A Mid-Tudor Crisis?
ISBN 978 1 85944 119 0 £4.00
Was there a mid-Tudor crisis? Jennifer Loach provides a careful examination of the historiography of the concept and concludes that it was not the case. The emphasis of this work is on continuity rather than change. Protector Somerset was not ‘the good Duke’ and his successor, John Dudley, later Duke of Northumberland carried on many of his policies. Only in his use of the council did he differ fundamentally. The revolts of 1549 were caused, not by starving peasants, but by economic circumstances or reflected resistance to religious change. The greatest threat was the impact of the influenza outbreak of 1557-8 which killed about 10% of the population. The author sees Northumberland’s attempt to alter the succession in 1553 as a mere blip on the political landscape, the emphasis being again on continuity, both administrative and religious. John Foxe is dismissed as a reliable guide to the climate of Mary’s reign. Philip II brought an opportunity for change, but the restraints upon his power and the failure of Mary’s pregnancy, effectively frustrated his ambitions. The Tudor monarchy moved with ease from the death of Henry VIII to Edward VI, the reign of Mary and the accession of Elizabeth I.
Jennifer Loach was a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
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