AQA Elizabethan England


The Northern Rebellion 1569

What? It began as a court conspiracy, and the goal at first was not to removed Elizabeth from the throne. Duke of Norfolk played a central role. Senior English noble, landowner and cousin to the Queen. Norfolk wanted to marry Mary. He enlisted two of Elizabeth's councillors. Nicholas Throckmorton and Robert Dudley. They wanted to reduce Cecil's power. However Dudley confessed everything to the Queen and Cecil out of guilt. Norfolk fled but was imprisoned and captured and begged for forgiveness. However, there was still rumours of an uprising that was planned. Elizabeth summoned Earl of Northumberland and Westmorland and believed they were being disloyal. However this only pushed them towards doing the rebellion

In 1569, Catholics of the North of England rebelled against Elizabeth.

They were led by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland and planned to remove Elizabeth from the throne and put Mary Queen of Scots onto the throne, as she was devout Catholic.  They were supported by a 4500 man army. Many being earl's tenants and servant. 

The rebels captured Durham, where they celebrated a Catholic mass and Barnard castle. However when the Royal army arrived to remove them, they were easily defeated. 

Northumberland and around 600 rebels were executed

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The Ridolfi Plot 1571

What? Roberto di Ridolfi was a a catholic Italian banker from Florence who lived in London. The plot again was an attempt to restore Catholicism in England. It included: Mary, Queen of Scots, The Pope, Philip II of Spain and the Duke of Norfolk. This plan was more dangerous. Because Elizabeth had already been excommunicated by the Pope in 1570, they were free to rebel against their Queen. 

The plan was to assassinate Elizabeth and replace her with Mary. 6000 troops would land in Harwich, Essex and be led by the Duke of Alba. Their arrival hoped to prompt a rebellion.Ridolfi calculated that about half of the English nobles were catholic and that when it began, they would have 40,000 men. Once Elizabeth had been killed, Mary would marry Norfolk. Mary was desperate for freedom and had lost all hope, in prison. Norfolk, recently released was keen to regain power after his disgrace. They both agreed to the plot. 

Elizabeths intelligence network discovered the conspiracy. Ridolfi was abroad when this happened so he avoided prosecution. De Spes, Spanish ambassador, was expelled from England. Norfol was arrested guilty of treason. Parliament passed a law directed against Mary that anybody who threatened the monarch on the throne would be removed from succession. They also wanted Mary and Norfolk to be executed. Elizabeth was indecisive and changed her mind 3 times. Norfolk got executed in 172, but Mary was allowed to live. 

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The Throckmorton Plot 1583

What? This was similar to the Ridolfi plot, Throckmorton plot planned the murder of Elizabeth and her replacement would be mary. This plot contributed to the Act of Association of 1585 after which Mary would be held responsible for any plot carried out under her name - even if she wasn't aware of it. 

A plan was hatched for a Frech catholic force, backed by the Spanish and Papal money to invade England.

Mary was to be freed from house arrest and there was to be a catholic uprising involving the Jesuits, seminary priests and the English Catholic population. Mary was to be instated as Queen after her murder.

Francis Throckmorton acted as the intermediary been Mary and the Spanish ambassador, de Mendoza. Before the plan could happen, Walsingham discovered it. Throckmorton was put under surveillance for 6 months. Once arrested, he was tortured until he confessed. Bond of Association was put into place so nobody involved in Elizabeths assassination would benefit from it. Throckmorton was convicted of high treason and executed in July 1584. De Mendoza was expelled from England and Mary escaped due to lack of evidence. This pushed Walsingham to find evident of Mary's treasonous activity so she could be dealt with.

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The Babington Plot 1586

What? After Throckmorton, Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire and then to a moated manor house called Chartley Hall in 1585. She was not allowed any visitors and all of her letters were monitored.  Her jailer was a strick Puritan called Amyas Paulet, chosen due to his hatred of the Catholics. Her harsher treatment was not just a security measure, but to push her into another plot. By now, Mary was deeply resentful of her situation as she had been imprisoned for almost 20 years. She had lost her throne, her status, her social life and her son. She was cut off. She was also failing in health, lost her looks and became obese. 

Mary inevitably became depressed and resentful of Elizabeth. She had started a secret correspondance with the French ambassador and Sir Anthony Babington. Babington was a catholic recusant from Derbyshire who had been recruited to start a new plot. Letters were written in code and smuggled from Chartley mid-1586. They planned to kill Elizabeth and reinstate catholicism. With help from a Spanish invasion force. 

However Walsingham knew about the letters and placed a double aget inside Chartley. He intercepted the letters which were deciphered by Thomas Phelippes. The facts were sent to Walsingham and he sent the letters to the intended recipients. On 17th July 1586, Mary sent a letter approving of the plot. The conspirators were arrested and Mary was caught

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Trial and Execution of Mary

Walsingham now finally had proof of Mary's treason. In october, she was placed on trail at Fotheringhay Castle. She had to manage her own defense. She was found guilty. Parliament and the Privy council insisted she be executed.

The Death Warrant:

Elizabeth was again decisive. This angered her advisors as she was taking so long. Apparently, a letter sent from Mary to Elizabeth reduced her to tears. In December 1586, a death warrant was prepared by Cecil but Elizabeth refused to sign it. Only in February 1587, when rumours of Mary's escape were circulating did Elizabeth sign the warrant. However, she said it was a precautionary decision and giving her secretary instruction to not have the warrant sealed. However, the council met without Elizabeth's knowledge. Her instruction was ignored and Mary was beheaded in a botched execution in 1587

Elizabeth's Response:

Elizabeth banished Cecil, refusing to see him for 6 months and the secretry was imprisoned in the Tower of London. She was wracked with guilt and grief. English Catholics didn't protest, they were more loyal than Elizabeth thought. Philip II and the Catholic king of France were maddened and protested. However, Elizabeth claimed innocence as her order was ignored.

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Causes of the conflict with Spain

Religion: Ever since Elizabeth was crowned, relations between Spain and England were tense due to the fact that England had been made protestant and Spain was still Catholic. An uneasy peace existed between them. The Spanish king was Bloody Mary's husband. He wanted to keep his influence, so he proposed to Elizabeth in 1559. She rejected him and that angered him. He also wasn't a fan of Elizabeth's Protestent religious settlement. As a devout Catholic, Phillip saw Elizabeth as a heretic who shouldn't be on the throne. Conquering England just to restore Catholicism was a just cause in Philip's eyes. Rebellion: Poor Anglo-Spanish relations were further complicated by events in the Spanish-ruled Netherlands. Philip had trouble ruling his territories as they were hundreds of miles apart. Unlike Spain, most of the Netherlands citizens were protestant and they disliked the firm Catholic rule. Civil war broke out in 1566 and the duke of Alba was sent by Philip and 10,000 troops to deal with the rebels. The brutality increased hatred of Spain in England. Elizabeth also had a strong interest in the Netherlands because they relied on the cloth trade based in Antwerp. Various trade restrictions were introduced, effecting England. It was in Englands interest for the rebellion to be resolved, as they were close and didn't want them to be ruled by hostile Catholic power. However if she was too supportive she could have prompted a war with Spain and England couldn't afford it. As a solution, the so-called "Peace party" of the privy council gave indirect help to the rebels.England helped them by letting rebel ships port in England. From 1581, Elizabeth sent the rebels funds to help them against the Spanish.

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Causes of the conflict with Spain Part 2

Privateers, plots and persecution: Other factors increased Anglo-Spanish tensions. Attacks on Spanish treasure ships by English Privateers (pirates) such as Sir Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh angered the Spanish, as did ELizabeth's support for the French huguenots. Encouraged by the pope, Philip had been plotting against Elizabeth. Spanish ambassadors in England had been involved in plots surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots which made the English more suspicious of the Spanish. However Elizabeth's reaction was to persecute English catholics. This made Philip more determined to do something about England. 

Why did tension turn to War?

  • Courtiers such as; Walsingham and Dudley, called for military action. Both sides created formal alliances. Spain signed the Treat of Joinville with France in 1584, boosting Spanish confidence and raising English fears of a Catholic invasion. 
  • Protestant cause in the Netherlands was failing. The Spanish governor was crushing the rebellion and the rebel leader was assassinated. This pushed England to make the unofficial help, formal. In 1585, the Treaty of Nonsuch was signed between England and Dutch rebels. England sent 7000 troops-under Dudley's command-to support the rebellion. After years of tension and unofficial conflict. England and Spain were formally at war.
  • Spanish catholics and Philip saw Mary's murder as unjustified. Planned to invade.
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Spanish Armada

The launch: Left Lisbon in May 1588. Ealy storms suggested things would not go well. The fleet quickly ran into storms, losing supplies and forcing the ships to go back to be repaired. They set sail again, successfully entering the English Channel in a defensive cresent formation. The slow, unarmed galleons were in the middle and the faster, armed ships sailed the outside. Philip wanted to pick up troops in the Netherands but had to pass the entire English Coast. The armada was huge, so it didn't go unnoticed. First spotted by English on 17th July. in Cornwall. Church bells rang out to warn people. As the Spanish sailed up the channel, the English fleet followed. There were some encounters but they kept the cresent formation. Only 3 ships lost. However a key part of the plan was close communication between Medina Sidonia at sea and Parma in the Netherlands, but this was impossible. The mission was planned poorly. 

Ship design: English explorer and naval commander spent years making improvements to the design of English ships. They were lighter, faster and more manoeurvable than those of the Spanish Fleet. England were also careful to keep distance from the Spanish, using light and accurate long range weapons called CULVERINS to attack at a safe distance. This was a good tactical move. It made it impossible for the Spanish to use their naval tactics. They relied on being close, with short range weapons and using grappling hooks to physically board enemy ships.

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Spanish Armada 2

Fireships: The armada anchored at Calais as winds were increasing. Drake pulled a master stroke. On the 28th July, eight English ships were filled with tar and oil and set alight. They then drifted into the anchored Spanish fleet who couldn't unanchor fast enough to keep formation. No Spanish ships were burned, however this terrified them. They cut their anchors and fled out to see, many crashing into eachother and ran aground. Crucially, in the panic, Spanish ships were scattered by the wind and blown towards dangerous sandbanks off the coast of the Netherlands. The English had successfull broken the tight cresent formation they had retained up until this point.

Gravelines and Tilbury: The next day, two fleets engaged in combat at the Battle of Gravelines, off the coast of Flanders. England had the advantage. They had broken their fomation and forced them to sail into the wind. In addition, the agility of English ships were a tactical advantage. The Spanish were provoked into firing at the English whilst out of range. Their guns were poorly designed and took up a vast amound of deck space, seemingly impossible to reload after one fire. English guns could be quickly reloaded and were battering the Spanish by firing repeatedly. They aimed low, hitting the ships under the waterline. England didn't lose a single ship, however thousands of Spanish died. They lost five ships and many were extremely damaged. However there were still fears Parma may try invading. Back in England, Elizabeth melodramatically visted her troops at Tilbury in horseback dressed in rmour. There she made one of her mouse famous speeches to date.

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Defeat of the Armada

Elizabeth didn't need to worry about another invasion attempt. Medina Sidonia knew they were defeated. With God's "Protestant wind" blowing from the south west, the badly damaged Spanish fleet was blown into gales in the North Sea. The change in wind direction shattered all hope that they could meet with Parma's troops in the Netherlands. They had to head back home. With the English channel manned with English ships, they could only sail north. The armada was chased to the Scottish border. The English then turned back. In September, the Spanish fleet sailed around the coast of Scotland and Ireland. They got battered by storms, ran low on supplies and lacked accurate maps of the areas. Many fell ill and vessels were shipwrecked. Only 60 ships made it back to Spain. An estimated 20,000 Spaniards had died. For the Spanish, the armada had been a massive Military failure, waste of human life and resources.  Aftermath: Philip was humiliated and disapointed. Great celebrations in England and the victory had great propaganda value for Elizabeth. National pride was at a high. England's independance was safeguarded and Protestantism preserved. This victory was taken as a sure sign of God's approval of Protestantism. They also established themselves as a great naval power. The commanders were creative in tactics and had shown the importance of weaponry in sea battles. The Anglo-Spanish war dragged on for a while after. England launched an unsuccessful counter Armada at Spain in 1589. And Spain attempted a further two armadas  in 1596 and 1597. But they were pushed back by storms. Elizabeth continuted to help Dutch rebels. The war only ended when both Philip and Elizabeth died (1604) Neither won. 

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Hardwick Hall Case Study

Chesterfield, Derbyshire. One of many "prodigy houses". Massive mansions built by wealthy courtiers in Elizabeth.s reign. Many were built to host Elizabeth, but she never visitied Hardwick. Too far north. 

Built by the "Bess of Hardwick". After the Queen, she was the wealthiest woman in England. Daughter of a gentleman with modest wealth. She become enormously wealthy through her 4 marriages. When her 4th husband, Earl of Shrewsbury died, she decided to use some inherited money to build a new house which made a statement. Built on the same site as her old family home. The Old Hall was perfectly serviceable, just old fashioned. The ruins still stand beside Hardwick. 

Construction began in 1590 and took 7 years to build. Bess lived here until she died in 1608. Arabella Stuart, an heir to the throne and her granddaughter lived there afterwards. 

The Hall was designed by renowned architect Robert Smythson in the latest renaissance style. It has barely changed since it was built. 

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Hardwick Hall Case Study 2

Influenced by Italian architecture. Built of stone and its symmetrical main facade is dominated by huge mullioned windows and a ground floor loggia. "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall" is a common saying. Six rooftop banqueting house pavillions with Bess' initials are in openwork. 

Proportion was important. Each of the three main floors has a higher ceiling than the floor below. This reflects the importance of occupants and functions of the room. Servants lived and worked on the ground floor. Wide, winding stone staircase that leads to the state rooms on the second floor. Grand alabaster fireplaces throughout and lots of oak panelling. 

The Long Gallery, a new architectural feature and the height of fashion, runs the entire length of the second floor. At 50 metres long, it is one of the largest examples in England. It was used for indoor exercise, dancing and conversation. There is also a grand room for receiving guests and holding banquets called the High Great Chamber. Features tapestripes, and a special plater frieze illustrating hunting scenes. The royal coat of arms also features prominently in this room  to show Bess' loyalty to the Queen

The building of houses such as Hardwick Hall reflects the increasing prosperity of the Gentry, new fashions and the stability of England.

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