16th Century England

HENRY VIII
HENRY VIII
YOUNG HENRY VIII KING OF ENGLAND
YOUNG HENRY VIII KING OF ENGLAND
KING HENRY VIII
KING HENRY VIII
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII
WILL SOMMERS THE COURT JESTER OF HENRY VIII
WILL SOMMERS THE COURT JESTER OF HENRY VIII
HENRY VIII KING OF ENGLAND
HENRY VIII KING OF ENGLAND

KING HENRY VIII

 

King Henry VIII was a Tudor.  The Tudors were a Welsh family, descended from Owain ap Maredudd ap Tydwr, a silver-tongued gentleman who caught the eye of the widow of Henry V, Catherine of France. The name Tydwr morphed into Theodore and then finally Tudor. 

King Henry VIII was redheaded, athletic, and England's sporting hero when he became King at age seventeen in 1509.  He was a tremendous archer, horseman, jouster, wrestler, and musician, with an insatiable appetite for enjoying himself.    Henry married the gorgeous and prestigious Spanish princess, Catherine, his brother Arthur's widow,  just before he was crowned. 

Catherine produced a female heir, Mary, born in 1516, but then had a series of miscarriages and stillbirths.  After ten years of marriage, Henry began to ponder why God was displeased with their union, since it had failed to produce a male heir to his throne.  He found his answer in Leviticus 20: "If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing . . . they shall be childless."  Catherine maintained that this Scripture did not apply, as her five-month marriage to the fifteen-year-old Arthur had never been consummated.  Henry came to doubt her on this score. 

By 1527, Henry had his eye on Anne Boleyn, a self-assured beauty with mesmerizing dark eyes.  He was obsessed with producing a male heir but the pope would not grant him a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to produce a prince.  The pope normally would have granted the divorce—for a fee—but Catherine was the aunt of the powerful Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (and close ally of the papacy) Charles V, of the Habsburg family.  Therefore the pope could not disgrace her.

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ran England for Henry with great skill and statesmanship for fourteen years.   But Wolsey offended Anne Boleyn and was therefore disgraced.  He was charged with treason and died from the shock.  Henry took over Hampton Court, the magnificent palace Wolsey had built for himself. 

Anne Boleyn gave Henry a copy of William Tyndale's book Obedience of a Christian Man in which Tyndale pointed out that the Bible made no mention of popes, bishops, or an institutional church at all.  This book provided Henry with a solution to his "Great Matter."  The King could grant himself a divorce, regardless of what the pope may think.  

King Henry VIII of England had been a devout Catholic, and such a friend to the pope against the Reformation led by Martin Luther that the pope pronounced him The Defender of the Faith.  He began to separate the English Church from the Roman Church in 1529. Parliament supported Henry's efforts to attack the privileges and property of the Roman Church in England, seeing immense material advantages to be gained.  In 1532, Henry eliminated payments to Rome; in 1533 he cut Rome's ecclesiastical jurisdiction over churches in England; in 1534 he abolished papal authority over English Christians, naming himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.

The English were a devoutly Christian people in those days, with many attending mass every day.   At the heart of the Reformation was the exhilarating idea that each person could communicate directly with God through prayer.  This diminished the central role of the priest in religious life. 

Henry questioned by what right did clerics control a vast infrastructure of earthly power and possessions, such as the huge amounts of land owned by monasteries?  The Catholic Church was easily the largest landholder in England.  Henry the VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, sent crews of inspectors out to survey the 800 monasteries in England, who reported back that they were full of lazy, greedy monks and friars, about 7,000 of them; who were sexually sinful as well. These reports were used to justify the greatest land grab in English history in 1536.

The destruction of England's ancient system of education, employment and social welfare was not without protest.  The northern part of the country saw 40,000 men rise in rebellion. The Duke of Norfolk was charged with putting them down, which he did mercilessly.  Villagers were hung on trees in full view of their wives and children.  By the time all Catholic lands had been taken in 1540, Henry the VIII had raised what would be $70M today by selling off some of these properties. 

Ten days after Henry's execution of Anne Boleyn, he married the meek, submissive, soft-spoken, kindly, level-headed  Jane Seymour.  Jane had a son but died twelve days later from loss of blood and infection.  She may have been the love of the King's life.  Alone among his wives, Jane was given a glorious funeral after three weeks lying in state.  Her name was on his lips when he died in 1547, and his will directed that he be buried next to Jane Seymour. 

England was dangerously isolated when, in 1538, the pope issued a call to the Catholic powers of Europe to oppose Henry VIII.  Thomas Cromwell sought an alliance with Germany through marriage.  Cleves was an important duchy with its capital at Dusseldorf, and the sister of the Duke, Anne, was available.  Without internet access, Cromwell dispatched royal painter Hans Holbein to do a quick portrait of the lady for the King to gaze upon.  Henry loved the portrait and agreed to marry her, but when he met her he was sorely disappointed by her plain features. After their wedding night, Henry said, "I like her much worse, for I have felt her belly and breasts.  I had neither the will nor courage to proceed any further in other matters."  The word is that Anne stunk and that this deflated the ardour of the King. 

In 1540, Cromwell himself was condemned of treason and sentenced to a dreadful death by being drawn and quartered.  His sentence would be reduced to a mere beheading if he could find a way to annul Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves, which he did.  Ten days later, the King was married again, this time to Katherine Howard, nearly 30 years his junior.  Katherine was the niece of his fierce general, the Duke of Norfolk, who was a Catholic and hated Cromwell.  The Duke had been pushing for Katherine to entice the King, and plotting Cromwell's downfall.  The new Queen was a sexpot and unfortunately this extended beyond the King.  She had several affairs.  The King wept when he found out.  She was beheaded in 1542, along with three of her lovers and her lady-in-waiting, who had arranged many of the rendezvous. 

Henry was by now a gross mountain of a man, with arthritis, ulcers, and serious royal hemorrhoids.  He did marry one more time, to Catherine Parr.  Finally, the King went the way of all men, to the grave.  It was hard to imagine England without the lustful tyrant who had once been a beautiful young sportsman.  He was surely immoral, he was not a good man, but he was a great King—maybe the greatest of English Kings.  Though he ruled England with an iron hand, he did so without an army.  He revolutionized the ownership of land, strengthened Parliament, and built the Church of England.  His accomplishments were formidable. 

SIR THOMAS MORE STATUE IN CHELSEA, LONDON
SIR THOMAS MORE STATUE IN CHELSEA, LONDON

SIR THOMAS MORE

 

Sir Thomas More was executed by King Henry VIII for treason in 1535.  What an end for a man whose friendship had been treasured by the King. Thomas More was learned and witty; a literal Renaissance man; and friends with Erasmus.  He wore a hair shirt beneath his outer garments for most of his life.  King Henry had coerced More into becoming his Lord Chancellor.  More only accepted after Henry promised not to involve him in his divorce.  Royal policy was determined by Thomas Cromwell, who pushed a new statute through Parliament that required all men to reject the rights of Queen Catherine and her daughter Mary.  More refused and thus began his imprisonment, which ended at the scaffold. 

In 1516 he wrote Utopia, an inspired combination of the Greek words for "no" and "place."   It was a science fiction fantasy about a perfect society.  Couples with many children gave a few away to the childless.  Interestingly, lawyers were banned in Utopia and described as "those who disguise the truth." Thomas More's own wealth came from practicing law.

ANNE BOLEYN
ANNE BOLEYN

ANNE BOLEYN

Ann Boleyn (1507-1536) was the daughter of an English Earl, a devout Christian, and a fervent studier of the Bible. She became part of the court of Henry VIII in 1521, along with her sister, Mary, who became the King's mistress. Anne Boleyn refused her King when he asked her to also become his mistress, saying, "I think your majesty, most noble and worthy king, speaketh these words in mirth to prove me, without intent of defiling your princely self, who I find thinks nothing less than of such wickedness which would justly procure the hatred of God and of your good queen against us."

The evangelical Boleyn family helped Thomas Cranmer, a convert to Protestantism, be selected as the archbishop of England in 1533. That same year, Anne Boleyn married King Henry VIII after Cranmer granted the King a divorce. She appointed evangelical bishops, and distributed English Bibles throughout the realm. Anne always discussed the Bible with the King during dinner.

Like King David, Anne Boleyn used poor judgment by living with, and secretly marrying, King Henry whilst he was already married. She and the King had one child together, the future Queen Elizabeth. Anne was a flirtatious woman, and this proved to be her undoing. Flirting caused suspicion of infidelity; men were tortured and confessions produced. A court musician pleaded guilty to adultery and Anne's brother charged with incest. Anne Boleyn was falsely accused of adultery and beheaded. Her last words were, "To Christ I commend my soul, Jesus, receive my soul."

 

MARY TUDOR QUEEN OF ENGLAND
MARY TUDOR QUEEN OF ENGLAND

BLOODY MARY

When Henry VIII died in 1547, his nine year old son Edward VI became King of England. Six years later he died of tuberculosis and the crown passed to his sister, the foul-breathed Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon—and a devout Catholic.

During Edward's short reign, the language used for church services changed from Latin to English; communion was once again served with both bread and wine; purgatory, confession, and Mass for the dead were repudiated.

Mary's family and life had been ruined by Protestantism and she determined to bring England back into the Catholic fold. Protestantism was outlawed and back came vestments, altars, feast days, and processions.

Queen Mary was a pious woman. She was known to kneel down to wash, dry, and kiss the feet of poor women. She visited widows in disguise and personally gave them charity.

Bloody Mary burnt 300 Protestants at the stake, including Archbishop Cranmer, who had annulled her mother's marriage and proclaimed her a bastard. But the cheerful courage of the martyrs made a favorable impression on the huge crowds that gathered to watch. Burnings were well attended entertainments back in those days but the smell of the burning flesh of good men, tortured for their beliefs, turned the people against the Queen. Hostility to popery reached new heights. It is still present in England today, where it is against the law for a British King or Queen to marry a Catholic.

One prominent victim was the bishop Hugh Latimer (1487-1555). Latimer said, "The Author of Holy Scripture is God Himself; let God's Word direct us." As he was engulfed by flames at the stake he exclaimed to a fellow martyr, "Be of good comfort! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Queen Mary married the heir to the Spanish throne, but died in 1558 before having children. Now the crown passed to Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, who was openly called a bastard by Catholics.

 

1545 PAINTING OF THE FAMILY OF HENRY VIII (FROM LEFT: MOTHER JAK, WET NURSE OF EDWARD; LADY MARY; PRINCE EDWARD; HENRY VIII; JANE SEYMOUR; LADY ELIZABETH; WILL SOMMERS, COURT JESTER)
1545 PAINTING OF THE FAMILY OF HENRY VIII (FROM LEFT: MOTHER JAK, WET NURSE OF EDWARD; LADY MARY; PRINCE EDWARD; HENRY VIII; JANE SEYMOUR; LADY ELIZABETH; WILL SOMMERS, COURT JESTER)
QUEEN ELIZABETH
QUEEN ELIZABETH
QUEEN ELIZABETH I OF ENGLAND
QUEEN ELIZABETH I OF ENGLAND
QUEEN ELIZABETH I
QUEEN ELIZABETH I
THE VIRGIN QUEEN
THE VIRGIN QUEEN

QUEEN ELIZABETH

 

In 1559, the red-haired, 25-year-old Elizabeth became Queen of England.  Elizabeth was theatrical, flamboyant, vain, and hot-tempered. 

Though the Catholics viewed Queen Elizabeth as a heretic and a bastard; she was deeply loved by her Protestant subjects.  Queen Elizabeth declared the religion of England to be Protestant; yet she kept Catholic elements such as priestly robes, ornaments, saints' days, confirmation, the sign of the cross, and kneeling.  This became known as Anglicanism, a middle way between Rome and Geneva.  Elizabeth loved ceremony and felt it should be an important part of worship.  Puritans complained about these dregs of popery, and half-baked reform.  Elizabeth agreed with Luther, that robes and ornaments don't matter much either way.  She saw her ideas as compromise, live and let live. As Francis Bacon said, "She had no desire to make windows into men's souls.

But a strong Puritan movement was swelling that hated everything Catholic, especially after the publication of Foxe's Book of Martyrs in 1563. This spectacular book detailed the burnings of true believers by the Roman Catholic Church over the previous two hundred years.  News reached England about bonfires of vernacular Bibles in Catholic lands, adding fuel to the fire.

Mary Queen of Scots began to plot the overthrow of Elizabeth in 1586.  Her plans were discovered and Elizabeth reluctantly allowed her execution. 

Meanwhile the Puritan movement grew still larger. The Puritans did not believe in compulsory church attendance.  They believed people should only go to church if they wanted to; that they should worship according to the Bible; and elect their own ministers.  This became known as Congregationalism.  They were persecuted and in 1593 many of them fled to Holland. 

Near the foot of London bridge, grimaced a row of rotting skulls, the severed heads of traitors, some of them generations old.  Twenty to thirty were hanged every day in 1599, for crimes such as treason, murder, manslaughter, rape, grand theft, witchcraft, highway robbery, desertion from the army, hawk stealing, the malicious letting out of ponds, committing homosexual acts, and bestiality.

Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, her sixty-nine-year-old face still plastered with the lead-based white chalk that killed her.  All women of means in those days wore thick color and varnish on their faces, sometimes made from apples and hog fat.  That new device, the mirror, had started the beauty business.  Elizabeth dyed her hair red and plucked her eyebrows out of her head, which is why she never looked surprised.  Elizabeth was the white-faced Virgin Queen. 

Elizabeth had presided over one of the most glorious periods of English history.  During her reign, the first English stock market was created.  Sir Walter Raleigh said, "The Queen was a lady whom time had surprised." 

The son of Mary Queen of Scots became King James of England, and every monarch since has been her descendant. 

DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA
DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA

SPANISH ARMADA

 

In 1588, King Philip of Spain, the most powerful monarch in Europe,  launched the largest naval force in world history, the Spanish Armada, against England to punish her for piracy, Protestantism, and for locking up Mary Queen of Scots.  King Philip and Queen Elizabeth were bitter rivals. 

27,000 soldiers were aboard those 130 ships, along with hundreds of monks who were to restore Catholicism to England.  More than half of the Spanish Armada was destroyed by faster, more maneuverable English ships;  English naval skill; and God's Providence—manifested as winds which favored the English.  The English also had twice the cannon power on their ships—Spanish ships were built to haul silver—and they deployed fire ships against the Spaniards.  17,000 Spanish soldiers perished in this humiliating defeat, that spelled the beginning of the end of the dominance of Spain.  The English lost sixty men and not one ship. 

STATUE OF SIR FRANCIS DRAKE AT PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND
STATUE OF SIR FRANCIS DRAKE AT PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE

 

Sir Francis Drake was an adventurer who saw piracy and plunder as his solemn Protestant duty, providing the captured vessels were the property of Catholic Spain.

By the 1580s his very name provoked panic among the Spanish.

Drake not only hijacked the King of Spain's silver in route from the New World, he daringly pillaged harbors and sacked Catholic churches in Spain itself.

Sir Francis Drake cemented his fame by sailing around the world during 1577-1580.

MARY STUART QUEEN OF SCOTS
MARY STUART QUEEN OF SCOTS
EXECUTION OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
EXECUTION OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Mary Queen of Scots was the granddaughter of the English King Henry VII. From the time she was six days old, she bore the title, Queen of Scots. In 1565 Mary married her cousin Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley). She soon began an adulterous affair with the Earl of Bothwell, and they blew up—literally—her bedridden syphilitic husband. She then married Bothwell, and was compelled to abdicate her throne. Thus her one-year-old son James was crowned King of Scotland, and would one day be King of England as well. Mary fled to England to throw herself on the mercy of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. But the Queen of England was jealous of her reputedly much prettier relative, and placed her under house arrest. The two women never met.

In 1570 Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth and called on English Catholics to rise up and murder her. The papal decree would become Mary's death sentence. Elizabeth's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, was convinced that England would plunge into a civil, religious war if Mary was allowed to live. He conducted a sting operation and caught Mary red-handed agreeing with a plot to kill Elizabeth. Mary was convicted of treason and her head was chopped off. Elizabeth was stricken with grief, and enraged at the news because she had not signed the final execution order yet. Apparently her aides had itchy axe finger.

 

SIR WALTER RALEIGH
SIR WALTER RALEIGH

SIR WALTER RALEIGH

 

Sir Walter Raleigh was a soldier of fortune.

He was handsome, well built, rich, a flashy dresser, and a proper gentleman.

Queen Elizabeth named him Captain of the Guard.

She also granted him exclusive control over the sale of tin, playing cards, and liquor licenses.

Raleigh brought the potato and tobacco to the English court, the former considered an aphrodisiac and the latter a healthy medicine.

He proposed that the land where these plants grew should be named in her honor—Virginia.

THE WATER CLOSET


Sir John Harrington invited Queen Elizabeth to try out his new invention, the first modern water closet, in 1592. Most folks of those days used a hole in the ground, with moss or leaves as toilet paper. But this device had a lever by which you could flush water down from a cistern above. The Queen loved it and installed one in her palace.



To prepare this article I used the following books: Europe by Norman Davies; Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey; and From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun.

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Comments 111 comments

ArchDynamics profile image

ArchDynamics 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

Sir Walter was knighted in 1584 and named captain of the queen's guard shortly thereafter.

But — Sir Walter incurred Elizabeth's displeasure for an illicit love affair with one of her maids of honor. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, later freed - but then ultimately beheaded for treachery.

Man, ya just can't win with some of these gals.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Very good hub, but you are a bit hard on Mary , Queen of Scots. There is no evidence to suggest that she was complicit in the murder of her husband, except for the infamous "casket letters", which are widely regarded as forgeries. But even if she had been, he behaved so abominably towards her that she could hardly be blamed.

Darnley wasn't blown up either. He escaped from the house before the explosion and was found strangled in the garden.

Pope Clement VII could not have given a divorce to Henry VIII. There was no question of money changing hands. He could not grant a marriage dissolution because Pope Leo X had previously granted a dispensation to Henry to marry Catherine in the first place, so the marriage was canonically legitimate.


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing

I think I speak for all women when I say how King Henry the VIII was one king we all love to hate....


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

James- This is an extremely well written compilation of history. I envy your ability to condense........... I'd be going on and on and on......................

I see that another history buff has preceded me here ;-)

Sir Walter did in fact have an illicit love affair, but it would only have been considered "illicit" because he was one of the Queen's favorites. Yes, he had an affair with one of her favorite ladies in waiting (Elizabeth Throgmorton; aka. the "young Elizabeth"), but he did marry her. The imprisonment was cause and effect......... the cause, a secret marriage without her consent; the effect, well........... that little green monster crawled up on her shoulder, jealousy. Many of her "favorites" resorted to secret marriages; Robert Dudley also married in secret (Margaret Cavendish), but his punishment was only a temporary banishment from court.

That's enough from me.............. I completely enjoyed this! What's next? ;-D

Kaie


europewalker profile image

europewalker 6 years ago

Great hub, I love 15th/16th century european history. I can read this for hours. I wish I could say the same for american history,but it just doesn't do it for me.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

ArchDynamics— Thank you for being my first visitor!

I did not know Sir Walter was beheaded. I am surprised and disappointed. I thought he was a pretty good dude. I guess your right—sometimes you just can't win with these gals. :D

Thanks for the illumination, my learned friend. Always great to hear your thoughts.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

christopheranton— Wow! You know your history. Thank you for the corrections. I appreciate the visit and the comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. I look forward to reading your work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

advisor4qb— Well said, my dear. I do appreciate you taking the time to read my article.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kaie Arwen— It is always such a pleasure to see you. This story is condensed, alright. A mutlitude of entire books have been written about these characters. It ain't easy to try to tell it in 3190 words. :D

Thank you for the enlightenment. I appreciate your compliments, too. Next up will be a history of the Protestant Reformation; then a Hub about the Counter-Reformation; and lastly an overview of European history in the 16th Century on the Continent. Then—I'm taking a month off from writing Hubs to concentrate on my book.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

europewalker— Thank you! I love European history, too, particularly of this time period. I appreciate your comments.


satomko profile image

satomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

Another informative hub. Keep up the good work.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Wow..thank you, for the timeline it makes more sense to me now!!! I love it!!


EnLydia Listener 6 years ago

that was a very readable history lesson...interesting with a touch of humor.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

Very good history info, thanks James.


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

Hi James, you did a wonderful job reviving such great lives of kings and queens of England. I forgot how many unique stories this county’s history has. Your hub is a nice overview. Thank you for reminding me.


"Quill" 6 years ago

James as always the research you put into your work amazes me and blesses us all...a real history lesson indeed...

Blessings and Good Faith Brother


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Hi james! It was great getting a history lesson from you again! The Kings, Queens and Lords of England have been on mind a lot lately, so it was perfect to read this and learn! Good hub!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

satomko— Thank you! Thank you very much.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

msorensson— I am well pleased that you approve, my dear. Thank you for letting me know.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

EnLydia Listener— Where would I be without my wit? Thank you for coming.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir! You're welcome, my friend. Thank you for your kind comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cameciob— You are welcome. Thank you for your gracious compliments. I am well pleased to read your response. :-)


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

James, your work is amazing and an educational pleasure to read. You brought history to life in this nice hub, and as always the photographs are interesting and many. God Bless You Dear Brother.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

My knowledge of this period in European history is lacking so I can appreciate this hub and the work that went into organizing it is such a readable manner. The photos are a wonderful compliment. Thank you.

Forever His,


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

I didn't think you could get any better - this Hub is fantastic! Wow!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Excellent work, as always, James. I especially appreciated this one because you hit upon a couple of my first heroes, Sir Francis Drake & Queen Elizabeth. Fifth grade social studies class.

Thank you for an enjoyable, educational read.


lightning john profile image

lightning john 6 years ago from Florida

Great history james thank you!

Treason and wrong doing had severe repercussions in those days! I just have to wonder that if we had the same today for overwelmingly guilty child rapists/killers that surely there would be a less large prison population.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Henry VIII had a very busy time didn't he from his involvement in the reformation and all those wives - you capture it so well James.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, James, and thank you for the pleasure of reading you piece of English history. As always, fantastic. Would I expect anything else? One little information about Sir Walther Raleigh. He definitely was beheaded because his ghost still wanders about with his head under his arm. I forgot where. It could be either Hampton Court or the Tower of London. He had been seen several times. Thank you for a very comprehensive hub.


magnoliazz profile image

magnoliazz 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Excellent hub, very enjoyable.

"Dammned if you do, dammmed if you don't", the mantra of the average person of the time.

Religion is a convuluted, funny thing, a completely human device.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

"Quill"— Thank you for reading my article, brother. I do appreciate it and I am well pleased to read your kind compliments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Ann Nonymous— Hey, Ann! Thank you for the accolades. I love history. This was a fascinating time period, methinks. I appreciate you coming by to visit. :)


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Some women are really dangerous. :) James your historic hubs are always a pleasure to read. This one was simply great. Rated up and stumbled.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— Thanks for the applause, my friend. I always enjoy reading your warm words in my comments boxes; and your Hubs are also quite interesting and full of the love that fills your heart.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RevLady— Well then, here you go. It is my pleasure to write about history. I love it. Thank you for your gracious words. And you are welcome. God Bless You Sister! :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

GmaGoldie— Thank you for the laudations! You have warmed my heart and lifted my spirits!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Ken R. Abell— You are surely welcome. I'm glad you came to visit and that you enjoyed the presentation. Thank you for letting me know, brother.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

I adored this as you fed the histroy lover in me. I knew some of the history, but you went above and beyond in this one and I learned new things. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

lightning john— Thank you and you're welcome. Severe penalties surely lessen crime. In some Arab lands they chop your hand off for stealing. The theft rates are incredibly low. They castrate you for rape. They hardly ever have a rape to prosecute. hmmm . . .


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

billyaustindillon— He was one busy dude, alright. Thanks for the compliment. I enjoyed writing this, and researching it beforehand, too. Good to see you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello,hello,— Hello! You're welcome. The ghost of Sir Walter Raleigh? hmmm . . .

Thank you for the accolades. It makes a man feel good. :D


dreamreachout 6 years ago

Wonderful hub!! Great to know such historical facts. Your hubs are amongst the very best here on hub pages .. Kudos!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

magnoliazz— Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, people were stuck in the middle of many serious disputes in those days. Most of them simply tried their best to pick the side they thought would win.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

hypnodude— Good to see you are still around. Thanks for the affirmation. Yes, women can be dangerous creatures.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

JannyC— You are surely welcome, my dear. I so appreciate your kind comments. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dreamreachout— Thank you for the applause! I sure appreciate it.


knell63 profile image

knell63 6 years ago from Umbria, Italy

Great hub James, I had the Kings and Queens of England spoon fed as a kid at school but its always good to take a refresher course.


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA

Excellent hub! History really has the most interesting characters especially during that time period in England. I believe they are calling them 'rock stars.' Anyway it was a pleasure to read! Good luck on the book!


Allan McGregor profile image

Allan McGregor 6 years ago from South Lanarkshire

Mary Queen of Scots life would make a great hub in its own right, because she is a pivotal figure in world history.

She actually became Queen at six days old after her father James V died at the age of 30. He too had become king as a child when his father James IV was killed fighting the English at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Henry VIII was abroad at that time so it was his wife Catherine of Aragon who dispatched the army that dispatched Mary's grandfather.

By the time of Mary’s birth, Henry had a son and seeing his chance to acquire Scotland through the marriage of Mary to young Edward, invaded Scotland accordingly, in a campaign of harassment Sir Walter Scott later called ‘the War of Rough Wooing’.

That’s why Mary was removed by her mother Marie of Guise to the French Court where she eventually married the Dauphin at Notre Dame Cathedral, becoming daughter-in-law of Catherine de Medici in the process. When the Dauphin became Francis II, Mary became Queen of France. Sadly, Francis died aged 17 and Mary returned to Scotland two years later.

So, as the daughter of James V, wife of Francis II and granddaughter of Henry VII, Mary was arguably Queen of Scots by birth, Queen of France by marriage and Queen of England by right.

However, having fled to France as a child, Mary was culturally French and despite being religiously tolerant was despised for being Roman Catholic by Scottish reformers like John Knox who had been a slave in a French galley.

Renowned as the most beautiful queen in Europe, Mary was highly sexed and soon became dazzled by her English first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but soon became disliilustioned with her political match and became close to and the Italian courtier David Rizzio, who some think may have been her lover. Darnley was in fact a drunken bully and a brute who beat his wife during her pregnancy and on discovering her relationship with Rizzio burst into her chambers with a bunch of Scottish nobles and stabbed Rizzio to death in front of her.

Mary’s baby would become James VI, first king of Great Britain and the king who commissioned the Authorised Version of the Bible, popularly known as the King James Version.

Unsurprisingly, Mary's marriage to Darnley did not flourish and she took James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell as her lover, who is generally believed to have murdered Darnley.

The jury’s out on who definitely did the dirty deed, as there were no reliable witnesses and no Edinburgh CSI to wrap up the case. But it seems that when Darnley’s apartment was blown up while he slept, he survived the blast, saved by his mattress from the impact as he was thrown clear and made a run for it, only to be hunted down and strangled.

Knox accused Mary of complicity and Scotland eventually descended into a civil war which ended at what is now Battlefield just outside Queen’s Park (named after Mary). When her army lost she fled to England and the rest, as they say, is history.


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

What a fascinating time of history that was. But not a good time to be a woman at all.

Husband impotent? My fault. Gave birth to royal male heir, stillborn? My fault.

It is very interesting, but if you read enough of that era, you begin to wonder about all of the secret marriages. In fact, my reading indicates that a secret engagement that you entered into, but broke off, was enough to make you a marked woman, should that information ever be uncovered. Too much intrigue, innuendo, and heartlessness for me. Too many risks to be a married woman. No wonder Elizabeth remained single her whole life.


Allan McGregor profile image

Allan McGregor 6 years ago from South Lanarkshire

Secret marriages of courtiers happened because royal attendants had strategic obligations, one of which was that they may not marry without the king's/queen's permission.

This was not that uncommon until quite recently. When I was a police officer an older colleague told me that as recently as the 1960s an officer still had to ask the chief constable's permission to marry, whereupon an assessment would be made of the suitability of their intended.

As sovereigns ruled as absolute monarchs in the 16th Century, disobedience to a royal edict was treason, hence the close shave on the axeman's block.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

well done.... an interesting read!!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

knell63— Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. You are an Englishman fortunate enough to live in the Italian countryside. Oh! What a lucky man he was!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kendall H.— Thank you. Rock Stars, eh? I hadn't heard that but it is befitting. I am well pleased that you enjoyed this article. Thanks for coming!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Allan McGregor— You are so right, my friend. Many of these characters rightly deserve their own Hubs—Henry, Elizabeth, Mary Tudor, Drake, Raleigh, More, and as you say, Mary Queen of Scots. I only attempted a brief overview for the attention span challenged. :D JK

Everything you wrote seems entirely accurate to me. Thank you very much for filling in the gaps.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

gracenotes— Yes, Elizabeth seems quite wise in her choice to remain single, despite enormous pressures brought to bear to marry a strategic ally. This looks like a dangerous time to be any person, male or female, to me. Still, it is fascinating. Thanks for coming by and leaving your fine remarks.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Allan McGregor— Ah! The old close shave! :)

Thank you, my brother, for illuminating this topic. I appreciate your visits and extraordinary commentaries. You are always more than welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

carolina muscle— Thank you, my friend! I appreciate the kind words.


jjmyles profile image

jjmyles 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Great Hub! Excellent research. The royal court was a real soap opera. It was quite a violent show that the royals ran. "off with their heads." Seems to have been the answer to any inconvienence that popped up.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi James

A truly well researched and interesting hub which took me back to my school days. Whilst I'm not an avid history buff I can remember the fate of the six wives of Henry VIII as I was taught the following "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived". I also remembered that armada is Spanish word for naval fleet! So some of the old gray cells must still be there and working!!

Amber:)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

jjmyles— Thank you! Thank you very much. "Off with their heads!" :D

It seems as though they resolved their difficulties the quick way. Life was short in those days.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Amber Allen— Hi Amber! Thank you for taking the time to read my article and for your well received compliments. I only have three brain cells left and they are working overtime. :D

James


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting Hub on the Tudor period James, but you could easily divide it into different Hubs if you wanted to - each of these people could easily be a Hub on their own. Lots of good research.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

CMHypno— Yes, I agree that this could easily be several Hubs. This is only meant to be a brief overview so I can keep moving. Actually, I wrote a Hub about 16th Century Europe and broke this off from it, which I will publish later today. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

James,

Yes, I agree, it was a dangerous time for MANY folks.

However, when things went wrong in the natural, women could easily be accused of being witches, or of being associated with the "dark arts" in some way. It happened in Henry VIII's time, and of course, we're familiar with what happened during early life in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

James A Watkins, Wow! Intriguing, educational and fascinating historical chronicle of 16th century England!

The saga between man’s idolization of power resulting in corruption through domination and control continues... What an enthralling cast of characters! I must join the chorus by saying your work is always excellent and well researched! I am never disappointed and always impressed! Great illustrations as well! Superb job Professor! In His love, Peace & Blessings!


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Another home run, you knocked this out of the park!!!!!!

It is obvious why our Founding Fathers wanted no established State religion. England had way too much mixing of politics and religion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

gracenotes— Well, you are surely right. Women were treated unfairly. And the poor men, being drawn and quartered . . . I don't want to think about it. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— There you are! What a pleasure to receive you again. I am so happy to read your laudatory remarks. I am walking ten feet tall now. :D

Thank you.


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

Henry Vlll was a very busy man wasn't he? History is so fasinating! Your hubs are always so full of information. I have learned so much from you and your avid research. This was great!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Awesome! I've been watching the Tudors series again, and I'm thinking of writing a hub about the wives of Henry VIII.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth— Yes, brother, as you say the Founders did not want a state imposed religion that was mandatory for all to observe. I so appreciate your laudations! Thank you. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

rls8994— He surely was a busy man! I love history. I am glad that you've enjoyed my work. Thank you for letting me know.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

habee— That sounds like an interesting Hub. I have heard about the TV series "The Tudors" but I haven't seen it yet. I'll have to do that. Thank you for the compliment.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Thanks for an entertaining hub. You bring history to life for a most important era in England. You captured the motivation behind the events with humor and insight. And great pictures, too!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

lone77star— You're welcome. I sure appreciate the accolades. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub! Great Pics. I enjoyed learning some new things and re-learning. I remember bits but I was glad to go through the entire hub with the comments! Thanks James!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Micky Dee— Thank you! Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it, brother. You are most assuredly welcome.


MCWebster profile image

MCWebster 6 years ago

Hi James,

Terrific hub! I've recently been reading a lot of non-fiction articles about King Henry VIII and his court, as well as many historical fiction novels. Currently reading one about Mary, queen of Scots. You do a great job of condensing a lot of info here!

Looking forward to reading more of your work :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

MCWebster— Thank you! I appreciate your compliments. As you observed, this is quite condensed. I saw that you are a musician and have a degree in art history. So, I am your latest follower and look forward to reading your Hubs. :D


boba020682 profile image

boba020682 6 years ago from Silicon Valley

James,

A very nice job of condensing about a hundred years of English history.

History was one of my favorite subjects until I had to take tests on it. Always loved the information. Hated the testing.

So this was a pleasant experience.

Thank you!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

boba020682— I always enjoy hearing from you, my friend. Thank you for your fine comments. And you are welcome!

James


jorrddann profile image

jorrddann 6 years ago

I am absolutely obsessed with the Tudor era, amazing post!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

jorrddann— Thank you! Thank you very much. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Just like boba020682, I also liked history but hated the tests with names, places and dates. You brought this synopsis of 16th Century England alive with your words and photos. Thanks! Will tweet this!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Peggy W— Right. History can be awfully boring if it only involves rote memorization of dates and names. It is truly an incredible story that should be intensely intresting if told well.

I greatly appreciate the Tweet! Thank you for visiting and commenting. Always nice to hear from you.


WestOcean profile image

WestOcean 5 years ago from Great Britain

An outstanding hub. I am fascinated by the persona of Wolsey, that son of an Ipswich butcher who became "alter rex"...

"Why come ye nat to court? To which court, to the king's court, or Hampton Court?" - John Skelton


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WestOcean— Thank you very much! Wolsey, I agree, is a fascinating character.

I surely appreciate you taking the time to read my work. I enjoyed your comments.


Malcolm_Cox profile image

Malcolm_Cox 5 years ago from Newcastle, England

great stuff. English is is my favourite! I'm English so that's probably not surprising


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Malcolm_Cox— I appreciate you taking the time to check out my Hubs. Thank you for your comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


mademoiselle33 profile image

mademoiselle33 5 years ago from Cleveland, OH

Actually, the pope did consider giving Henry VIII an annulment...that is why he sent Cardinal Campeggio as a papal legate to help decide the matter because Henry asserted the dispensation had been granted under false pretenses. He brought witnesses to testify that Catherine had slept with Arthur and therefore, his marriage to her was illegal. The dispensation had only been granted because Catherine said (and everyone at the time went along with it) that her marriage to Arthur hadn't been consummated. However, Campeggio & Clement were being pressured by Charles, the Holy Roman Emperor & nephew of Catherine of Aragon, who just happened to be holding the pope prisoner at that time (after the Sack of Rome).


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

mademoiselle33— Whoa! We have an expert here. You see, I am a mere layman. I am surely glad you came with your piercing insights and studied knowledge into this history.

Yes, I believe all you said is true. Thank you for these illuminating words. I appreciate your contributions to our understanding. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


5 years ago

Hello James - long time no see!

Great hub! I've done an extensive study on this subject and was delighted to see your hub on it. I recommend the book "Elizabeth the Great" by Elizabeth Jenkins. She's one of the only authors I've read about the Tudor era that understands how Elizabeth I's decisions were all made based on the dynamics of power. Elizabeth I was never wishy-washy or procrastinating, as some authors claim, but shrewdly calculating. She had to be - so many were just waiting for the smallest opportunity to depose her.

Thanks for the fun read. -Ellen


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

X— I'm trying to place you . . . give me a clue.

I appreciate that recommendation. I've written it down and I'll check it out. I never pictured Elizabeth I as "wishy-washy;" that's for sure. No doubt she was shrewdly calculating, as you say.

Thank you for coming to visit, and for your excellent comments. You are also truly welcome. :)


5 years ago

Madame X. Left hubpages because of the overt left-wing bias on the forums from the HP staff. But I still read your stuff :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

X— AH! Madame X! I have missed your wise comments and encouragement. I'm sorry you left HubPages. I'll come over and see if there are any Hubs of yours I have missed.

Oh. I see you have pulled your Hubs. That is too bad. I've missed you.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 5 years ago from Amman, Jordan

It brings back memories of school days when we were learning about the tudors, very enjoyable


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

marwan asmar— I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my work. I am glad you enjoyed this article in particular. Thank you for visiting and commenting.


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 5 years ago from Western Washington

Isn't it ironic that Mary, Queen of Scots, was a Tudor by blood, was imprisoned for years by her own first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth, and executed as a traitor, only to have her son become king, thus having the modern day monarchy descended from her.

In essense, Mary Queen of Scots still lives on.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

sharewhatuknow— That IS ironic, alright. Mary Queen of Scots lives on.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your excellent, thoughtful comments. Welcome to the HubPages Community!


pfp 4 years ago

rubbish info


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

pfp— Thank you. Thank you very much.


gryphin423 profile image

gryphin423 4 years ago from Florida

My focus when getting my BA in History was this period. Nice overview! Thanks again.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

gryphin423— Thank you!! Thank you you very much! :D

Welcome to the HubPages Community, my fellow Floridian.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Patricia,— You are most welcome. Thank you for your visit and your astute comments. I am glad you are such a fan of 16th Century England.

This Hub has proven to be quite popular for me. :-)


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 3 years ago from upstate, NY

What a long and tragic example this is of the abuse of power and a confirmation that- "absolute power corrupts absolutely"! I can also see, how the reputation of the Christian faith was damaged by the power plays of English tyrants! This history lesson makes a good object lesson in understanding the nature and tactics of tyrants, a lesson that the Founding Father took to heart when crafting a government which divided powers and respected God given rights.


nkjnkl 3 years ago

this was useless i didn't help me at all i needed to find out about names for criminals in 16th century england!!!!!!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

wba108@yahoo.com— Thank you very much for taking the time to come by and read my article. I appreciate your patience as I know this Hub is a bit long. There was much ground to cover.

I enjoyed reading your outstanding remarks. You are spot on in your analysis. It is always a pleasure to "see" you and receive your discerning thoughts for my perusal. Thanks again!

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

nklnkl— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D


James Dean Watkins 3 years ago

i'd like to hear from james a watkins and find out more i live in dodge city kansas 67801 1400 4th ave apt 5 phone number is 620-253-6721 i go by jim thank you and hope to hear from you as soon as you have time.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

What can I say James except that this was wonderful! I love the Tudors and their stories never get old. Well done.

Best wishes

Kim

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