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The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58

2. Faction under Edward

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how large a role faction played in the Edwardian court, focusing in particular on: (i) the conventional account of faction in the Edwardian court, i.e. that Edward's court was a factional battleground throughout Edward's reign; (ii) the revisionist view of historians such as Michael Bush, Dale Hoak and Stephen Alford that the first part of Edward's reign was marked by very little factional conflict, that Somerset's fall from power was not the result of factional conflict, and that the realm was generally well-governed after Somerset had been removed; (iii) the prevalence of coups, purges and conspiracies in the reign of Edward VI, including the appointment of Somerset as Lord Protector, the removal of the conservative Thomas Wriothesley, and the attempted coup of Somerset's brother, Thomas Seymour; (iv) the extent to which the fall of Somerset is the result of his mismanagement of the realm; (v) the eruption of faction in the period 1549-52, especially between Somerset and John Dudley, The Earl of Warwick (later Duke of Northumberland); and (vi) the re-emergence of faction in 1553 as Northumberland attempts to engineer the succession in his favour.


In this course, Professor Sue Doran (University of Oxford) explores the reigns of Edward VI (1547-53) and Mary I (1553-58), a period which some historians have labelled the Mid-Tudor Crisis. We begin by thinking about the religious policies of Edward VI, focusing in particular on the nature of the changes and the key influencers on Edwardian policy in this period. After that, we think about faction in the reign of Edward, looking especially at the figure of Edward Seymour. In the third module, we consider the Succession Crisis of 1553 and the problems faced by Mary as a woman, before moving on in the fourth module to look more closely at her religious reforms, which were far more innovative, popular and progressive than Mary is often given credit for. In the fifth module, we think about how the religious changes of both Edward and Mary were felt in the parishes of England, before turning in the final module to think about the similarities and differences between the two major rebellions in the mid-Tudor period: Kett's Rebellion in 1549, and Wyatt's Rebellion in 1553.


Susan Doran is Professor of Early Modern British History at the University of Oxford. She has a substantial publishing record which reflects a particular interest in the religious and political history of the Tudors, especially Elizabeth I. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College and Director of Studies in History at Regent’s Park College.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Doran, S. (2018, August 15). The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 - Faction under Edward [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Doran, S. "The Tudors – Edward VI and Mary I, 1547-58 – Faction under Edward." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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