How far do you agree that religion was the key factor influencing the monarch’s ability to control over-mighty subjects throughout the period 1485-1603?
One factor that influenced the monarchs ability to control over mighty subjects was religion, the reformation allowed the Tudors to weaken the nobilitys control over the church. Religion also became the reason why many nobles rebelled and were therefore executed or punished. However one other equally significant factor was the personalities of the monarchs which led them to pursue a policy of gentrification, empowering the gentry at the expense of the nobility.
The Catholic Church’s leaders were members of the nobility, they had great power and influence in their localities where they were land owners and held huge power. They could strengthen their power by uniting with other families who held power blocks such as their own. Henry VIII’s reformation and break with Rome destroyed this and the monarch was named Supreme head of the church who controlled who was appointed to posts within the church and the corruptions of the church leaders were better dealt with. Edward VI’s sale of church land also helped to break up the power blocks of the church leaders as noble families. Even though Mary I recatholicised the country this was overturned by the religious settlement of Elizabeth I.
Religion was the reason why many of the powerful nobles rebelled and as a result of this they were executed and their lands taken by the crown. After the Reformation with the monarch named as the head of the church any opposition to religion was thus opposition to the monarch and could be charged with heresy and treason. Henry VIII saw the Pilgrimage of Grace fail and the nobles responsible were executed and under Mary’s recatholicisation protestant nobles went into exile as a result of the heresy laws introduced. Elizabeth I saw the Northern Rebellion against her religious settlement and so the Noble families who took part were...