Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

The Tudor Dynasty

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
The Tudor Dynasty

The Tudor dynasty ruled England and Ireland for 118 years (from 1485 to 1603). It produced five Tudor monarchs and brought about some major changes, some that still impact modern-day Britain.

What came before the Tudor dynasty?

Before the Tudor dynasty came to power, England was ruled by the House of Plantagenet. This was a royal house that originated in Anjou, France. The House of Plantagenet held the English throne from 1154, with Henry II’s accession to the throne, to 22 August 1485. That was when Henry VII killed Richard III, the Plantagenet’s last king, in battle. This marked the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.

The origin and history of the Tudor name and dynasty

Who was the first Tudor? Where did this dynasty come from? Let's have a look.

Owen Tudor

Although the origins of the Tudor name can be traced to the thirteenth century, the Tudor name itself was established by Owen Tudor.

Owen Tudor (Welsh: Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur) was born around 1400. He was a Welsh courtier and the second husband of Catherine of Valois. Catherine had been married to Henry V, King of England, but when he died, on 31 August 1422, Catherine and Owen married. Together they had three sons:

  1. Edmund: born around 1430. He married Margaret Beaufort, but he died on 3 November 1546 of the bubonic plague. Then, three months after Edmund’s death, Margaret, at just 13 years of age, gave birth to their son, Henry. He would later become Henry VII, King of England and founder of the Tudor dynasty.

  2. Jasper: born around November 1431. Jasper became a leading architect of his nephew’s, Henry VII, successful accession to the throne in 1485.

  3. Edward: even though Edward is mentioned in most published sources on Owen Tudor, it is not clear why we know very little about him.

Margaret Beaufort was an important figure in the Wars of the Roses. She was King Henry VII's mother. She was also a descendant of King Edward III.

The Wars of the Roses: the beginning of the Tudor dynasty

The history of the Tudor dynasty begins in the mid-fifteenth century with the War of the Roses, a series of dynastic conflicts between the English monarchy and nobility. This war started on 22 May 1455 and lasted until 16 June 1487.

Though the causation of the War is continuously disputed by many medieval Historians, there are some common themes which are attributed to igniting the 32 year conflict:

  • Sucession crises such as :
    • Political ambition of Richard, Duke of York to become King
    • Political Ambition of Richard, Duke of Gloucester to become King
    • Political ambition of Henry Tudor to reinstate the Lancastrian lineage to the throne
    • Political ambition of Edward of York to become King - this was founded on vengeance for the murder of his father, Richard, Duke of York.
  • Henry VI incapcity to rule due to illness
  • Social discontent targeted at the current economic recession
  • Quarelling between nobility on the strategy of war with France

The War was between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, and it later got the name ‘Wars of the Roses’ since both houses had a rose as an emblem: white for York, red for Lancaster.

The War lasted 32 years and was eventually won by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor, during the significant and decisive Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. The last Plantagenet monarch, King Richard III, was killed in action and Henry proclaimed himself Henry VII, King of England. While it is the general consensus that the 22nd August 1485 is considered the end of the war, some historians attribute the end of the war to 16 June 1487, with Henry defeating a Yorkist rebellion that supported the pretender to the throne, Lambert Simnel.

In 2012, a skeleton was found buried under a car park in Leicester, which turned out to be Richard III, the last Plantagenet King. He was then dubbed 'the carpark king'.

Henry united the rival houses by marrying Yorkist Elizabeth of York, thus creating the new House of Tudor. With the union between the two houses, the Tudor rose became their Houses’ insignia: the white Yorkist rose inside the red Lancastrian rose, both with five petals.

The kings and queens of the Tudor dynasty

The Tudor dynasty was ruled by six monarchs.

Henry VII

Henry VII was born on 28 January 1457 at Pembroke Castle to Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. After winning the Wars of the Roses, he seized the crown on 22 August 1485 and became King Henry VII, King of England, and Lord of Ireland. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.

The Tudors Henry VII StudySmarterHenry VII, unknown artist, 1505, Wikimedia Commons.

Henry married Elizabeth of York on 18 January 1486, and they were actually third cousins, as both were great-great-grandchildren of John of Gaunt. Henry and Elizabeth had several children, but only four survived infancy:

  1. Arthur, Prince of Wales (1486-1502): he was heir to the throne.
  2. Henry, Duke of York (1491-1547): he eventually became King Henry VIII.
  3. Margaret (1489-1541): she married King James IV of Scotland.
  4. Mary (1496-1533): she married King Louis XII of France.

John of Gaunt was an English prince, military leader, and statesman. He was also the third of the five sons of King Edward III of England. This makes the Tudor monarchs descendants of King Edward III

Henry knew that the funds in the royal treasury had dwindled, especially due to the Wars of the Roses. Through strict monetary strategy, he was able to leave a considerable amount of funds in the treasury for his successor Henry VIII.

Henry VII died on 21 April 1509.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491 as the second son to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Henry was never supposed to be king but became one nonetheless after his older brother, and heir to the throne, Arthur died on 2 April 1502.

The Tudor Dynasty Henry VIII StudySmarterPortrait of Henry VIII, Wikimedia Commons.

Henry married six times but some of these marriages did not end favourably:

  1. Katherine of Aragon: divorced.

  2. Anne Boleyn: beheaded.

  3. Jane Seymour: died from childbirth.

  4. Anne of Cleves: divorced.

  5. Catherine Howard: beheaded.

  6. Catherine Parr: outlived him.

Henry had three legitimate children:

  1. Mary: born to Henry and Katherine of Aragon. Mary became illegitimate after Henry’s divorce from Katherine.

  2. Elizabeth: born to Henry and Anne Boleyn. She became illegitimate after the execution of Anne.

  3. Edward: born to Henry and Jane Seymour.

Henry also fathered one acknowledged illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, with his mistress Elizabeth Blount.

On 3 November 1534, Henry declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England so he could divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn.

Henry VIII suffered from chronic wounds brought about by jousting accidents, which caused chronic pain, and tyrannical mood swings. In July 1543, Henry signed the Third Succession Act restoring his daughters Mary and Elizabeth to the throne after his son Edward.

Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.

Edward VI

Edward VI was born on 12 October 1537 to Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. Upon his father’s death on 28 January 1547, Edward became Edward VI, King of England and Ireland. He was just nine years old and therefore the realm was governed by a regency council, which was led by his uncle Edward Seymour and later John Dudley.

Edward was the first monarch of England raised as a Protestant. When he fell ill in 1553 he feared that the country would go back to Catholicism under the rule of his half-sister Mary. That is why he wrote a new will, replacing his father's from 1544, where he gave the throne to his cousin Lady Jane Grey.

Edward died on 6 July 1553, aged 15. Due to his young age, he wasn't married and didn't have any children. Therefore, with Edward’s death, the direct male line of the House of Tudor ended.

The Tudors Edward VI StudySmarterEdward VI in his early teens, Wikimedia Commons.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey was born around 1537 to Henry Grey, First Duke of Suffolk, and his wife Frances. Jane was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor. Edward VI chose Jane as his successor because she too was Protestant. Jane became Queen on 10 July 1553, even though she never wanted to be queen. On 19 July 1553, Suffolk persuaded his daughter to relinquish the throne in favour of Mary I, which she did. Her nine-day reign gave her the nickname the ‘Nine Days Queen’.

However, both she and her husband were accused of rebellion and sentenced to death. They were beheaded on 12 February 1554. Jane was just 16 years old.

Mary I

Mary I was born on 18 February 1513 to Henry VIII and his first wife Katherine of Aragon.

On 1 October 1553, Mary was officially crowned making her Mary I, Queen of England Ireland. Her immediate action was to restore England back to Catholicism as her half-brother Edward VI had feared. This led to bloodshed and executions, earning her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.

Mary died on 17 November 1558 aged 52. Now, her half-sister Elizabeth was the next in line to the throne.

The Tudor Dynasty Mary I StudySmarterMary I by Antonis Mor, 1554, Wikimedia Commons.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was born on 7 September 1533 to Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. During Mary I’s reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for almost a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

On 17 November 1558, Elizabeth became Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland. Elizabeth’s 44-year reign became known as the ‘Golden Age of Britain’, also known as the Elizabethan Era. This Golden Age earned her the nicknames ‘Gloriana’ and ‘Good Queen Bess’. She also became known as the ‘Virgin Queen’ because she was never married.

Elizabeth died on 24 March 1603, leaving behind no heir nor instructions on who would succeed her.

The Tudors Elizabeth I StudySmarterElizabeth I circa 1575, Wikimedia Commons.

Rebellions against the Tudors

Like during most reigns, during the reign of the Tudor Dynasty there were many rebellions against the ruling monarchs. Here is a list of the English rebellions that took place against the House of Tudor:

  • Stafford and Lovell Rebellion, 1486
  • Simnel Rebellion, 1486–87
  • Yorkshire Rebellion, 1489
  • Warbek Rebellion, 1497
  • Cornish Rebellion, 1497
  • Second Cornish Uprising of 1497
  • Amicable Grant, 1525
  • Silken Thomas Rebellion (Kildare Rebellion), 1534-37
  • Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536–37
  • Bigods Rebellion, 1537
  • Prayer Book Rebellion (Western), 1549
  • Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire rising, 1549
  • Kett’s Rebellion, 1549
  • Northumberland Rebellion, 1553
  • Wyatt’s Rebellion, 1554
  • Shane O’Neill Rebellion, 1558–67
  • Rising of the North (Northern Earls), 1569
  • First Desmond Rebellion (Geraldine), 1569–73
  • Tyrone Rebellion (Nine Years’ War), 1593–1603
  • Oxfordshire Rebellion, 1596
  • Essex Rebellion, 1601

What happened after the Tudor dynasty ended?

A few hours after Elizabeth I’s death, James Charles Stuart was named her successor. He became James VI, King of Scotland, and James I, King of England and Ireland. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and he was a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, making him a potential successor to all three thrones.

The Tudor Dynasty James Charles Stuart by John de Critz StudySmarterJames Charles Stuart by John de Critz, circa 1605, Wikimedia Commons.

How did the Tudor dynasty shape contemporary Britain?

Many events that took place during the Tudor reign shaped British life and even today we can see the effects of the dynasty in many aspects of our life. Here are some examples:

  • The Royal Mail. Henry VIII ordered the creation of the first national postal service for royal mail. Back then it was called ‘The King’s Posts’. The royal mail system was opened to the general public in 1635, by King Charles I. This was the start of the postal system we use today.
  • The Church of England. It was created between 1534–39 after Henry VIII broke his relationship with Rome. The Church of England, or Anglican Church, is still active today representing over 85 million people in more than 165 countries.
  • The Royal Navy. Although Henry VII started building navy ships, it was Henry VIII that created the Royal Navy. It went from 15 ships under his father to 45 ships by 1545.
  • The Royal Exchange. In 1571 Sir Thomas Gresham, the father of English banking, set up the Royal Exchange, the first purpose-built centre for trading stocks in London. Over time, London took over from Antwerp (Belgium) as the financial capital of Europe.
  • Intelligence Services. Between 1586–87 Queen Elizabeth I paid Sir Francis Walsingham to set up a European network of spies. He established England’s first counter-intelligence network and a school that taught cypher-breaking and forgery. This was the forerunner of today’s intelligence services.

The Tudor Dynasty - Key takeaways

  • The Tudor name comes from Owen Tudor, a Welsh courtier.
  • Owen Tudor and his wife Catherine of Valois had three children: 1. Edmund: father of Henry, who would later become Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, and the founder of the Tudor dynasty. 2. Jasper: helping his nephew Henry VII to the throne. 3. Edward: life details unknown.
  • The Tudor dynasty began with Henry VII, when he proclaimed himself King of England on 22 August 1485, after the Battle of Bosworth Field ended the Wars of the Roses.
  • The Tudor dynasty was ruled by six monarchs: 1. Henry VII 2. Henry VIII 3. Edward VI 4. Lady Jane Grey 5. Mary I 6. Elizabeth I
  • The Tudor dynasty ended with the death of Elizabeth I on 24 March 1603.
  • After the death of Elizabeth I, James Charles Stuart was named successor. He became James VI, King of Scotland, and James I, King of England and Ireland.

Frequently Asked Questions about The Tudor Dynasty

On 22 August 1485, when Henry VII proclaimed himself King of England.

The Tudor dynasty was the 118-year period that was ruled by the Tudor monarchs. The dynasty started with Henry VII and it ended with Elizabeth I.

On 24 March 1603, with the death of Elizabeth I.

The Tudor dynasty's influence can be seen in many aspects of our life today. Some examples include the Royal Mail, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Exchange. The Church of England is also a product of the Tudor dynasty, as well as the modern intelligence services.

The House of Plantagenet.

Final The Tudor Dynasty Quiz

Question

When did Henry VII become king?

Show answer

Answer

1485

Show question

Question

How many children did Henry VII have?

Show answer

Answer

7

Show question

Question

Who did Henry VII marry?


Show answer

Answer

Elizabeth of York

Show question

Question

When did Henry VII die?


Show answer

Answer

1509

Show question

Question

How did Henry VII die?


Show answer

Answer

Tuberculosis

Show question

Question

Was Henry VII Lancastrian?


Show answer

Answer

No, although of Lancastrian lineage by virtue of his mother, Henry ended the Lancaster House by establishing the Tudor Dynasty.

Show question

Question

Why did Henry VII face so much Yorkist trouble?


Show answer

Answer

The Yorkists were unhappy with the way in which The War of Roses ended and wanted to remove Henry and re-establish a Yorkist leader.

Show question

Question

Why did Henry VII ban retaining?


Show answer

Answer

Henry VII banned retaining as the King worried noblemen could overthrow or gain more power than the King and it prevented the king from being able to assemble troops quickly. 



Show question

Question

What is the name of Henry VII’s only surviving son?


Show answer

Answer

Henry VIII

Show question

Question

What caused the Cornish Rebellion?


Show answer

Answer

Rise in taxation

Show question

Question

How many impersonations occurred during Henry VII’s leadership?


Show answer

Answer

2 – Simnel and Warbeck

Show question

Question

When was Henry VIII born?

Show answer

Answer

Henry VIII was born on 28 June 1491

Show question

Question

When did Arthur die, making Henry VIII heir to the throne?

Show answer

Answer

Arthur died on 2 April 1502

Show question

Question

When did Henry VII die, making Henry VIII king?


Show answer

Answer

Henry VII died on 21 April 1509.

Show question

Question

How tall was Henry VIII when he was fully grown?


Show answer

Answer

Henry VIII was 6’2” (1.87m) tall.

Show question

Question

Name the three most notable people from Henry VIII’s government


Show answer

Answer

  1. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

  2. Sir Thomas More

  3. Thomas Cromwell

Show question

Question

How many times was Henry VIII married?


Show answer

Answer

Six times

Show question

Question

What are the names of Henry VIII's six wives?


Show answer

Answer

  1. Catherine of Aragon

  2. Anne Boleyn

  3. Jane Seymour

  4. Anne of Cleves

  5. Catherine Howard

  6. Catherine Parr

Show question

Question

Which child was born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon?


Show answer

Answer

Mary, the later Mary I Queen of England and Ireland.

Show question

Question

Which child was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn?


Show answer

Answer

Elizabeth, the later Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland

Show question

Question

Which child was born to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour?


Show answer

Answer

Edward, the later Edward VI, King of England and Ireland

Show question

Question

What was the reason for Henry VIII’s break with Rome?


Show answer

Answer

The Church would not annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Show question

Question

What happened after the break with Rome?


Show answer

Answer

The English Reformation. Henry VIII was then Supreme Head of the Church of England.

Show question

Question

How do we call the five-year struggle leading up to the break with Rome?


Show answer

Answer

The King’s Great Matter

Show question

Question

When did Henry VIII become Supreme Head of the Church of England?


Show answer

Answer

In 1534

Show question

Question

Which two acts are associated with the dissolution of the monasteries and when did they happen?


Show answer

Answer

  1. Act of Suppression of 1536

  2. Second Suppression Act of 1539

Show question

Question

When did the Pilgrimage of Grace take place?


Show answer

Answer

In October 1536

Show question

Question

When did Henry VIII die?


Show answer

Answer

He died on 28 January 1547

Show question

Question

Where is Henry VIII buried?


Show answer

Answer

He is buried in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, next to his favourite wife, Jane Seymour.

Show question

Question

Who succeeded Henry VIII?


Show answer

Answer

His son Edward, who was now Edward VI King of England and Ireland.

Show question

Question

Who ruled England before the Tudors, and who was their last king?

Show answer

Answer

The Plantagenets ruled England before the Tudors. Their last king was Richard III.

Show question

Question

Who established the Tudor name?


Show answer

Answer

Owen Tudor

Show question

Question

Who was Henry VII’s father?


Show answer

Answer

Edmund Tudor, son of Owen Tudor.

Show question

Question

When did the Wars of the Roses occur ?


Show answer

Answer

From 22 May 1455 to 22 August 1485 

Show question

Question

Which two sides fought against each other in the Wars of the Roses?


Show answer

Answer

The House of York and the House of Lancaster.

Show question

Question

What was the name of the battle where Henry VII killed Richard III?


Show answer

Answer

The Battle of Bosworth Field.

Show question

Question

Who founded the Tudor dynasty?


Show answer

Answer

Henry VII when he became King of England and Lord of Ireland.

Show question

Question

What were the names of the two sons born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York?


Show answer

Answer

  1. Arthur

  2. Henry

Show question

Question

When did Henry VII die?


Show answer

Answer

He died on 21 April 1509.

Show question

Question

Henry VIII had four children, three legitimate, one illegitimate. What are their names?


Show answer

Answer

  1. Mary: legitimate

  2. Elizabeth: legitimate

  3. Edward: legitimate

  4. Henry Fitzroy: illegitimate

Show question

Question

How old was Edward when became Edward VI, King of England and Ireland?


Show answer

Answer

9

Show question

Question

How long did Lady Jane Grey rule as Queen of England and Ireland and what was her nickname?


Show answer

Answer

She ruled for 9 days, giving her the nickname the ‘Nine Days Queen’.

Show question

Question

When was Lady Jane Grey executed and how old was she?


Show answer

Answer

She was executed on 12 February 1554, aged 16.

Show question

Question

When did Mary I become Queen of England and Ireland and when was she officially crowned Queen?


Show answer

Answer

Mary I became Queen of England and Ireland on 19 July. She was crowned Queen on 1 October 1553.

Show question

Question

What was Mary I’s nickname during her reign?


Show answer

Answer

Bloody Mary

Show question

Question

When did Mary I die?


Show answer

Answer

She died on 17 November 1558.

Show question

Question

Elizabeth ruled for 44 years. What period of British History coincided with Elizabeth's rule?

Show answer

Answer

The Golden Age of Britain.

Show question

Question

When did Elizabeth die and what was significant about this event?


Show answer

Answer

Elizabeth died on 24 March 1603. She had no children and therefore the Tudor reign ended after 118 years.

Show question

Question

Who became Elizabeth I’s successor and what was special about him?


Show answer

Answer

James Charles Stuart. He became James VI, King of Scotland, and James I, King of England and Ireland. He was a great-great-grandson of Henry VII so he was a potential successor to all three thrones.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the The Tudor Dynasty quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.