March 25, 2008
Tudor England 1121
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30- 10:45 A.M.
Factions and Politics in Tudor England
Throughout history, subjects of rulers have been under the control of their leaders,
whether they were military or religious leaders, emperors, or kings. However, in Tudor England,
the people were moved to pursue their own goals but had to persuade the monarch that their goal
would best serve the country and the monarchy itself . To do this, they needed not only an
audience with but also the favor of the ruler. In this way, factions were born. Still, many things
are unclear regarding use of factions, what their purpose was, how they influenced the different
kings and queens of the Tudor line, and what could be gained by the separate factions. Even the
true meaning of “faction” can be cloudy since some four hundred years have passed since the
death of the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I.
According to E. W. Ives, a faction is “a group of people which seeks objectives that are
seen primarily in personal terms.”
This, however, still leaves much to be questioned. How can
we know that they really existed?
In a situation such as the Tudor monarchy, where many people were needed to serve the
crown, the king or queen had to select those who would serve them throughout the realm, such as
justices, sheriffs, keepers and so on. Without ministers or advisors to recommend individuals for
these positions, the monarch would have had a very difficult time finding people appropriate for
all of these posts.
That is where the leaders of factions, sometimes called patrons would become
Faction in Tudor England
(London, 1979), 1.
Faction in Tudor England,