The start of the modern era (Britain in the XVI century)
I) 1) Life-style and economy
2) The first Tudors
3) Reformation and the protestant doctrine
4) Elisabeth I
5) The war with Spain
II) Life-style and economy
Since XVI century the modern history has started. We have “the new” and “the newest”. The English have only “the modern” one. The traditional peasant, rural society started to decline and industrial urban society began to grow gradually. England was one of the places on Earth where the process had started. We don’t know exactly the reasons we may only describe how it was going on.
Some changes appeared in the XVI in the everyday life of nobility and prosperous merchants. Houses began to be built with many more windows. For example, one of the palaces, Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire was known by the rhyme, «Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall«.
New kinds of food entered the life of the nobles. They were tea, coffee and sugar. Sugar was eaten as it was, in lumps. And it brought a lot of troubles. People didn’t know its dangerous influence and didn’t use to clean teeth. Their teeth grew black in the second half of their lives.
The wool clothes trade became the most profitable branch of the British economy. England supplied many countries with its excellent wool clothes. The income was so high, that wool traders even built «Wool churches«, which had remained till now in some towns. The inscription carved on a monument in a wool church tells «I thank God and ever shall, it was the sheep that paid for all«
Since XVI century the modern history has started. The rural society started to develop into urban one. Tea, coffee and sugar appeared in usage. The wool clothes trade became the most profitable branch of the British economy.
But really they were the English peasants who “paid for all”. Landlords could increase their income by extending the fields for sheep. They occupied the lands of their peasants. The nobleman with his several armed men fenced a farmland, they encircled the land with the dig and even burnt down peasant’s houses if the peasants didn’t want to leave their land. This phenomenon was called “Enclosures”. The peasants tried to complain. It was told that “sheep devour people”. The government organized commissions to help peasants and to return their lands. But these commissions could do or did almost nothing.
The crowds of homeless and begged people flooded cities. A lot of them could do nothing but steal. The kings and queens proclaimed laws against the tramps. For example in the period of Henry VIII 7000 people were executed for tramping. The law of Elizabeth time (1672) told, that
— the tramps since fourteen should be beaten severely and their left ear should be branded
— For the second time beggars older than 18 should be executed if no one would agree to engage them
— For the third time beggars should be executed as the high criminals
This situation was described in the famous book of the century. It has two parts. The situation in England was described in the first one. The second part recommends the way of organizing an ideal society without Enclosures
Who was the author of the book and what is its title?
“Utopia” by Thomas More. It is one of the most important historical evidence on the Enclosures.
Landlords occupied the lands of the peasants and for sheep grasping. They fenced a farmland and burnt down peasant’s houses (Enclosures). It was told “sheep devour people”. The situation was described in“Utopia” by Thomas More.The laws against the tramps were adopted. In the period of Henry VIII 7000 people were executed for tramping.
2) The first Tudors
The royal dynasty of the period were the Tudors (1485-1603). First of them was Henry VII (1485-1509). Не was the representative of the Lancastrian house and had married the representative of the York house and thus put the end to “The war of the roses”.
Henry VII Tudor was the beginner of this so called glorious dynasty. Though his son Henry VIII and his granddaughter Elizabeth are more famous, Henry VII may be called the most important figure for establishing England of the modern time.
What were the main signs of glory for the medieval kings?
Successful wars and splendid court
Henry VII occurred to be the king of another philosophy. He was against any wars, because he thought that they could only destroy the economy of the country. As his predecessors he collected taxes for wars, but on the contrary he never spent any. He postponed his son Henry VIII the full royal treasury.
There was only one big spending at his time. Henry VII realized that trade, especially international, could bring high profit to Britain. With this purpose he built a large fleet of merchant ships and gave a notable impulse to the English trade.
During Henry’s reign playing cards were invented and the portrait of his wife Elizabeth has appeared eight times on every pack of cards for nearly 500 years.
The Tudors dynasty (1485-1603) was started by Henry VII (1485-1509). He was against any wars, he collected taxes but never spent for wars. He built a fleet of merchant ships and gave an impulse to the English foreign trade. His wide is told to be depicted on cards.
Henry VIII (1509-1547) was not like his father. But he shored a rather big similarity with our Ivan the Terrible.
While listening try to compare two monarchs and tell what were the common features
He is often remembered as the a tyrant of his later years. In his youth, however, Henry was a gifted musician and composer.
Henry used to spend much money for entertainment, useless wars, and as the result he wasted all the money his father had saved. So Henry needed money. He used the new idea.
Just at this time the movement of Protestantism and Reformation started in Europe. Reformation is a process of transition from Catholicism to Protestantism, which took place in the European countries in XVI — XVII centuries. To the end of the process the part of European countries became Protestant, the part remained Catholic.
Before the Reformation Pope was the head of all the Christian churches of West Europe. There was only one church. It was called Catholic. The peasants and craftsmen paid for the Catholic Church. The part of their pays was given to Pope and the part – for the monasteries. It was told in medieval era: “Knights wage for everybody, peasants work for everybody and monks pray for everybody”. In the XVI century Swedish and Danish kings proclaimed that the church shouldn’t obey the Pope. They proclaimed themselves to be the heads of the church in their countries. Since that money had been given to them, not to Pope.
Henry VIII liked the idea. He wasn’t interested in any religious doctrines. But he needed money. He proclaimed himself to be the head of English church. It got the name of Anglican church. The former incomes of the Catholic church became the incomes of English king. He took the lands of the Church to his treasury. He started closing monasteries and taking their lands. Thousands of monks and nuns became beggars and could have been treated as tramps and homeless. There was a man who tried to protect the new beggars, he was a chancellor – the title which was almost the modern prime-minister. He asked the king not to turn out the cripples. But the king refused and executed his chancellor.
What was his name? (Who tried once to protect people?) – Thomas More
He was executed not for his advocating monks, but there was a relation.
The country became Protestant. It’s interesting that earlier Henry VIII had written a book in which he criticized Reformation and Protestantism in continental Europe. The Pope of Rome awarded him with the title of the Defender of Faith. It exists in royal documents and on coins to the present day.
There was also another reason which made Henry to change the church. He was married to Catherine of Aragon of Spain. Henry wanted a son, but his wife could not give him any. Henry decided to divorce and marry Catherine’s lady-in-waiting,Anne Boleyn by name. The pope didn’t permit him to divorce. So, it was another reason why Henry proclaimed English church independent from the Pope. He allowed himself to divorce and to marry once more. For his life he was married 6 times, two of his wives were executed.
What was common between Ivan the Terrible and Henry VIII
1 – Both were tyrants
2 – Both were composers and writers
3 – Both were married many times – Ivan two times more than Henry
4 – Both tried to secularize the lands of Church – Henry was successful, Ivan was not
Henry VIII started Reformation and proclaimed himself the head of the English church. One of the reasons was to divorce Catherine of Spain and to marry once more (on the total – 6). He took the lands of the Church to his treasury and tuned out monks and nuns.
3) Reformation and the protestant doctrine
So, Reformation is a process of transition from Catholicism to Protestantism, which took place in the European countries in XVI — XVII centuries. As the result Scandinavian countries, England, Holland, half of Germany became protestant. France, Spain, Italy, another half of Germany remained Catholic.
We are going to speak about protestant doctrine because it influenced the British culture and society very much.
Reformation is a process of transition from Catholicism to Protestantism. It took place in the European countries in XVI — XVII centuries. The protestant doctrine has influenced the British culture and society strongly.
To understand the new, protestant doctrine it’s necessary to understand the gist of the Catholic first.
According to the Catholic doctrine the person is created and «is released to be free for his lifetime». Through this time his soul is a field of a struggle between virtue and sin. The just life conducts to the eternal rescue, the sin life conducts to the eternal destruction. It is the church which helps a person to avoid sins and to get rescuer.
Another was the protestant doctrine. The god had predetermined for each person a way to rescue or to perish beforehand. It is impossible to change anything. The person can only learn his fate for himself and he can show to the other men what it is intended. The divine will is shown in two aspects
— The force of belief
— The successful activity
The person who had reached the business success, most likely, is intended to rescue.
It could be conclude from that
- Intermediary of church is useless. Person should communicate with god himself. He needed not the church, but the Bible to read. That’s why the Bible should be translated in modern languages from Latin.
- The expensive church is not necessary, it is not any more the tool of rescue. The priest is only the assistant in looking for personal belief.
- The most appreciated human qualities are diligence and aspiration for business success.
(4) The person should be able for self-help
In the further development of English economy and culture this doctrine has played an outstanding role.
According to the Catholic doctrine the person is free for his lifetime and could choose between virtue and sin. The church helps to avoid sins and to get rescuer.
According to protestant doctrine the god had predetermined the fate of each man.
1 — The fate can be learnt but not changed. The signs of good fate — the force of belief, diligence and business success.
- — Person should communicate with god himself. To be available The Bible should be translated in English from Latin.
3 — The church should be cheap: the priest can help, but not rescue.
4 — The person should be able for self-help
Henry had two daughters. Both became queens of England — Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, and Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn.
The first Henry’s successor was Bloody Mary (1553 – 1558). Her mother was Spanish princess Catherine. So Mary was brought up as a Catholic and she married Philip of Spain. Mary attempted to return England to Catholicism. She carried this out with the cruelty. Thousands of Protestants were burnt. That is why she is remembered as Bloody Mary.
4) Elisabeth I
Her successor was Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn. Anne was beheaded for the unfaithfulness. Henry renounced his daughter. She stayed at the court but tried to be silent and not to participate in common entertainment. She was afraid of her father’s rage. So she had a lot of time for studying. She knew more or less 6 languages. She could read Latin and Greek and spoke French and Italian fluently. She knew Dutch and Scottish.
She wasn’t brought up by her father. But she inherited some of her father’s temper. Later she said «Although I may not be a lioness, I am a lion’s cub, and inherit many of his qualities.» She could throw her slippers at the diplomats.