth I. She had spent the previous eighteen and a half years in custody for her crimes.

This is also the period of William Shakespear, whose first performance was in 1591. The Globe Theatre, where many of his plays were performed was built in 1599, today a modern replica is on the same spot of the original.

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