Рефераты. England under Henry VIII

England under Henry VIII






10th "B" GRADE, SCHOOL NO. 1276

MOSCOW - 1996



Henry VIII Tudor (1491-1547)

was the second son of Henry VII.

His brother Arthur, being only 15, married to Catherine,

the daugter of the Spanish monarch.

But in a very few month he sickened and died.

Henty VII arranged that the young widow

should marry his second son Henry,

then 12 years of age, when he too should be 15.

A few years after settling this marriage, in 1509,

the King died of the gout.

King Henry the Eighth was just eighteen

years of age when he came to the throne.

People said he was a handsome boy, but

in later life he did not seem handsome at

all. He was a big, burly, noisy, small-eyed,

large-faced, double-chinned fellow, as we

know from the portraits of him, painted by

the famous Hans Holbein*.

The king was anxious to make himself

popular, and the people, who had long dis-

liked the late king, believed to believe that

he deserved to be so.

He was extremely fond of show and display, and so were they. There-fore

there was great rejoicing when he married the Princess Catherine, and when

they were both crowned. And the King fought at tournaments and always came

off victorious - for the courtiers took care of that - and there was a

general outcry that he was a wonderful man.

The prime favourites of the late King, who were engaged in money-

raising matters, Empson, Dudley, and their supporters, were accused of a

variety of crimes they really had been guilty; and they were pilloried, and

then beheaded, to the satisfaction of the people, and the enrichment of the


The Pope, so indefatigable in getting the world into trouble, had mixed

himself up in a war on a continent of Europe, occasioned by the reigning

Princes of little quarrelling states in Italy having at various times


into other royal families, and so led to their claiming a share in those


Governments. The King, who discovered that he was very fond of the Pope,

sent a herald to the King of France, to say he must not make war

upon the father of all Christians. As the French King did not mind this

relationship in the least, and also refused to admit a claim King Henry

made to certain lands in France, war was declared between the two coun-


England made a blundering alliance with Spain, and got stupidly taken

in by that country, which made its own terms with France when it could,

and left England in the lurch. Sir Edward Howard, a bold admiral, son of

the Earl of Surrey, distinguished himself by his bravery against the French

in this business; but, unfortunately, he was more brave than wise, for,

skimming into the French harbour of Brest with only a few row-boats, he

attempted to take some strong French ships, well defended with cannons.

The upshot was, that he was left on board of one of them with not more than

about a dozen man, and was thrown into the sea and drowned.


After this great defeat the King took it into his head to invade France


person, first executing that dangerous Earl of Suffolk whom his father had

left in the Tower, and appointing Queen Catherine to charge of his king-dom

in his absence. He sailed to Calais, where he was joined by Maximi-lian,

Emperor of Germany, who pretended to be his soldier, and who took

pay in his service. The King might be successful enough in sham fights, but

his idea of real battles chiefly consisted in pitching silken tents of

bright colours that were ignominiously blown down by the wind, and in

making a vast display of a gaudy flags and golden curtains. Fortune,

however, flavoured him better than he deserved: he gave the French battle,

and they took such an anaccountable panic, and fled with such

swiftness, that it was ever afterwards called by the English the Battle of

Spurs**. Instead of following up his advantage, the King, finding that he

had had enough of real fighting, came home again.

The Scottish King, though nearly related to Henry by marriage, had

taken part against him in this war. The Earl of Surrey, as the English gene-

ral, advanced to meet him when he came out of his own dominions and crossed

the river Tweed. The two armies came up with one another when

the Scottish King had also crossed the river Till, and was encamped upon

the Hill of Flodden. Along the plain below it, the English, when the hour

of battle came, advanced. The Scottish army, which had been drawn up in

five great bodies, then came steadily down in perfect silence. So they, in

their turn, advanced to meet the English army, which came on the one long

line; and they attacked it with a body of spearman, under Lord Home.

At first they had the best of it; but the English fought with such valour,

that, when the Scottish King had almost made his way up to the Royal

standart, he was slain, and the whole Scottish power routed. Ten thousand

Scottish men lay dead that day on Flodden Field. For a long time after-

wards, the Scottish peasantry used to believe that their king had not been

really killed in this battle, because no Englishman had found an iron belt

he wore about his body as a penance for having been an undutiful son. But,

whatever became of his belt, the English had his sword and dagger, and the

ring from his finger, and his body was recognized by English gent-lemen who

had known the Scottish King well.


When King Henry was making ready to renew the war in France, the French

King was contemplating peace. His Queen, dying at this time, he proposed,

though he was upwards of fifty years old, to marry King Henry's sister,

Princess Mary, who, becides, being only sixteen, was bet-

rothed to the Duke of Suffolk. As the inclinations of young Princesses were

not too much considered in such matters, the marriage was conclu-ded , and

the poor girl was escorted to France, where she was immidiately left as the

French King's bride, with only one of her English attendants. That one was

a pretty young girl named Anna Boleyn, niece of the Earl of

Surrey, who had been made Duke of Norfolk after the victory of Flodden


The French King died within three month, and left the young Queen a

young widow. The new French monarch, Francis I, seeing how important

it was to his interests that she should take for her second husband no one

but an Englishman, adviced her first lover, the Duke of Suffolk, when King

Henry sent him over to France to fetch her home, to marry her. The

Princess being herself so fond of that Duke, as to tell him that he must

either do so then, or lose her forever, they were wedded; and Henry after-

wards forgave them. In making interest with King, the Duke of Suffolk had

addressed his most powerful favourite and adviser, Thomas Wol-sey*** - a

name very famous in history for its rise and downfall.

Wolsey was the son of a respectable butcher at Ipswich, in Suffolk, and

recieved so exellent education that he became a tutor to the family of Mar-

qius of Dorset, who afterwards got him appointed one of the late King's

chaplains. On the accession of Henry VIII, he was promoted and taken into

great favour with the King - whether he were a foreign monarch or an

English nobleman - was obliged to make a friend of the great Cardinal


He was a gay man, who could dance and jest, and sing and drink. He was

wonderfully fond of pomp and glitter, and so was the King. He knew a good

deal of the Church learning of that time, much of which consisted of

finding artful excuses and pretences for almost any wrong thing, and in

arguing that black was white, or any other colour. This kind of learning

pleased the King too. For many such reasons, the Cardinal was high in

estimation with the King, and, being a man of greater ability, knew how to

manage him. Never had there been seen in England such state as that Lord

Cardinal kept. His wealth was equal, it was reckoned, to the riches of the

Crown. His palaces were as splendid as the King's, and his retinue was

eight hundred strong. He held his Court, dressed out from top to toe in

flaming scarlet; and his very shoes were golden, set with precious stones.

His followers tode on blood-horses, while he, with wonderful affectation of

humility in the midst of his great splendour, ambled on a mule.

Though the influence of his stately priest, a grand meeting was

arranged to take place between the French and English Kings in France, but

on ground belonging to England. A prodigious show of friendship was to be

made on the occation, and heralds were sent to proclaim with brazen

trumplets through all the principal cities of Europe, that, on a certain

day, the Kings of France and England, as companions and brothers in arms,

each attended by 18 followers, would hold a tournament against all knights

who might choose to come.

Charles, a new Emperor of Germany (the old one being dead), wanted to

prevent that aliance between the two sovereigns, and came over to Eng-

land and secured Wolsey's interest by promising that his influence should

make him Pope when the next vacancy occured. On the day when the Em-

peror left England, the King and the Court went over to Calais, and thence

to the place of meeting, commonly called the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

There were sham castles, temporary chapels, fountains running wine,

great cellars full of wine free as water to all comers, silk tents, gold

lace and gilt lions, and such things without end. And, in the midst of all,

the rich Cardinal outshone and outglittered all the noblemen and gentlemen

assembled. After a treaty had been made between the two Kings with as much

solemnity as if they had intended to keep it, the lists - 900 feet long,

and 320 broad - were opened for the tournament. Then, for ten days, the

two sovereigns fought five combats every day, and always beat their polite



Of course, nothing came of all these fine doings but a speedy renewal

of the war between England and France, in which the two Royal com-panions

longed very earnestly to damage one another. But, before it broke out

again, the Duke of Buckingham was shamefully executed on Tower Hill, on the

evidence of a discharged servant - really for nothing, except the folly of

having believed in a friar of the name of Hopkins, who had pretended to be

a prophet, and who had mumbled and jumbled out some nonsense about the

Duke's son being destined to be very great in the land. It was believed

that the unfortunate Duke had given offence to the great Cardinal by

expressing his mind freely about the expense and absurdity of the whole

business of the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

The new war was a short one, though the Earl of Surrey invaded France

again, and did some injury to that country. It ended in another treaty of

peace between the two kingdoms, and the discovery that the Emperor of

Germany was not such a good friend to England in reality, as he pretend-ed

to be. Neither did he keep his promise to Wolsey to make him Pope, though

the King urged him. So the Cardinal and King together found out that the

Emperor of Germany was not a man to keep faith with. They broke off a

projected marriage between the King's daughter Mary, Prin-cess of Wales,

and that sovereign, and began to consider whether it might not be well to

marry the young lady, either to Francis himself, or to his eldest son.


There now arose at Wittemberg****, in Germany, the great leader of the

mighty change in England which is called The Reformation*****, and which

set the people free from their slavery to the priests. This was a learned

Doctor, named Martin Luther******, who knew all about them, for he had been

a priest, and even a monk, himself. The preaching and writing of

Wickliffe******* had set a number of men thinking on this subject, and

Luther, finding one day to his great surprise, that there really was a book

called the New Testament which the priests did not allow to be read, and

which contained truths that they suppressed, began to be very vigorous

agains the whole body, from the Pope downward. It happened, while he was

yet only beginning his work or awakening the nation, that a friar named

Tetzel came into his neighbourhood selling what were called Indulgences, by

wholesale, to raise money for beautifying the St. Peter's Cathidral at

Rome. Those who bought an Indulgence of the Pope were supposed to buy

themselves from the punishment of Heaven for their offences. Luther told

the people that Indulgences were worthless bits of paper.

The King and the Cardinal were mightly indignant at this presumption;

and the King (with the help of Sir Thomas More********, a wise man, whom

the afterwards repaid by striking off

his head) even wrote a book about it, with

which the Pope was so well pleased that he

gave the King the title of Defender of the

Faith. The King and Cardinal also issued

flaming warnings to the people not to read

Luther's books, on pain of excommunica-

tion. But they did read them for all that; and

the rumour of what was in them spread far

and wide.

When this great change was thus going

on, the King began to show himself in his

truest and worst colours. Anne Boleyn, the pretty little girl who had gone

abroad to France with her sister, was by this time grown up to be very

beautiful, and was one of the ladies in attendance on Queen Catherine.

Queen Catherine was no longer young or pretty, and it is likely that she

was not particularly good-tempered, having been always rather melan-choly,

and having been made more so by deaths of four of her children when they

were very young. So, the King fell in love with the fair Anne Boleyn. He

wanted to get rid of his wife and marry Anne.

Queen Catherine had been the wife of

Henry's brother Arthur. So the King called

his favourite priests about him, and said

that he thought that it had not been lawful

for him to marry the Queen.

They answered that it was a serious busi-

ness, and perhaps the best way to make it

right, would be for His Majesty to be de-

vorced. That was the answer the King was

pleased with; so they all went to work.

Many intrigues and plots took place to

get this devorce. Finally, the Pope issued

a commission to Cardinal Wolsey and Cardinal Campeggio (whom he sent over

from Italy for the purpose), to try the whole case in England. It is

supposed that Wolsey was the Queen's enemy, because she had reproved him

for his manner of life. But, he did not at first know that the King wanted

to marry Anne Boleyn, and when he did know it, he even went down on his

knees, in the endeavour to dissuade him.

The Cardinals opened their court in the Convent of the Black friars, in

London. On the opening of the court, when the King and Queen were call-

ed on to appear, that poor lady kneeled at the King's feet, and said that

she had come, a stranger, to his dominions, that she had been a good and

true wife for him for 20 years, and that she could acknowledge no power in

those Cardinals to try whether she should be considered his wife after all

that time, or should be put away. With that, she got up and left the court,

and would never afterwards come back to it.

It was a difficult case to try and the Pope suggested the King and

Queen to come to Rome and have it tried there. But by the good luck for the

King , word was brought to him about Thomas Cranmer, a learned Doctor of

Cambridge, who had prospered to urge the Pope on, by referring the case to

all the learned doctors and bishops, and getting their opinions that the

King's marriage was unlawful. The King, who was now in a hurry to marry

Anne Boleyn, thought this such a good idea, that sent for Cranmer.

It was bad for cardinal Wolsey that he had left Cranmer to render this

help. It was worse for him that he had tried to dissuade the King from

marrying Anne Boleyn. Such a servant as he, to such a master as Henry,

would probably have fallen in any case; but he fell suddenly and heavily.

Soon he was arrested for high treason, and died on his way to Tower. Sir

Thomas More was made Chancellor in Wolsey's place.


Meanwhile, the opinions concerning the divorce, of the learned doctors

and bishops and others, being at last collected, were forwarded to the

Pope, with an entreaty that he would now grant it. The unfortunate Pope,

who was a timid man, was half distracted between his fear of his authority

being set aside in England if he did not do as he was asked, and his dread

of offending the Emperor of Germany, who was Queen Catherine's neph-ew. In

this state of mind he still evaded and did nothing. So, the King took the

matter into his own hands, and made himself a head of whole Church.

However, he recompenced the clergy by allowing Luther's opinions. All these

events made Sir Thomas More, who was truly attached to the Church, resign.

Being now quite resolved to get rid of Queen Catherine, and marry Anne

Boleyn without more ado, the King made Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury,

and directed Queen Catherine to leave the Court. She obeyed. but replied

that wherever she went, she was Queen of England still, and would remain

so, to the last. The King then married Anne Boleyn priva-tely, and the new

Archbishop of Cantebury, within half a year, declared his marriage with

Queen Catherine void, and crowned Anne Boleyn Queen.

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