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Extra resources for Access to History. Henry VIII to Mary I: Government and Religion, 1509-1558

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Key term Renaissance man Someone open to new ideas in politics, culture and education. –1536) A key figure in religious and educational thinking in Europe who played a pivotal role in the establishment of humanism in universities. Erasmus’s influence on the English episcopal and aristocratic patrons that came of age under Henry VIII was immense, especially in education. Those who wished to ingratiate themselves with Henry were almost certain of success if they told him that he was very clever. This was because the king liked to think of himself as a true Renaissance man, adept at all the pastimes (loosely termed ‘cultural’) that were known to have flourished in ancient Greece and Rome.

Their view has been that he possessed sufficient determination, self-assurance, intellectual ability and political shrewdness to ensure that the conduct of public life in his kingdom and its dealings with other states followed the lines that he determined (in as far as any individual can meaningfully control the course of events). They accept that he frequently allowed his leading servants, especially Wolsey, considerable scope for independent action, but that he always retained control of the direction of policy and was fully able to assume the detailed direction of events whenever he wished.

Although he already had one illegitimate son, whom he created the Duke of Richmond and whom he seemed to be grooming to succeed him, he knew in his heart of hearts that his subjects would be unlikely to accept such an arrangement once he was dead and no longer able to enforce it. Key dates Personality and Power | 31 Jane Seymour Henry married Jane Seymour: 1536 Henry’s son Edward born; Jane Seymour died: 1537 Henry married Anne of Cleves; marriage dissolved: 1540 Jane Seymour was not only able to face the world as the undisputed Queen of England – Catherine of Aragon having died of natural causes shortly before Anne Boleyn met her less peaceful end – but she was also successful at her first attempt in the ‘maternal stakes’.

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Access to History. Henry VIII to Mary I: Government and Religion, 1509-1558 by Keith Randell; Roger Turvey;

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