Tudor England Government - Facts, History, Politics

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Tudor Government Policies

Act of Union  the Act passed in the English and Scottish Parliaments of 1707 confirming the treaty by which the Parliaments and executive wings of government of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland were united and brought together. The treaty also provided for the autonomy of the Episcopal Church of England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and for the maintenance of separate legal processes and substantive law in both kingdoms.

Acts of Uniformity  English parliamentary acts of 1549, 1552, 1559 and 1662 in which forms of worship and religious practice were prescribed and penalties appointed for those who failed to conform. There is an Irish act of Uniformity in 1560 which is based on the English Act but there are no later acts of uniformity in Ireland and one at all in Scotland.

Adiaphora: theologians distinguished between those beliefs and practices which were necessary for salvation and those which represented custom and practice necessary for good order but which might be changed from time to time and place to place. Their name for these latter was Adiaphora or things indifferent

Anabaptists: a sect originating in the low countries and Germany which preached a fundamentalist Protestantism centered on belief in adult and not infant baptism. Anabaptist became a general term of abuse hurled at radical Puritans.

Arminians were those accused of following the Dutch theologian Arminius who believed that Christ died for all and that each person had an active part to play in achieving and saving grace made possible by redeeming sacrifice.

Benefit of clergy was a privilege originally granted to all those in holy orders, which exempted them from temporal punishments for specified offences. Since the test of those able to claim the privilege was to read a verse of scripture, the privilege came gradually to be extended to cover many literate laymen. It was abolished in 1706.

Chantry was a place normally a side chapel or altar in a parish church where a priest said masses to help release the soul of a deceased person from Purgatory.

Chapbook was a small inexpensive pamphlet of popular tales, ballads, etc. sold by a peddler or a Chapman.

Clarendon code was a name later and inappropriately given to a series of distinct acts of Parliament in the 1660's aimed at penalizing those who absented themselves from services in their parish churches or who took part in unauthorized services.

Common Law was the precedent and custom which formed the substance of English criminal and much civil law. It defined legal procedures and was interpreted by the judges through an exercise of artificial reason. It was subject to modification and change only through parliamentary acts.

Congregationalists those protestants who favored the disestablishment of the Church and the effective autonomy of every parish to choose its own minister, discipline its own members and devise its own liturgies with the advice of other Christians but generally without any external coercive force. Congregationalists were also called Independents.

Dissenters were those who refused to conform themselves to the practice and discipline of the Church of England. Otherwise known as nonconformists.

Enclosure was the practice (also known as engrossing) of taking the great open or common fields of medieval England, which were farmed communally, and dividing the land into individual hedged or ditched holdings.

Erastian was someone who emphasized the authority of the laity and the secular state in relation to matters of religion such as granting powers of excommunication to laymen or bodies dominated by laymen or granting to parliament the right to define doctrine or to determine forms of worship.

Exclusion Crisis was the name sometimes given to political crisis of 1678-81 when one of the aims of those critical of royal policies was to secure the passage of an Act of parliament debarring King Charles II brother and heir, James Duke of York from the succession to the throne.

Heretic was someone who denied one or more teaching which the Established Church held to be necessary for salvation. Well over 300 men and women were burned to death as heretics in the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary I.

Justices of the Peace were commissioners appointed by the crown in every county to administer justice and to enforce an ever-widening body of social and economic legislation. In 1500 there were about 20 justices in every shire, by 1700 often more than 100.

Latitudinarians were those churchmen in the second half of the seventeenth century who favored an open comprehensive Church, which insisted on few beliefs and practices as necessary and sought to work with all those of goodwill who wished to find room for themselves within the state Church.

Laudian was the practices and beliefs associated with Archbishop William Laud (1573-1645) with a strong emphasis on ceremonialism, clericalism and clerical hierarchy, emphasizing the apostolic and traditional rather than the reformed and Calvinist aspects of the Church of England.

Long Parliament was the name given at the time and since to the parliament that assembled in November 1640 and which sat until it was dissolved by armed force in April 1653.

National Covenant was the solemn bond signed and joined by most of the people of Scotland in 1638 to preserve the Church of Scotland in Presbyterian and Calvinist purity against innovations of Charles I and his father.

Neoplatonism was the adaptation of Plato's philosophy to Christianity, in which God is seen as divine reason, and human reason as divine illumination. Associated with the Cambridge Platonists of Restoration who emphasized contemplation and holy living over dogma and ritual.

Nonconformists were those who refused to conform themselves to the practice and discipline of the Church of England. Otherwise known as dissenters.

Petition of Right was the parliamentary address accepted (and given statutory force) by Charles I in 1628. By accepting it, he agreed not to attempt again to raise Forced Loans, not to imprison his subjects without showing cause know to the law, not to billet soldiers on civilian households and not to subject civilians to martial law.

Pilgrimage of Grace was the general name given to the series of uprisings in 1536-1537. The main risings were in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire with subsidiary rising in other northern counties and the rebels causes were a mixture of religious and secular concerns.

Pride's Purge was the episode on December 6, 1648 when a detachment of soldiers commanded by Colonel Thomas Pride surrounded the House of Parliament and purged out those members who were willing to make a settlement with King Charles I on terms unacceptable to the army leaders. They arrested 70 MPs and prevented many more from taking their seats. The Purge was to prelude to the trial and execution of King Charles I.

Prophesyings was meetings of local clergy in Elizabeth's reign to hear one another preach and to promote greater preaching skills. Approved of by the bishops and disapproved by Queen Elizabeth I who saw the potential in them for seditious preaching.

Purgatory is in Catholic belief where the souls of the dead go to be purged of their sins before God admits them to heaven. A process helped by the prayers of the living. This was a belief denied by Protestant churches.

Quakers was the largest Interregnum sects and the most extreme in their opposition to all forms of church government and prescribed forms of worship. They denounced the professional clergy and organized tithe strikes and other forms of civil disobedience. In the Restoration they became progressively less militant and remained the most reviled and persecuted of all religious sects.

Recusants were those who deliberately absented themselves from the Church of England services. The term applied particularly to Catholics. Those who did so absent themselves especially the heads of households became liable from the 1580's to heavy fines or other penalties.

Solemn league and covenant was the agreement between the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1643 by which the Scots sent 20000 troops to join the parliamentarian armies in England. In return the Long Parliament promised that a single form of Church government would be introduced into the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and that a federal nion of the kingdoms of England and Scotland would be developed.

Star Chamber was a court consisting of the King's privy councilors and judges, which was responsible for investigating public order offences and alleged perversions of justice for a century up to 1641. It lost popularity in the 1630's following a savage punishments inflicted on Puritan critics of royal policies.

Test acts were 2 acts of Parliament in 1673 and 1678, which imposed oaths on those holding public office, and also on those serving in either House of Parliament. The oaths were so designated that virtually no Catholic could take them. They were thus expelled from office. James II tried to get the Acts repealed. But they remained in force until 1828.

Fox's Book of Martyrs - profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment.

Convocations  an assembly of clergy that was equivalent to parliament.

Act in Restraint of Appeals  all spiritual cases to be judged within the Kings jurisdiction and authority. Parliament passed this law so when Henry VIII received his divorce from Catherine of Aragon she could not appeal to the Pope.

Statute of Praemunire  outlawed the acceptance of direct papal jurisdiction in England.


Picture of the House of Lords


Kings & Queens of England from 1487 - 1685

Henry VII 1487-1509

Henry VIII 1509-1547

Edward VI

Lady Jane Grey 9 days queen

Mary I

Elizabeth I

Stuart kings

James I

Charles I (executed)

Oliver Cromwell (lord protector)

Charles II

James II

William and Mary

Queen Anne