This entertaining guide covers the period from 1485 to 1603, exploring the life and times of everyday people (from famine and the flu epidemic, to education, witchcraft and William Shakespeare) as well as the intrigues and scandals at court. Strap yourself in and get ready for a rollercoaster ride through the romantic and political liaisons of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I -This entertaining guide covers the period from 1485 to 1603, exploring the life and times of everyday people (from famine and the flu epidemic, to education, witchcraft and William Shakespeare) as well as the intrigues and scandals at court. Strap yourself in and get ready for a rollercoaster ride through the romantic and political liaisons of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I - and that's not all! Information on surviving Tudor buildings, such as Hampton Court, adds a contemporary twist for readers wanting to bring history to life by visiting these historic sites. "The Tudors For Dummies" includes:
Part I: The Early Tudors Chapter 1: Getting to Know the Tudors Chapter 2: Surveying the Mess the Tudors Inherited Chapter 3: Cosying Up With the First Tudor
Part II: Henry VIII Chapter 4: What was Henry like? Chapter 5: How Henry Ran his Kingdom Chapter 6: Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: The Perils of Marrying Henry Chapter 7: Establishing a New Church: Henry and Religion
Part III: Edward VI, Mary and Philip, and Queen Mary Chapter 8: Edward, the Child King Chapter 9: Establishing Protestantism Chapter 10: Northumberland, Lady Jane Grey and the Rise of Mary Chapter 11: What Mary Did Chapter 12: Weighing Up War and Disillusionment
Part IV: The First Elizabeth Chapter 13: The Queen and her Team Chapter 14: Breaking Dinner Party Rules: Discussing Religion and Politics Chapter 15: Tackling Battles, Plots and Revolts Chapter 16: Making War with Spain Chapter 17: Understanding the Trouble in Ireland Chapter 18: Passing on the Baton - Moving from Tudors to Stewarts
Part V: The Part of Tens Chapter 19: Ten top Tudor Dates Chapter 20: Ten Things the Tudors Did For Us Chapter 21: Ten (Mostly) Surviving Tudor Buildings...more
ebook, 376 pages
November 4th 2010
by For Dummies
(first published October 28th 2010)
The introduction of this book first gives a very brief overview of the period in which the Tudor monarchs – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I - ruled. The introduction moves on to detail why people seem to be drawn to the Tudor monarchs and their individual reigns and then gives a brief outline of the contents of the book. Tudors for Dummies is divided into five parts, the first looking at Henry VII, the second at the reign of Henry VIII, the third part detailing the shortThe introduction of this book first gives a very brief overview of the period in which the Tudor monarchs – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I - ruled. The introduction moves on to detail why people seem to be drawn to the Tudor monarchs and their individual reigns and then gives a brief outline of the contents of the book. Tudors for Dummies is divided into five parts, the first looking at Henry VII, the second at the reign of Henry VIII, the third part detailing the short reigns of Edward VI and his half sister Mary, the fourth part outlining the reign of Elizabeth I, and finally part five covers important facts and pieces of information about Tudor England. From here the reader is then given the option to jump to any part of the book they wish to read. I chose to start at the beginning.
Part I: Encountering the Early Tudors
Chapter 1: Touring the Time of the Tudors The first chapter of this book looks at what life was like during late 15th century and then into the reign of the Tudor monarchs. We learn about Henry VII’s history and how he had a very loose claim to the English thrown. The authors then look at the role of the King, the King’s household, how the council was formed and its responsibilities. We are also given an overview of what life was like in England for the common people during this period. I really enjoyed this chapter as it helped me to build up a picture of what England looked like and how it was run and how the people lived during the early years of the Tudor period. I love learning about how the common people lived, day to day life and the different roles and responsibilities of all sorts of people from the King down to the lowliest of persons. This was a really informative way to start off this book about the reign of the Tudors as it gave a setting in which to place each Tudor monarch.
Chapter 2: Staring a Dynasty Henry VII The second chapter, as the title states, looks at Henry VII. We learn more about the early years of Henry VII and how he had a claim to the English thrown. The authors talk about the War of the Roses (which apparently as not named that at the time!) The chapter also talks about Richard III, the Princes in the Tower and their mysterious disappearance and how at the Battle of Bosworth Henry defeated King Richard to claim the throne. From this we are shown how Henry VII ruled his Kingdom, created his council and married Elizabeth of York to unite the Lancastrians and Yorkist factions. I’ve never read a great deal about Henry VII so for me this chapter was very interesting. I had always heard that he was a very stingy miser, but apparently he did like to give lavish presents to people and enjoyed entertainments on which he spent quite a bit of money.
Part II: Handling Henry VII
Chapter 3: Being Bluff King Hal: Henry VIII This chapter looks gives a brief overview of the life of Henry VIII, son of Henry VII. We learn about his younger years, his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and take a brief look at each of the wives Henry married. The authors talk about different foreign policies Henry VIII had and all the changing alliances he had with France and Spain over the years. We also get an idea of the type of man he was, his interests and what he liked to do for entertainment. There is also a small section within this chapter which looks at the health of Henry VIII and how it deteriorated so dramatically over time.
Chapter 4: Running the Kingdom, Henry’s Way. I quite enjoyed this chapter as it looked mostly at Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell. Both men were essentially the right hand men to the King, first Wolsey and then after his death Cromwell. We learn a little about their rise to power, the influences they had with the King, the different political decisions they made and eventually each man’s downfall. The last part of this chapter also looks at Holbein’s famous portrait of Henry VIII and how it was used to project one image of Henry, when in reality the King was rather different (and not in a positive way!)
Chapter 5: Six Weddings and Two Funerals As the title suggests this chapter looks at Henry VIII’s six marriages. The authors give a little information about each of Henry’s wives, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr. We learn about the younger years of each wife, their relationship with Henry VIII, any children they had and their final years (keeping in mind that two of Henry’s wives were executed). We also have a very brief look at Bessie Blount, the mistress whom gave birth to Henry’s illegitimate son and Mary Boleyn, sister to Anne Boleyn and mistress at one stage to Henry. There was a lot of information contained within this chapter and I did notice that the authors made a few mistakes. The most notable being that Anne Boleyn was executed on May 17th (the actual day was the 19th of May) and that she chose to be beheaded with a Frenchman’s sword (it was in fact Henry’s choosing).
Chapter 6: Building a New Church: Henry and Religion As with the previous chapter this chapter contained a wealth of information about religion during Henry VIII’s reign. The authors look at the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism and where Henry’s religious beliefs fitted. We learn about the dissolution of the monasteries, how at one stage an English bible was introduced to the churches and The Act of Six Articles which outlined what people could and could not do in regards to religion. The authors also look at how Henry broke with Rome and had himself declared as the Supreme Head of the Church, which not only allowed him to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled, but it allowed him to marry Anne Boleyn and essentially rule over the church.
Part III: Remembering the Forgotten Tudors: Edward VI and Mary
Chapter 7: Ruling from the Nursery: Edward VI and His Protectors Chapter seven looks at Henry VIII’s son and heir, Edward Tudor whom became Edward VI upon the death of his father. Edward was only nine when his father died and unable to rule England on his own, therefore a council was appointed by Henry VIII before he died to guide his son until he reached adulthood (age 18) and could rule on his own. We learn about Edward Seymour the Duke of Somerset and his younger brother Thomas Seymour whom married Henry VIII’s widow Catherine Parr. We learn a little about Kett’s Rebellion and how the people were objecting to the issues of rising rent, inflation and the amount of sheep being bred. We also begin to glimpse at the rivalry between Edward Seymour and John Dudley, both members of the council set up to guide King Edward VI.
Chapter 8: Encouraging Protestantism This chapter goes into quite a lot of detail about the religious reform that spread throughout England during Edward VI’s reign. Edward was a Protestant and so were many members of his council whom were currently running the country while Edward was underage. These men had an agenda to continue the reform of religion and to create further instalments of Protestant ideas. We learn about the Book of Common Prayer written by Thomas Cranmer which had the aim of bringing uniformity to churches throughout England. Cranmer also proposed that mass should be said in English and not Latin and removed any ideas about transubstantiation (the belief that the bread and wine eaten during mass was really the body of Christ). These dramatic changes caused rebellion throughout the west.
Chapter 9: Changing with the Times: Edward, John, Jane and Mary Chapter nine looks deeper into the rivalry between John Dudley and Edward Seymour. Both men were arrogant and ambitious and sought to see the other undone. In the end it was John Dudley whom had the upper hand and had Seymour tried for trumped up charges of treason. Like his brother, Edward Seymour was found guilty and beheaded on Tower Hill. Next the authors look at the death of King Edward VI and how the young King decided that it was to be his cousin and not his older sister Mary who would be his successor. Edward was worried that if Mary succeeded him to the throne of England she would return England back to the Catholic faith. Lady Jane Grey was Edward’s cousin and a devoted Protestant. John Dudley organised for Jane to marry his son Guildford and thus making Dudley father in law to the Queen. When Edward died, Jane succeeded him but she was to reign for only nine days. There was confusion over Edward’s will and documents as he was only a minor and people did not know if they would stand up in parliament. Also Mary Tudor believed she was the next in line to the throne and declared herself Queen. She was supported by many of the people in the North and in the end the council agreed with her. John Dudley was arrested for having put Jane Grey on the throne of England and Jane and her husband Guildford were sent to the Tower of London. All three were eventually executed. The end of this chapter looks at Mary Tudor’s succession to the throne and how she married Phillip of Spain, son of The Holy Roman Emperor.
Chapter 10: Returning to the Old Faith: Mary 1 As this title suggests, upon her succession to the throne Mary wanted to return England to the Catholic faith and reunite the country to Rome and the Pope – this however was easier said than done. Mary had parliament reverse all the acts brought in during the reign of her brother Edward. The Book of Common Prayer was removed from churches, masses were said in Latin, the Pope had the power to appoint bishops and once more priests could not marry. As well as this Mary went about trying to stamp out heresy throughout England. Hundreds of people both churchmen and common men and women were burned for their belief in the Protestant faith. There are several stories of some quite horrific burnings carried out under Mary’s orders. Yet despite popular belief the term ‘Bloody Mary’ was not used during Mary’s reign and only came about during the 19th century. This chapter also looks at Mary’s rather unhappy marriage to Phillip of Spain. While Mary was besotted with her husband the feeling was not mutual. Mary was to have two phantom pregnancies which I can only imagine must have been quite devastating for her.
Chapter 11: Ending the Dream: The Last of Mary This was quite a heavy chapter as there was a lot of information covered. First the authors looked at the war with France on one side and England and Spain on the other. The war was very costly for England and at the end of the day they achieved nothing and ended up losing Calais which was the last great stronghold in France. It was a devastating blow for England and especially for Mary whom seemed to take the loss personally as she stated that ‘when I am dead and opened they shall find Calais engraved in my heart’ (p. 187). This chapter also looked at the final year of Mary’s life and how she grew very paranoid, even to the point where she did not name her successor until she was close to her deathbed. Mary Tudor died on the morning of November 17th 1558; her successor was to be Elizabeth her younger half sister.
Part IV: Ending with Elizabeth
Chapter 12: Dancing with Elizabeth Elizabeth took over ruling England from Mary with reasonable ease as many of the people saw her as a breath of fresh air. She was young, Protestant by belief and had her father’s heart; there were great hopes for the new Queen. One of Elizabeth’s first acts was to remove many of the Catholics from her council and replace them with Protestant men. But the biggest question that everyone was asking was who would she marry? There were many suggestions and proposals but Elizabeth continuously dodged and weaved giving her hand to no one. But her heart it seemed belonged to a man named Robert Dudley. Dudley was the son of the disgraced Duke of Northumberland whom had been executed for his part in putting Jane Grey on the throne of England. Despite this Robert rose in favour and Elizabeth name him the Earl of Leicester. There was much speculation if Elizabeth and Robert were intimate and how close they were, but after Robert’s wife died in mysterious circumstances the chances of the two ever marrying decreased. The last part of this chapter also looks at the great explorers and sailors of the day, specifically John Hawkins and Francis Drake and how both men not only explored the seas but participated in acts of piracy!
Chapter 13: Choosing the Middle Way between Protestants and Catholics When Elizabeth became Queen she had the baggage not only of her Catholic sister but also her Protestant brother and her father whom had originally broken with Rome to create the Church of England. Elizabeth, with the help of her council and some pushing in parliament, helped to create some sort of cohesion within the church and the Protestant beliefs which were supposed to be practised. This chapter also looks at the life of Mary Queen of Scots, a cousin of Elizabeth, and how she ended up being a prisoner of Elizabeth’s in England. Mary was a staunch Catholic and had a strong claim to the English throne. As long as she was alive she was a threat to Elizabeth.
Chapter 14: Gunning for Elizabeth As the title suggests this chapter looks at the different plots and acts of rebellion aimed at Elizabeth throughout her reign. Even Pope Pius V called Elizabeth ‘the English Jezebel’ and wanted her removed from the throne so Catholicism could be restored to England. There were other plots, several of which were linked with Mary Queen of Scots. The last plot which loosely involved Mary ended up with the Queen of Scots being beheaded! This chapter also looks at the huge unrest throughout Ireland and how England desperately tried to control and even over throw the Irish. The crown spent a huge amount of money trying to bring Ireland under control but in the end it all seemed for nothing. The last part of this chapter moves on to look at Witchcraft. Some very interesting facts about witchcraft were given and the authors briefly talked about how James I, Elizabeth’s successor, was near obsessed with the idea of witches and witchcraft!
Chapter 15: Facing the Armada The battle with the Spanish Armada is one of the most well known, most talked about battles of Elizabeth’s reign. This chapter looks at the reasons why Philip of Spain felt provoked enough to gather his men and ships and order them to set sail to attack England. The authors look at Elizabeth’s reaction and how she and her council set about trying to protect England and her waters. This chapter went into great detail about the preparations on both the Spanish and English sides, the battles (there were a series of skirmishes and battles) and then the aftermath. There were also some interesting maps which helped to plot out different areas involved in the battles.
Chapter 16: Ending an Era: 1590-1603 The first part of this chapter looks at Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and step son to Elizabeth’s most beloved Robert Dudley. Devereux was ambitions and charming just like his father but he was also stubborn and strong willed. Perhaps because of the Queen’s fondness for his late step father, Devereux quickly became a favourite with Elizabeth. Yet Devereux never seemed to be happy with what he had and he even dared to challenge the Queen during a council meeting by drawing his sword – an act of treason! After a series of acts, including being sent to Ireland to try to control the rebellion, only to end up signing a peace treaty (which Elizabeth was furious about), Devereux fell dramatically out of favour with the Queen. He tried to gather support for rebellion but it fell down around him and he ended up losing his head at the Tower of London on 25th February 1601. The end of this chapter looks at the final days of Elizabeth’s life, her decline in health and her eventual death. Since she had no children her successor was James Stuart, King of Scotland, her distant cousin.
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 17: Top Ten Tudor People This chapter looks at ten people whom made their mark for one reason or another during the reign of the Tudor monarchs. These people are Anne Askew whom was burnt at the stake for her Protestant beliefs, Bess of Hardwick who was a very rich and very calculating woman. Christopher Marlowe who was a famous playwright and poet, Cecily Bodenham, a former nun who ended up doing quite well for herself after the dissolution of the monasteries. Elizabeth Throckmorton who married Walter Ralegh and fell out with Elizabeth I, Dr John Dee believer and practiser of astrology. John Foxe who famously wrote the Book of Martyrs, Martin Frobisher who was a famous sailor and explorer. Polydore Vergil who was one of the first men to write about the history of England and William Shakespeare the famous playwright.
Chapter 18: Ten Things the Tudors Did for Us As the title suggests this chapter looks at ten important decisions or events which were made under the reign of the Tudors which have affected us in today’s times. The first was the civilising of the nobility where the noblemen of the time were no longer rulers in their own right but served and worked for the king. The Tudors also reduced the power of the nobility by giving power and responsibility to men who had little or no noble blood but rather had humble backgrounds. Under the reign of the Tudors, especially in the later years, there was more power given to Parliament and of course one of the reasons behind this was due to Henry VIII’s break with Rome. Henry VIII also saw the importance of the English navy and spent a lot of time, effort and money building up navy warships. During the reign of the Tudors exploration of the wider world increased, along with this came an increase in trade and many new foods were introduced into England including potatoes and tobacco. And of course we cannot forget that the Tudors were famous for putting not one but two women on the throne of England!
Chapter 19: Ten Top Tudor Buildings There are many incredible Tudor Buildings which survive today and this chapter looks at ten of those buildings. These are Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Warwickshire, Burghley House, Stamford, Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, Compton Wynyates, Warwickshire, Deal Castle, Kent, The Great Court of Trinity College, Cambridge, Hampton Court, London (which I have been to and think is utterly breathtaking!) Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, Henry VII’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey and London, Penshurst Palace, Kent.
Chapter 20: Ten Major Tudor Events This chapter outlines what the authors believe to be the ten most important events during the reign of all five Tudor monarchs. The events they include, in chronological order are: Henry VII rise to the throne of England, Henry VIII’s succession and coronation, Henry VIII’s decision and act of breaking with Rome, Anne Boleyn’s execution, the dissolution of the Monasteries, Elizabeth I’s succession to the throne, the birth of William Shakespeare, the excommunication of Elizabeth I by Pope Pius V, England’s war with Spain and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Personally I think the authors made quite good choices picking these events – choosing just ten events in an incredible one hundred and eighteen year reign of some larger than life characters would be very hard indeed!
Chapter 21: Ten Tudor Firsts The final chapter of this book looks at ten ideas or inventions which appeared during the reign of the Tudor monarchs. These inventions included the building of the first dry dock in Portsmouth in 1495, building the first printing press in 1500, the first cookery book being published in 1500, the creation of the first English lottery in 1569, creating detailed maps of all of England in 1579, inventing sho...more
Thought for dummies would be an opportunity learn about the life and times that shaped Britain which normally would not appear in autobiographies or history book. Interesting tidbits, trivia, if you will.
The new 'left' in religion - Puritans, Presbyterians etc. Staunchly against Blasphemy. If you took the Lord's name in vain you were punished with an iron spike through the tongue. (WOW - that would spike a rise in the price of iron today.)
Antony Sherley, 1599, sailed on a completely unauthorizedThought for dummies would be an opportunity learn about the life and times that shaped Britain which normally would not appear in autobiographies or history book. Interesting tidbits, trivia, if you will.
The new 'left' in religion - Puritans, Presbyterians etc. Staunchly against Blasphemy. If you took the Lord's name in vain you were punished with an iron spike through the tongue. (WOW - that would spike a rise in the price of iron today.)
Antony Sherley, 1599, sailed on a completely unauthorized mission to Persia. Whether he ever brought any coffee beans back to England, for roasting, is open todoubt - Elizabeth's government made it clear he'd overstepped the mark with his Persian adventure and he was told not to come back. He came back by 1603, annoyed Jame I, was arrested. Leading to the vital change in the law which set up parliamentary privilege; an MP cannot be arrested just for speaking his mind. (A lesson American politicians have taken to heart.)
About the coffee thing - 'The Turks, drinking a certain liquor, which they call Coffe, will soon intoxicate the braine;' they claimed it warmed them up when the weather was cold and was cleansing because it made them break wind. (Later, B. Franlin would advocate 'fart proudly'.)
Trivia, history ...and so much more; poking fun at Tudor Life and Times. The goode olde days when judgement was made, a sentence passed and any appeals to a guilty verdict, oh well, ho-hum to that. ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is informative, funny and very reader-friendly. I am a staunch fan of the For Dummies series and have been impressed with the quality of information and degree of accessibility that this book and others in the series provide. For me, this one narrowly missed out on a five star rating due to the very poor editing of the text. Perhaps it was just the kindle version I purchased, but I found it to be full of punctuation errors, obvious typos and others small but peI thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is informative, funny and very reader-friendly. I am a staunch fan of the For Dummies series and have been impressed with the quality of information and degree of accessibility that this book and others in the series provide. For me, this one narrowly missed out on a five star rating due to the very poor editing of the text. Perhaps it was just the kindle version I purchased, but I found it to be full of punctuation errors, obvious typos and others small but persistent mistakes throughout. Overall, though, I highly recommend it. It's refreshing to find a history book that doesn't treat me like I have a doctorate in the topic at hand!!...more