2. BRITISH CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION OVER THE CENTURIES; HERITAGE, TRADITION AND CHANGE.

FROM THE EARLY AGES TO THE MODERN TIME
“Insularity” is a key word to British culture and civilization, not only when reference is made to the country’s geographical outline, but to its historical background as well; insularity and the ocean’s proximity made Britain develop in its unique way, made it accept and dismiss influences, mingling and melting races and differences in its own peace and harmony; made its people become explorers, traders and colonists to the shores of the two hemispheres, transforming Britain from a world margin into a centre of civilization. The island offered shelter to its inhabitants, saving them from many dangers, and, not incidentally, it is said that “Britain’s history and its strong national scene have been shaped by sea” [25; p. 3]. The beginning of the history of man’s existence on the British Isles is very old, lost, somewhere, in the darkness of time. However, here and there, that being’s old traces come out, to arise the curiosity of the modern people and to make them discover, with wonder, their old forgotten ancestors.

2.1 Britain in Pre-Historic Time; the Vanished Cultures

Britain’s territory was part of the continental landmass till late, in the Mesolithic period, and, at that time, the human migratory population could reach it with relative easiness. Recent archaeological discoveries (Boxgrave, Sussex) brought to light the first evidence on the existence of human beings in Britain, some 50,000 years ago; the remains are of Homo heidelbergensis, some of the oldest hominid in the world, much older than Homo sapiens sapiens, there were also discovered hand-axes and other flint implements used by those ice age hunters, for killing and butchering animals.

It was the time of the “Ice Age”, a long period consisting of a series of glaciations, in fact, an alternation of colder and warmer periods, with the ice cap covering or retreating from the land’s surface which offered the different groups of migrating hunters, fishers and gatherers the possibility to inhabit or not the different land areas. The first human beings seemed to have reached Britain during the Pleistocene period (the last Ice Age), the earliest human cultures identified being characterized by the hand-axe, a multi-purpose tool; it is a typical object of the Lower Palaeolithic period (earliest old Stone Age), indicating many thousand-years of evolutionary process, prior to human presence in Britain; the archaeological deposits were found in East Anglia, southern England, at sites as Hoxne (Suffolk) and Swanscombe (Kent). The archaeological discoveries and research determined two types of such stone tools, indicating two different types of inhabitants coming to the island from different directions of the landmass, at different times: an earlier, already mentioned type of tool made from a central core of flint tool, which is spread everywhere in the rest of Europe and Africa, and a second, much more sophisticated type made from flakes of flint, similar to those discovered anywhere else in the north of Europe, as far as Russia. It was around 11000-10000 B.C. that the Ice Age (the beginning of the Mesolithic period or Middle Stone Age) came to an end, with the ice sheets finally retreating and with a gradual change of the climate conditions; the flora and the fauna changed as well, the land being, at that time, covered by a dense, mixed woodland, populated with herds of wild cattle, horses and deer. The human communities, dependent on the new environment continued to develop and adept, a new range of smaller and more diversified tools (microliths) being imagined. The excavations of a human settlement at Starr Carr (Yorkshire) offer an image of those hunter-gatherers’ lifestyle, in the Early Mesolithic period. The site represents a camp built on an artificial platform of timber and brushwood in the reed swamp of a lake edge; it is believed that the group of people living there comprised several families, seasonal hunters of red deer who used to process the animal meat and bones, developing ritual ceremonies. By about 6000-5000 B.C. the cutting of the North Sea land bridge took place; it was flooded by the high waters, and Britain finally became a cluster of island, with real important consequences for its inhabitants and the future settlers; the process of development and adaptation to climate

and environment continued for the small groups of hunter-gatherers, and the new Late Mesolithic tools appeared, more complex and specially designed for hunting different animals; however, their life was still one of constant movement, in search of the food which was, only locally and seasonally, to be found. For a long period of time the island was covered by thick dark forests sheltering big or small game, but there were also shallow mares filled with fowl and fishes. People from the landmass continued to be attracted by the hunting possibilities existing on the islands, but not only by them; in time, a significant change had taken place in the development of ancient Britain due to the adoption of agriculture, which had determined the hunter-gatherers to permanently settle on some areas. Attracted by the fertile soil in the downs, and the woodland clearances practised by the natives, small groups of immigrants started to cross the narrow continental stream in their small, round skin boats. It was in the period around 4000-3000 B.C., at the beginning of the Neolithic period (New Stone Age). According to most historians, these people came from the Iberian Peninsula, or even the North African coast (Near East), being pastoralists and soil tillers. In the regions they came from, farming had begun around 8000 B.C., and they brought to Britain the seeds of new plants (wheat and barley) and breeding stock of domesticated animals (pigs and sheep). For their settlement, they preferred the western part of Britain, from Cornwall to the far north, and even Ireland. Their life style seemed to have been rapidly adopted by the populations already existing on the island. They are commonly known as “the Iberians”. It is considered that these first waves of immigrants, small, dark and longheaded would be the forefathers of the dark-haired inhabitants of today’s Cornwall and Wales, and even of Scotland and Ireland. There are plenty of archaeological discoveries all over Britain, from the north coast of Scotland to the Southern regions, showing New Stone Age sites out of which a lot can be learned about the culture of those people. By about 3500 B.C., there were already well established communities on Britain’s territory, that had begun the building of major constructions, using earth, timber and stone, with some differences between the northern and southern regions.

There are numerous evidences about the existence, at that time, of a stable and well organized society in the area, able to develop communal activities, and to share common rituals and ceremonies. The most important monuments of Early Neolithic are the burial places which served the whole community. (There were up to 50 individuals buried in one place, as discovered at Fussells’s Lodge, Wiltshire). In the Western part, the tombs were built of stone and concealed under mounds of rubbles, while in the eastern areas, poorer in stone, the dead were buried under mounds of earth (barrows) with a timber structure. There was much ritual in connection with the burial places in this early culture indicating, perhaps, the ancestors’ veneration, and the emergence of some ideas connected with social continuity and the links of these people with the newly occupied territories. The same ritualised attitude could be noticed in the rare flint mines of the time, for example, those discovered at Grime’s Graves (Norfolk), laboriously dug by using picks and crowbars. The tools or weapons manufactured, made of flint and suitable volcanic rocks, were polished almost to perfection, and included the beautiful and efficient stone axes, flint knives, scrapers and other implements as well; they were largely produced in some areas, as in Langdale, Cumbria, but, it seems that there was much exchange practised at the time over long distances, because a similar type of tools was discovered in the East part of Yorkshire. As regards pottery, it existed, and a certain evolution can be noticed over time; the discoveries show the first plain, round-bottomed vessels evolving to highly decorated ones, produced in the late Neolithic period. This population is also known for the building of the famous “henges”, in the later Neolithic period, around 2500 B.C. These monuments were great circles of earth banks and ditches with wooden buildings and stone circles inside, constructed, probably, for religious ceremonial purposes but also representing political and economic power centres for the widely scattered groups of people. There were discovered almost 100 such sites clustered together to form groups of henges, in Norfolk, on the Vale of York and in Cumbria, in the Eden Valley; the best known ones are in Wessex, and include the Avebury Circle, Durrington Walls, and the famous Stonehenge, in its early period.

alongside the already existing collective communal graves. The only exception so far. they valued the warlike virtues. is the village of Skara Brae. It was more than a new material approach. The drinking vessels. of course. p. strongly built and taller than the Neolithic Britons. their physical aspect was different from the old inhabitants: they were round-headed. the end of the Stone Age society. which has since rotted. coming from mainland Europe. determined. The first groups to come still used flint. where similar material traces were found. or even earlier. being responsible for the first exploitation of the long-exhausted gold. on. it is interesting to note that certain individuality started to develop. a fact which explains the relative scarcity of their identification. [53. probably. since many weapons and something that might be called “military equipment” were found accompanying them in the graves. finely decorated pottery beakers. and the opening of the Bronze Age culture.C. In conclusion. and. situated off the north coast of Scotland. more concern about him. found in their gravesgave the name to a new culture: the Beaker Culture. marking new developments in the area. that meant the appearance of the individual tomb of a single crouched skeleton. they were less strong. or copper daggers. the huts are all stone. but those who followed brought good knowledge in the field of metalworking. and they offer an image of what the Neolithic man living conditions might have been.As regards the Neolithic people dwellings. from 2300 B. this culture meant a new attitude to the individual. and the appearance of an elite group. although their number could not be large. The arrival of these immigrants could be marked and identified due to new burial sites. . including the furniture. maybe. which quickly spread all over Britain and highly influenced the native population. copper and tin deposits in Britain. Besides. These people had the skill of making bronze tools which started to replace the stone ones. and with it. made of timber. 21] Starting with the 2nd millennium. different material objects were discovered in these tombs including flintmade weapons. new waves of immigrants are likely to have made their appearance on the island’s territory. but also gold jewellery. and it can be identified in the Neolithic culture. Orkney. by natural opportunities. They are supposed to have come from the Low Countries and the middle Rhine areas. they brought with them a new tradition.

The flourishing of the Wessex Culture is hard to be explained. the growing of cattle and sheep was also common at that time. It is the period which meant the final break with the preceding Neolithic cultures. from where amber. and others. it is known as the Wessex Culture. suggesting. for instance. inevitably. specific to the consolidation of the settled farming class. supported by peasantry. as a distinct regional tradition. participated in trade activities with Britain’s territory. the groups of farms representing houses and storage buildings were fortified. Agriculture can also be considered as a source for the economic basis of society during the Bronze Age. around 1600 B.. Towards the later Bronze Age. and which . From about 1300-1200 B. the various old centres of civilization were closely linked by trading relations. Berkshire or Mane Tor. which could be cultivated almost everywhere. a new culture emerged. and were usually situated on a hill. new styles of swords. resistant cereal. a period of conflicts between the different groups. These artefacts represent an abundance of gold jewellery. the period knew the emergency of an aristocracy represented by the warriors elite. especially in the south region. as well as other weapons.. in the late Bronze Age. which was highly developed at the respective time. where large areas of landscape came under intensive agricultural use. One supposition refers to the area’s control of the trade in metals.C. the late immigrants had brought with them from the continent a new.C. and new types of bronze daggers. at the same time.It is considered that they spoke an Indo-European language which was introduced on the island for the first time. not only on the island itself or Ireland. With the development of agriculture new forms of settlement sites appeared. new improvements became obvious in agriculture. Derbyshire. was brought. and weaponry became increasingly common. Wiltshire. but with the continent as well. personal adornments. Central Europe and even the Baltic. spearheads or shields were produced under the permanent influence of the Continent. and it is considered different from the old Beaker one due to the rich artefacts discovered in the tombs at Bush Barrow. There were new forms of metal work as well. Such sites were discovered in places as Ram’s Hill. barley. being provided with timber palisades of massive ramparts of timber and stone.

On the inside boundary of the henge there are 56 pits. 30 m in diameter formed of sand stone blocks. the henge of the monument. which may originally have stood upright. in the 17th century. which encloses a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of five pairs of large sarsen stones. and one of the best-known ancient monuments in the world. 137 kilometres south west of London. and. in its turn. in their turn. known as “Aubrey Holes”∗. the ancient centres of civilization continued to draw the attention of the generations to come. being the most celebrated of the megalithic monuments of England. and closer to the stone circles there are other two sets of pits (called “Z” and “Y” holes). there is one more stone. within this circle there is a second one. the antiquarian John Aubrey. they are named after the person who first discovered them. consisting of smaller blue stones. .C. This megalithic ruin is situated on the open downland of Salisbury Plain. southern England. placed near the entrance to the avenue and which is known as the Slaughter Stone. no natural stone existing ∗ „Aubrey Holes”. Stonehenge It has often been said that Stonehenge can be considered Britain’s greatest national icon. It is the case of Stonehenge. for a long period of time. surrounds the stone circles having about 91 metres in diameter.). The monument consists of what has been four concentric ranges of stones: the outermost range is a circle. and other centres which are worth speaking about. these ones being the last additions to the monument. This monument is made of more than just rocks: a bank-and-ditch. Stonehenge is dating from the late Stone and early Bronze ages (about 3000-1000 B. who. Anyway. the Stonehenge that we can see today is mainly its ruin. it contains a smaller similar arrangement of blue stones which enclose a slab known as the Altar Stone. However.announced the beginning of the Iron Age in Britain. Avebury. called sarsen stones. in Wiltshire county. power and endurance”. continued to bring their contribution to the further development of these monuments. as many of its stones were pilfered along the centuries by generations of builders who used them as building material. symbolizing “mystery.

C.within 21 km of the place the monument is situated. excavated the first circular ditch (198 m in diameter). As wood did not preserve well over the centuries the image of this phase is rather unclear. Atkinson.C. III b. ∗ R. two paralleled entry stones (one of them being the Slaughter Stone) are supposed to have been also erected at this stage. archaeologist from University College. Besides. It was the period of Middle Neolithic. Thus. while the Aubrey Holes no longer held posts. Stonehenge II (2900-2400 B. and at the north-eastern entrance post holes were discovered indicating some timber settings. and they are supposed to have held wooden posts. Cardiff. later falling out of disuse. using red deer antlers for picks. the existence of three main phases of building was suggested∗: Stonehenge I. J. and used the resulting chalky rubble to build the high bank within the ditch. in several phases. in the centre. C. being partially filled with cremation deposits. Stonehenge I dates to the period between 2950-2900 B. . III c). Following the archaeological excavations since 1950. it has been subjected to centuries of weathering depreciation. being revised and re-modelled for a period of more than 1400 years. Stonehenge was built over a long period of time. II and III with subphases (III a. and it is supposed that the people. On the northest of the circle.) meant the radical remodelling of the complex. Inside the earth bank is the circle of the 56 Aubrey holes.

clyolites and volcanic ash. (Preseli Hills. now missing. in a place regarded as the main entrance of the monument. The sarsen stones (whose remains can still be seen today) were transported from the Marlborough Down. As regards the Bluestone Oval. although the most captivating supposition. reference is also made to the Beaker Folk. the Heel Stone is located further along the Avenue. Excepting the fact that the Druids worshipped in forest temples. and were placed in a circle of 30 uprights. Stonehenge had already been built at the Celts’ arrival in Britain. archaeoastronomy. their work being carried forward by other generations of people coming from the new cultures which arose at the respective time. the tall Altar Stone and the Sarsen ring also appeared during this period. 30 km north. located on the north-east side. and it is believed that it may have been paired with another stone. but the latter opinion is not supported by archaeological evidence. the Celtic priests.C. or to some other immigrants from the continent. Pembrokeshire) placed in what are known as the “Q” and “R” holes. proved to be erroneous. astronomers or from a new science. During the three subphases of this period new stones started to arrive. The attribution of the monument construction to the Druids. while a Bluestone Circle was added outside the Trilithon Horseshoe. with the tallest in the central position. it was added within the Trilithon Horseshoe. There were also four Station Stones places inside the Bank. and what its purpose was? The answers are mere suppositions coming from archaeologists. and the Slaughter Stone. The most appropriate supposition refers to the people of the late Neolithic period as being the first builders of the monument. the setting comprised the Bluestone∗coming from Wales. but inside the Sarsen Circle.). There are two important questions we are not able to fully answer even today: who were the builders of this monument. and which was made by John Aubrey three centuries ago. originally supporting stone lintels which formed a continuous circle around their top. and after many ∗ ”Bluestone” – various types of mostly igneous rocks including dolerites. it also includes some sandstones. historians. Within this ring.Stonehenge III (2500-1600 B. the trilithons were arranged symmetrically and grading in height. a horseshoe formation of five free standing pans of trilithons was erected. . each with a single horizontal lintel.

the second phase of the monument construction. Most of the historians and archaeologists agree that Stonehenge was a temple. over the whole of the British Isles. for some miles. trying to explain its meaning. There are modern theories trying to imagine the long way the stones covered from their mountains of origin to Salisbury plain: thus.centuries of existence it should have been in a ruined condition at that moment. probably. to be recorded in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of Britain” (1136). Although a lot has been found out about the various parts of the construction. but this idea remains only a supposition. maybe. they had a float down the river Wylye and up the river Salisbury Avon to a place (West Amesbury) from where a short drag to the Stonehenge site was left. especially as regards its purpose. some suggested that it was a temple for sun worship. the theories say that the stones were dragged by rollers and sledges from the mountains to Milford Heaven where they were loaded on rafts and boats and sailed along the coast of Wales. and. Stonehenge is considered to have been a sort of capital of the time. will remain a mystery. . although some other experts believe that only the first phase of building holds such astronomical value. but also its dangers. Using computer calculations. perhaps. and its story passed from one generation to another. without issuing a precise opinion about the Gods worshipped by its builders. with the area surrounding it recognized as a political authority. one of the most beautiful is the story written by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Anyway. the modern researchers consider that there is a clear evidence of “heavenly purpose” in this monument. and even about the way in which it was. very little can be said about the purpose of this construction. and. then up the rivers Avon and Frome to a point from where they were hauled over land again. Stonehenge is. again. as the entrance points down the middle of the Avenue towards the sunrise on Midsummer Day. A more recent theory suggests that Stonehenge could have been a sort of “astronomical calendar” marking lunar and solar alignments and other celestial events. There are plenty of legends linked with the story of Stonehenge. It goes without saying that much human effort should have been spent for erecting this construction. built. and based on maps and charts. remained an important event. when the huge bluestones were carried to the site from south Wales.

and one of them which is worth mentioning. nearly perfect circles arranged side by side with a third one. There are three circles at Avebury. and which is considered by many to surpass even Stonehenge in grandeur. R. Thomas Stokes Salmon. R. One of them was Thomas Hardy. Among the poets. much larger but less perfect. Tolkien and last but not least. a special mention should be made of Barbara Cope Findley. at Avebury there are two smaller. what strikes the modern visitor here is not so much the stones. but the surrounding bank. They are quite numerous. the mystery of this ancient stone monument inspired not only the creators of legends but also the artists all over the world. or “Incidents upon Salisbury Plain”: “Pile of Stone-henge! So proud to hint yet keep Thy secrets. who in his novel “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” drew near to one of the possible true meanings of the monument: the spiritual force. standing 18 feet high. Inmate of lonesome Nature’s endless year. less impressive and numerous than those at Stonehenge.who made the magician Merlin responsible for the reconstruction of the Giants’ Dance (a circle of massive stones believed to have stood on a mountain in Ireland) on Salisbury Plain. I. . William Wordsworth with his “Guilt and Sorrow”. leading to the creation of some wonderful and unique masterpieces. Other megaliths of prehistoric Britain. thou that lov’st to stand and hear The Plain resounding to the whirlwind’s sweep. laid out in an unusual manner: while at Stonehenge the elements are laid concentrically. tempest-driven. thy shelter now would gain”. and the ditch. Even if thou saw’st the giant wicker rear For sacrifice its throngs of living men. John Dryden. reaching a depth of 30 feet. Over the years. Who is his heart had groaned with deadlier pain Than he who. is represented by the stone circles at Avebury. Before thy face did ever wretch appear. Stonehenge does not represent the only strange and remote monument in Britain to evoke a past beyond the reach of the modern man’s understanding. a symbol of ancient philosophy and civilization. Emily Mace.

maybe a processional way between Avebury and the neighbouring circles. etc while others are less known as Garn Goch. with a lot of supposition about it. The modern tests carried out placed the felling of the trees in the years 2050-2049 B. the monuments in Wales impress because of their megalithic proportions.Unfortunately. roughly contemporary with the Stonehenge. they continue to be a subject of permanent interest to researchers and a place to see for the visitors. as Parc Cwne. but. All these monuments were excavated and studied along the years. a remarkable ring of oak timber with a massive central oak stump up-turned burried. . Prehistoric monuments can be found in Ireland. it belongs to some related monuments including Silbury Hill. thus. some of them being really famous. in the medieval period. the stones at Avebury were much more and even deliberately destroyed until recently. in spite of all efforts. or rituals connected with the dead. Averbury does not lie alone in the area. Scotland and Wales as well. Some other recent discoveries include the Seahenge. Norfolk. Ty Isaf. their real purpose is still a mystery.C. found at Holme-next-the-sea. the West Kennet Long Barrow and two “avenues” lined with standing stones.. Capel Garmon. The archaeologists believe that those timber circles built by the prehistoric people of the Bronze Age represented important ceremonial practices. the church in its effort to suppress the persistence of pre-Christian traditions considered that everything that seemed to have been a pagan temple had to be systematically vanished.

the Pretani (together with the Iceni and other tribes) may be considered as being the Celtic ancestors of the English. coming from central Europe. They were the Celts. They form the group of P-Celts. The Celts’ dialects disappeared in England because of the Anglo-Saxon invasion. in Brittane. they succeeded to occupy almost the entire territory of Europe. to France where they became an important element in the formation of the Gaulish nation. along the Danube valley to Balkans. from southern Russia. but the legend says that the geese saved the Capitol and the city. avon (river). fair haired and blue-eyed people.C. Gaelic. log. ox (water). and their language is still spoken in western France. shamrock. names of Celtic tribes. During this long period of time (about seven hundred years) successive waves of migratory Celts from the wing which had moved northwards. Linguistically. Welsh are considered as variants of their tongues). or farther east. as well. London (latin: Lundinium) is considered of Celtic origin. expanding from there into Asia Minor. . Celtic place-names. Celtic words as clan. moving in all directions: westward. in the 3rd century (387 B. each of them speaking their own dialect. plaid. expressing objects or place names: cradle. imposing Celtic language and lifestyle on the inhabitants. One of their wings settled in Italy where they put an end to the Etruscan civilization. tall and strong. gag. or even the word “slogan” meaning “war cry” entered the English language later. Living Traces of an Old Culture The beginning of the 7th century B. The tribes crossing the sea from Europe were kindred. to North Germany and Netherlands invaded Britain. southwards to Spain. with few words being kept. from Scottish or Irish sources.2 The Celts.) they were about to conquer Rome. Ireland and Northern Scotland. of individuals and gods. (Erse. they represent the Q-Celts.∗ ∗ The historians describe two main waves of Celtic in Britain migration: the first was represented by the Gaels who gave their language – Gaelic – to the Isle of Man. but mutually hostile.2. and then Anglicised during the Anglo-Saxon invasion. From their early days on. or eastwards. kilt. meant the arrival of new migratory waves in Britain. Therefore. The second wave was represented by the Belgaes or the Britons/Pretani. in a slow movement. where they are still to be found. together with archaeological discoveries enabled the scientists to consider their presence on the British Isles.C. after being first Romanised as a consequence of Roman conquest.

from Roman sources at the moment of their impact with the Celts in Britain. Anyway. p. they knew iron and how to work with it. very little is known about the first Celts coming to Britain at the beginning of their migration. Cornwall and Wales not only the old inhabitants of the island. each time. as David McDowall says. and. . they were more advanced in comparison with the Iberians. What is known comes. it is clear that Britain absorbed the new comers. always ready to fight. besides the archaeological discoveries.) named after an archaeological site in Upper Austria. thus they obliged the population to live together and mingle. it would be better to call them Anglo-Celts” [25. (There were discovered daggers of the Hallstatt∗ type.C. but of a specific British form) Thus. but even the Celts who had come before. the people living in the outer region of England being considered descendents of the Celts who came there either as invaders or traders. the 7th century B. PICTISH SEAHORSE PICTS ABERLEMNO STONE The Celts were good warriors. Unfortunately. the Celts being generally associated with the development of the Iron Age in Europe.C. is considered as the beginning of the Iron Age on the British Isles. farther to Scotland. The Celtic element is important in British history and culture.Technically. making better weapons and tools. ∗ The early Iron Age is associated with Hallstatt culture (8th–6th B. 7]. Ireland. ”although the British today are often described as Anglo-Saxons. the waves of new comers pushing. the Iberians taking on the new more advanced Celtic culture.

one of the main features of the Celtic society was its fragmentation until quite late in history. kingship was not hereditary. G. More often than not. and as G. Ireland and Scottish Highland were. As Ioana Zirra comments “here are to be found the roots of regionalism as a privileged theme of British cultural studies. there were a lot of local chiefs with a sense of power which made them be considered kings. This type of society was one of the Celts’ characteristics. legally. the Aes Dana and the Commoners (Churls). He was considered only as a member of the Fine. Wales. being responsible for his share of the Fine’s property and obligations.26]. because of the incompatibility existing between the groups. the Celts were divided into three classes: the Nobility. Therefore. but without any possessions. Besides. only very seldom it could have happened that one of them became a real king for all the Celts in a region. p. where the historical regions are contrasted. The smallest unit in Celtic society was the Fine. the Celts were tribesmen (clansmen) bound together by very strong legal and sentimental ties of kinship. these tribes were at war with one another. and with the Celts remained unassimilated” [46. They owed no military service. 18]. M. and even more.First of all. to an uninterrupted state of war. This situation led to much political anarchy. p. a fact which made them lose the power which they could have had if they had been united and organized in a state form. a close. . and even the skilled craftsman who were highly regarded. The Nobility was represented by the warriors who were also landowners and in control of herds and other forms of wealth. The Aes Dana included the artists the men of learning. in different degrees. Socially. Trevelyan says “a thousand years after England had been subjected to Saxon conquest. were free of other tribal obligations and were allowed to travel between the lands controlled by different tribes. still governed by the tribal rules of life” [45. although there was some hierarchy among them. with the family as the unit of social life. The Commoners were free people. The Druids were included in this class. in which the individual did not. extended family kinship group. exist. and it could be easily lost.

the new Ri being selected from among the eligible candidates by the members of the tribe. but also getting vengeance or payment for injuries done from other clans. helmets and harnesses. herding. another psychological technique was to attack naked and painted. beautifully decorated in the La Tène∗ style. so the Celts could have a first hit against them. Their long oval shields covered most of their body and the Celts also used to carry spears made of wood. They had developed the long. a fact noticed even in battle. The chariots which they had invented were a very important. mining. weaving. the wheat being grown in the south. hunting. enjoying a high prestige. dominated the society. Anyway. Being a very creative people. when outnumbered. . The chariot was driven by the driver to the point of battle where the warrior lept from it to fight. it refers to the later Iron Age. taken by surprise. double edged “Cut-Thrust” sword made of bronze and. metalworking and carpentry. called the Tuath (which could be considered equivalent to the modern clan). the Celtic warriors. ready to come and retrieve the warrior when in need. the double-edged broad sword made of iron. the Celts were the first in the world to imagine the guerrilla warfare. they used psychological techniques against their enemies. or would scream fearcefully while attacking to scarce the enemies. their main activities were besides fighting. agriculture progressed slowly. this technique enabled them to ambush the enemy giving them an advantage over the latter. ruled by a leader called Ri (the King). Eligibility for leadership was based on blood relationship but it was not inherited. but they were generally successful.All of them constituted a group. bee-keeping. always ready to fight. the heaviest one ever imagined. always effective warfare in battle. As regards the Celts’ occupations. they were well equipped. which made their enemies. hesitate. fishing. as painting their faces to look like demonic creatures. shields. and oats in the north. while the driver wheeled the chariot off to one side.∗∗ The Celts had few tactics in battle. the driver and the warrior forming a strong team. protecting and punishing its members. very similar to the location of ∗ ∗∗ La Tène culture. later on. having scabbards. Justice was that of the clan. and it is called after a site in Switzerland.

bronze. or traded from elsewhere. more commonly. of wood. for religious reasons. they also cultivated barley. rye and leguminous vegetables like peas and beans. and with the door generally opening to the east. The houses were simply furnished. They were aware with the benefits of crop rotation. The Celtic typical rural settlement was the single farmstead. and were roofed with thach or perhaps shingles. . The Celts were skilled craftsmen. low tables and no chairs. and occasionally enamelled precious metals. they also used manure as fertilizer. pigs and poultry were also kept. the sails were of hides and soft leather. COTTAGE AT BUCKLAND-IN-THE-MOOR Horses had been domesticated by the Celts and used in battles for the first time in the history of mankind. metalworkers in all kinds of metals: iron. The houses were made of stone. goats. often enclosed by banks and ditches. Their pottery was generally richly decorated. or. Some recent excavations (Gussage All Saints. letting land lie fallow for some season. for example) provided a detailed picture of the Celtic settlements: their houses were round. a beverage made of grain fermented with honey. They were able to produce the famous chariots and wagons. with beds. Dorset. cattle being the most important livestock. but sheep. They enjoyed preparing mead. which they drank at their feasts.these crops nowadays. or other high quality wooden goods. as. to keep stock in at night. which were mined where the locations were suitable. They were also woodworkers. and were skilled in building boats or even big ships of oak with iron fittings and anchor chains. in many cases with a small rectangular porch. Animals’ breeding was also one of their occupations. Any house possessed a rotary hand mill and a loom for the weaving of cloth. for example. as the Celts sat on cushions or furs placed on the floor. maybe.

position and status within the Celtic society were well determined. All these aspects constituted methods by which they could build up and maintained the desired image in the eyes of the others. Land and cattle also contributed to a Celt’s status in his society.). (A wonderful monument in her memory can be admired in London). the women’s long loose hair seem to have been really impressive in battle. At the death of her husband Boadicea became the queen of her tribe. The noblemen wore a sword or a belt dagger for both ornamentation and protection. At least two queens were mentioned by the Romans at the moment of their invasion in Britain. and sleek bodies were admired. ankle and finger rings. and had to be supported by certain values. red haired woman with a frightening appearance led a rebellion against the Romans (61 A. On the other hand. They were highly preoccupied with their physical appearance. leading the powerful and numerous Brigantes of the north. The Celtic society inhabiting Britain in the Iron Age was constantly developing.The Celts were neat and clean. some reference to equality between sexes being possible. and almost had driven them out of Britain. individual strength and skill were important.D. the Celtic civilization was highly advanced. They were fond of bright colours. and the other one was the highly celebrated Boadicea (Boudicca). That tall. the Celts using to boast themselves of their own achievements and victories in battle. wearing colourful striped plaids frequently edged with fringes. their appearance often shocking them. such as the abundance of gold and jewellery. arm. Rank. determining the building and improvement of many large . One of them was Cartimandua. before she was defeated and killed. As regards women. bracelets and brooches to fasten their cloaks and tunics. as well as of their ancestors’ achievements and victories. and it is considered that they were among the cultures which invented soap. London. destroyed the Roman capital. they were described as fighting from their chariots with courage and bravery against the invaders. the display of physical wealth was important. The Roman historians also mention the strength and courage of the Celtic women warriors. they were also fond of personal decorations and both men and women wore a lot of jewellery made of gold: the torc or neck ring.

precious metal goods and wine. but with the continent as well (Normandy and Mediterranean cultures). revealed a lot about the Celtic culture. salt. for long. Trade with Ireland went through the island of Mona (Anglesey). Towards its end. coral. only empty places. and. Pytheas of Massalia. as Maiden Castle (Dorset). Albans. many of these hill forts are. . a Greek explorer (3rd century B. Inside these hill-forts there were houses forming settlements which represented the first “towns”. The principle merchandise among the Celtic tribes was the cattle. finished metal goods and grains were traded for luxury goods: glass. some of them continuing to exist even today. in this way they created a network of strongholds that controlled large areas. The Celts were also good businessmen and traders. although some of them had. animal skins and furs.). including their trade with the continent. They can be considered as representing the development of the first towns on the British Isles. as. while the two main trade outlets to Europe were the settlements along the Thames in the south. it inspired Thomas Hardy in his novel “Far From the Madding Crowd” (1874) [25. for example. the continuously developing Celtic civilization gave way to kingdoms ruled by powerful dynasties who even minted their own coinage by copying the Greek and the Roman ones. and which started to function as hubs of political. remained local economic centres at the respective time.hill-forts as centres for local groups. Such constructions. as for example an annual September fair on the site of a Dorset Hill fort. much trade was conducted by river and sea. raw metals. developing trade relations. As David McDowell says. nowadays. “within living memory certain annual fairs were associated with hill forts. were provided with multiple ditches and sophisticated sloping ramparts of chalk and earth. religious and commercial centres. before the Roman conquest. and those on the Firth of Forth in the north. often. Hertfordshire) or Camulodomum (Colchester. Verulamium (St. not only across tribal borders. Essex). amber.C. they were. probably. 8]. of a remarkable beauty (The first coin minted in Britain shows Appolo’s image). However. p.

described the Celtic world∗. Most archaeologists and historians accept the opinion that the Celts divided the year into four major cycles. the blacksmith god. a warrior god believed to be skilled in arts and horsemanship. Thus. and others. patron of travellers and commerce. A list of these gods/goddesses. patroness of arts and crafts. They were Imbolc in February. each season being separated and identified by four important religious festivals. stag. includes Lugh. while geese were associated with gods as well. ravens and wrens were thought to carry prophetic massages.A presentation of the Celtic culture and civilization on the British Isles territory. horse and others. Tacitus and Julius Caesar. three schools of thought in this respect. Ogmios. the opinions differ. at least. Epona or the Horse Goddess. even as short as this one. including Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Securedus). the birds were considered the gods’ messengers: swans could be the gods themselves in bird form. who. of healing. being very superstitious. a pastoral ∗ As the Celts did not develop a writing system and all their knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth. As regards the Celts’ calendar practice. the ruler and protector of animals. a mother goddess. bull. in their works. and there are. patron of art and the god of healing. has to pay a special attention to the Celts’ religion and beliefs. the extent to which some remote religious rituals can be still detected in the British tradition is also worth mentioning. Don the god of the dead and ruler of the other world. pig. or appeared in rituals as holding an important significance. livestock and produce. poetry. there is no direct source regarding their culture and civilization. the patron of eloquence. as well as fishes (salmon. Brigid. The Celts had a lot of gods and goddesses. and of the rites of spring. . Goibhnui. Another distinguishing characteristic of the Celts’ religious believes is represented by the significance held by birds and animals. trout) were either associated with gods. or representing different symbols. identified as having an important significance to the Celts. Cernunnos. It is considered that the Celts had numerous religious beliefs. Animals like boar. traditional learning. Most of the knowledge about their religious practices comes from the Greek and Latin writers. each “tuath” having its own god.

As the Celts had no ∗ Continuing the Celtic tradition. finally. 31) heralding the start of the new year. Some of the old Celtic rites are still to be discovered nowadays. people would run. Beltaine (in May) related to the fertility of cattle and crops. either celebrated by small communities. the division between this world and the other world dissolved. THE PICTISH AND EARLY SCOTTISH ART Samhain has become our modern Halloween. and the spirits roamed the earth. it was a dangerous time when humanity was vulnerable and exposed to the supernatural world∗. the boundaries of their farms with blazing torches in order to protect their families from the malevolent forces. and. . after sunsets. as is the case of Beltaine. and commonly associated with fire rites. freely walking the land at the moment and causing mischief. Beltain is well known and practised in Scotland as a fire rite. and commemorating the creation of order out of chaos. where both men and women were taught in large communities. These festivals included multiple day activities like market fairs. Samhain (in October. as believed in the old times. All of them had to cover long years of intensive training at special universities. councils and feasts. and the beginning of the world. a descendant of the Celtic festival. athletic competitions. especially in Scottish Highland. Lughnasadh (from mid July to mid August) which was the harvest festival celebrating the richness of the harvest and honouring the gods. it was the moment when. besides the observance of the religious rituals. or known over large territories as Samhain.festival of fertility and growth. Today. The Celtic religion is connected with the name of the Druids. They were organized in three distinctive groups. for purification and protection against evil spirits. each of them having specific functions and performing well-established tasks. it consists in driving the herds between bonfires and their smoke.

stories. being held in high esteem and becoming members of the king’s court. ritual leaders. Druid was a title given to men/women who possessed „oak knowledge/oak wisdom”. the Ovates and the proper Druids. from the Mountains of Noah (the Caucasus). their way of making law decision might be considered similar to the present British law. with the Celts first emigration under Hu Gadarn. thus.writing everything had to be learned by heart. and philosophies. as well the mistletoe growing on it. mathematicians and. lawyers. combined with the word „wid” meaning „to know”/”to see” in the Sanscrit. generally. astronomers. These three groups were the Bards. the name of God being in itself a creative power. having knowledge in herbalism and healing arts as well. the oak was an important. the universe is matter ordered and systematized by the intelligence of God. sacred tree. Thus. teachers. their responsibilities and privilege being that of serving as kings’ advisors.E. also based on precedent and tradition. Somehow. extremely powerful. really. They were philosophers. Three pencils of light represent the ∗ The word „Druidae” is considered of Celtic origin. Pliny the Elder (23/24-79 C. they could divine the future.) believed it to come from the Greek word „drus” meaning „oak”. whose training could last for 12 years until getting the status of “Doctor of Poetry”. they were those who ruled on matters of property and inheritance. To the Druids. were the keepers of oral tradition regarding the history of the tribe. marriage and settlement of claims. According to this religion. The Druidic religion was brought into England by the Gomeridae. The Bards. The Ovates/the Filids were the shamans and philosophers who were responsible for understanding the mysteries of death and rebirth. their decisions in different matters being based on generations of precedent and tradition which they had learned during their long years of training. the ultimate authority in matters of worship and ceremony. The Druids∗ were trained for the longest period of time (Caesar stated it for 20 years) covering the levels of both Bards. the depositors of the society entire knowledge. They could be considered as representing the “supreme priests”. but also as judges. They were. Ovates and something more. . They had to memorize hundreds of poems.

a new romantic image of Druids had begun to emerge first. . the Celtic world was discovered thanks to the works of Pliny. “the Druidic nation having no fear of death”. the Celtic culture was able to dominate almost all of Europe for a long period of time. as a result of the Roman and. it claims among its many members illustrious names. acting as an international charitable organization. and by 1955 only one of them had survived. Only during the Renaissance. According to their conception. due to the revival of interest in ancient Greek and Roman culture. with a more mystical character.Druidic symbol of God. Christian suppression. By the 17th century. The United Order of Druids is still flourishing today. Tacitus and Julius Caesar. organized at Stonehenge and other places attract huge crowds of people. as Lucan stated. In 1717. More recently. with lodges in the U. the annual festivals. and Australia. a breakaway movement took place in 1839. in French. such as the neo-pagan “Secular Order of Druids”. continued to exist along the 19th and 20th centuries. new “New Age” oriented orders were initiated. although the earliest revival of Druidic order is accepted to be the “Ancient Order of Freemasonry”. called “the British Circle of the Universal Bonds”. As a consequence of the conflicts between its members.S. and “the United Order of Druids” was established. in English literature. covering the centuries from the Bronze Age well into the early Christian period. it claims to be not only the true descendent of Henry Hurl’s original Ancient Order of Druids but also. and later. as Winston Churchill who was initiated into the Albion Lodge at Oxford. the first “Order of Druids” seems to have been initiated on Primrose Hill. There were many Druidic sects emerging and disappearing in the 20th century. London. then. As one can see. knowledge and religion could not be separated. They also believed in the soul immortality. For many centuries the Celtic culture and Druidic religion were forgotten. of the Order of Druids founded in 1717. the “Ancient Order of Druids”. At the same time.

Thanks to their wisdom and understanding. the ∗ In Latin ”the country of Pretani”. the fact which remains is that the Romans failed in really and permanently latinizing Britain. combining the religious beliefs with almost everything they did. 2. Scotland. grains. as they did with many other territories of the empire. no great success. in our modern times the Celtic languages and traditions can be still discovered in Wales. Ireland and Scottish Highlands. especially that of London (Its name is of Celtic origin).) most of the Celts on the Continent were assimilated into the Roman Empire. is considered by many scholars as being beyond other cultures. slaves and money to fill his war-chest. Cornwall or the Isle of Man. and. Thus. as in Western France (Brittany). the second the Roman roads. and the third. a by-product of the second. tribute. The first expedition was a failure. M. This attitude gave them the courage. which the Celts developed.D.3 Roman Britain: the Memory of a Civilization In his “History of England” G. Wales. the Celtic languages survived better in some territories. and the second. and they lost their identity and independent culture. the culture. Beginning with the 1st century (A. ”Pretani” is the Greeko-Roman word for the inhabitants of Britani (Mispronounced by the Romans the country became Britania). as a necessity required by his need of showy exploits exports. besides Brittany (France). after the conquest of Gaul. But. in Ireland.C. on larger areas which remained Celtic. inventive story tellers and poets. Fortunately. .The Celts. were excellent artisans and warriors. Julius Caesar invaded Britain∗ in 55 and 54 B. Trevelyan mentions three things of value which Romans left behind after their four centuries of stay on the British Isles: the first was the Welsh Christianity. a very creative people. However. perseverance and strength to overcome difficulties and defeat their enemies. was the traditional importance of certain new city sites.

However. By the year 47. up to the river Severn and even farther. as the first existent and coherent account. in the coming years. Most of the tribes submitted to the Roman legions. and the rest of them who continued to resist. and took the personal command of the campaign closing stages. under Emperor Claudius. in 43 A. and partly because of the Celts’ aggression and the help given by them to the Celts on the continent. ROMAN FORT AND BATH BEARDEN SCOTLAND The actual conquest of the island took place a century after Caesar’s expedition. because of the attacks coming from the Celtic tribes which had remained . Gemina Martia Victoria XIV. Later.D. a frontier had been established from Exeter to the Humber. As a result. as it offered us Caesar’s description of Britain at the time of his invasions. Valeria Victrix XX. were left for being subdued in the next years. who decided to conquer the island partly from his own ambition. the Celts led by Togodumnus and Caratacus were defeated. Claudius sent an army across the channel formed of four legions (August II. and the famous Hispana IX) together with a number of auxiliary regiments consisting of cavalry and infantry raised from among warlike tribes subject to the empire.moment was important. which gradually advanced into the island. showing the Romans’ intention to limit their invasion to the southeast area of the island. when Ostorius Scapula succeeded to Plautius as commanding officer. under the command of Aulus Plautius. The Emperor himself arrived. Taken by surprise.. they had to advance and occupy other territories. the Romans formed small expeditionary forces consisting of simple legions or parts of legions supported by subsidiary allied troops.

sacked some important Romanised centres and got some other victories before being defeated and taken captive. the emperor being represented by the governor who exercised the supreme military authority and civil jurisdiction. relying on the assistance of other Celtic tribes dissatisfied with the Romans and the new settlers’ attitude. who courageously fought against the invaders for the freedom of her people. being appreciated by the inhabitants. and the Roman way of life was introduced.). a strong wall was built along the northern border (Solway-Tyne isthmus) with the declared intention of keeping out the raiders from the north. in the early 3rd century. From the first years of Roman occupation. the progress towards spreading Roman civilization on the newly conquered territories was obvious: towns started to be founded. . For many centuries. The reason was the intention of reducing the governor’s power and his possible attempt to rebel against Rome. The wall was planned by Emperor Hadrian and named after him (122-130 A. the Romans broke the agreements and annexed their territory. but on their king’s death (Prasutagus). Wales being occupied by Julius Frontinus (74-78 A. Boudicea can be considered the first important Celtic hero. outraging the population. constituting the permanent frontier of Roman Britani. D. the area occupied by the Romans was confined to modern England and Wales. However. queen of the Iceni (year 61 A. and which meant a serious setback in the Roman progress on the island’s territory was the rebellion of Boudicea.D. Under these circumstances.) of defeating the tribes of “Caledonia” (as they called Scotland). the wall remained to symbolically mark the border between the two later communities. the Romans could never conquer Scotland and.). D. with its capital at London. The Romans continued their advance on the island. England and Scotland. rebelled against the conquerors. The respective tribe had enjoyed a status of alliance and independence in their relations with the Romans.).D. An important event recorded by historians. Later on. and Britannia Inferior having its capital at York. Britain became an imperial province. and attempts being made by Gracus Julius Agricola (78-84 A. and the barbarian North and West. the queen Boudicea. Britain was divided into two provinces: Britannia Superior. the island being divided in its turn into two contrasting regions: the Latinised South and East. finally.free. Thus. the cult of the emperor was established.

at its peak. new categories of people rose to power. social advancement was secured by Roman citizenship which could be obtained after 25 years of service in the auxiliary forces. Besides the old Celtic settlements or market centres. which determined not only the development of mining (a Roman gold mine is known in Wales.As regards society. There were three different kinds of . grain to feed the troops was levied as a tax. the population got a cosmopolitan character due to the large number of soldiers and traders coming from other parts of the empire and being already Roman citizens. the pastoralists in Wales and northern regions had to supply the army the leather required in large quantities for tents. a. especially as regards the import of luxury goods for the new and prosperous categories of people. which highly stimulated production in many fields of human activity. also including high-class pottery. it was mostly determined by the presence and requirements of the army.s. while the Britons themselves provided a second one. refers to the urbanization of the territory. copper and especially lead). silver. The goods ranged from wine.o. the population of Roman Britain would have been of about two million. glass vessels and metal ware. as well as wool for clothing (Archaeological discoveries in Cotswold indicate the place as one of the main cloth production centre). A large market existed among the military. During the period. pearls. as basis of Roman administration and civilization. and according to Tacitus. to tableware and bronze articles. Trade also increased. The principal exports of Roman Britain included tin. the pottery industry was also well organized and developed. slaves and grains. lead fields in Derbyshire or at Mendip. At the same time. One of the Romans’ main achievements. Britain was also known for its subsoil resources (gold. It is estimated that. All these economic developments determined large profits that were made both by continental and local businessmen and producers. most of the towns seem to have developed from the old garrison forts. The four centuries’ period of Roman administration witnessed an impetuous economic development of Britain. iron. The basis of economy was and remained agriculture.) but of other processing industries as well. already mentioned. villa estates were established on large areas of rich soil mainly provided by forest clearance which had resulted from the heavy demand for building timber and fuel for the domestic heating of the newly built towns. shields or boots (a military tannery is known at Catterick).

large cities with a population to whom Roman citizenship had been given and civitas. it seems that for the Romans. Gloucester. representing the old Celtic centres. A special attention has to be paid to the development of the place which was to become London. they grew to impressive sizes. and. In the countryside. inhabited by Roman settlers. probably. some of them with a population of about 5. later on. in the beginning. the city “that was to play so great a part first in English and then in world history. some of them being provided with theatres and amphitheatres. especially in the 4th century. It is estimated that. and especially towards the end of the 3rd century almost every town had thick stonewalls to protect the population during the crisis moments. but. at first. garrison-forts or army camps. London was less an administrative centre than an economic one. The fact that many of these towns had been. very much Romanised in their manners. There was a clear difference between the rich people of Roman Britain and those who worked on the land. being. (e. They belonged to the richer Britons. “cester”.towns: colonial. municipia. . Leicester. being built of stone in the Italian style. few of them being provided with mosaics.g. at the respective time. London had a population of about 20. 31). etc). In time. Lancaster. where six roads met. the most important trading centre of northern Europe. The towns left by the Romans (in a number of about twenty) varied in size.000 people.000. Chester. Due to a geographic coincidence which made a bridge and a port be in close proximity. called in Latin “castra” is provided by the existence of this word as part of many town names to this day. or had other activities: the latter continued to live in the same type of villages formed of round huts in which they had been living in for centuries. a forum with basilica. or where other goods arrived and were unloaded for local use. The administrative capitals were well designed with regular street grids. they were only of a provincial type. close to towns. and that attained its original importance under the Roman rule” (45. temples. p. the place became the best landing-place for continental commerce. thus. and from where the locally produced grains were loaded to be sent out of the Island.: Winchester. “caster”. or even more. prosperous owners could afford the construction of villas. easily recognized in the English ending “chester”. Doncaster. public baths.

Roman civilization took root in Britain. in time. p. Starting with the 3rd century the Roman Empire was faced with serious economic. the language of artisans and common workers. Romans had brought with them the written communication in Latin. but not written. Roman civilization petered away by degrees. it has been difficult to established. so well built that they survived to the Romans’ withdrawal continuing to be used for centuries and becoming the main roads of modern Britain. but it was more an urban civilization similar to the situation in the whole empire. and even of Aeneid. as the language of the elites of foreign administrators. Britain’s romanisation also meant the introduction of Christianity in the country. but which became. both in Roman controlled areas and beyond them [25. and started to produce their own works. later on. represented another important achievement of the Romans. but.D. Restitutus. Mary (Dorset) attest its acceptance among villa owners. which had grown out of a city-state. In the countryside. their knowledge of Roman mythology. the exquisite statues in marble or bronze which decorated their villas were imported as luxury artefacts from the workshops on the Continent. As regards the cultural level of Britons during that period. who participated in the Council of Arelatum (Arles) together with other Britain bishops (314 A. 35]. Celtic continued to be spoken. but the frescoes at Lullingstone (Kent) and the mosaics at Hinton St. p.The roads. how and when it happened. religious and military problems (the wealth of the provinces had been exhausted. It is known that at the beginning of the 4th century there was a bishop in London. Christianity had become firmly established across Britain. It is certain that in the last hundred years of Roman administration. “Beyond the city walls. In the beginning. Many people were bilingual. 13].). as it is known from the graffiti on the tiles dug out and interpreted by the modern archaeologists. Thus. the frescos and mosaics discovered provide an evidence of the people’s classical education. through regions of Romano-British villadom. indigenous sculptors learned the art. into regions of mere Celtic tribalism” [45. the conflict between Christianity and paganism .

Honorius. besides. had become troublesome. 425 A. and Rome’s military power had collapsed). Anyway. as for example Cohorts 7 Aelia Dacorum).separated the emperor from his people. representing the climax of Roman culture on the island. The Roman fleet charged with the defence of the coast was not very strong. One of them was Vortigern (c.D. and with the garrisons diminished because of the withdrawal of troop called to defend Rome (Only the garrisons defending the northern wall were kept for a longer time. ushering in the late imperial period. and the Celts of Ireland attracted by the wealth of the region. Being still far from “barbarian” invasions. and the 4th century was a period of prosperity in towns and countryside alike. This happened in 410 A. asked by the Roman Celts to offer them protection was unable to send assistance. at the time. but authorized the cities to organize their own defence. some other dissident tribes in the area had never been really defeated by the Roman legions. D.). However. towards the end of the 3rd century a new danger appeared: the invasion of the coasts from the barbarian German tribes coming from the continent. enjoyed Pax Romana for a longer period of time than the continental provinces. It was only for a while that Diocletian’s reforms put an end to the chaos. he seems to have made a gross mistake. in spite of some rebellions. Britain. But. the legitimate emperor. unable to face the diverging interests of some local parties. in an attempt to stop the Picts’ raids which. with insufficient forces left to provide protection against increasing both Pictish and Saxon raids. he invited the Saxons Hengest and Horsa to come with their men in order to settle and garrison strategic areas along the east coast. The main and permanent threat for the Roman Celt population was represented by the plunder attacks coming from the Brigantes or the Picts of Scotland. as the withdrawal of the troops called to defend the empire continued. Gradually. and. its weak point was the defensive system controlled by distant rulers. the security of the island weakened. The event and what followed is largely described and explained by the Anglo-Saxon . and the moment marked the end of the Roman Britain. the power fell into the hands of the local tyrants.

but. After a short period of peace. the chronicler Gildas (aprox. saved the idea of Christianity and Roman culture and. meaning in German “foreigner” (Welshe). practically. three hundred years later. plundering. 540) quotes Vergil and calls Latin. where they started to be called “Welsh” by the Saxons. and they rose against those who had called them as friends. The formerly Romanised Celts courageously fought against the ever more numerous German raiders and settlers. y. killing and settling on the new territories (446-454 A.). and the ending “chester”/”cester”/ ”caster” to be found in some names. which certify the Roman presence on the island. recognized in Stratford. All these elements paved the way for an easy integration of Britannia into the civilization of the early Middle Ages in Europe. Besides the Roman monuments. In his “Histoire d’Angleterre”. they were slowly pushed westwards. meaning the disintegration of the villa estates. “mile” which is the Roman “mila”. the number of the Saxons coming to Britain increased. few Latin words were preserved in the people’s language to speak about the period of the Celto-Roman culture: “street” from “strata via”. “nostra lingua”. not accidentally. in his “Ecclesiastical History of the English people”. others continued to live in Britain and “if the modern British is so deeply different from the . finally into the mountains.Benedictine scholar Bede. A long period of warfare and chaos started. and a general economic disaster in which. the breakdown of markets and the trade decline. However. in the far west. the escape of slaves. of institutions and of “Pax Romana”. the monks who got the refuge in Wales or Ireland. D. André Maurois maintains that although many of the Celts were killed or turned into slaves. during the coming years. an important inheritance coming from the Romans remained in the people’s memory: it meant Christianity and the idea of state. “wall” from “vallum”. and their country became “Wallas” or “Wales”. the Celto-Roman civilization disappeared for ever.

According to historical sources.D. all of them being kindred. the name of its people. and. p. as it had permanent results. Saxons and Jutes∗. to a large extent. “which represented a slow and painful process”. and the setting up of a new type of culture and civilization in the respective region. The differences in the language and customs of these tribes were really very slight.4 Anglo-Saxon England. namely Engeland or England (“the land of the Angles”). The British Celts opposed to their invasion. 2. coming as mercenaries. In Britain. the situation is explained partly by the fact that the Norman conquest was for him a second Latin conquest. while the Saxons settled between the Jutes and the Angles on a strip of land lying from the Thames Estuary westward. even if in Scotland the Celtic element is stronger. the first Germanic tribes settled in Britain around the year 430 A. it meant the displacement of the former population from the richest agricultural areas. 37] and not viceversa. along the south coast. They came from the coast of modern Denmark and Germany. 52-53). larger than the other two. p. popular in the older accounts are today reckoned disputable. the Angles in the east and in north Midland. . (Recent archaeological discoveries also mention the Franks and Frisians). This migration gave to the largest part of the island. This invasion was more important than “the Roman interlude” or even the Norman conquest. The Emergence of a New Culture The settlement in Britain of the Germanic tribes coming from the North of the continent can be considered a major event in the island’s history. and partly because the blood of the German invaders was mixed. from both sides of the mouth of the Elbe.. Devon and ∗ The Jutes of Kent. and including different tribal elements. or the Isle of Wight. the Jutes settled mainly in Kent. or from the lower Rhine. until they were driven west to Cornwall.German. with the blood of the races before them” (23. the Germanic language and character is prevailing even here. The most important ones were the Angles. “The distinctive character of the modern English is Nordic tempered by Welsh” [45.

. and the knights of his inner circle. at Merlin’s suggestion. at Uther’s death. during which he founds a fellowship of knights. Arthur is taken and ∗ (Very briefly) The legend tells about Arthur as being the son of king Uther Pendragon and of Ygraine. generally. Arthur kills Mordred. being one of the most enduring stories in recorded history.Welsh Marches. with his half sister Morganse. he was seen as a war hero. Mordred attempts to seize his throne. As a child. Scots. unfortunately. positively believed). Arthur is taken by the wizard Merlin and raised to become a squire. as the society of the Round Table. Arthur has not only foreign enemies. (It is certain that the Battle of Badon Hill set the Saxon occupation back for many years. his realm. including the Saxons. Thus. His body was buried or taken away never to be seen again. their sinful love being one of the major causes of the destruction of Arthur’s Kingdom. Arthur is presented as a leader in ancient times who defeated the Saxons. some versions present Mordred as Arthur’s nephew. During one of his absences. Their resistance was associated with legends and traditions. from a stone. where he marries a beautiful young lady Guinevere. It consists of a group of tales concerning the heroic deeds of king Arthur. and even the Romans. The sword ”Excalibur” has an important part to play in these victories. Mordred. Excalibur. Arthur’s kingdom weakens from within – partly because of him and his queen’s mistakes and sins – and Arthur himself died or was mortally wounded. a period of peace follows. but he has to restore justice in his kingdom as well. one of his favourites. being at war. Picts. but he himself is deadly wounded by the young dying man. The end of the legend is magnificent: a boat carrying a group of warriors among whom his sisters comes. The legend of King Arthur∗ is worth mentioning as it represents an evidence of the Britons’ resistance over the years. A battle for reclaiming his rights take place on Salisbury Plain. Eventually. Merlin becomes Arthur’s advisor. but Arthur himself has his own flaws. and the young king is always victorious in the fights against Britain’s enemies. fighting also against many other enemies. and uniting the people of Britain in peace and harmony. Arthur rules from his favourite and famous castle Camelot. Lancelot. in spite of his valour and wisdom: he fathers a son. Arthur becomes the king after passing the test of drawing a magic sword. and overrunning Ireland and Iceland. causing more animosities among his barons. and with the names of some famous heroes such as Ambrosius Aurelianus or King Arthur. although it is. but it is not still proved whether Arthur fought at it or not. fighting everywhere and winning great victories. falls in love with Queen Guinevere.

coming from every land. who arrived at Camelot to seek fame as members of the Round Table fellowship. UTHER KING ARTHUR There are – in these tales – some aspects. Arthur’s fate remains uncertain. from there he will return in the hour of Britain’s greatest need. Thus. Thus. The principle of “The Round Table” has lived over the centuries and continues to be. even today. the legend is the tale of fight and passion. The shape of the table serving as the group’s meeting place. one of them is the fellowship of knights. although some stories say that he died and was buried somewhere. The story says about the knights. they were accepted only after the favorable appreciations of their deeds The Round Table at war. of victory and defeat. most of them preserve the idea of Arthur’s immortality.they sail away to the island of Avalon for his wounds to be healed. known as The Round Table which included 150 knights. either imaginary or not and wanted by his people in need. . and of ceaseless hope. besides being the story of a leader. which they had to present in front of the other knights. a phrase used by the people everywhere when equality in status of the persons present at a meeting is credited. has represented the idea of equality in status of those sitting around it. which are worth being commented.

there is no real evidence that a historical king Arthur really existed. Galahad. Adventures and quests are known as important elements of chivalry. and. an abundance of documents were produced that . finds the Holy Grail. GALAHAD CAMELOT In spite of the old and contemporary assiduous research. THE HOLY GRAIL ARTHUR RECEIVING EXCALIBUR (The Holy Grail is understood to have been the chalice Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper). consequently. But. Eventually.Another interesting aspect is the “quest for the Holy Grail” in which Arthur’s knights are involved. as a person entirely free of sin and weakness. but Arthur’s knights embarkment on the greatest of all quests could be considered as one more evidence of the greatness and absolutely special character assigned to these heroes. between the 6th and the 12th centuries. Lancelot’s son. the one qualified to complete the quest.

Wace. Arthur crossed the border of Britain. in the 15th century (1459-1470) used it as a major source for Le morte d’Arthur (The Death of Arthur). a collection of Welsh tales (11th century) and the most important of them.in fact – the full rise and fall of the Arthurian world. a French writer. legend and imagination. running to thousands of pages. In 1155. by the Welsh bard Aneirin (6th century). but. Malory’s work. all Arthurian texts composed in every European language∗. by the Welsh writer Geoffrey of Monmouth (1136) – a combination of history. Historia Regum Britanniae. or alluded to events that were. up to our present days. becoming a hero of continental Europe. mentioning The Round Table for the first time. Historia Britonum by the Welsh historian Nennius (mid 9th century). and which became the core of a massive 13th century work. created a new fictional form known as “Arthurian Romance”. king Arthur’s unique and fascinating image inspired the artists worldwide. it inspired Sir Thomas Mallory who. Mabinogion. traces . as well as of the ideals of medieval chivalry. gradually. associated with him. and the quest for the Grail – known as the “Vulgate Cycle”. Among these texts are included: the poem Y Gododdin. a legend shaped around the idea of a great king fighting against the Britons’ enemies. in the 19th century the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson reintroduced them in the literary world. Lord Tennyson wrote a series of poems called “Idylls of the King” (1859-1885) using the past as a model opposed to the ugliness of his ∗ Wolfram von Eschenbach. later. whose tales begin before Arthur’s conception. extending past his departure to Avalon. . Some years later. It also inspired a cycle of five romances – including the love between Lancelot and Guinevere. as a symbol of human mind high aspirations and lofty ideals. Thus. From that moment on an explosion of artistic works of Arthurian inspiration burst forth. Chrétien de Troyes. From the 12th century on. Thus. practically. an Anglo-Norman chronicler translated Geoffrey’s work into French as the Roman de Brut (Story of Brutus). Germany wrote the epic poem „Parzival” (1210). and it has continued to contemporary times.mentioned Arthur. which became the main subject of inspiration for. The Vulgate Cycle was translated and adapted even more widely than Chrétien’s romances. the popularity of the Arthurian legends diminished. For the following about two hundred years (16th-18th century).

The American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley in her “The Mists of Avalon” (1982) tackled the traditional subject from a different perspective: that of the female characters. Guinevere. White wrote four novels: “The Sword in the Stone” (1938). as representing the most popular names of writers: T. and Merlin is shown as a foolish fraud. “The III-Made Knight” (1940) and “The Candle in the Wind” (1958) with a fifth “The Book of Merlin” (1977). None of the two societies is spared. “The Hollow Hills” (1973) and “The Last Enchantment” (1979). with his specific insight Mark Twain suggests that modern technology has not made people better or more civilized. The 20th century was equally rich in literary productions having Arthur as their protagonist. dramatists and novelists. among whom the American writer Mark Twain. Mary Stewart wrote several Arthurian novels forming a trilogy: “The Crystal Cave” (1970. the lady Viviane and others. “The Witch in the Wood” (1939). but simple and rather buffoonish. they are only more efficient. H. the poet emphasizing the transient character of glory and suggesting that sin carried about the ruin of the Arthurian world. but on the contrary. while Arthur is seen as a goodhearted man. . used the legends as an opportunity for humor and satire. many of them saw Arthur’s legends as depicting a heroic and glorious past. however.present world. Out of the long list some examples can be selected. without idealizing the Arthurian age. there is even some pessimism in Tennyson’s poems. who are seen as stronger and more independent than the writer’s predecessors had considered them in the earlier accounts. published after his death. Morgan le Fay. but. the contemporary world is not embellished. when courage and lofty ideals flourished and prevailed. “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (1889) offers Mark Twain the chance to introduce the medieval customs against the modern ones. while a few others. Mallory’s and Tennyson’s works fired the imagination of hundreds of poets.

Music has known interpretations of the Arthurian legends since the old times of medieval troubadours. stained glass and other media. the group of artists known as Pre-Raphaelites. Thus. in 1904 the American director Edwin Porter produced “Parsifal”. oratories and about 50 operas inspired by these legends. Arthur’s legend represented a source of inspiration for “the seventh art”. In “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) the adventures are treated comically. Richard Wagner composed two famous operas “Tristan and Isolde” (1865) and “Parsifal” (1882) whose characters originate in the Arthurian story. the story being a mixture of idealism and absurdity. There are also animated pictures. from his birth to the final grievous wound. sculptures and mural paintings. telling the whole story of Arthur. tapestries. . while “A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court” has been repeatedly filmed along the century. The filmmakers and directors were attracted by the stories in different ways. and joined by other artists such as Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones or William Morris. “Excalibur” (1981) directed by John Brosman is a serious picture. murals. In the 19th century. Thus. organized by the English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti.The Arthurian legends are a source of inspiration not only for the literary world but for other arts as well. Since the 19th century. Among the best known musical works is the composition of Henry Purcell written to accompany a text of the English poet John Dryden: “King Arthur” or “The British Worthy” (1691). such as “The Sword in the Stone” (1963). In the 20th century. or musicals as “Camelot” (1967). the composers have created lots of instrumental pieces. ballets. used Arthurian themes in their paintings. with the rebirth of the interest in the legends. the medieval artists illustrated the legends through drawings.

a new type of society emerged to represent the newly settled population. Very recently. by using some legends. 2] and with them. and permanent traits of the human beings’ character. in convenient farming regions. in all its forms. whom in two generations of conflict. they pushed back into the western and northern uplands” [12. Eric Rohmec produced a no less outstanding picture “Percival the Welshman” (1978) in which he used Chrétien de Troyes’ medieval Grail story as a source of inspiration. It also seems “pretty certain that the Germanic invaders did not mix significantly with the Celts. with castles and fortresses. while in Germany. with heroic deeds and endless fights. except for the names of some rivers – the Thames. interpreting the role of Lancelot. It is hard to find something of Celtic language or culture left in England.A recent picture is “The Fisher King” (1991). and not at all a coherent people. an outstanding film. The ideals of these heroes. the Mersey. p. Besides. directed by Jerry Zucker. with Sean Connery as Arthur and Richard Gere. England’s emergence. in time. the art. their strength and weakness are the ideals . and. As mentioned above. the institutions of the Romanized Britons had been disintegrated with the Roman withdrawal. contributed to the creation of a king and a kingdom with the whole suite of knights. the story inspired a new wonderful romantic drama “The Knights of the Round Table”. The French director. the Avon – and of two large cities: London and Leeds. where the Arthurian motifs are recast in a modern form: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) introduced the Grail as a reason for adventures. the Severn. Coming back to the moment of the island’s invasion. because they represent perennial ideals of the human civilization. the historians agree that the German raiders were mostly a collection of various tribes and non-tribal bodies. in 1995. their type of culture. Thus.strength and weakness of our contemporaries. for about out thousand and five hundred years. produced “Lancelot of the Lake” (1974). Robert Bresson. they settled separately. . telling the story of Lancelot’s adventures.

its early supremacy being due to the initial cultural superiority of the invaders (the Frankish tribes). and the kingdoms south of the Humber would acknowledge the overlordship of a single ruler (known. nowadays. The boundaries of these “kingdoms” were still fluid. Kent was the first English kingdom converted to Christianity. Among the first kingdoms to grow in importance was Kent. to a great extent. . after a period of time. which coincided with the influence of the advanced culture introduced by the Celtic Church (Christian). though divided into a number of small “kingdoms”. East Anglia (East Angles). at the respective moment. but. but the system was still old. Middlessex (Middle Saxons). the settlers had started to regard themselves as belonging to “the nation of the English”. as “bretwalda”) for a longer period of time. but which was mostly due to the warlike character of the people. in county or regional names: Kent. it had a period of greatness. some of which are still existing. by the end of the 6th century. to their contacts with Europe. in many cases. a certain “sense of unity” started to become manifest. However. brought over from the continent. and of their constant appearance and disappearance. the relations were governed by rivalry for the farm land and. and to the capacity of one of its kings. and its failure to secure control over other territories. they were commanders of war-bands. in spite of the existing rivalry and dispute among them. was Northumbria. as a result of the ambitions attempts of its rulers to ∗ Aethelberht set down in writing a code of laws reflecting some Christian influences. Mercia and Wessex – became. However. These units of so-called “heptarchy” seem to have constituted a reality. it declined. it declined after a while.Thus. By the middle of the 7th century other three kingdoms – Northumbria. Aethelberht (Ethelbert)∗. The first to get supremacy. by the ambitions of their chiefs or princes. partly because of its comparatively reduced area. Essex (East Saxons). the most powerful ones. in turn. However. who were generally called “kings”. Wessex (West Saxons). Sussex (South Saxons).

p. he succeeded in attaining a powerful position that made Charles the Great (Charlemagne) treat with him on equal terms. The king’s name and effigy appeared on coins and they were of an excellent quality in design and workmanship. on the other hand. two kingdoms dominated by Aethelfrith. it is mostly in Arabic. “It tells us that the . well settled in the rich Midland plains. to the fact that the kingdom had a large and prosperous population.D. Offa was the most remarkable king of his time claiming the kinship of the English. although he did not have authority on the whole territory beyond the Humber. Aethebald (716-757). causing its failure towards the beginning of the 9th century. and especially Offa (757-796). “king not only of the Mercians but also of all provinces … of the south English”. and southwards. but the inscription „OFFA REX” can be read on one side. to the fact that this population had got an extensive war experience during the battles against the Welsh. During his time. Unfortunately. The reasons that determined Mercia’s rise are considered obscure. 28)∗. ∗ A golden coin of King Offa shows a direct copy of an Arab dinar (774 A. and.). finally. The most remarkable personalities who contributed to the growth of this kingdom were Edwin (616-632).extend simultaneously northwards. who succeeded in maintaining good order in the kingdom. besides the imperfect union of Bernicia and Deira. to Scotland. but it knew a period of “great age”. to Mercia. as if he had been the only ruler of England. the absence of good natural boundaries laid its territory open to the combined attacks coming from all sides. the fact representing a real weakness for the kingdom. The most important chieftains or leaders recorded by history were Penda (beginning of the 7th century). and. there was an important trade developed across the Channel and a reform of coinage took place for which Offa took his own responsibility. It is considered that “these coins had an important propaganda value. Its greatness might be due. the internal feuds had also an important negative impact. Not easily. (A marriage was arranged between Charles’s daughter and Offa’s son). Oswald (633-641) and Oswin (654-657). showing the importance of the Mercian king not only to the English subjects but also to the people on the Continent” (53. on the one hand.

important to be mentioned for the respective period. that they succeeded in making the state strong for the next 500 years. The Anglo-Saxon Institutions. lying the foundation of an Anglo-Saxons of Britain were well aware of a more advanced economic system in the distant Arab empire. ruled over Mercia. as well as his son. which made him able to employ large numbers of people for building an earthen wall along the Welsh border in an attempt to keep out the Celtic raiders. He gave a code of laws. It was provided with good frontiers. tried to draw away from ancient rivalries. and all regions south of the Humber. Due to the greatness of conception and the skill of its construction the huge dyke may be considered a memorial to Offa. He. was Egbert (802-839). He conquered Cornwall. for a short time. It shows how great were the distances covered by international trade at that time” (25.Offa was able to draw on immense resources. and. and look for friendly relations with the neighbouring kingdoms in face of a new serious menace: the Danish Vikings. getting from the EGBERT chronicler Bede the recognition of a “bretwalda”. a considerable area of fertile land and it started to establish important contacts with the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. but. but the chronicler of the time (Alcuin) spoke highly of it. After Offa’s death. and also that even as far away as Britain and northern Europe. The institutions created by the AngloSaxons were so solidly conceived. it was lost. The next powerful kingdom became Wessex. p. the power of Mercia did no longer entirely survive. as a consequence. Arabtype gold coins were more trusted than any others. who succeeded to the throne after his death. Kent. unfortunately. . Aethelwulf. not much is known about his internal governing. 12). A name. in spite of his successors’ attempts to restore the subjects’ personal feelings of loyalty to the leader.

Among others. who could be another person than the previous king’s son. as kings. and changed in meaning. the chieftains were not mentioned by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Anyway. even today. in his presence or in his home). On the other hand. As regards the legal system. the right to different services rendered to him. and the way in which it ∗ At the moment of the invasion. poaching. ∗∗ The candidates for kingship had to be members of the royal family. . (in full. and the king.administrative organization which can be discovered in the British administrative system even in our days. such an attitude might be dangerous. the king’s authority was jeopardized. In its turn. because without the Witan’s support. once elected. circumstances and penalties for any crime. Of course. from the petty ones – trespassing. rights to hospitality (later on developed into a food rent charged on all land). and whose origin can be found in the old Witan. the maintenance of laws issued and of order was in the hands of the people themselves. the British kings and queens have the “Privy Council”. Thus. specifying the names. but the title was to be used soon. the right to grant land to his followers (since the latter part of the 7th century that was done by issuing a charter). such as thieving or killing. In case of important matters the king had normally to consult “the Witan”. however. In time. could decide to ignore its advice. this council had nothing to do with what we could consider to be o form of democratic institution. the Witan was responsible for the king’s election∗∗ and advised the king on difficult matters of government. but the Witan’s role was to select from within the most suitable successors. influential enough. who was entitled to issue laws and charters. With Christianity the sacral character of kingship increased. In the Anglo-Saxon society the king∗ was the political authority and he represented “the corner-stone” of the state. they could ask compensations for offences (committed against those under his protection. fighting – to the severe cases. a group of advisers on the matters of the state. the Anglo-Saxons’ peace and order was guarded by very precise and strict codes of laws. the system of governing established by the Witan remained over the years an important aspect of the kings’ method of ruling the state affairs. Witengemot the council of “wise men”) acting as a sort of “king council” and consisting of seniors warriors and churchmen. (the 10th century) the Witan became a formal body. having some special rights in the newly established English kingdoms.

something similar can be seen in the Western films today). the handling of regional affairs passed from the freemen to the king. there were created royal representatives to administer local justice. generally. according to the crime. being simple local officials. Of course. and. during a long and slow process. firstly.worked proves the genius for cooperation the Saxons possessed. the system developed to meet the changing circumstances. and. crime were beyond any compensation. in swearing an oath assisted by other “oath-helpers”. tax payment. representing today high ranking nobles. in case of failure. in time. as kingdoms grew larger. and the punishment was hanging. There were local differences regarding the way in which law was put into operation. in those remote times. ∗∗ Later on. . But. enabling the establishment of a firm feudal superstructure on society. the wounds got by the accused in order to prove his innocence. all freemen were called out to pursue and catch the offender or the criminal who was brought to trial in front of the popular assembly∗. For minor offences or injuries. ∗ There were meetings of groups of a hundred families – “the hundred”. these representatives were the ealdermen. During the trial. nothing of the court procedures today bears any resemble with the trials in those remote times. All main activities – sharing of land. a sort of fine or compensation paid to the injured party. Thus. the idea was. Witchcraft. the people’s joining the army . In the beginning. which could be an ordeal by fire or by water. in a very short time. of a firm feudal administration of justice. the accused had to get through different stages which consisted. a certain part of an area. that heaven might intervene and pass a correct judgement by healing. arson. (Perhaps. treachery and. When something considered an offense or crime was committed. they were also called with the Danish name “earl”.took place at the “manor” (large house) existing in every district and representing the beginning of the manorial system in England. above it was the “shire-moot” and the “folk-moot”. The “aldermen”∗∗ (elected officers in local governments) existing in the present day local politics can find their roots traced back. of course. in spite of the lack of real organization in this respect. who attended and supervised the local courts. the trial by ordeal followed. the Saxon law stipulated “the wergild”.

every citizen of the town attended it. the land was divided into new administrative areas. possessed either by nobles or freemen. Over each shire a “shire-reeve” was appointed. either by birth or by service as king’s companions. . did not change the situation too much in comparison with the old one. and whose wergild was three to six times higher than that of a freeman. The classes included “the freemen” (ceorls) who were independent peasants owing some land. There were also slaves. at that time. It is interesting to point out that the shires. with the “folk moot” as its highest form. Aelthelberht’s code settled a social system. and who were regarded as chattels without any wergild. A good example is offered by London. which. Towards the end of the 10th century. when they met three times a year. on the highest ground beside St. However.The administrative organization. The social differences between classes were established according to their “wergild”. which took place in Great Britain in 1974. (The origin of the present-day “sheriff” can be found in the word “shirereeve” as a shortened form of the old name). the protection of the individual coming from his kindred. It represented the amount which could be accepted by the kindred in case a man was killed in order to give up vengeance for his death. In theory. local government permanently active. “the shires” (counties). (the Norman name for “shire” was “county”. he usually was an important figure. but they were under the control of the king. at least. in the open air. remained almost unchanged for a thousand years. the kingship was still considered the strongest bond. “the freedman” (Kent) or members of a subject population (Wessex) whose wergild was lower. although under Christian’s influence. The social system and labour organization. brought from the continent. The administrative reorganization. Paul’s Cathedral. but public authority remained the rule. the old existing popular assemblies continued to be the general rule. and “the nobles”. personifying the royal authority to both lords and peasants in each shire. who was the king’s local administrator. towards the end of the Anglo-Saxon period: there was a complex. both of them being still in use) as administrative units. was an old one.

The teams of oxen were shared on a cooperative basis. and representing the basis of English agriculture for about one thousand years. the invaders’ conversion to Christianity was a slow process. The Anglo-Saxons’ conversion to Christianity. because of the resolute refusal of the old inhabitants and the new comers to mix together. when and how Christianity first reached Britain is hard to know. but. This system became the common one in England.) off the west coast of Scotland. already existed by that time. which they got by cutting down many forested areas in the valleys. ∗ Theodoric the Ostrogoth (474-526) was a Christian when he arrived in Italy. partly. which developed by stages. As a consequence. (Place-names containing the names of heathen gods. a village land was divided into several large plots of land (fields). six to eight oxen were necessary to pull it. That was. to a large extent. D. and the technology they had brought with them from the continent determined changes in the old Celtic land ownership and organization. and the successful mission. as it was hard to be turned. because of the heathenism vitality with the Anglo-Saxons. (563 A. The Anglo-Saxons developed a new specific agricultural pattern. divided again into long thin strips. the role of the church. Their type of plough was a heavy one. and almost all villages which can be identified on the 18th century maps. besides. each family possessing a number of them in each field. but the Irish missionaries were less successful in converting the barbarians on the main island. and Clovis the Frank (464-511) tuned Christian when he established the rule over Gaul. and a common land for animals to feed on. the 11th century witnessed the peak of agricultural development of the region. At the moment of the island’s invasion by the German heathen tribes. the Celtic inhabitants were already practising a species of the Christian religion. suited for ploughing the land in long straight lines. with alternating crops on different fields. being preserved almost unchanged. . Anyway.The Anglo-Saxons were mainly farmers. Patrick in Ireland had been a success. and later than it took place on the continent∗. The Christianizing mission carried out by St. and other elements can prove it). by the Irishman Columba. As a consequence. especially the unfarmed ones. The first important moments of this process was the foundation of a missionary monastery on Iona. Their plough was also suited to heavier soils.

the controversy in the calculation of the date of Easter was settled in favour of the Roman party (the Synod of Whitby. differences in their usages determined the appearance of some frictions. which. gradually. Augustin “the Apostle of the English” (597 A. For a rather short period of time. and. He arrived in 669. Wales) and walking from village to village. At a time when the king was elected from among any members of . but. the tendency was towards the Christianity derived from the Celtic monasteries. extended its authority over all Christians. Northumbria became the first real Christian kingdom. and very different in character: the Celtic Christian Church. there were two Christian churches active in the region. in time. Theodore of Tarsus was the first Roman archbishop acknowledged all over England.). finally. Scotland. of St. thanks to him “the English Church and clergy remained in close contact with the centres of Western Christianity. impressive by “its ascetism. in the beginning. The role of the church in the growth of the English state and nation was important. 664) and. while the Celtic fringe and Ireland retreated into a form of stagnant isolation” [12. and although at the age of sixty-seven. and the Roman Christian Church. in its turn. taught Christianity to the people. Thus. it supported and increased the power of kings.in Kent. sent there by Pope Gregory I. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 601. Kent was the first kingdom to accept Christianity. Meanwhile. with it. more interested in authority and organization. The Christian church was consolidated and developed due to the Saxon kings. fervour and simplicity”. 16]. during Bishop Wilfrid’s time. p. the progress with the ordinary people was rather slow. although he had brought the rulers to the new faith. interested to reach the hearts of the ordinary people. the pressure from the Celtic Church was put an end. there was some cooperation between the two churches. The Anglo-Saxon church turned to Rome. the Christian monks from the Celtic territories left their places (Ireland. Although. even in the Celtic parts of the island. But. he was extremely active in establishing a proper diocesan system. D.

Another way by which the church increased the power of the kings and of the state was by establishing monasteries (minsters). as places of learning and education. the decision to turn to Rome for Christianity offered England the possibility of ready-made contacts beyond the limits of the island. large numbers of monks. or even aspiring kings were invited to or from England. consolidating his position. the contacts with the continent being encouraged. England imported wine. Thus. pepper. and write the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. was very important for a king. in its turn. and to develop intellectually. pottery. Thus. ∗ Anglo-Saxon England was well known in Europe as an exporter of metal goods. they represent the most important sources for understanding the period. largely contributed to the growth of royal and church authority. England’s scholars played the role of civilizing other places: Alcuin (755-804) contributed to the raise of Charlemagne’s court and his Vulgate Bible became the standard text in the Middle Ages. . jewellery and wheel-made pottery. but with the “God’s approval”. cheese and hunting dogs. even more than that. During that period England had become a source of intellectual inspiration for the continental monarchies. On the other hand. woolen goods. An example is offered by Offa who arranged his son’s coronation as a Christian ceremony led by a bishop. The men studying there and getting the skills of reading and writing. as well as the remarkable opportunity to grow. and increased local trade. emissaries. and with them trade∗ between Europe and the island. the king was chosen by his people. to become well known. which enlarged the intellectual horizon of the new converts. the Church contributed to the economic growth of the state: the newly set up monasteries determined the development of towns and villages which grew around them. together with Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People. king Alfred (871-899) used the scholars of the Church to help him establish a system of law. fish. thus. to have the church on his side.a royal family. educate people.

D. Most of the dwellings were square or rectangular in shape. and in Northumbria (St. better preserved are the churches and monasteries built in stone. Bradwell – 660 A. sometimes. The buildings. The life style in Anglo-Saxon England was a simple one. o. other times. as well as those containing ending as “wick”. Burmley.). with differences existing between the rich and the poor. they were inhabited by groups of families. rarely had more than one floor and one room. on the other. fighting. Even the halls of the rich ones were simple. the room being shared by the whole family and even by the animals.Unfortunately. Gatwick. Anglo-Saxon life-style: architecture. The present day place names ending in these words. the Church failed in unifying the island politically.. “ley”. sometimes at peace but. beset by frequent warfare and violent invasions – particularly by the Vikings – which meant the destruction of the settlements. the ∗ Paddington is supposed to have been the dwelling place of the Paddings. s. Canterbury – 600 A. . St. They used different roofing materials. Tannton. “hurst”. needless to say. Paul. and the places were named after the family∗. As regards the domestic structures. maybe a bit larger. around the county of Kent. most of them were built in wood.. “fold”. most of the people were country dwellers living in settlements that could be called villages. for ascendancy. sometimes. Sheffield a. Bradford. on the one hand. thatch being the most common. As Anglo-Saxon were mostly peasants. and which can be seen today in the southeast. Peter and St. but.D. and the 9th century still found England separated in several kingdoms. coexisting. Unfortunately. the number of surviving Anglo-Saxon buildings is limited. “den”. “field” are considered to indicate initial Anglo-Saxon settlements: Durham. besides turf and wooden shingles. because of the perishable building materials used and. because of the period. Peter-on-the-Wall. separated with only a low wall. although some round houses have been found. There was no privacy secured in these houses. The word “ham” (home) represented a smaller settlement while “ton” (town) designated a larger one. with a central fire and a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. art and literature.

Lydford. aware of the growing threat coming from the Danes.Celtic churches at Escoumb. Saxon burhs were also set up on entirely new sites (Wallingford. As regards the domestic life. with few decorative elements. doors and windows openings were simple. Chichester or Wallingford. the Roman towns already had a basic fortification and with the growth of Christianity under Rome’s influence.D. Wilton. They were remarkable as regards the project of urbanization. However. the town areas were preferred for their better organization. the modern streets pattern still follow the Saxon plan. furnishing was as simple as possible. the former Roman sites were re-used for this purpose. Unfortunately.. a lot of energy was put into tower building which began as a defensive structure. They were primarily located along the coast and the border of Alfred’s land. very often only narrow slits. providing a regular grid pattern of streets. encouraged the building of fortified towns (burhs) which could offer protection to the population. and communication was important in the new project.D. In time. and which represented the earliest surviving parts of the English churches. little survived to be seen in the modern towns of what the Anglo-Saxon burhs were ten centuries ago! At Winchester. and remnants of the defensive ditch and bank can be seen at Wallingford or Wareham. however. among others. kings as Alfred the Great or his son Edward the Elder.). County Durham – 690 A.). Cricklade. Towards the end of the 10th century and the beginning of the 11th. Besides. the table glass was beautifully decorated and they also had . However. Monkwearmouth and Jarrow – 675 A. the burhs became centres of commerce and local government. Lyng. Lewes. they had wooden tables and benches used for both sitting and sleeping. In the beginning. Wareham. as they were placed on the old Roman network of roads. Saxon churches were generally small in scale. at Maaldon or Cricklade.

A famous school was established at Canterbury. gold or amber. with thick stockings. there were many cook shops and inns for the itinerant population. and on the other. showing an astonishing craftsmanship in comparison with the simplicity of other achievements. The finest centre of scholarship was Northumbria. from Ireland. from the Mediterranean regions. rings and necklaces of bronze. with the same menu of poorly cooked cereals. abbot Adrian. whose work never lost its value. training people like Aldhelm. Food in villages was probably unsophisticated. the largest collection being exhibited in the British Museum. Anglo-Saxon England knew a remarkable spiritual development within a century of Augustine’s landing. on the one hand. which were equally worn by men an women. with a better fare to offer. It seems that in the larger market towns.hand made pottery. and the same woolen long and loose tunic for women. due to Archbishop Theodore and his companion. for work. Clothing was not sophisticated in Anglo-Saxon world: a woolen shirt and trousers for men. . a great historian. and theologian. and which was famous for its fine libraries. they wore skin or leather clothes. The pieces of jewellery can be considered real works of art of the respective period∗. their made was of an exquisite beauty. worn over linen undergarments. wooden plates and horns for drinking. its high standards derived from a combination of influences coming. known for his works in Latin verse and prose. brooches. and especially in London. In spite of the relative simplicity of the material life. (the monasteries at Warmouth and Iarrow) where Celtic and classical influences met. The most important name of the period worth to be mentioned is that of Bede (672-735). fur coats. caps and gloves. and in cold seasons. ∗ Examples of such jewellery can be admired in the Guildhall or London Museums. The Anglo-Saxons were very fond of ornaments such as bracelets.

and being decided to settle there. either brought from abroad. is considered to have been produced during this period. They were the Vikings∗∗. The greatest old English epic poem “Beowulf” (the manuscript contains some 3. the reasons that could explain the outpouring of this population include their lack of land.200 lines).5 The Scandinavian Invasions. but also attracted by the Anglo-Saxon farmland. the churches being the depositors of precious objects. coming from Norway and Denmark. . The term “Viking” meant in the period “a pirate. a colourful and detailed source out of which a lot can be learned about the way people used to live and think at that time. perhaps. and with no real English people. Art flourished. followed by the Danes whose raids began in the 9th century with the attack on Dorestad. The Anglo-Saxon Civilization at Stake In spite of the relative statal organization already existing. Whitby and Ripon. the oldest considerable poem in any modern language. and political grievances. convinced that the disunited Anglo-Saxon kingdoms could not keep them out.Other centres of scholarship were at Lindisfarne. the 9th century found the island without a strong English kingdom. The first raiders were the Norwegians who also attacked Ireland (795-799). Even from the end of the 8th century. tempted not only by the wealth accumulated in monasteries. ∗ ∗∗ A great example is “Lindisfarne Gospel” showing obvious classical influences. places where many learned men produced different literary and religious works∗. it is. but with some hopes for a certain stabilization of people’s life and institutions. or natively manufactured. Thus. the first Viking raids began to trouble the life on the eastern coast of the island (the monastery of Lindisfarne was plundered in 793). That was the moment when a new wave of Germanic invaders struck the island. 834. 2. overpopulation of their native places. with no well-defined English identity. a robber who came by sea”.

who had come as pirates and plunderers had left much destruction. Undefended. anyway. in 878. and settled with his forces in East Anglia. the Vikings’ attempt to conquer it failed. his courage and wisdom. made the Welsh kings his friends and allies. but. and prepared for the further reconquest of the territories. for a time. It was obvious that the quarrelling Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were not able to keep them out. the Danish invaders. being pagan. Wessex. unable to put up a successful resistance. to his tenacity. in 850 the first Danish army overwintered in England. Guthrum who accepted Christianity. spread on lonely islands or near the coast. some of these raiders wanted a patch of land to settle. not all the raids were for plunder. The situation. King Alfred’s victory was important as it prevented the Vikings from becoming masters of the whole England. the Christians offered the alternative of paying tribute. The first raids were for the plunder of the treasures hoarded in the Christian holy places and for which the Vikings had no respect. practically dividing England into two areas: an English territory south and west and a Danish one. and in KING ALFRED capturing York. some years later. Thus. being a diplomat as well. “where the condition of backwardness and wilderness noticeably contrasted with the . and. However. At that moment. In 886 he captured London. built fortresses and ships. with which they would divert. he was strong enough to make a treaty with the Danes. There were many battles in Wessex. King Alfred came to terms with the Danish king. known as Danelaw. they succeeded in absorbing Mercia taking possessions of East Anglia. Alfred reorganized his army. the Saxon’s victory was due to King Alfred. and. (865) the Vikings started a determined conquest of the island. north and east. and finally. especially in the northern region. the raids became about annual. was greatly different from the one existing in the old Anglo-Saxon days. the monasteries were an easy prey for the early raiders. at that moment.After these events. and the raiders even started to overwinter in England. the invaders’ attention elsewhere. They were not always victorious. wiping out the monastic and royal civilization.

The Danish invasion meant cruel destruction and the return to a dark age of brutality which jeopardized. and becoming victorious at a moment when his kingdom. and. (849-899. remained standing. called the Great∗. Thirdly. (in an attempt to bring his people back to European civilization) as Boethius’ “De Consolatione Philosophiae” and the works of Bede. King Alfred represented a model for the future kings of England: “determined. The later developments in England were made possible due to his special personality and exceptional example. As regards the Danes. More or less totally successful in his multiple attempts. and gave a code of laws which he carefully supervised. he also introduced some educational reforms. Gregory and Augustine. p. he worked to restore and revive the old spiritual life in his kingdom. the simultaneous attacks coming from the Norseman in . some prosperity was restored in East Anglia and York. highly competent. and from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. and the setting up of the Kingdom of England was the work of his successors. c. The real achievement of political unity. Edward (c. At the same time. he is the only one in 1000 years of British monarchic history to be called “the Great”. 18). It is considered that during his reign. he proved to be a real leader. for a time. whose effects were beneficial over generations. ∗∗ By the end of the 9th century no centre of culture represented by Christian churches or monasteries situated in the central part of England. He himself translated some books from Latin into Anglo-Saxon. a scholar himself. All we know about him comes from Asser. and with it the Anglo-Saxon civilization. was at stake. 25). King Alfred’s role and achievements were of an outstanding significance. Orosius. he reorganized finances and services. it had as a lasting effect the ∗ A highly admired King. the level of culture and civilization reached by the Anglo-Saxons∗∗. p. 871) succeeded in three main directions: first of all. his contemporary biographer. unshaken by adversity and passionately devoted to learning” (12. he had an efficient government. they had ceased their raids and settled. King Alfred. 899-924) and Athelstan (c. However. he knew how to attract and use the great men of his kingdom in the government activities. accepting Christianity. as it had been set up by Bede two centuries ago. especially in the north. written under his guidance. Under the circumstances. reorganizing his army. consulting them during the meetings of his council (Witenagemot). Secondly. the Danes becoming a component part of the English people. 924-939).great days of Oswy and the Venerable Bede” (12.

his son. he would express the same message.political consolidation of England as a well-defined state. Aethelstan continued to advance in the Danish territories. Aethelstan called himself “king of all Britain” on the coins he minted. besides the ethnical complications determined by the settlement of a new population. There were many specific aspects in the different regions of the newly established state that were determined by ethnic differences and cultural peculiarities. and the completion of a plan regarding the building of a ring of fortresses around Wessex. Aethelstan took possession of many parts of Danelaw. The period is also remarkable for the monastic revival. being led by “formidable” leaders. The Danish Revival. and of other forms of art. The kings who came to reign after Aethelstane did not interfere with these aspects too much. in 912. Isle of Man. ∗ . later on. The period of the Wessex kings did not last too long. later king of Norway. His sister. Sweyn. Ethelred (beginning of the 11th century) tried Ireland. (Olaf Tryggvason. the shire courts had to meet twice a year and the borough courts. but a revival of vernacular and Latin texts writing. or Thorkell the Tall). Proud of his position. and to the way in which legal matters were settled∗. which he succeeded. king of Denmark. a series of campaigns for regaining the old Saxon territories from the Danes. The Saxon king. and those raids steadily increased in intensity. Gradually. in his charters. After a first victory over the Danes in 910. and after his death. Aethelflaed. becoming the first king ruling over the whole England. to the uniformity in administrative division of the country (shires / hundred). manuscript production. which brought about not only the foundation of new religious places. There was an ordinance in the mid 10th century requiring the courts in each hundred to meet every four weeks. and. Scotland and Northumbria. and they did not try to eradicate the local peculiarities. or western Scotland prevented the possibility of regeneration from the old Celtic church. Edward began. three times. Towards the end of the 10th century (980) the Vikings who had settled in Ireland started raiding again westward. The only requirements referred to the existence of only one coinage for all the king’s dominion. he AETHELSTAN also received the submission of the kings of Wales.

according to which. generally. Hardecanute had made an agreement with Magnes. known under the name of “the Confessor” because of his chastity and religious spirit. his mother being a daughter of the duke of Normandy. where he had spent almost all his life. the Witan elected Edward. the fact happened simply. Magnes. the same. who already had the control over most of England. and he used the event for getting some advantage for the English pilgrims and traders there. and the country’s government remained. and he became a stout supporter of the church. because the Witan. Ethelred’s son as the king of England. became the king of the Anglo-Danish state. he did it by setting a taxation on all his people. a traditional taxation system. and who were known for their rather unpopular reigns. But when Hardecanute died in 1042. renewed invasions from the Vikings. too busy with some troubles with Denmark. (“Dane geld” or “Danish money”) whose effects were heavily felt especially by the villagers. His reign had some positive and negative aspects. Canute or Cnut (Sweyn’s son). died without leaving a precise successor. However. there was peace at home. the king usually maintaining friendly relations with his neighbours. The period of Edward’s reign can be considered a peaceful one. After Canute’s death. the prelude to the Norman conquest. with important consequences for England’s future. Norway’s king. His laws were based on the old Anglo-Saxon ones. Under such conditions trade was prosperous. but the English element was the strong one in his entourage. Edward. Canute’s reign was not recorded as a tyrannical one. 1016). and Anglo-Saxon resistance. only in 1066. Canute even went to a pilgrimage to Rome (1027). in case of their death without a direct successor. leaving no son. but on the contrary: he rewarded his followers with English land. and courts of justice. his sons Harold and Hardecanute. the survivor was entitled to both kingdoms. this will be done by Harold Hardraada. Edward’s reign. preferred a Danish king at the moment of their king’s death (Edmond. fearing disorder. and the normal course of administration was kept in the usual patterns with an efficient minting. There was a . After a difficult period of continuous warfare.to make the Viking stay away. In spite of the wars carried abroad. had been raised in Normandy. who succeeded to the Crown. did not claim his right to England’s throne. by paying them a tribute.

as architecture. there were some powerful noble Saxon families who were in a state of rivalry with one another and. the third. a famous warrior. a church being recorded in almost every village. England continued to be a Saxon state bearing many characteristics of the old Germanic kingship. the Danes had claims to England’s throne. Scholarship grew. but. to confirm the . being childless. duke of Normandy. in the person of William. The second were the Normans. Edward. their candidate was Harold Godwinson. Thus. Edward ordered Harold Godwinson to pay a visit to William and. But. Thus. It seems that. coming from three directions: the first were the Saxons. in spite of all these positive achievements. as his heir. on the other hand. related to king Canute. Edward tried to avoid them to become too strong. The earls were as powerful as the king himself. the most powerful lord in England. the king initiated the building of an imposing church at Westminster (outside the City of London) to fit him. who claimed the throne by right of bequest. as well as the fate of the other candidates was to be decided on the battlefield! Aware of the danger and in an attempt to avoid confrontations. personally.strong support for church building in Edward’s time. designated William. by introducing in the country and supporting some Norman friends whom he trusted. and the leader of anti-Norman party. the succession issue was a serious one. Edward the Confessor was faced with claims to the throne. eventually. were the Danes whose candidate was Harold Hardraada. who had a legal claim. a great number of EDWARD CONFESSOR manuscripts being produced at that time. on the one hand. In their turn. it was clear that the future successor and the fate of England. duke of Normandy. who claimed it by right of tradition and nationality. it was more a Norman building than a Saxon one. and there were some internal frictions causing a negative impact on the course of the events. Having in view the age. who considered that one of them would have been the natural choice. and by 1060s. while art and English illumination were admired abroad. The fact deeply disappointed the Saxon barons.

but William. King Harold was faced with his old enemy. But. he sent a guard to escort Harold at Caen. ∗ There is an interesting story about the way in which the things happened. William had prepared the attack. on September 27. Harold accepted and did it∗. Harold had some bad luck. but it was clear that England’s crown could not be obtained but by war. where he took the control of the area and built some defensive work. maybe against his will. another. and his army had to give the final battle. telling that Harold had to swear his oaths placing his hand on a table. and William sailed. but landing was not possible because of contrary winds. in London. More than that. as the next day of Edward’s death (January 5th. 1066). genuine or a forgery. one at Stamford Bridge. it reveals the character and the personality of the two heroes. and probably with a hidden intention to recant the promise. It took place at Hastings on October 14th. Harold Godwinson. at Fulford. din not allow it. Meanwhile. Going to Normandy. even promising William to advocate his cause in England. when the table covering was whipped off it was proved that he had sworn on some sacred relics placed under it. as a prisoner. should have been a sad and inappropriate one for a powerful lord! Under the circumstances. The Vikings were definitely defeated.Duke’s right to succession. he crowned king. he was obliged to swear an oath of fealty to William. two decisive battles took place. That was a serious oath. Harold’s arrival. and. while crossing the Channel he was caught by a storm and cast ashore at Ponthieu. telling us a lot about the mentality and attitude of the people at that time. making him and his army wait for weeks. 1066. Finally. The story goes further. and in September the same year. . he landed with a large army on the Humber River. Count Guy. He asked a ransom for Harold. marched to meet the invaders. claiming that on his deathbed Edward had designated him as his successor. Harold Hardraada was also preparing. the following day. Guy’s lord. He produced a document. William started his preparations for England’s conquest. It is sure that Harold was decided to become the king of England. now king of England. and William had used the trick. where he was captured by the local lord. suspecting Harold of duplicity in his attitude. William protested. Hardraada himself being killed in the battle. the next day he landed near the town of Hastings. the wind turned. That was the last major Viking invasion of England. At once. he was not the only one to prepare for war.

D. in time. Towards the middle of the 11th century. the duke was at the top. His offer was accepted by the king of west Franks. and Rolf became Duke of Normandy. the Vikings who settled there were called Normans. from that moment on. his people were referred to as the North men (Norsmen). they adopted the feudal culture of the French. while the peasants. as well as the Church. being in the 10th-11th century one of the powerful duchies in France.) a Norwegian called Rolf offered to defend the coast against other Vikings. ∗ The majority population in Normandy was represented by French peasants.6 The Norman Conquest and its Effects Who were the Normans? Who were these new. Beginning with the 9th century it had become the Vikings’ favourite target. with permanent plunders and important losses. in fact. and their land was called Normandy. with barons under him. both by the little that he did and by the much that he left undone”. the relations between Normandy and England were very close. . a wealthy and well-developed area. a region lying on the northern coast of France.2. under each baron were the knights. Thus. with lots of small towns and rich monasteries. At a given moment. By the middle of the 10th century. the language of the “Frenchmen” and Latin culture∗. With William. p. 99] “Edward’s role in English history was to prepare the way for the Norman conquest. and to convert to Christianity in turn for a title and his people’s settlement in the region. when Edward became the king of England (1042). whose main occupation was the tillage of the soil. the Vikings. In spite of this spirit and mind. Normandy became ever stronger. At that time. the Normans’ attention was directed toward England. as a coming minority included fishermen and merchants people with an ancestral love for roving and adventure. originally a part of Charlemagne’s empire. in fact serfs bound to the soil and to their lords as owners of the soil. the settlers had adopted the Christian religion. William succeeded to hold the barons under a much closer control. An instinct for political unity and administrative consolidation had started to develop. Normandy started to develop as a feudal state. As Trevelyan says [45. were under all. gathered territories. last invaders of Britain? The Normans were coming from Normandy. as an easy territory to be conquered. and. and the Normans were Edward’s best friends. (911 A.

G. . 1066. changing the life of the people contemporary to the event. at that moment. the historians agree that it was an accident. H. As regards the Norman Conquest. The next day there was no resistance against the invaders. but one with drastic consequences for the further course. The truth is hard “to be so definitely on one side or another” [12. H. Round. Toward evening Harold was killed by an arrow. strengthening the Germanic element of the English people. R. O. considering the Conquest a minor event. with neither side able to get the better of the other in the beginning. 31]. demonstrate the overwhelming changes determined by the Conquest. developing the local trade institution. Thus. Lewis Warren and others underline the continuity of the Saxon element. the superiority of Norman discipline had already become obvious. Richardson. it lasted the entire day. Sayles. influencing the general development of the area. but of Europe in general.The battle at Hastings was hardly fought. while J. p. The fight continued at moonlight. dividing the historians into two groups: F. not only of that area’s history. s. The battle of Hastings was remarkably told in the Bayeux Tapestry. One of the most dramatic consequences was the abrupt and total transfer of power from the Saxon aristocracy to the Norman lords. On Christmas Day. o. and the tradition of Celtic Christianity with its learning and monastic discipline. but. Britain’s territory had been crossed by waves of newcomers. the roads and the advances in rural and urban civilization. The Roman brought the imperial administration. Maitland. Even the Vikings’ invasion had their consequences. the Celts brought the (gold) smiths’ skill. These consequences were immediate. In the long period of history up to the Norman Conquest. G. William of Normandy was crowned king of England. The Anglo-Saxon factor was overwhelming. also having effects obvious in the long run∗. Allen Brown or Sir Frank Stanton a. with the Normans pursuing the Saxons in all directions. W. (By ∗ There are interesting debates regarding the impact of the conquest on the further development of England. contributing to the coagulation of English identity with the language testifying it. making the people better organize for facing their attacks and getting more experienced in the act of war. but. Each of them had left their cultural imprint on the peoples’ life.

visible even today. requiring the service of a large number of knights. belonging to the king. is the making of the English language. spoken by the clergy. for about three hundred years. his lords and the Church which was Norman as well). suppleness and adaptability which are among its chief merits” [45. one of them had in view some military innovations. and by Latin. Profound changes took place in politics. the talk of ignorant serfs and it almost ceased to be a written language. the formula “nullus terre sans seigneur” meaning “no land without a lord” and showing that the land was granted by the king in exchange for services. and less on the old monasteries. William introduced the “King’s Council” whose task was to give advice to the king and take part in the judgment of the nobles accused of serious matters. losing “its clumsy inflexions and elaborate genders. William bringing with him the Norman church. These new cathedrals were built everywhere on the British Isles. After Hastings. At the same time. In the 15th century it emerged renewed and enriched as the language of the learned society. Heavy demands were imposed on vassals. The church was a different one as well. being spoken by common folk and without the control of the learned people. for a long period. its Romanesque architecture and a reforming spirit. 80% of the fiefs were in Norman hands. But. 117]. p.1086. all of them given to Norman lords and meant to protect them against possible rebellions (By 1100. being replaced by French as the language of the court. war. the language had been ROBIN HOOD a barrier between the rich Norman lords and the poor . cooking and art. It was a period of important changes. which deserves a special attention. Thus. 84 castles had been built. Anglo-Saxon ceased to be used officially. Besides. together with castle. religion. Under these circumstances. changing the general aspect of the landscape). English was used as a dialect. some of them preserved in a perfect state. the language vocabulary was enriched with many French words related to politics. the church was based now on the town cathedrals. government and nobility. hunting. A consequence. which meant the building of stone castles. justice. It underwent important changes in grammar. the Saxon freeholders (people who held title to their own land) were put an end to. being. AngloSaxon was considered a peasants’ jargon. and acquired the grace.

the national militia. at the local level. the Anglo-Saxon tradition survived as a parallel life. and maintained. as long as the kings were men whose chief interests lay outside England. Walter Scott used the same period as a source of inspiration for his historical novels. for a long time. the Shire court. with the continent. Until the Norman Conquest the relations and interests of the Saxon society were turned towards the Scandinavians. among the peasantry who represented the bulk of the population. which announced the introduction of a new system. the existing complex situation determined a certain slowness in the self-awareness of the people of England as the English people. As regards the relation with the neighbouring countries. the changes were also obvious. . However. in this way. In short. and generally. the Danegeld. feudalism. With the Norman Conquest that direction was put a definite end. a marginal territory. Thus. there were some institutions which remained Anglo-Saxon: the local government. an outlying part of a “continental empire”. England joined the Continent culture and civilization of the Middle Ages. the shires and their reeves.Saxon peasants. but. Thus. all these changes meant a new social and economic order. being replaced with the relations with Normandy. for about 200 years. in spite of these changes. the country remained. It is true that. Later on. the division between the conquerors and the conquered. somehow. with all the anachronisms specific to any legend. This period and its antagonism reflecting the above consequences of Norman Conquest are well depicted in Robin Hood’s legends.

but not his recognition as king on the whole territory of the country. In the early Middle Ages. Most historians consider that the Conquest meant the introduction of feudalism∗∗ in England. . to a certain extent. who. and given to Norman nobles. The Early Middle Ages: the Dawn of Feudalism. many of the Saxon best leaders died or were exiled.7 The Middle Ages on the British Isles.1 England after the Conquest. the basis of feudal society was represented by land holding. the king was the sole owner of the land and he gave it to his “vassals” to hold. The nobles with a higher statute would give part of their land to the nobles of a lower rank. and their wealth was confiscated. Unfortunately for the conquered. in return for services. the Birth of a People. of a State and of a Culture 2. over 4. Norman authority was established only through force∗. these rebellions offered William the possibility to do away with his opponents. England being politically and economically subordinated to the Norman aristocracy. although. knights or other “freemen”.7. in ∗ ∗∗ Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe is centred on these conflicts. and. In fact. it had started to develop there even before the Normans’ arrival. William did not succeed in his undertaking of conquering England at one stroke. in truth. William began to organize the country according to the feudal system brought from Normandy.000 Saxon landlords had been replaced by 200 Norman barons. Land was also distributed as rewards to the followers.2. For many years he was faced with rebellions coming from the Saxon English resistance. goods or for their promise to be on his side at war. Thus. twenty years after the Conquest. The victory at Hastings had brought him the crown. by 1086. The word “feudalism” comes from the French word “feu” used by the Normans with reference to the land in possession in return for duty or service to a lord.

(The practice remained part of the coronation ceremony of British kings/queens till now). the same homage had to be promised to the chief tenants. Thus. rewarded their retainers. the king became connected through this “chain” of people to the lowest man in the country” [25. and to the fact” that the homage had to be promised in order to be granted land. according to the principle that “every man had a lord. representing an extremely ∗ “Homage” was the promise of loyalty as service of a man to his lord. (2) the manor. p. Such a survey was unique in the Europe of that time. the system worked relying on two principles: (1) the principle of feudal tenure – deciding on the granting of land in return for goods. animals. with his hands placed between those of his lord. Hence. 24]. while the lord was sitting on his chair. The men to whom the king directly granted land were “the tenants in chief” and they owed “homage”∗ and fealty to the king. and every lord had land”. Being the only owner of land and wealth William decided . created. in 1086. etc. services or military obligations.their turn. the vassal was kneeling before him. A hierarchy of land possession was. as he wanted to precisely know what land each man owned.) in detail. reminding them of the “Day of Judgement” painted on the walls of churches. thus. It continued to exist until late in the 18th century. Teams of people were sent all through the country in order to visit every fief and village and record everything (land. they distributed land to the others who had followed them. it provided an economic and political system of grants and obligations which created clear social and economic relations. as the basic economic unit of feudalism – representing the surface of land worked by peasant farmers who also cultivated their own plots of land rented from the lord in return for both their labour on the latter’s land and other services/goods/money payment. and operating from the top to the bottom of society. In this way. and it was not at all popular with the people. farm tool. . and so on. and which determined political stability. this collection of records was called “The Doomsday Book”. It still exists. when. in their turn. and what legal obligations exactly derived from this wealth. how much it was worth and produced. on a very ambitions undertaking: a general inventory of his new realm.

they were summoned to give a collective verdict under oath. it was only by the end of his reigns that the important administrative officials had become Norman.). William did much in order to strengthen the administration of justice in England. with corresponding Norman titles (steward. In the beginning he did not change too much of the Anglo-Saxon administration. as regards the royal household. in this way. In order to maintain his military strength. The local government preserved the old Anglo-Saxon institutions. that was possible only with his permission. and even introduced the jurors. chiefly because he was the king of a conquered people. making remarkable and authoritative decisions. It proves the great authority that William enjoyed as well as his keen mind and powerful will. it helps them understand the social and economic structure of 11th century England. in what is known as “the Salisbury Oath”. however. royal mints and towns. marchal. constable. These castles represented centres of military defense. chamberlain. once again. As regards the king’s court. and forced them to swear service directly to him. getting profits from different taxes. In 1086. William decided the building of castles which had been. unknown in the Anglo-Saxon period. Easter. as well as William’s political attitude. the Anglo-Saxon “Witan” was changed into the king’s “curia regis”. the replacement of the native sheriffs with Norman nobles. similar to “vicompte” in Normandy. after the suppression of a serious rebellion. for example. and were responsible for collecting royal revenues. some changes took place. to be a clear-minded and pragmatic king. Whitsuntide). as. and provided the further bases for administrative organization. ample royal estates. buttler. practically. William’s authority and his unique decisions are also notable. the “shire” and “hundred courts” continuing to exist as units of justice and administration. the usual “chain” mentioned above. They had the entire control over the territory. He also developed the financial system which he had inherited. consisting of the royal tenants in chief. William proved. William ordered all his vassals to come to Salisbury plain. (lay and ecclesiastical) and whose meetings took place three times a year (Christians. chancellor etc. of course. a “conqueror” who wanted to keep his fame untouched. The church-state relations were excellent . defying.valuable source of information for historians.

energetic. one of his nephews. Pope’s supremacy on many matters was denied. Besides. making the country a real and important European territory. the king had the right to invest the ecclesiasts with the symbol of their spiritual office. Henry I issued a Charter by which he gave up many oppressive practices of the past. the upper ranks of the clergy being Normanized and feudalized. In absence of a son. the king’s power being fragmented and decentralized. with many ∗ Matilda was married to Geoffrey Plantagenet. he managed to develop a system that operated effectively.7. educated and tactful. His government was efficient. in this way. ambitious and totally unpopular. at the same time. he was presented in some chronicles as a ruthless tyrant. at Henry I’s death. and he also granted them the land. he had the merit of linking England to France and the continent. 2. Becoming king. even under these circumstances. however. that meant frequent absences from the country.during William’s reign. was his contrary: effective. (1135-1154) took the crown. . a large and important area southwest of Normandy.2 England after William The kings who followed William the Conqueror after his death were his sons. his brother. While William II was an unworthy king. his daughter Matilda∗ was to become queen. and. Duke of Normandy and King of England was a courageous political innovator and a gifted administrator of the conquered land. It is clear that William. Stephen of Blois. the church was under the king’s control. both economically and culturally. William II Rufus (1087-1100) and. as. That did not happen. taking it form his brother Robert. Henry I. and opened a period of civil wars and anarchy in the country. Henry I (1100-1135). The disorder was much spread. then. although it was rather harsh and demanding. Stephen’s government lost control on many parts of England. One of his important priorities was the conquest of Normandy. thus. heir to Anjou. although. which he succeeded. Anyway. Henry I’s most important desire was to pass on both Normandy and England to his successor. greedy.

the martyred Thomas Becket became a saint in the people’s eyes. Henry I. and Becket became a militant defender of the church against the royal authority. ∗∗ Thomas Becket’s life and death represented the source of inspiration for a wonderful film with Richard Burton as Becket. Similar to his predecessors. Becket was the king’s close friend. assuming that Becket would support him in his policy towards the church. Henry II is recorded by history mostly for his quarrel with Thomas Becket∗∗. But. as a military force. and Thomas was canonized. After a couple of years of disputes and reconciliations. in case of invasions or rebellions. Maine and Touraine (as heir to his father). whom Henry II made Archbishop of Canterbury (1162). A former lay lord and knight. Henry did penance at Canterbury.castles built without royal permission. Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral (December 29. and Peter O’Toole as Henry II. Important changes were introduced in the military system. The experience of that period was shocking for the people of England. the legal successor became Henry II Plantagenet∗ (1159-1189). 1170) by four knights. Anjou (hence Angevin). replacing military service with “scutage” (money payment in lieu of it). and the latter’s subsequent murder. His holdings in France were larger than those of the French king. became king as the result of Stephen’s recognition as his heir. Henry II was determined to re-establish the centralized power of his grandfather. Brittany (as heir to his brother. supporting the local militia which could be useful for peacekeeping and. Annual pilgrimage to Thomas’ ∗ Henry II. he improved the judicial administration. When Stephen died. he was involved in continental affairs. Henry II preferred the use of mercenaries instead of feudal contingents. and with many lords wishing to control and profit from the government weakness. introducing new forms of legal action. he encouraged the revival of the principle of Anglo-Saxon “fyrd”. Known for his restless energy and decisive action. many cases being under his personal control. Matilda’s son. incited by the king’s fateful words. being scourged by the monks. claiming ecclesiastical supremacy over the lay world. but he also paid attention to the situation at home. son of Geoffrey of Anjou. especially in the second part of his reign. He inherited a vast territory holding England and Normandy (as heir to his mother and Stephen). It did not happen like that. as they had been used to the rule of law and order. . Over night. he even became a champion of Pope’s ideology. he is considered the greatest of the three Angevin kings of England. Geoffrey) and Acquitaine (as husband of Eleanor). at the same time.

in Paris. It is interesting to note that he has always been considered one of the most popular kings of England. etc. fighting with courage and honour. The next Angevin king was Henry’s son. When in 1215. while. He lost his wars in France and with them the French possessions. A brave. a few miles up the river Thames. Richard was famous especially for his participation in the Crusade to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims. to reign over a land weakened by too many demands. consequently. which the king had imposed on them. many joined to protest against his abuse and disregard of law and customs. But. the king was forced to . King John (1199-1216) was an unpopular king. in spite of the fact that out of the ten years of reign. Henry II banned the students’ attendance at the University. called the Lion-Harted (1189-1199). tax on plow lands. Richard died in France. maybe. he was considered a greedy person. Richard. king John called his lords to fight for him. As he needed money for his wars. his reign was also notable for some important innovations in taxation (scutage. The heavy taxations. a separate English seat of learning was set up at Oxford. his reign ending in disaster. and leaving as successor his brother John. in order to maintain his holdings in France. at Runnymede. a trait of character which determined deep dissatisfaction with his barons. and for his struggle against Philip Augustus. by which he hoped to recapture Normandy. and a real failure in all his undertakings. only the Channel Island was left of the inheritance from the Norman kings. after he had lost some French lands.tomb turned into a typical English custom. it was used as framework by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400) for his masterpiece “The Canterbury Tales”. he spent only six months in the country. good soldier. Thus. By 1206. including Normandy (1204). were mainly required because he needed funds to support new wars. a skilled warrior. The establishment of the Oxford University is also connected to this unhappy event: the Pope did not longer accept the English students at the Sorbonne University. his popularity is due to his image of perfect feudal king.). Besides.

or outlawed. p. “The feudal society was based on links between lord and vassal. an important document. or delay. introduced the new principle of co-operation. Another article says: “To no man will we sell. or dispossessed. they even established a committee of lords to make sure that John would keep his promises. while. available to an ever-larger part of the people. or in any way brought to ruin: we will not go against any man nor send against him. right or justice”. With the lost of possessions in Normandy and France. nowadays. a real symbol of political freedom. as well as new relations between the king and nobility. the nobles were not acting as vassals but as a class. The document put an end to the despotism of the Anglo-Norman kings. Magna Carta is important because it meant the beginning of the collapse of the feudal system in England. in this case. and for the next three hundred years every king had to recognize and to comply with Magna Carta. their right to justice. This document is. save by legal judgement of his peers or by the law of the land”. The text spoke about the rights of Englishmen at large. when a new type of monarchy came into being. the document became a part of the permanent law of the land. to security of person and property. Magna Carta was a . or deny. A memorable article of the Charter includes the followings: “No freeman shall be seized or imprisoned. considered a sort of forerunner of the “Declaration of Independence” and of the “Rights of Man and of the citizen”. till the end of the Middle Ages. the early stage of the Middle Ages was characterized by a system of royal government mainly connected with continental affairs and the possession outside the island. an attitude which was not “feudal” at all”. 28]. while the affairs of the people of England were guided from above. a foundation charter of liberties and rights. p. Note that these words were committed to paper in the year 1215. 35]. The document continued to remain valid during John’s successors. to good government. the king and nobility turned their interest to England and the developments within the country. It lies at the base of the British judicial system. Therefor. and their right to a fair and legal trial. as it provided protection for all the freemen against the abuse of the king’s officers. Thus.sign an agreement known as “Magna Carta” (the Great Charter). “By this document the barons tried to ensure that the king was beneath rather than above the law” [53. As David McDowall says [25. with a far-reaching perspective for other layers of society.

and protecting the latter against the powerful ones. besides the large hall for use by the whole family during the day. as the century after the Norman Conquest meant a real outburst of building activity. as there were some smaller rooms for use as bedchambers. there was a clear-cut social distinction between the Normans and Saxons. because eitherwise the nearest village would have been burnt” [25. It took a long time to the conquerors to consider themselves “English”. The period is well depicted in Walter Scott’s novel “Ivanhoe”. specific to the common man. Anyway. stealing from the rich. the repressed peasantry. and. the improvements were considerable. As regards dwellings. That was perfectly mirrored by the legendary figure of Robin Hood and his merry men. in comparison with the Anglo-Saxon houses. it proved the barons’ growing interest for what was going on in England. in many respects. here. Thus. and Robin Hood was much loved by the common people. It is said that “if a dead body was found.document emerging from the feudal lords’ desire to stop the king’s power in England and the possibility of his going beyond his rights.3 Life in Norman England In the years that followed the Conquest. As these castles were mainly built in the interest of defence. and built of stone. there was much fear and hatred between Saxons and Normans. including Normandy. we have in view the way in which the aristocracy used to live. the living conditions in the early Middle Ages knew some improvements in comparison with the prior period. they should have been draughty and cold enough. his weapon was the longbow. while the latter.7. They were large. and with unglazed windows. Besides. The legend was very popular over the centuries. there was more privacy provided. to give to the poor. the Saxon had to prove that it was not of a murdered Norman’s. with many rooms. the former representing the oppressive nobility. there was not too much home conform considered. and that happened only after king John had lost the French territories. and the strengthening of their position and possessions there. p. Robin lived in Sherwood Forest near Nottingham as an outlaw. According to the story. especially of castles and baronial halls. 37]. 2. .

Furniture was better and more diversified. But. because it was difficult to preserve it in good conditions.) seemed to have been preferred. as there were no glazed windows. ale was mostly drunk. anyway. a fact which is known from the abundant references to professional bakers. it was salted or smoked. These objects could be found only in the rich houses. at that time. Cooking represented. in many cases.Later on. as an important part of the diet. the wealthy ones could afford some spices which were imported from the Orient. Food did not differ too much in variety. it was less drunk. and much fish. Bread did not exist in the form which we know it today. they were smaller and generally built of wood and with thatched roofs. leek. being cold and rather unhealthy. a difficulty because of the oven which was necessary. being eaten in the end. As regards the houses of the common people. It consisted of meat. etc. Of course. Fruits eaten were the home-grown ones. Dairy produce was important as part of the diet. as well as other objects like chests and coffers. garlic. These houses had no more than two rooms. in most cases. also finely decorated. besides tables and chairs there were richly ornamented beds. and the strongflavoured ones (onion. because they . but rather limited. For the rich ones there was no problem. and. and rugs on the floor. it was used as a plate for the rest of the food. at least a stone wall between the houses (“party-wall”) was a requirement. in general. against the danger of fire. cooking and consumption being much the same in comparison with the Anglo-Saxon period. because of the lack of ovens in the small houses. The people ate the common vegetables. maybe. less common nowadays. but also cider and perry. more consideration started to be given to comfort. As regards drinks. but some varieties. poultry. Although there was some wine imported from France. with no yeats added. a fact which made the houses very dark. it was seldom eaten fresh. wooden shutters were used to close the windows. there was some stone building. Bread was less home made. it was made from rye. especially in cold weather. and. cheese and butter made on the farm supplementing milk. there were tapestries and fabric wall hangings. sometimes game. with the nobility building manor houses. were included on the list. including beef. such as quince or mulberry. Perhaps. even in the wealthy families.

while the bowmen needed no armour. their clothes were more complicated and we can try to imagine them: a long sleeveless tunic of linen or wool. having also the value of keeping them well trained for the circumstances of a war. and the head was covered with a veil. The infantrymen wore a similar but simpler armours. on their top they wore a cloak. more training-grounds were laid out. providing 24 hours service to their clients. for the lower ones the changes were limited throughout the years. They also wore a jewelled belt encircling their body twice. Their way of dressing differed with the social classes. especially if they were wealthy enough. with a full-length tunic over it. from the nobles’ boredom in time of peace. the people continuing to wear the same simple tunic. for the common people living in towns there was one more possibility: the “the take away” cookshops and ale shops. As regards the nobles. wide-flowing from the hip. a long leather or metal coat of mail. The cloak was semi-circular and tied at the front by a cord. The men were. In battle. arising. with a gradual increase of property some categories of people could afford luxury in their clothes: robes of Flander cloth or furs from Scandinavia. characterizing. On the other hand. and his metal shield was shaped like a kite. the banners. most of them in London. but. there were important improvements in weapons and armour which had to give an over-all protection to the warriors. generally. worn over a sleeved linen under-tunic. held by a metal circle. In the beginning. in a way. the knights’ armour. But. and the silk coats worn over the armour introduced the first team colours. in time. But. being devised for horseback fighting. They were allowed to . tournaments were some free fights without fixed rules. and rules were laid down. the ladies wore a longsleeved under-tunic. In time. clean-shaven and their hair was short. the respective period. Their hair was long. the knight wore a conical iron helmet. and that became obvious on the occasion of tournaments. the joust becoming a source of revenue for the knights. took a more glamorous appearance. fastened at the shoulder by a knot decorated with a ring brooch. wearing only a thick cloth tunic fastened with a belt.were endowed with all the required facilities for cooking. As the period was one of permanent wars. Tournaments were important activities in the Middle Ages. probably. other devices.

“The Community of the Realm”. and imposing heavy taxation.7. Henry III (1216-1272) continued to be tied to by the document as long as he was too young to rule for himself∗. . Later on. and for the next sixteen years. he was under the control of the powerful nobles. The New Industry and Economic Growth. Henry III upset everybody and. Richard I) but. surrounded by foreign advisers. the Parliament had been set up and Henry had to consider it as a body able to make written laws and political decisions. 2. the nobles took a decided action against the king. Cultural Life and Territorial Expansion The decline of feudalism and the establishment of new institution came as a direct outcome of Magna Carta. at that time. with the setting up of what was to become the House of Commons (1275). only when the king licensed them. once again.participate in the tournament only after having sworn a vow that the life of the opponent would be spared in case of victory. The setting up of Parliament. Finally. although accidents would happen. Although the king finally succeeded to defeat and kill Montfort (1295). ∗∗ Parliament. a fee had to be paid for the participation. However. Under the leadership of Simon de Montfort they elected a “council of nobles” called Parliament∗∗ which took control of the treasury and obliged Henry to act according to their desire (1265). and the number of jousting grounds was limited to five. involved in expensive wars outside England. The Emergence of New Institutions. his successor. It was ∗ He became king at the age of nine. it was during Edward I’ s (Henry’s son’s reign 1272-1307) that a real Parliament came into being. from the French word “parlement” meaning a ”discussion meeting”. it was clear that the object of the tournament was not the death of any knight. tournaments were considered legal activities (1154. it consisted of only nobles.4 England’s Later Development. After king John’s death. an important and colourful event in the life of the society. but they were. not less. who had rather unwillingly signed Magna Carta. It is clear that the tournaments had been turned into an affair.

or the complex character of a growing institution as being of an increasing importance. the king’s decision meant and it really was the administration of justice take over from the nobles. With Henry I the situation changed. After the Norman Conquest justice had ceased to be a family matter. and. common Law. As by 1272. there are some historians who “see Edward as responding to the dictates of Roman “law” [53.created because of the need for money and taxation requirements which was both a permanent demand and a problem caused by the continuous wars within and outside the realm. whose duty was to travel from place to place. he wanted that a similar kind of justice be used everywhere in his realm. the royal income got from the land represented less than 40% of the necessity. was the beginning of the idea that there should be ”no taxation without representation”. very often mixing the old Saxon laws with the Norman ones. there are points of view considering either the dispensation of justice as central element. p. directly. He developed the practice of calling to Parliament the representative knights and other wealthy freemen of the shires. following the king’s orders. . appointed his judges. ∗ There is much debate among the historians about Edward’s Parliament. but trusted to use common sense. Who were these new judges? Many of them were nobles or bishops with no special knowledge or training in the legal matters. Representatives of the lower clergy were also summoned∗. Thus. the rest of the money could not come. Therefore. rather than Magna Carta. p. consequently. but from taxation. and its transfer to the king’s supervision. in many cases. the burgesses as well as merchants from the towns (two representatives for each shire/town) to give consent to taxation and to enhance communication between the king and his subjects. and administer justice∗∗. and. In this way. Edward I created the institution able to provide him the money needed. It seem that “this. ∗∗ These ”circuit judges“ still exist today. 31]. later claimed by the American colonists of the 18th century” [25. these “commoners” became the representatives of their local community. by fostering “the concept of the community of the realm”. according to the rules of feudalism taxes could be raised only with the consent of the donors. Law and justice. Besides the interpretation of Parliament development as a practical solution for the financial and political problems. 37]. and the nobles were those who had to administer it among the people on their lands.

The growth of Government. and the Canon Law of the Church. the obligation of the jury changed. In the 13th century. it became known under the name of “common law”∗. In the next years other statutes were issued as a kind of supplement to “Common Law”. As the law which these travelling judges administered was similar everywhere they went. in this way. and other British colonial possessions as well. previous cases and decisions. under these circumstances. Anyway. By the 13th century the old Anglo-Saxon trial by ordeal had been replaces with the trial by jury. the persons acting as judges became men with real knowledge and experience of the juridical matters. ∗∗ In other parts of Europe legal practice was developed being based on the Civil Law of the Roman Empire. William and the kings who followed him ruled the kingdom “from the saddle”. slowly. and to ∗ England’s common law system was used. continues to exist even today representing the basis of law in England. it was not the type of jury known today. which was meant to provide evidence in defense of the accused. law development represented a permanent concern and a treatise “On the Laws and Customs of England” was issued. at the same time with the ever more complex requirements of the realm administration. from giving evidence. The government grew gradually. As the members of the jury were common people with no special training using in their decisions common sense. the system was accepted and continued to be used even when these colonies became nations in their own rights. over centuries. out of necessity. The result was the emergence of law schools. followed by the “First Statute of Westminster” (1275). in many cases. it became a body entitled to judge the evidence provided by others. . travelling from one place to another in order to be sure that their authority was accepted. centuries later. Important changes took place in the period between William’s the Conqueror simple government and the situation existing at the end of the 13th century. the quality of judgement depended on the king’s choice. a mixture of experience and custom. England was and continues to be unlike the rest of Europe∗∗ in legal matters. they were permanently on the move. which produced the lawyers necessary for advising the jury on the law-hidden points. In the beginning. The system. the English lawyers creating an entirely different juridical system based on custom. in the North American colonies. the necessity appeared for some guidance in the legal matters. in time.It is clear that. comparisons.

we can still find it there. the king’s “household” was “the government”. more people were necessary for administering taxation. when William refused to accept the pope’s claim of being considered the king’s feudal lord. with the state development the administration grew as well. with their treasury kept at Winchester. . while the population had the obligation to feed them. Thus. there was no capital in the sense in which we understand it today. When the kingdom became too large to be visited in this way. persons from the royal household were sent to different places to act as sheriffs. to stay in a town or a castle. justice. thus. in time. Thus. or for carrying out the king’s orders. or a sort of government began to take shape. for a while. in the end of the 11th century. but that was possible as long as the kingdom was a small one. All the records were kept at Westminster (Doomsday Book. and the first part of the 12th century new continental orders were founded: Cluniac Cistercians and Augustinian houses.raise the necessary money. That meant the construction of imposing buildings such as Durham Cathedral and the Tower of London. with it. which bear the witness of the artistic craftsmanship of the age. Church and state. Thus. from where the towns and ports were checked for making sure the payment of taxes. Archbishop of Canterbury. Anyway. Crowned at Westminster. for instance). Later.g. both Church and the kings wanted to DURHAM CASTLE increase their authority and. the “administration”. the number of clerks involved in the “business management”. AND CATHEDRAL consequently. at the end of the 13th century its place was established at Westminster.: the quarrel between William Rufus and Anselm. or the production of writings such as Winchester Bible and Psalter. the kings and the large number of followers accompanying them. or Henry II and Thomas Becket). today. stopped. The relation between Church and state could be characterized as a long struggle which began in 1066. there were periods when Church benefited from the close connections with the Continent. (e. and from where the country’s economy was carefully watched. and. all kinds of troubles arose. Religious life.

a religious.The ecclesiastical architecture continued to flourish over the 12th-13th century. who could hardly read or write. . being under his authority. Something new was represented by “the brotherhood of friars”. As many a time had been put to the test. the priests were from among the peasant community people. the prior. or wandering preachers. The fact could be explained by the increasing economic difficulties of the age. the pardon-seller. their number had increased to 900. In the beginning. And educated too. He was the needy priest of a village. which determined people to prefer the food and shelter of a religious house to the poor life of a farmer house. their aim was to bring the comfort of Christianity in the soul of ordinary people. but with more or less success. all of them masterly depicted in the Prologue. The Church was eager to put an end to this situation. the local church belonged to the local lord. sometimes humorously presented. A lot of things. showing a strong French influence (the New Westminster Abbey is a remarkable example). here is an example. while. There were also local monasteries or nunneries which had highly grown in number between the 11th and 13th century∗. with about 17. Devoutly teach the folk of his parish. In contrast with Church as a politically powerful organization stood the church at the local village level. among his characters in “The Canterbury Tales”. the lines introducing the village priest: “And there was a god man. It is obvious that these categories of numerous religious people were representative for the social classes of the respective age. the priest.500 monks and nuns. the parson. as Chaucer introduced the monk.000 members. Would truly preach the word of Jesus Christ. But rich enough in saintly thought and work. Kind was he. the friar. living in conditions similar to those of the poor. wonderfully diligent. the nun. can be learned about these categories from Chaucer’s work. And in adversity most patient. at the end of the 13th century.” ∗ There are records indicating fifty religious houses in 1066 with about 1. for he could read.

. Life in the countryside was hard. ∗ The word „farm” comes from that period: the arrangement/agreement made between the landlord and the villages for letting the latter some land was called “firma”. and the unfree peasants who worked the land held it in return for performing labour service.Economic growth. Sometimes the landlords let out some of. generally. and the people had to work day in day out. while pork was only for special occasions. the Doomsday Book is an unvaluable source of information. the main unit was the manor. The countryside and the town development. At the same time. Their houses were simple. while the rest of the time was used to work on the small strips of land which represented “common land” of the village. the period of the early Middle Ages was essentially agrarian. the situation began to change. the “manorial system” meant the exchange of land for labour. with a shift to “high farming”. the peasants were obliged to work for a fixed number of days on the lord’s land. the “home farm”. In other words.5 and 2 million inhabitants. It is known that England’s population was between 1.). a new class appeared: estate managers or stewards. and with the roofs made of thatch combined with reeds and corn stalks. and which provided them the necessary food. The land belonged to the lord. being already ploughed at that time (80 p. In this respect. the landlords taking manors into their own hands and obtaining profits from direct sales of produce. That meant the replacement of the “manorial system” with a direct management of the estates. Economically. The people.c. Towards the end of the 12th century. their food consisted mainly of vegetables and cereals. till they were too old to work. most of the land used for farming today. everyday of the year. or all their land for a rent which could be either in crops or money instead of labour∗. with the walls made of wooden beams and sticks filled with mud.

and with the Low Countries. and high prices. A sharp rise in food prices was another consequence of the food shortage. were charged and brought profits. Trade was carried out especially with France. much higher than the production cost. becoming smiths. As regards the recruitment of labour. notably London. where the trade basis was raw wool. lost their land. as its quality was not be matched anywhere. started to flourish. and. as trade and small manufacturing industries. a wool sack has been kept in the House of . shoemakers. A lot is known about England’s trade with the continent at that period. finally. tailors. in the 12th-13th century there was not enough land and food for the growing number of people. and the peasants tried hard to get it from draining marshland. Thus. there were both gainers and loosers in this evolutionary process. some other activities began to develop. that was achieved “by using contracts where service was provided either for life or for a short term in exchange for fees. but the average size of small peasant holdings seemed to have fallen. The need made people give up farming and get involved in different trades. Meanwhile. more land was necessary to provide it. hunger. a strict record of the customs dues was kept because of the king who asked it. starvation and death became something quite frequent. Thus. high farming meant prosperity for great landlords. as he obtained an important income from trade activities overseas. where exchanges were of wine for cloth and cereal. Some of them went to towns. the population had grown to over four million. the ties between the landlords and their tenants slackened. As a symbol of wool being a source of England’s wealth. especially those possessing small estates. Although. as the relationship became increasingly a legal. became indebted. generally. Anyway. which offered them the hope for a better future. wool export could be considered England’s most profitable business at that time. and poverty. p. and more food was required.In the next century. 38]. while towns. carpenters. the landlords got more money from their land due to the new system (paying farm labourers and receiving money rents) many of them. and the inflation was another cause that weakened the feudal ties. or clearing some areas. etc. Anyway. although England continued to be mainly an agricultural society. rather than a personal one” [53. robes or wages.

Later on. some of them still attached to a cathedral. sometimes it was open only to the sons of its members. or. Hull. and their inhabitants were freed from feudal duties to local lords. which had started to develop. at the same time. important fees had to be paid for training in a special field. to buy or to sell the products without paying other taxes. Schools attached to monasteries existed in England from an early date. The cosmopolitan movement known under the name of the “12th century Renaissance”∗ included England as well. In London the so called “livery companies” were developed. and which announced. and. With the new movement. The future middle class came into existence. and to see to the high quality of the goods produced. they turned into large financial institutions playing an important role in the administration of the City of London. different merchants or skilled workers brotherhoods. the members of the guild had to keep the agreed prices. and to protect the interests of their members as well as their right to produce. The purpose of the guilds was to keep a high standard of the respective craft or trade. over the centuries. wool was also used in the domestic industry. in a way. Lynne. The medieval man’s growth in mind and spirit. the modern trade unions. and who had established new towns such as Newcastle. as a result of the first signs of a capitalist economy. but many others. “craft” guilds were set up. and connected with the name of Henry II. the people could have their own courts and they were able to develop their own social and economic organizations. being manifest towards the end of the century. in other cases. Boston. they controlled most of the city business. especially under the direct influence of the Flemish weavers who had been encouraged to settle in England. they were given charters of freedom. were the “guilds”∗. Its most important accomplishment was in the field of education. over since that time. Besides being exported. trade and industry made the towns flourish. and in the choice of the Lord Major. schools started to be established in many towns and cities. . the so called ∗ From the Saxon word „gildan”.Lords (Parliament) for the chancellor to sit on it. as those of the weavers in London or Oxford. These organizations. the members had to pay towards the cost of the brotherhood. meaning “to pay”. but their main purpose had been to train the children for priesthood. Entry into a guild was not easy. which controlled the economy of the 13th century. Gradually.

and their love for beautiful ladies whom they faithfully served. Most of the people had no knowledge of either Latin or even French. It goes without saying that the number of people attending universities. ∗∗ It is considered the oldest English-speaking University in the world.“grammar” schools. but it knew a rapid development after 1167. Other two important intellectual figures were Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon. consisting of poems written and interpreted by minstrels at the nobles’ courts. suggested experimental science. its main characteristic being the desire to test religious faith to reason. Scholars were highly esteemed and were invited to frequent the court. it was mainly limited to religious writings. the language of the time was Latin. “Handling Synne”. In schools. Most of the poems told about the knights’ heroic deeds. its influence moving northwards along the trade routes. which started in Italy. teaching already existed there in some form. “Dialogue of the Exchequer” and the law book attributed to Ranulf de Glanville. were independent of the Church. it meant a revolution in ideas and learning. when the English students were banned from attending the University of Paris. As regards literature. and didactic works with an obvious moralizing character. show modern ideas. . There was also some chivalry poetry. one of the greatest scholars of the Middle Ages. according to the French model. used by the king in the administration of his realm. the one who. which was the language of law and Norma rules. firstly. It is also during this period that two important centres of higher learning were established in England: Oxford∗∗ (1167) and later on Cambridge (1209). their ideas being applied to the act of government. ∗ It is a cultural movement. used by the educated people of almost all Europe for communicating. At the end of the 11th century. and expressing their ideas and learning in writing. A long time had to pass until English became the language of the entire people. was limited. (“Poema morale”. In the beginning. they were in French. poems. and schools in general. “The Prick of Conscience” and others).

In the field of architecture, important progress took place: in ecclesiastical architecture new methods of vaulting offered the architects greater freedom in building (the construction of the choir at Canterbury), but its flourishing was obviously under the strong French influence. (The New Westminster Abbey, built under Henry III’ s patronage). Anyway, the period knew an outburst of building activity, nowhere equalled in Europe. Some of these buildings are really outstanding, as Durham Cathedral, which surpassed by its scale, impressiveness and unique character any achievement of the time. The first prevailing style in England was the English Romanesque, or the Norman one, followed, towards the end of the 12th century, by the Gothic style. The most typical example of this style is Salisbury Cathedral, which has remained, even today, almost exactly as it was planned. As regards the military architecture, obvious in the building of fortresses and castles, it showed to be self-confident, innovative and assertive. The first square tower-keep, characteristic to Norman architecture (Tower of London, the fortress at Dover, Bamborough, Newcastle-on-Tyne, etc.) evolved, later on, to the round or cylindrical tower keep, this shape being less vulnerable to attacks. By 1200 about 350 stone castles had been built in England and Wales; two of the finest castles in Europe are Conway and Caernarvon (the end of the 12th century), combining all that could be considered most efficient in the military architecture of the Middle Ages. Towards the end of the14th century, the military importance of the castles declined, with the change of the military tactics in battle. It was also the period when the wealth of the country was transferred to the commercial middle-classes living in towns; there was a period of growing internal peace. Even in the case of some castles still being built, there was a change in attitude, and an increasing concern with their comfort became obvious. Thus, Bodiam, Sussex (late, 14th century) combined defence with the time standard of domestic comfort. England insular policy; and its relations with the neighbouring regions. Territorial expansion. The Middle Ages was, pre-eminently, an age characterized by “war as a mode of life”; in the beginning, all social classes were involved in these endless wars. Gradually, wars started to determine economic and political changes within the feudal hierarchy, with the replacement, for example, of the feudal obligation of actual military service, by the levying of taxes; hence, the king’s

dependence on Parliament. Besides, military constructions changed because of new war techniques, and, finally, the buildings turned from fortified castles into more or less comfortable palaces; later, towards the end of the Middle Ages, the fortified manor-houses were enough for defence, in a society which had become more peaceful and stable. On the other hand, the wars changed their objectives and character; with the exception of “the Hundred Years War” with France (1337-1453), they ceased to be “Continental wars”, (i.e.: participation of the Plantagenet kings in the various feudal expansion/defence wars on the continent, or in the Crusades, religious wars against the heathen occupation of the Holy City and Tomb of Jerusalem) tending to become more “insular”. The situation was determined by the Norman barons having possessions in England’s neighbouring regions, in feudal tenure; being powerful, they had the possibility to influence the local parliaments, representing a permanent threat to the crown’s stability. Thus, the English kings’ attention started to be directed towards these small neighbouring kingdoms, with the obvious intention to subdue them, and to limit, in this way, the power of the Anglo-Norman lords. A fact which happened. Anyway, the history of these kingdoms situated in Wales, Ireland or Scotland was different – up to a certain point – from that of England, although most attention was usually paid to the latter as being the largest, geographically better suited to human settlement, and more influential. But what happened outside England, the culture and civilization which developed outside it, is equally important, because the people living there “still feel different from the Anglo-Saxon English” and their “experience helps to explain the feeling they have today” [25; p. 18]. England and Wales. Until the Norman Conquest, Wales had been a territory inhabited by the Celts∗ driven into the peninsula by the AngloSaxon invasion. Living in a mountainous rocky area, life was hard and

The Celts in this region were called by the Anglo-Saxons “Welsh” (foreigners), while they called themselves „cymry” (fellow men).

dangerous, society was based on family grouping, settled in one or more villages placed along the crowded valleys. In the beginning, tribal chiefs led them, but, in time, some of them conquered the others and became a sort of kings∗. They were itinerant king, traveling from one place to another around their kingdoms, being accompanied by their followers and soldiers. Life was not only hard but also treacherous and bloody. The first and only king who succeeded to rule over all Wales was Gruffydd ap Llewelyn, (c. 1039) but not for long, because he was killed by a cymry while fighting against the Saxons. When William I conquered England, he allowed his lords to fight against the Welsh kings and win land in Wales. In this way, the Normans extended their control over the new territories in the region. In time, until the 13th century, the Normans built castles, mixed with the inhabitants, and became a new category of rulers, a mixture of French and Welsh, speaking both languages, but not English. They remained Celtic and free. A certain national revival, in the end of the 13th century, created the principality of the north under Llewellyn the Great, prince of Gwynedd. He was determined to become independent of the Norman English. At that moment, England had already lost its territories in France (it still held Gascony) and its attention was fully concentrated on the island, over whose whole territory its rulers were decided to have a firm and unchallenged hold. In his turn, Edward I, like Llewellyn, was equally determined but, his determination was to bring Wales under his control: in 1282, he managed to conquer Wales, after capturing and killing Llewellyn. In 1284, west Wales was united with England and organized by royal decree (the Statute of Rhuddlan) in a way similar to that existing in the English counties. An ambitious program of building strong castles was put into practice. Although there was some unrest and warfare for a time, by the end of the century the region could effectively be considered a part belonging to England, while its people had become ever more anglicized. Thus,

History mentions six kingdoms at that time: Anglesey, Gwynedd, Powys, Cardigion, Dyfed and Glamorgan.

Wales∗ was quite easily subdued; in order to show it, Edward decided to make his infant son (Edward II) Prince of Wales. Since that time up to now, the tradition has been preserved, and the eldest son of the ruling monarch and heir to the throne, has been given the title of Prince of Wales. England and Ireland. Ireland was not faced with Roman or AngloSaxon invasions, developing a Celtic culture which flourished till late, in the 9th century. The Irish continued to have, for a longer time, a tribal society, the people living in family grouping, and the king being elected from the strongest representatives of the group. There were five kingdoms known in Ireland∗∗, often at war in an attempt to take control one over the other. The Irish became Christians in 430 A.D., when a slave called Patrick brought them the message of the new religion; he was to become their “patron saint”. For a couple of centuries culture flourished in Ireland, many Christian monasteries grew up as centres of learning, famous for their schools and writings. (Numerous Christian scholars got their refuge in Ireland, after the Anglo-Saxon invasion). This period is often called Ireland’s “golden age”, but, unfortunately, it came to an end because of the savage Viking raids which destroyed the monastic centres of culture out of which nothing was left, but the stone memorials. However, the positive results of the Viking presence consisted in a certain refreshment of the Irish economic and political life; Viking trade determined the development of the first towns and ports, Dublin being one of them. Besides, the Irish thought, for the first time in their history, to unite against the invaders. The name of a king who succeeded to rule successfully for a short period of time, Brian Born (1002-1014), is recorded by history. A century later, the Norman lords conquered Ireland with not much difficulty (1169). Once again, as it happened in Wales, the king (Henry II) was concerned with the growth of his lords’ power, and forced both

In fact, Wales consisted of two different areas: the northern part which was conquered by Edward and became a royal Principality, being entirely in the power of the English king, and the Welsh Marches, a baronial fief and whose states remained untouched for a longer period of time. It was Henry VIII who signed, in 1536, the Act of Union of Wales to England. ∗∗ The five kingdoms were: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught, Tara.

20]. trying to keep their independence from the English crown. known as the “Dove of the Church”. p. it represents one more example of how geography influenced the life of the people settled there. while the Normans built castles. shaping their history and culture. There was a marked difference between the first three groups and the Angles. land was held and worked individually. coming from Ireland. As regards Scotland. Thus. with an increased feeling of being different from the Highlanders. . only the eastern part of Ireland was governed by the Norman lords. language and background (they had a strong idea of common landholding. During Edward I’s reign. but also the way in which they inherited their rights. individually working their land and growing crops. in 1974 [25. namely from their mothers. Scotland was populated by three different Celtic groups: the Picts∗ living in the north and northeast. ∗∗ They were part of the Romano-British world. different from the other Celts not only as regards the language. ∗ The Picts were the first inhabitants of the region. and settling in the western Highlands (4th century). The name of their kingdom was Strathclyde. The Irish chiefs continued their old way of life. made capital of the new colony. and an area around it. While the former shared the same Celtic type of culture. The east southern region. the Angles from Northumbria lived also there. where the relief is gentler and offers better conditions for farming. the Scots. England and Scotland. inhabiting the Lowlands. both of them tried to avoid English authority. known as “the Pale” was under the king’s control. the latter developed much similar to the English. the Britons∗∗. while the western part remained under the Irish chiefs. in the 18th century). and this name was used in the country reorganization.them and the Irish chiefs to accept his authority. only Dublin. made people stay tied to their own family group and preserve a tribal society for a longer period of time. name and property. Anyway. pushed into the Scottish Lowlands. a non-tribal social system being developed. In fact. the northern mountainous areas and the neighbouring islands with their severe climate and unfriendly relief. The people living in Scotland became Christian in the 6th century thanks to the activity of a missionary monk called Columba. and they preserved the “clan” organization till late.

the event was highly celebrated. in money and troops. Wallance’s fight was continued by Robert Bruce. . In comparison with Wales or Ireland. by stealing it Edward hoped to make the Scottish king be considered illegal. the Scots expressed their point of view in a letter written by the Scots’ clergy to the Pope (1320) “ … as long as even one hundred of us (the Scots) remain alive. taking the chance of a crisis over the succession to the Scottish throne. becoming its leader. and he. from the English. he was captured and killed (1297) but his struggle against the English meant the birth of the Scottish nationalism. who defeated his country’s enemies and became the king of Scotland. an English king as their “overlord”. invaded Scotland and put one of the possible thirteen heirs. after centuries of its holding by the English. Finally. and made the Picts and Scots unite against the common enemy. and only a large army could do it. popular resistance movements. The legend said that the Scottish king had to sit on it at coronation. John de Balliol. near Stirling. who succeeded to gather the people of Scotland around him. which lasted over the centuries. the lawful king of the Scots.The Viking raids influenced the political life of the Celts living especially in the northeastern region and northern islands. the stone was sent back to Scotland in sign of respect for the Scottish history. a Norman Scottish knight. That happened in 1290. A couple of years ago. when Edward I. ∗ On the occasion of such an invasion the sacred Stone of Destiny was stolen from the Scone Abbey. a place ever remembered and praised by the Scots. the English became their stronger enemy and the Scots had sometimes to accept. He gained a decisive victory against the English (1314) at Bannockburn. its possessor. and further English invasions∗. even reluctantly. on it. Scottish nobles’ rebellions. A name deserving special mention is that of Wallace. Later on. Determined and proud. obliging him to pay homage to the English king. we will never consent to subject ourselves to the dominion of the English”. Scotland was not a kingdom to be defeated by the Norman lords. What followed in the years to come was much demand.

2. After the Black Death. The fall of the population was dramatic. and a return to serf labour. which caused the death of one third of Europe’s population. There are records which mention the quantity of exported raw wool and cloth at different moments of the 14th century. determined by the population growth. and signed “firma” for a whole life span. with the decrease in number of people working the land. followed by the landlords cessation of the labourers’ payment. Destructive Events. whose life was much better in comparison with their forefathers. . which brought high profits to merchants. two painful processes! The Plague and its economic consequences. and which show a clear-cut difference in favour of cloth exports towards the end of the century. The 14th century meant the eruption of the terrible plague. these small farmers turned into a new class. and whole villages disappeared. and the impossibility of the farming land to feed everybody. After that. but in the field of trade and industry as well. Gradually. a Painful Changing Process The period which covered the next two centuries (the 14th and the 15th) was a difficult one. Thus. known under the name of “yeomen”. and the establishment of a new society. the export of raw wool was replaced by finished cloth. the remaining ones asked for ever higher wages. The 14th century meant change not only as regards agriculture. “the Black Death” became endemic. revolts and wars. while many towns were left almost without inhabitants. death and birth. there were sharp price rises. the beginning of the century had witnessed an agricultural crisis. 12th century practice of letting their farms out to energetic freeman farmers.5 The Late Middle Ages. with the disappearance of some classes. with many disasters caused by plague. killing many people. Britain was not spared (1348-1349). especially the young and healthy ones. especially after the collapse of the cloth industry in Flanders.7. in order to avoid losses the landlords preferred the old. Paradoxically. the consequences were not entirely negative for those remaining alive. Skilled Flemish workers were encouraged to come to England and settle there.

where. . a fact which could not be tolerated. and. but London grew significantly. a Burgundy’s province. However. the ravages of devastating diseases. the only territory left to England after the dramatic losses during king John’s reign. Undoubtedly. corn. permanent domestic turmoil. the age had inherited from the previous century an important advantage: the people’s different perspective on themselves. Besides. in many respects. In 1324. England’s interests abroad could not be neglected. they referred to the trade with wine. as well as some other ports supported by trade overseas. from this point of view. they had got national identity. The wars of the age. which was worth a lot of money to the English crown. At the same time. but. The building of fortified towns by each side did not improve the relations. the deliberate building of an empire. and a perfect internal peace was difficult to attain. But. then.All the regions were involved in the process. the English had been successful in Wales and Ireland. Anyway. The reign of Edward I had opened a new stage in England’s history: that of establishing a determined hold over the British Isles. a bleak age. wool or wool cloth. success was not always and everywhere certain. The late Middle Ages can be considered. especially after the Treaty of Paris (1259) which had established that the English kings owed homage to the French ones for the possession of Gascony. Thus. consequences were constantly favourable to England. their territories had been effectively attached to England. and. besides the political ambitions. tried to impose its authority to the Duke of Burgundy. France seized part of Gascony. in fact. by the end of the 13th century. Any French control over these two areas was a direct threat to England’s wealth. with misery. on the long run. there were equally important economic interests. However. France represented an important rival. the newly attached territories constituted permanent sources of rebellion and warfare. everything aggravated by the demands of inner and foreign wars. The trade was carried out with Gascony and Flanders. the English failed when they tried to make the Scottish king a vassal of England. the relations with that country could not have been but tensed. they already thought of themselves as English.

Another important English military acquisition was the archers’ technique. it made manifest the pragmatic force of England’s decisions. parts of Normandy and Brittany. Edward III declared war to France. then Britain would follow in its military and political actions. p. . However. when the English defeated the French at Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356). In 1337. the treaty of Bretigny was signed. it started inconclusively. The treaty was not willingly accepted by the French.” As regards the war. new important victories followed later. claiming his right to the French throne∗. initially. As André Maurois says [23. Edward I was less successful in the next battles. having a long experience through the wars in Wales and Scotland.The rich merchants were easily persuaded to support a war with France. by which Edward I agreed to drop his claim to the French throne in return to the English possessions in France held in full sovereignty (all Acquitane. including Gascony. a good reason for starting a war. the French recovered. as their own interests were at stake. and when the French king himself was taken prisoner. and Rheims did not open the gates to him. while the English failed to maintain their military superiority. Edward was a closer relative to the last king of the Capetian dynasty than Valois Philip VI. he appeared more as a legal heir than a rebellious vassal. The war. 216). In 1360. rather than purely military ambitions. and the newly captured port of Calais). influenced by economic. with a first naval English victory at Sheys (1340). ∗ Through his mother. and in the period that followed the war began again. a heavy ransom was charged for him. which they had taken from the Welsh. Isabella of France. and its result was the loss of all English possessions in France. The use of the longbow was decisive in those battles making the English army imbattable (23. which was to be called the Hundred Year War. except for Calais. 216] the war announced one of “the typical later directions that England. losing much of the French territories. p. The English victories were possible as they were better prepared and trained. ended only in 1453.

at a given moment. Thus. the permanent threat represented by England had obliged the Scots to look for allies. (The treaty stipulated ∗ A peasant girl. By 1420. while France was to become the most powerful kingdom in Western Europe. Henry’s brother. the situation was not entirely peaceful on the island. with Henry V’ s campaigns in France. The Hundred Years War was over. France. save Calais. Wars with Scotland. the English had lost all their overseas conquests. for the first time. and given to the latter. an alliance was concluded between the two countries (Auld Alliance).000 men. but. Joan of Arc∗ stepped forth (1422). as England had given up its claim to overlordship the Scottish after the defeat at Bannockburn (1314). in their turn. inspiring the army and lifting the siege of Orleans. The English were defeated in the battles which followed. a strong national feeling among the French. claiming to hear heavenly voices. who. England’s relation with Scotland continued to be tense. the English invasion and territorial losses started to create. and nobody could be a better one than England’s main rival. and with. The English army proved once again that it was better prepared than the French one which was three times its size. gave her to the Church in Rouen. Rallying the French resistance. it started in 1415. she was burnt as a witch in 1431. when the Treaty of Troyes was signed. Claiming the French throne once again. allies of the English. The Scots as a nation. who continued to enlarge the territory under the English control. the English won an astonishing victory at Agincourt. leaving as his heir an infant son of only nine months old. the death of Bedford in 1435. Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians. the English period of glory and success started to fade. He was recognized as the French king’s heir. Henry invaded France with a small army of only 9. at Agincourt it had better weapons and better skilled men. During the long period of war with France.The war continued in the 15th century. The army came under the command of John. on the route to Calais. Henry V had already conquered Normandy and the nearby areas. after a period of relative peace. However. of which France benefited more. two years later (1422) Henry V died at the siege of Meaux. and married his daughter Katherine of Valois. By 1453. after the siege of Harfleur. But. Duke of Bedford. the situation reversed. this time because of its war with France. .

Andrews (1412). there were also powerful “clans”. . Thus. and the king would invite the leading citizens for discussing government matters. Thus. they gave up their control on the Scots. Glasgow (1451) and Aberdeen (1495). the Scots fought alongside the French in war. taking the French model they founded universities at Edinburgh (1582). no overlordship from England could be possible or thought of. when the war with France outbroke in 1337. but they were defeated at Neville’s Cross (1346). in the Scots finding work as soldiers in France. probably. The English raided as far as Edinburgh. True to their alliance. because in the 15th century. The only benefit that Scotland could have had from its alliance with France. killing and bringing misfortune to the Scots. perfectly fitted with the Celts tribal loyalties specific to the Highlands. The way in which Scotland developed in the late Middle Ages resembled England in many respects: there were long struggles between the kings and nobles. and the Scots a well-defined nation. consisted. leather and fish. and in 1482 his army occupied Edinburgh. The Scots were not below the English as regards learning and education. being ransomed by the French. where their king. the English often raided the Scottish Lowlands. Henry IV claimed to overlordship Scotland once again. The towns developed. at a time when their households at home were permanently destroyed by English armies. by the end of the Middle Ages. but after this episode. but not for long. Scotland experienced the war’s disasters in a way similar to England. However. destroying the farms. St. was taken prisoner.that in case of one of the countries being attacked by England. Meanwhile. who were strong enough to keep private armies. and peace was established for a while. David II. England’s dissatisfaction with the French support of David II of the Scots could be included among the political grounds. in its turn). Scotland had obviously become a country. destroying and looting. Scotland had become a nation: they had a parliament which met once a year. and they had a growing trade in wool. the other one would attack England.

However. the longbow became the “surprise” weapon of the English. and Lancaster’s. Thus. and his name was connected with a dignified enterprise: for the first time. After its conquest in the 13th century. In time (1399-1417). the Lancastrian House and the Yorkist Clan. whom the they followed in a general popular support. a red one. Walter Scott named these wars of “the two roses” because York’s badge was a white rose. caused by the conflict between the noblemen’s groups interested to support one or another of the two families entitled to rule England. the situation had resulted from the crises of kingship – a direct ∗ In the 19th century. it can be considered a monarchical civil war. in spite of the Welsh people’s resistance. but Glyn Dwr was never captured. thus. and continued his fight against the English. In the 14th century. Only two years had passed since the end of the war with France. and new troubles began to agitate the life of the English society: the struggle between the noblemen’s factions attached to two important aristocratic families. while the natives were either driven into the hills or. as André Maurois says “the Hundred Years War that was fought in France proved the importance of submerging Wales at home”. put an end to their fight. this rebellion turned into a real national war. he created among the Welsh the feeling of national identity. their control of Wales had become very costly. The events represented the first civil war in England. finally.England’s troubles in Wales. a struggle which was to last for the next 30 years (1455-1485). Glyn Dwr was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters. Wales had been systematically colonized by the English: people from England were brought to populate the small Welsh towns. . the English. losing their land. Anyway. and helped them win important battles in France. being a typical feudal anarchy war. under the leadership of Owain Glyn Dwr. Their weapon. under such circumstances. In 1400. and which is known in history under the name of the Wars of the Roses∗. He remained an important hero of his people. the situation was difficult for the English as. The Wars of the Roses. mostly as a successful guerrilla war. the Welsh rebelled. He managed to conclude different alliances and coalitions. were obliged to become soldiers in the English army. land was given to the English people.

. Thus. he had temporary periods of mental illness (1450-1461). or the earl of March (grandson of Edward III’s second son). with which they kept under control whole regions of England. the duke of York.consequence of the weakness of the legitimate kings who ruled England in the 14th century and of the nobles’ increasing power. during the years of his reign. Finally. and succeeded to peacefully pass the crown to his son. had deepened and aggravated. he firmly acted to strengthen his royal authority. the “Yorkists”. During the respective periods. which could represent the premises of a civil war: a weak and insane king. rising an army. the king of England was Henry VI. Henry V. both of them with almost equal rights to claim the throne. as protector. an event which meant the first break of the principle that king could be neither deposed nor killed. As Richard had no direct heirs. who. Henry duke of Lancaster succeeded to rally the discontented nobles around him. some of them continuing to keep their own private armies after their return from France (The duke of Burgundy had 2. besides. with the crown’s failing to control them. the duke of Lancaster was stronger and he took the crown. and. died soon after that (1389). during the fifty years that passed. the kingdom was ruled by Richard. At that time. adequate for a calm and civilized society but not suited for such a tough and aggressive one. deposed the king. the division between the interests of those who supported his family. he was entitled to revenge his father’s death. However. the possible successors were either Henry of Lancaster. the “Lancastrians” and those who supported the family of the heir of earl of March. proud and unpopular because of the choice of his advisers. mysteriously. especially with the loss of the war in France. half a century later. thus. the second king to be deposed was Richard II∗. John of Gaunt died in prison and his son. feudal disputes between powerful lords. the most powerful and wealthy person of the time. ∗ Richard II. becoming the king Henry IV. an opposition coming from the dynastic rival Richard. besides. Edward II was deposed and cruelly murdered by his nobles in 1327. The nobles had become extremely rich and powerful. quarrelled with the nobles and imprisoned John of Gaunt.000 men in his private army). more or less by force. his taking of the crown represented the seed of the future civil war. duke of York. the loss of the war with France had made Henry VI’s government suffer serious loss of prestige and authority. there were in the country such circumstances. a gentle and book-loving person.

Henry was crowned king just on the battlefield. had been sent to the Tower of London. Earl of March. who. were imprisoned in the tower. The wars also had brought about the physical . What the Wars of the Roses had achieved. finally. was crowned king in 1461. Richard III was not a popular king. as he had got the support of the merchants of London due to his policy of encouraging profitable trade. which he kept safely. (in 1483) he took the crown. after a short time. not after a long time. the Yorkists deserted Richard and joined their rivals. Next year. where they died. but only for nine years. was to destroy the idea of kingship in its old meaning. Edward. when the Lancastrians rebelled one again. masterly presented in Shakespeare’s historical play “Richard III”. Henry Tudor. a new dynastic line being. but the Lancastrians rescued him. Although readily accepted. The Wars of the Roses had come to an end. The Yorkists gathered to support his son. the Middle Ages in England. A battle took place at Bosworth. he died in the Tower. thus. Edward returned with his army. In 1485. in 1483. As regards Henry VI. he succeeded in regaining his throne. the only respect being preserved for the power of getting and keeping the crown. Henry VI. but. murdered by their uncle. Edward’s two young sons. The events which took place during the respective period. supporting their sole male claimant to the throne. and. and with it. where Richard III was defeated and killed. duke of Richmond. until his death. Meanwhile. chasing Edward out of the country. maybe. the former king. inaugurated. aged twelve and ten. At Edward’s death his ambitious brother became protector and defender of the kingdom. and both Lancastrians and Yorkists disliked him. becoming the king Richard III. were. more successful on the battlefield. because of the people’s fear of insecurity. most probably. There were some hostilities between the parties in the period 1455-1459. Edward had been a pragmatic king whose main concern and RICHARD III achievement was to restore the prestige of monarchy. the duke was defeated and killed. and. For more than one hundred years the Tudor family were to rule England. where he had been imprisoned once again.The Duke of York claimed the throne based on a better hereditary right than anybody in the Lancaster family.

The heavy taxations imposed to people. be set up. who had to present the rebels’ demands. The attacks continued against London. and able to build a new nation state. continued in southeast of England. an end was put to the rebellion. the only gain of the events being the abolition of one of the numerous taxes imposed to the people. Finally. more exactly on Commons. There were moments when the rulers were faced with real crises. 2. attacks on landlords. but during the negotiation Tyler was attacked and slained by the mayor of London. an absolute one. The revolt began in Essex and Kent. but only the nobles and their private armies. almost half the lords of the sixty noble families controlling England at the beginning of the period were killed in the wars. some of the officials being killed. the Cultural Progress The period of the late Middle Ages was dominated by a continuous state of war. in 1340-1341. guarding against civil wars and regicides. those crises determined the kings’ dependence on Parliament. added to the general feeling of discontent caused by the changes in economy as well as by political developments. as for example Edward III. lawyers. for the necessary money supply. taking the form of assaults on tax collectors. The outcome of the disaster was the possibility that a new type of dynasty. within and outside the realm. Anyway. Wat Tyler. where the rebels’ fury was directed against the King’s councilors.destruction of nobility.6 The Economic. which meant money and soldiers. Social and Political Life in the Late Middle Ages.7. The king (Richard II) met them and their leader. manors and religious houses. and causing the destruction of the documents. slogans such as “when Adam delved and Eve span / who was then the gentlemen?” spread by popular poor preachers inflamed the people’s mind. the Peasants’ Revolt was the result of the social tensions determined by the economic adjustments necessary for levelling the imbalances caused by the great . were the causes of a popular rebellion – the Peasants’ Revolt – in 1381. The king took back his promises. The permanent need of the country was to finance these wars. the truth is that not the entire people was involved in the struggles and battles of this civil war.

Some of the peasants managed to rise above others belonging to the same class. a method which had been the characteristic of the previous century. The 15th century was the period when much land enclosure took place. even faster than the price of goods. and. was to convert the good farm land into sheep pasture land. England remained a predominantly agrarian country.) while the real wages of the lower strata of society had risen sharply. with plenty of meat and cereals available in the market. coming to London.. 84]. The town population started to grow. a poor boy from the countryside who. only by 10 p. Lord Mayor of London. sometimes. especially because of the movement of the former peasants to the new places which could offer them the chance of a new life and even the possibility to become rich through crafts or trade.epidemic of the Black Death∗. because of low prices of grain. In the 15th century the wages for farm workers continued to rise. However. preferring the leasehold system. ∗∗ Tenure by copy of the record of the manorial court. and high payment of labour. Important economic changes took place during this century. The consequence was that many peasants were obliged to leave their places. the villages being abandoned by their inhabitants. thus. previously. . “the yeomen”. the solution to the problem of labour shortage. ∗ The great landlords’ revenues had fallen (although. constituting a new class. p. it is important to remember that “the revolt was the most violent manifestation of a potential for unrest which simmered throughout the realm and throughout the age” [12. with good examples∗∗∗ in this respect. In many cases. in the 15th century. Anyway. for three times. However. although important changes took place in the town developments. a fact which often happened. Meanwhile. The effects of such a decision were felt in the next century which was faced with a serious social and economic crisis. ∗∗∗ A famous name is that of Dick Whittington. it was difficult for them to keep high their income level because of the growing arrears of rent. which had largely disappeared. had been used to produce food crops. the copy hold tenure∗∗ replaced villain labour. as the powerful sheep farmers started to fence in the land which. the rich landlords gave up the direct management of their estates. and whose consequences have already been discussed. probably. high wages and diminishing income. a real golden age for the English labourers. became a rich merchant.c.

Under such circumstances. and the “Merchant Adventures”∗∗ in different towns became famous in the 14th century. as it prevented competition. the so called “factories”. ∗∗ Merchant organizations developed with the cloth trade. but. the skilled workers who could not afford to become guilds members began to think about different forms of protecting their interests. The first organizations were the guilds. and guilds started to decline in importance. The next in the rank were the knights who no longer had the image of the armoured fighter. had already been established by groups of merchants. in the beginning. a new force emerged in the national economy. term internationally used. Suffolk and the Cotswold region became important in the national economy. that the goods prices and quality were maintained. but their number had decreased in the 14th and 15th century because a lot of them had died on the battlefields. ∗ „Staple”. the arrangement suited both the merchants. on the other hand. but that of a landlord or “landed gentry” who had succeeded to increase their land possessions. Among those factories. by setting up some other forms of organization. As regards the towns.In towns. the merchants as well as craftsmen continued to organize in different types of associations in order to protect their interests. and the Crown. earls. “Company of the Staple”∗ in Calais. at that moment membership was expensive to buy. As regards the social organization. dominating the southeastern part of the country. In time. London continued to grow. other lords) were at the top. The one in Antwerp was the most successful. Thus. England continued to be based on ranks: the nobles (dukes. started to protect their members. some trading stations. as it could tax exports more easily. were set up to protect the production or trade of a town. which. . and. later on. the purpose of which was similar to the town guilds: on the one hand. to make sure that the whole export of a certain category of goods was carried out through these factories. in the 14th century. as long as it was not a family inheritance. meaning that certain goods could only be sold in specific places. while the development of the woolen industry determined the growth of new towns such as Halifax or Leeds.

was not economically favourable to the growth of society. besides. mainly for practical purposes. became possessors of farmland in the countryside. and. its members understood that serfdom and the feudal system. the serfs form the countryside who worked for seven years in a town craft guild could become freemen of the respective town. having its life and development under their control. living both in towns and in the countryside started to form a single class with common interests manifest in the two environments. represented.) was used for a long time as a common title in written addresses. They were the freemen∗∗of the town.There was a significant increase in the number of knights during that period. being considered equal to the latter. Towards the end of the Middle Ages. . they were as important as the gentlemen living in the countryside. in the town society. ∗∗ In the period of the late Middle Age. the people living in towns started to form what was to become the English middle class. as well as the lawyer profession. This class was. it is less in use nowadays. and did not offer the conditions required to create wealth. Thus. in general. They were educated people. directly interested and involved in the way in which the state or Church were organized and developed. Thus. Thus. while the landed gentry used to send their younger sons to town to join merchant or craft guilds. The growth of the middle class. people living in towns. many yeomen or esquires∗ got the title. or trade determined the existence of a new atmosphere in England. as a consequence of Edward I’s order that all land owners possessing an income of £20 a year be made knights. A similar phenomenon took place in Wales and Scotland. cloth manufacturers. During that period a new phenomenon took place: many of this category. With the growth of towns new social categories emerged and became more and more important in the English society. these well-off social categories. mainly. which was an educated one. ∗ The word „esquire” (esq. exporters. skilled in law. by merchants. administration.

with the moment when Parliament included the Commons∗. Another important change which took place in the country in the respective period referred to the legal system. the century witnessed an unprecedented growth in the legal profession which produced progressive thinking and intelligent reflection (The work of John Fortescue. to seek taxation by consent. at least. and between the centre and the different regions of the realm. but. from a body that represented “the political and tax-paying nation”. Ps] empowered by the royal commission to investigate and deal with different crimes and offences. and the fact represented a major development. However.P’s. £40 a year could be qualified as M. until late. in the middle of the 19th century. The common custom of England continued to be the common law. surprisingly. but put into practice by highly trained professionals. Parliament was intermittent and summoned only on special situations. the main change took place in the countryside. most exactly. In the beginning. where law-making and law-enforcement shifted from sheriffs and coroners to a new institution. its main purpose being the effective contact between the ruler and the ruled. they started to have a word to say and that happened with the development of Parliament. as France had threatened their wool trade with Flanders. asked to see the royal accounts. Edward III was compelled because of the financial pressure caused by the French wars. . but only those who had an income of. as taxes were agreed to especially by the Commons. they. It was for the first time in history when a king allowed himself to become “accountable”. 1394-1476). and when new relations became manifest between the middle class and the king (Edward III). The king had been aware of the situation when he asked their acceptance. and their attitude became obvious when they supported Edward III in his war. Thus. the intermittent character got elements of continuity. The situation lasted for a long time and the poor citizens had no chance that their demands be heard in the Parliament. in time.In the late Middle Ages. The merchants and the landed gentry were always ready to protect their own interests by influencing or accepting the king’s policy. Parliament also acquired special functions connected with the financial matters. “the justices of the peace” [J. ∗ The Commons represented the middle class. relying on precedent and decisions.

however. English became predominant. the use of English as a written language was indirectly indebted to Wycliffe∗. but are called to deal with only small offences. and. especially during the War of the Roses. and were selected especially for their honesty and fairness. . marking a success for the Commoners. They belonged to the landed gentry. priest and Oxford scholar. Henry of Lancaster used English when he claimed the throne in 1399. it had continued to be spoken after the conquest. a lot of borrowings had been taken from Norman French. Starting with the 13th century. 1361) and “were qualified to superintend the scene not by training and not for pay. known as a religious reformer. p. on the one hand.P’s and judges to act according to their wish. but as a function of their social standing controlled by dependence on and obedience to the king’s central administration”.P’s remained the only form of local government till late. in the 19th century (1888). It is clear that there were periods. on the other hand. The new system represented one more step directed towards the taking of local authority from the nobility.Ps position was established by statute. the striking change being the increased use of the English language. and. he argued that the exercise of lordship depended on the grace of God. “Middle English”. towards the end of the Middle Ages. in an attempt to make it aware of its Englishness. but that language. Culturally. the J. Beyond question. French had been less used even by the rulers. They continued to exist even today. In his two treaties (1374-76). the country continued to develop in the 14th century. and. ∗ Wycliffe. which had enriched it. and it had no longer been used in writing. In the 14th century. but only by the common people. again. when the nobles used their private armies to force the J. to use English in its written form. was no longer similar to the old Anglo-Saxon. whose followers translated the Bible into English. As regards the old Anglo-Saxon language. the fact that it had not been written for three hundred years. the ruling class started. [12. and Edward III even forbade the use of French in his army. the J. 101]. had made it lose most of its inflectionary character. correlated with the strengthening of the middle class position.They were appointed by the king (Edward III. Thus.

adopting a moralizing attitude. The most famous of the three poets is. Out of his three poems. (1376-1379) was written in French. the sinful men had no right to authority. travelled abroad on royal service. he had different official jobs. in an allegorical form. John Gower (1330?-1408?). (1382-?) in Latin. who considered that it was their right to read the Bible in the English language. participated in an expedition to France (1359) and. The Canterbury Tales introduce a group of pilgrims travelling from London to the tomb of Thomas Becket at Canterbury. a commission of theologians at Oxford (1380) forced him to leave the university. His work is “The Canterbury Tales”. William Langland (1330?-1400?) was probably a country priest and his poem “The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman” presented. (1390-1393) was written in English. On the other hand. and Wycliffe went into a direct conflict with the church hierarchy. . (1378) and. and especially Geoffrey Chaucer. Supported by many followers. only the last one “Cofessio Amantis”. an interesting description of the times in which he lived. later on. The late Middle Ages also meant the rebirth of English literature due to the name of some important poets: William Langland. who had enjoyed an adequate aristocratic education. undoubtedly. while the first “Mirour de l’Omme”. supported Wycliffe’s doctrine. the doctrine inspired the peasants’ revolt by its subversive ideas. until his death (1384). Geoffrey Chaucer. His ideas were considered anticlerical. written in 1387. John Gower. Retired at Lutterworth he continued to write intensively. the members of this class. for several times.A close connection can be noticed between the use of English and the rise of the new middle class. in other treaties he attacked the papacy. the son of a rich landlord in Kent. considered from the point of view of the peasants’ feelings and thoughts. his doctrine became debased and popularised by preacher priests expanding largely in the country in spite of the government’s attempts to stop it. wrote his poems for the representatives of the higher classes. son of a London vintner. before he himself went on pilgrimage to the well-known place. and the second “Vox Clamantis”. a common place for pilgrimage in consequently. an attitude which brought him before a church court.

more people getting access to them. However. Even monastic chronicles had come to an end. knight or peasant. priest or merchant. A really valuable work is the Prologue. he spent some years in Bruges and Germany. set up in 1476 at Westminster. The setting up of the printing press was as revolutionary for the age. old or young. Born in Kent. an entirely original text where Chaucer proved his gift as a poet. although poets like John Lydgate produced a large quantity of verses. in comparison with the 14th. in which Chaucer described his characters. and the educated people of the time started to use the written word as “a weapon to change the world in which they lived” . printing determined the standardization of grammar. It was due to the first English printer William Caxton (1422-1491). anyway. The same could be said about philosophy or theology works. the Prologue remaining incredibly fresh and interesting even GEOFFREY CHAUCER for the modern reader. a period of sterility and no noteworthy name succeeded Chaucer. TV or Internet are for the modern people. being common in Europe of that time. man or woman. as representatives of the whole people irrespective of age. he showed a deep understanding of human nature. in the Middle Ages. after six hundred years. Books increased in number and became cheaper. the end of the Middle Ages recorded a major technical event in the field of culture: the printing press. all are present in his lines. he rewrote them in an interesting and humorous way. besides. The tales were those told by the pilgrims to while away the journey to Canterbury. and it seems probable that Chaucer picked them during his travels abroad. and the writing of distinguished works of history had declined.England. many of their themes are not original. townsman or countryman. At the same time. The 15th century was. the Prologue can be considered a unique description of a nation. as radio. sex or social class. At the same time. after which he came back to England enjoying the patronage of some kings.

guilds or corporations. the foundation of new schools and colleges was something normal and necessary. Church. The college system of the universities. being quite singular even today. able to administer the government.[25. other colleges were founded at Oxford and Cambridge as well. because the need for educated people. Oxford). for the education of boys who were not destined to church. they were attended by many gentlemen’s sons. The foundation of these schools represented a necessity for the respective time. who also founded King’s College. but needed the knowledge on the subject in order to better run their estates. With the rise of the new middle class eager to become literate and encouraged by the cheaper printed books. p. Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England (He founded Winchester School. was built up during that period. till the introduction of printing. and trade was continuously growing. as for example William of Wykeham. Cambridge (1441). by influential persons. with the pupils learning their lessons by heart. The 15th century meant an important progress in the field of education. between 1477 and 1491 he issued over eighty books. made by himself. A well-known institution was founded in this period: Eton College (1440) by Henry VI. they were set up by public-spirited citizens (by donation or legacy). who did not necessarily wanted to become lawyers. or by collegiate churches. Most of those schools were “private”. Grammar schools already existed in England. the parents having to pay for the education of their sons. and it remained the basis of their organization for a long period of time. and New College. Caxton avoided printing any literature which could be considered dangerous. 65]. where students could both learn and live. teaching was achieved by word of mouth. Sir Thomas Mallory’s collection of French stories about King Arthur (Le Mort d’Arthur) as well as an impressive number of translations from French. Law was taught at the so called “Inns of Court” which expanded their membership and improved the teaching methods. . law. including Chaucer’s work. 1382.

These were some of the essential aspects which emphasized the national identity of the realm. which showed great originality. and free from the famine danger. perfectly aware of their identity. The kings of England commanded a range of power and control over all their subjects. farming their land. However. entering a new epoch. England at the end of an age. the common law. It is beyond doubt that the English had emerged from the Middle Ages as a nation. and its modernization. through the independent yeomen to the Commons. earl of Richmond took the crown. leaving Richard III dead on the battlefield. the new style in building became remarkable especially in regions made rich by woolen industry development. and the country could be simply ruled because the specific law of England. represented the moment when England left the Middle Ages. there were no provincial powers needed to be overcome by force or diplomacy. in the case of churches or chapels. Besides. there was a recognized understanding of the existing gradation ranging from the nobility. the English were relatively prosperous. and the wars in the ending age had shown that the recently formed identity could be easily jeopardized. The next years and the generations of rulers to come were to continue and strengthen the nation-station construction. Important differences can be noticed between England and its neighbours on the continent: thus. and always ready to assert it. . was both its offspring and guide.The late Middle Ages was spectacular as regards architecture and sculpture. when Henry Tudor. The historians agree that the year 1485. and it was mainly obvious. the English nation-state had not been yet safely built up. as regards the social system.

and second. his title was won on the battlefield. ∗∗ Henry’s claim to the throne was not based on the quality of Plantagenet blood. It was a period of unprecedented economic growth and social change. his reign was. Elisabeth I). by parliamentary acceptance. When the civil war (The Wars of the Roses) came to an end. by royal marriage. the new king consolidated his position. the first thing he had to do was to put the system he had inherited into operation. . basing his power on pragmatic common sense. He married Elizabeth of York (Edward IV’s daughter) uniting the two roses. p. and business support was the best thing for the state. HENRY VII He was the man who understood his age. 346-348). and direct it on the right way.2. its usual meaning is that of “rebirth” of the ancient Greek and Roman culture in Italy.8 The Renaissance∗ in England. first. Although Henry VII is less known than his successors (Henry VIII. and launching England upon one century of peace. (13th century) and its spreading in Europe. ∗ The concept of “Renaissance” is considered highly controversial. and Henry Tudor∗∗ became the king of England (1485-1509). by Tudor dynasty and rule (1485-1603). shared the ideas and opinions of the new growing class of merchants and gentlemen farmers. by far. Culture and Civilization in Tudor Period Henry VII. Different opinions were expressed in connection with this concept (28. the Reformation and the Consolidation of the Nation-State. one of the most important for England’s development at the respective time. and Henry VII understood that the time of wars and military glory had passed. at moments varying from country to country. It was accompanied by significant socio-economic and political changes. therefore. the supporter of change.

2.8.1 England’s Economy and Society at the End of the 15th Century and the Beginning of the 16th Century. The Main Institutions in Henry VII’s Time. Government, Financial Policy, Justice and Foreign Affairs

The long period of wars had seriously damaged England’s trading position, especially with France, Germany and Italy; the only open markets, which represented a way for the English trade in Europe, had remained the Low Countries. The opportunity was correctly used by Henry VII, who, soon after his coming to the throne, made a successful trade agreement with these countries, which allowed the English trade to grow again. Immediately, the merchants adapted to the new possibilities, and the export of raw wool was replaces with the export of woolen cloth manufactured at home. Thus, the exports grew at high levels and the demand for wool, as well. That made the landlords increase the number of flocks, converting the meadows into sheep runs; in time, the sheep came to outnumber the human beings 3 to 1. The result was that the common land of the manor was divided up and fenced in, while the peasant farmers was no longer necessary. The medieval system of land tenure and communal farming had become obsolete. The need for labour force declined, as “one shepherd and his dogs” were enough to do the required work. A large surface of land was enclosed, and, according to statistics, up to the end of the 16th century, some 50,000 persons were forced to leave the land, a fact which emerged a large vagrant and unemployed labour force. The society felt no responsibility for these people, and the impact was dramatic; it meant the pauperization of a large part of the society placed at one end of the social scale, while at the other one, profits were soaring. Those who benefited from that revolutionary change in the land usage were the landed country gentlemen, the merchants and lawyers. Thus, at the beginning of the 15th century a new economic and social trend was constituted: “the knight of the shire had changed into a respectable landlord desiring strong, practical government and the rule of law. … they were willing to serve the prince (king Henry VII) in parliament, in council, in commission and other offices of the common wealth” [53, p. 45].

In order to consolidate his position, Henry had to be financially independent, and, from this point of view, he was fortunate; a lot of the old noblemen had been decimated in the endless wars, or their land had been confiscated as defeated opponents; all their estates had gone to the king. Besides, he was ruthless in demanding the money owed to him from different taxes, fees, rents or other sources, as for example the fining of the rebels. By this policy he could have become unpopular, but Henry was, on the one hand, extremely temperate in his own spendings, and, on the other hand, he knew who his supporters were: the merchants and the representatives of lesser gentry classes who - like him – wanted peace and prosperity in the country. He rose new noblemen and statesmen from among them, and he expected them to be loyal to him. Thus, he governed with the help of the Privy Council mainly made up of the devoted so-called “new men”. Having money and being financially independent, Henry had more power; thus, he was able to establish his authority in the realm, first, by forbidding the noblemen to maintain private army. In this way, without destroying nobility, he could keep the lords under his control, and prevent them from intimidating justice or threatening the throne any longer. Second, he won respect by enforcing the law, seriously damaged by the nobles’ and their armed men’s behaviour in the previous period. Using the old system of government, Henry succeeded to develop administration bodies placed directly under his control. Thus, preserving his position as the centre of the Council “the fountain of justice”, Henry used the “Court of Star Chamber”∗ to deal with lawless nobles and other criminal cases. Anyway, during this reign the royal council continued to diversify, its members becoming specialized in different matters. (“The Court of Chancery” in civil offences, “The Court of Requests” in the suites of poor persons, “The Court of Admiralty” in piracy a.s.o.). Similarly, due to the king’s initiative and under his direct control, the matters of finance became more efficient and flexible: he replaced the

The name is derived from the star-painted ceiling of the room where the councillors used to meet.

traditional exchequer (fiscal agency of the crown) with the treasurer of the chamber, (department of his personal household) as a central segment of the government for tax-raising, rent-collection and money-disbursing. His decisions worked, so that, at his death, he had left behind the huge amount of £2 million. One of Henry VII’s important aims was to enforce king’s law all over the country, an enterprise in which he succeeded to a large extent, even in the northern counties and Wales. (He created “The Council of the North” and “The Council of the Welsh Marches”). Considered by many as being a “robber”, in fact a thrifty man who never spent money unless he had to, Henry understood the changes of his time, and correctly assessed England’s future wealth as depending on international trade; the accepted the free spending of money for building ships for merchant fleet. New sea routes were opened, among which the first was the expedition to America of John and Sebastian Cabot, and the subsequent discovery of New-found land or Terra Nova, and Labrador. As regards the policy abroad, Henry VII was at peace with France, now a powerful country and in alliance with Spain. Wales was almost integrated (the event took place in 1543), and peace had been established with Scotland and Ireland. Henry VII’s achievements were important, and he can be called the first “absolutist Renaissance monarch” who succeeded to restore order in the country and kept peace by consolidating royal power. His decisions had, as a direct effect, a real revolution in the social system: all the citizens, noblemen or commoners, members of the clergy or laymen, were considered equal before the law of the land. Trade was supported and developed, while the strength and competence of the State increased, embodied in the person of the king. [37; p. 7]. After 24 years of reign, Henry left to his successor a new type of state: “a safe throne, a solvent government, a prosperous land, and a reasonably united kingdom” [53; p. 46].

2.8.2 Henry VIII and the Reformation

The new king, who was the second son of Henry VII, was to rule England for the next 36 years. He is well known as a historical figure because of his six marriages, two of his wives being sentenced to death by him, and for the reformation of the church which he decided from purely political reasons. With a complex personality, Henry VIII was just the opposite of his father: although intelligent, he was unscrupulous, cruel and interested in pleasing himself; besides, he enjoyed having a showy HENRY VIII life, by maintaining a magnificent court, and being wasteful with money. Tall and handsome, a perfect athlete and a cultivated person, musician and lover of gorgeous feasts, he was known as “arbiter elegantiarum” and an art patron; in a word he was a real Renaissance prince [28; p. 357]. The first part of his reign was dominated by the figure of Cardinal Wolsey who carried on, in fact, the country’s administrative policy and its international relations for twenty years. Although of low social extraction (the son of a butcher), Wolsey accumulated different titles, becoming a specific representative of the new age social order; he got the highest positions possible in the state, being, at the same time, lord chancellor and cardinal legate for life, exercising a degree of power never imagined before; by these two positions he succeeded to unite in his person both the authority of the state, and that of the church. As regards his advisers, Henry VIII had followed his father policy, selecting men of great intellectual capacity even if they were of humble origin. However, he did not hesitate to eliminate them when his decisions or interests were contrary; the same happened to Wolsey. One of Henry VIII’s greatest ambitions was to become an important character of Europe’s political life, and, supported by Wolsey, he

an independent clerical body. therefore. possessing special rights and privileges. much outside the king’s control. the emperor and Francis I concluded the Treaty of Cambray. he failed in his attempts∗. a war took place. which meant a great disappointment for the king. witnessing changing economic practices. Henry VII. and the emperor Charles V defeated and captured Francis I of France at the battle of Pavia. In 1529. the old medieval church could have been considered an anachronism. The premises of the Reformation: the major event of Henry VIII’s reign. died in time to escape prison and trial. Henry VIII could not have been but interested in finding a way to take over all that land as a source of new money. . the pope himself being at the emperor’s disposal. by using diplomacy. On the other hand. the fact making them less popular with the people. At the same time. its duties should have been mainly of a spiritual nature but. However. while England became only a second-rate power in Europe. it ∗ In 1525. In the 16th century reality. there were two other important centres of power in Europe. and swinging the balance of power on one side or another to keep peace between the two powerful countries and. unfortunately. it meant the total failure of Wolsey’s diplomatic activity. much the same his father had done with the nobles’ land.launched himself into the international arena. he was dismissed from his office. the Church was an extremely wealthy institution. and fortunately for him. The church was historically “a state within a state”. in many respects. which the monarch and the cardinal seamed to have underestimated: France and Spain united with the Holy Roman Empire. unfortunately. new social values and a new governmental structure. with only one exception: the independent Roman Catholic church had remained unchanged. the preceding king. of Europe. making England important in keeping stability. the land administration no longer coped with the new economic conditions. at that moment. the whole Europe bowed before the conqueror. Henry’s intention was that. Henry VIII had got enough power from his father. in an attempt to turn England into a strong “centre of Renaissance learning and brilliance”. the monks had ceased to have a truly religious life living in wealth and comfort. as the lands it owned as well as the land of monasteries had been untouched by the royal power.

had become more interested in worldly matters; its representatives, not only priests, but high ecclesiasts∗ as well, were mainly preoccupied with worldly affairs. Although the people continued to go to church, from which, in many cases, the priests were absent, their respect for the institution had seriously diminished. Under such circumstances, a movement of new ideas started to be spread out in England coming from the universities in Northern Europe, as a response to the Christians’ need for inner contentment. New names became famous, as that of Martin Luther, a German monk in Saxony, or of Thomas Bilney, a Cambridge scholar person, who had turned to the Bible in their search for true, spiritual meanings, far ERASMUS OF from ritualism, worldliness and general religious ROTTERDAM apathy. In England the new reforming ideas were also propagated by Erasmus of Rotterdam, a great mind of the Renaissance, and by his followers, among whom Dean John Colet and the new learning men. The new religious ideas found in England a receptive audience: on the one hand, the representatives of the upper and middle classes discontented with the old religious formulas in which they could no longer find the expected spiritual satisfaction, but, which was offered by Lutheran doctrine, and, on the other hand, the religious subculture known as Lollardy∗∗, officially denied, but, finally, becoming respectable with the spreading of Luther’s new religious doctrine. Henry VIII was never a Protestant, being, in his first twenty years of reign, even a persecutor of those who voiced religious nonconformism. In 1521 he had written a pro-Catholic text directed against Luther’s doctrine. The fact determined the Pope (Clement VII) to give him the title of “defender of faith” (Fidei Defensor), born, from that moment on, by all the Kings of England∗∗∗.

Wolsely himself, the richest and the most famous clerical statesman, seemed to have represented a wrong example of corruption and worldliness. ∗∗ Lollardy – it started from John Wycliffe’s ideas. ∗∗∗ In 1544 the title became hereditary by Parliament law. The letters “F.D.” are still to be found on every British coin.

However, when the moment came, the general anticlerical atmosphere and the apathy existing within the church combined with momentary demands and concurrent circumstances made him decide the break with Rome. The decision was a pure political one. One of Henry’s major internal objectives was to secure a legitimate male successor to the throne of England. Unfortunately, his wife, Catherine of Aragon had not been able to offer him the desired son, and Henry tried to persuade the pope to allow him to divorce her, in favour of marriage to Anne Boleyn. Cardinal Wolsey was sent to make the necessary arrangements with the pope; he, normally, should have succeeded; but the pope was under the control of emperor Charles V who was Catherine’s nephew and protector. From both political and family reasons, Charles was against Henry’s divorce, the pope was not able to oppose him and, thus, he refused Wolsey, and forbade Henry’s divorce. Henry was furious at the news, and took a decisive step: he turned to the authority of the state in order to obtain the annulment of his marriage, and used Parliament in order to make the break with Rome a legal decission. It took some years until Henry Tudor was given the title of the “Supreme Head of the Church of England” by the Parliament’s “Act of Supremacy”. The so-called “Reformation Parliament” (first met in 1529) was unprecedented in England’s history, its activity lasting for seven years, during which time it enacted 137 statutes, out of which 32 were of vital importance for the further development of the political, social and economic life of the realm. Even in 1531 the church had been obliged to acknowledge the king’s supremacy as the head of the church. The next important step which Henry took was to cut the constitutional connections holding England to papacy. An Act∗ in 1533 declared England an empire; it was an important statute, (it destroyed the queen’s right of appeal from the archbishop’s court to Rome, regarding the expertise annulment of her marriage to Henry), and due to it, Henry’s marriage to Catherine was adjudged null and void by an obliging archbishop. A couple of months later, Anne Boleyn was crowned rightful queen of England, after her secret marriage to Henry, and on September 7, 1533 a royal child was born. To Henry’s despair it was not the much expected male heir, but a girl; in history, she will be known as the famous, unequalled queen Elisabeth I, Tudor.

Reference to the Act of Restraint of Appeals.

As regards the break with Rome which had been started, it had to be continued, and the Church of England to be rebuilt. A year later (1534) by “the Act of Succession”, the king’s marriage to Anne was accepted by Parliament, while the “Annate’s Statute” cut most of England’s financial ties with Rome. The break became legal and final in the same year, (1534) when a real constitutional revolution took place, with the “Act of Supremacy” being solemnized by Parliament. The Church became a national one, subordinated to the Crown. At that moment, the decisions had been taken, the things had been done and England had become a Protestant country; however, in spite of all these “Acts” and “Statutes” the popular religious continued to be Catholic. Henry had to carry the Reformation further; Church and State were no longer two separate entities, with the former above, as representing the divine law. The new English church had become a sort of department of Tudor state, while the power of the old church had collapsed in front of the new royal authority. Anyway, Henry had always disliked the power of the old church in England because he had not been able to have it under his control, the Church being an international organization. Henry VIII’s next step was to decide the dissolution of monasteries and monastic orders, an action by which he could make good money. In his decissions the king was assisted by Thomas Cromwell who had taken Wolsey’s place as his chief minister after the latter’s fall and death. A very careful survey of Church property followed (perhaps the best organized tax survey since the Doomsday Book), and, in the name of efficiency and fiscal reform, all small monasteries and other religious houses whose endowments were under £200 a year were closed and their land confiscated∗. The monks and nuns were simply thrown out. Left without a possibility of subsistence or work, most of them became wandering beggars. Unfortunately, the dissolution of monasteries culturally meant, a violent act of official destruction; unless the old monastery buildings were practically knocked down for their stone to be used in new buildings, they were just left to fall down, becoming ruins. The religious images, paintings, sculptures and stained glass were either destroyed or removed, as a consequence of the Protestant attitude.

In the period 1536-1539, about 800 such religious places were dissolved.

By nationalizing the land of the monasteries, and including it into the Crown property, Henry made money, as the land was gradually sold to the new rising classes, landed gentry and merchants on whose support the king based his policy. In time, as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries estates, the new gentry surpassed in number and wealth the nobility and ecclesiasts of the previous age. In spite of the fact that, generally, there was little opposition∗ to the king’s decision to break with Rome and close the monasteries, some people raised their voice against the events. One of them was the famous humanist and lord chancellor Sir Thomas More, who was sent to the scaffold for his refusal to repudiate the Papal authority. Bishop John Fisher and some others were sentenced to death for not accepting the national church; all those who refused to support the king were eliminated in one way or another, in accordance with the “Act of Treason”. In his achievements, Henry VIII was directly assisted and much influenced by the political vision of Cardinal Thomas Cromwell, during his short but explosive political career (1532-1540); Thomas Cromwell thought about “a strictly independent, unitary realm, organized entirely within its own borders and dedicated to reform in both the spiritual and the secular sphere” [12; p. 116]. It is possible that “the will of doing that was Henry’s, while the parliamentary means belonged to Cromwell” [53; p. 49]. In his long reign, covering a period of 38 years, Henry VIII tried to put into practice four major objectives: [28; pp. 359-362]: 1. to secure a legitimate male successor to the throne of England; (the experience the country had with queen Matilda 400 hundred years before had been disastrous). After six marriages, and the Reformation, Henry succeeded to leave his only son, Edward, a fragile boy, legitimate heir to the Crown of England.

“Pilgrimage of Grace” (1536-1537) was a short-lived eruption; the uprisings in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire were religiously motivated, but they had other causes as well.

out of which the Act of Supremacy (1534) was the most important. the fundamentals of the Catholic church had been severely shaken. the “Books” issued in his time being either Lutheran in tone. continuing the kingdom’s transformation which had started with Henry VII. with this aim in view. but. never to be restored in spite of some feeble attempts. to consolidate England’s independence against the dangers represented by the two powerful European states of the time. 2. When Henry VIII died in 1547.8. Scotland and Ireland were military defeated.2. both by the force of weapons and of law. unfortunately for his kingdom.3 England after Henry VIII. . without fundamentally changing the old religious forms. while Wales was peacefully made a part of England by an “Act of Parliament” (1536. (1536) or mildly Roman Catholic (1539) in opinion. in fact. the conditions were prepared for what was going to happen and it is known in history as the glorious Elizabethan age. to strengthen the central power of the state. With Henry VIII medievalism nearly vanished. and a new type of culture and civilization announced its dawn with the dramatic events which took place during his reign. the crown had assumed the authority as the head of the church. Henry VIII’ s reign was a period of important changes. a clear-cut attitude towards the religious creed had not been decided by the monarch. France and Spain. undoubtedly. 3. he had never worked out a consistent policy in religious matters. and. In fact. emblematically represented by the absolute monarch. an old sick man. but. The Religious Struggle Henry VIII left the historical arena in 1547. 4. to consolidate England’s power on the island. he achieved his objectives with the support of Parliament which voted a number of laws in this respect. 1543). Henry continued his father’s work (Henry VII) of building a strong fleet.

Internationally. they were Protestant reformers. Edward VI (1547-1553). involved France. As regards Seymore. The result was not the expected one.Thus. soon. Edward Seymore. Economically. all of them having as a result some social movements. written by Thomas Cranmer. undoubtedly. the struggle between Catholics and Protestants remained opened and it would come for Parliament to decide what the “true” faith of the English people was to be. and. consequently. highly tolerant. so the power passed to a Council under the control of his uncle. who. at the respective time. the Tudor state found itself close to destruction. in order to put an end to the lack of uniformity in the ritual of the new Church. they had been dissatisfied with only the bad practices of the Church when they had accepted Reformation) and. This attitude was a dangerous one and. Henry VIII’ s third wife. The members of the Council were selected from the new nobility who had highly benefited from the sale of the land from the confiscated monasteries. the lord protector was not a better manager of the state matters: the period knew rising prices. and. there was much social and religious discontent (most people still believed in the old Catholic religion. debasement of the national currency and an inflationary crisis. and the book increased the opposition between Catholics and Protestants. and they EDWARD VI did not want to change it. the lord protector introduced the Prayer Book (1549). he was a man “more merciful than tactful. ∗ His mother was Jane Seymore. the war ended inconclusively. inevitably. became lord protector. . which also took the form of religious discontent: the revolts of peasantry in Cornwall and Devonshire (1549). the legitimate heir of the Crown∗ was only a nine-year-old boy when he became king. lord Seymore was faced with a war with Scotland which. more idealistic than practical”. Earl of Hertford. for the period to come.

subsequently. who had become his daughter-in-law. But. he was arrested. charged of treason. In a desperate attempt. . and the new Prayer Book (1552) was a step to religious uniformity. the first daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. and the succession to thrown of the next legal heir. and in 1549. The unfortunate Dudley. In a couple of years. and the still existing wealth of the church.All these unfortunate events proved the inability of the lord protector to rule the country. looted. sentenced to death and beheaded. the Catholic Mary. in 1553. Mary was preferred as queen because she was a Tudor and a legal heir. while the Catholic tendencies were resolutely repressed. the kingdom was clearly directed towards Protestantism. Duchess of Suffolk. and later on. The plot had no popular support. the priests became governmental appointee. he succeeded to reestablish social order. The council came under the control of John Duddley. and closely connected with the radical elements of the Protestant reformers. Dudley and some Protestant nobles tried their fortune at kingmaking. Earl of Warwick and. duke of Northumberland was stopped in his decisions by an event which turned the page of history once again: the young king Edward VI died of consumption. the members of the council. Dudley had discovered the young and innocent Lady Jane Grey∗. Jane Grey and her husband were imprisoned. meanwhile. Due to his decisions. ∗ Lady Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister. and thought about her making queen. practically. he was the specific representative of the new landed nobility. became inevitable. important changes in the religious rituals were established. a totally different personality in comparison with the previous lord protector: active and resolute. John Dudly. Mary. and it failed in a couple of days. dissatisfied with his activity. decided to deprive him of his office and. Seymore was executed two years later.

Endowed with a brilliant intelligence and a remarkable good memory. son of Charles V. Spanish. and the queen’s death in 1558 was received with a feeling of relief. her marriage to a Spanish prince. in her turn. Ridley. nobody could have thought that the twenty-five-year old lady would give her name to a long period of England’s history. three hundred people were considered heretics and put to death by fire. as she also took her marriage to Philip of Spain. The rebellion was cruelly crushed.∗∗ Both decisions proved to be gross mistakes as the English disliked them. she was unwise and outdated. very soon. ∗∗∗ Elisabeth was Anne Bouleyn’s daughter. her mother’s protector. she had a special gift for languages. at that moment. it is supposed that. Such cruel events had a strong emotional impact on the people’s mind. and she was only three years old when her mother was executed. she found out even at an early age some details about her mother’s cruel end. Greek. Latimer. she was encouraged to become the equal of men in learning. and a special interest in philosophy and ∗∗ . but it revealed the real feelings of the people who had placed Protestantism and nationalism above the loyalty to the Crown. 2. Hooper). Educated in the Renaissance spirit by the best tutors of the realm. She took it as a sacred obligation. Italian and Welsh. She was a Roman Catholic.Queen Mary∗ (1553-1558) was a woman admired by some of her contemporaries for “her heart and courage”. being a precocious child. ∗ Daughter of Catherine of Aragon. the tragic event should have had a profound effect on her emotional development. both celebrated scholars and declared Protestants. Elisabeth reigned for about half a century and her unmatched personality∗∗∗ decisively influenced the country’s further development. as regards her policy. and. a genuine Renaissance representative. by absorbing humanistic knowledge. among whom many of their leaders (Cranmer. becoming. under the leadership of Sir Thomas Wyat (1554). especially. but. Philip of Spain was her cousin. and she thought that England’s return to the Catholic church could be possible. French. during the last three years of her reign. the young princess was imbued with their ideals.4 Elizabethan Age Elisabeth became queen at her half-sister’s death in 1558.8. being fluent in Latin. Henry VIII’s first wife. Henry VIII’s second wife. and. the queen was faced with a popular rebellion. Queen Mary’s next step was to start burning Protestants.

gloriously called “Gloriana”. Elisabeth had learned from her predecessor’s mistakes. Full of energy. besides. However. she could also be dictatorial and temperamental. She also knew how to use her feminity to advantage. she was able to control her emotions. above all. sometimes malicious. wit and vivacity. although it was clear that she possessed many qualities most admired in men. and she was excellent in activities specific to the Renaissance ladies. She was similarly good in horse riding. both when she expressed her points of view and when she was confronted with dangers and enemies. She had great passion for music. in a determined way. she developed a kind of Protestantism which was much closer to the Roman-Catholic religion than to the different Protestant forms existing in Europe. Elisabeth had also a robust health and an acknowledged charisma: with expressive eyes. However. reading a lot from the classics. or shooting with a crossbow. under some circumstances. and. pointing out her womanly weaknesses and shortcomings. being dignified and stately in her attitude. and which were politically dangerous for the state stability. Elisabeth was a courageous woman. adapted]. and she had to find a peaceful answer for it. the queen was able of cutting remarks. Endowed with a keen sense of humour. 32]. [40. in such circumstances. she preserved her independence and autonomy for all her life [Allison Weir. p. military too. Thus. it was as complex as her education and skills. at sea”. as needle work or embroiding. she history. was QUEEN ELISABETH the religious one. became the very emblem of the wonderful English Renaissance “which borrowed and centralized as much refinement from all the neighbouring countries as it had plundered their riches or simply competed with them on the market and. and she had understood the necessity for the realm’s secular leadership. although her warm and compassionate nature became obvious particularly towards the old. and to behave circumspectly in public.The personal cult growing around the queen. the sick or the misfortunate ones. Elisabeth had to face when she came to England’s throne. “Elisabeth the Queen”. devoid of any religious bigotry. she passionately loved dancing. But. As regards her character. The first problem. singing and writing it. and she enjoyed walking outdoors. lively conversation. . she was inclined towards a single existence. she was considered attractive and charming. The queen’s new title of “supreme governor” of the church (instead of “head of the church”) offered her the possibility to take those steps which could bring together those parts of the society which were in disagreement because of religious matters.

considered as relatively quiet. people were obliged by law to go to church on Sundays. By all these decisions. in spite of her being courted by many kings and princes of Europe. although the queen had clearly showed that she had no intention of bringing the Catholic religion back in the country. soon after becoming queen. and a potential threat for the crown of England. Elisabeth succeeded to make the Church part of the state machanism. Unfortunately for her. while the country found itself in a dangerous economic and religious clash with Spain. the unit of the state administration. she was held by Elisabeth in captivity for 19 years till her execution in 1587. she married Lord Darnley. Queen of Scots was Elisabeth’s closest living relative (Henry VIII’s grandniece. the presence of Mary. but the Scottish monarch did not have over the Protestant Scottish Kirk (church) the authority which the English king had. In 1568 she escaped to England. Mary did no prove to have a right judgment. and shocked the Scottish and English society by her wrong decisions. was combined with different plots of those nobles who wanted to replace her with the Catholic Mary of Scotland∗. the queen’s permanent refusal to marry. getting tired of him allowed his being murdered and married Bothwell. represented a permanent source of discomfort for the queen. Although by her aptitudes. a coincidence of events determined a state of political crisis of major importance for the country’s future. France and Spain. which had made it closer to England. mainly from the two powerful Catholic countries. there were still many Roman ∗ Mary. Especially after the first decade of her reign (1568). as Elisabeth had no children). thus. but being considered an unwanted visitor. and with the help of her advisors. Besides. while the “parson” or “vicar” became a very powerful local person. and the Roman Catholic Mary was not highly liked by the kirk. Elisabeth was successful in maintaining inner peace. The country was already officially Protestant. the “Kirk” was a more democratic organization.. the Scottish nobles rebelled against her and she was captured and imprisoned. the murderer. the former queen of the Scots. whose size was generally equal to that of a village. Besides. when she returned to rule Scotland as queen. On the one hand. and her heir to the throne of England. Protestantism had been largely adopted in Scotland. Anyway. . Mary was Catholic. but. Another decision was to make “the parish”. Discontented with her attitude. and she had spent many years in France as the French dauphin’s wife where she had absorbed a solid French culture. her country’s position was often endangered with threats coming from outside. so necessary for a ruler at moments of crisis. as it was governed by a General Assembly without any bishops to influence the decisions. held captive in England.decided that Edward’s Prayer Book (1552) be amended in a way that made it be better accepted by Catholics. and those who did not do it were fined.

the different plots organized in Mary’s support. Mary’s attachment to France made Spain hesitate in taking a step which could have finally meant England’s closer relations with that country. precipitated her end by obliging Elisabeth to take the difficult step of accusing her of high treason. after different Catholic plots. ∗ Spain was at the time the most powerful country on the continent. in other words. Mary’s wrong decision of naming Philip II of Spain her heir to the throne of England. . while a general belief that to be Catholic was similar to the idea of being an enemy of the country was largely spread. on the other hand. and in which she herself was involved in an attempt to unset Elisabeth. but Spain had the reason to do it. The plot organized by Babington in 1586. Elisabeth agreed to Mary’s execution in February 1587. and with the threat of a Spanish invasion coming closer. After long hesitations. its troops being the best in Europe. at a moment when a war with Spain already seemed inevitable. in order to gain enough evidence against the former queen. p. that happened as long as a balance between the possible support offered to Mary by either France or Spain was maintained: France did not look interested to attack England in support of Mary.Catholics in the country who considered Mary of Scotland the rightful monarch. however. Such an attitude could not be but an important political force at the moment when England was faced with the dangerous threat of a war with Spain∗. France or Spain could be interested in Mary’s reign as a way of bringing England under their control. at the respective moment. It is interesting to point out that. and whose consequence was Mary’s trial and sentence to death had not been but a carefully arranged trap. which “poured its wealth into the treasury in Madrid” [53. the anti-Catholic feelings were very strong in England. were discovered and annihilated. 52]. England being offered as gift to France. and. without any decision coming form Elisabeth as regards her cousin’s fate. Much of its well being came from the New World. For a time.

that unexpected event had made the English start building the revolutionary fleet which was going to destroy the old-fashioned Spanish ships in the battles to come. England could not forget and forgive the Spanish treacherous behaviour in 1568. and in the summer of 1588. Philip II was obliged to seriously consider the matter. when Spain refused England’s free trade with Spanish-American colonies. and to act accordingly. ∗∗∗ Spain ruled the Netherlands. were encouraged in their actions by the queen. In order to strengthen its trade position. As the Spanish world domination started to be endangered by the English increasing boldness at sea. It was known that the “sea dogs”. ∗∗ Henry VII was the first to recognize the importance of trade and started to build a large fleet of merchant ships. However. were pirates and adventurers. at Cadiz. who. the largest fleet that had ever gone to ∗ It was a period of weakness for France. its political life was characterized by factional strife. helping the Dutch Protestants in their fight of independence against the Spanish rulers. the Spanish “Invincible Armada” was finally built. delaying. religious and civil wars. . with whom they shared the prey. doubled by the attitude it had in Netherlands. since 1570. In fact. but in 1587. most of the people were Protestants and they were against the Catholic Spanish dominance. the clash between the two countries was caused by interests coming from the trade∗∗ overseas. besides traders. when a small English fleet was attacked and destroyed at the Battle of San Juan de Uluá. but also she had directly helped them with money and soldiers. but in this direction England had a rival and an enemy: Spain. Spain did not remain impassively. especially after the accidental death of Henry II (1559).As regards foreign policy. Elisabeth considered trade a matter of highest importance for her kingdom. the English ships had often attacked the Spanish ones while they were coming back from America loaded with riches. The most famous of them were John Hawkins. Besides. and. England had acted against Spain’s interests in Netherlands∗∗∗. in this way. England had put an end to the century old enmity with France∗ by the Treaty of Blois (1572). the sailing date of the “Armada”. Francis Drake and Martin Frobisher. not only that Elisabeth had allowed their ships to use English harbours for attacks against the Spanish ships. the only real danger came from the powerful and arrogant Spain. Maybe. Philips also decided the building of a large fleet. In its turn. Drake unexpectedly attacked and destroyed part of it. In this turn. Henry VIII continued his policy and spent money to make the warship and guns the best in Europe. at the respective time.

(1600) trading with India. the victory did not put an end to the rivalry between the two countries. for example. Thus. and which represented one direction of her foreign policy. a second descent on Cadiz. with all the consequences resulting from such actions. Such companies were. a political direction which will lead to Britain’s future colonial empire in the next centuries. but I have the heart and stomach of a king. Dashed to pieces. and for my kingdom. ∗ At that moment. 199]. prepared to attack and invade it.000 men and 2. the Africa Co. Although a glorious moment for England. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman. the Eastland Co. the Royal Navy which had been “Henry VIII’ s creation saved both himself and his daughter when they adopted an island policy and defied the Catholic powers of Europe [45. Thus. (1588) trading in slaves. when the city was seized and the entire West Indies fleet was burnt meant another English victory. p. Besides. Elisabeth addressed to the soldiers ready to go to battle with some memorable words: “I am come … to live or die amongs you all. what had remained out of the Spanish fleet tried to escape home on a northern route around Scotland and Ireland. and a king of England too”. What followed proved the superiority of the English fleet in technology∗∗ and strategy. Most of the Spanish ships constituting the Armada were barges designed to carry soldiers.430 cannons). and for my people. 31. (1581) trading with the Roman Ottoman. 1587). (1579) trading with Scandinavia and the Baltic. the Levant Co. ∗∗ Being longer and narrower the English fighting ships were faster. At the same time. Elisabeth also encouraged English traders to settle abroad and set up English colonies. my honour and my blood even in the dust. . or the East India Co. and other battles took place till the end of Elisabeth’s reign. the guns could shoot further than the Spanish ones. in this respect. In 1596. but bad weather conditions also contributed to Armada’s disaster. some of their profits being given to the Crown. to lay down for my God. The Spaniards also had great old-fashioned galleons.sea (130 vessels. it was during her reign that the first English colonists sailed to America (Virginia. the encouragement that the queen gave to the buccaneers to attack the Spanish ships. new Merchant Companies were established on the basis of a “charter” giving them the right to all the business in a certain trade or region. England was interested in continuing the development of its trade abroad. reached England∗.

and. which. in time. becoming. The greatest effect of the English rule was felt in the northern part of Ireland. and its introduction in schools discouraged the use of Welsh. when they rebelled against the English crown. and to bring that country under his control. during Elisabeth’s reign Ireland became England’s first important colony. Thus. due to Henry VIII authoritative policy and his desire to make the Welsh become English. As regards England’s closer neighbours (Wales. but. The Welsh had representatives in the English Parliament. Thus. while the native population was forced either to leave their territory.∗ Henry had tried to carry the same type of policy in Ireland as well. continuing his father’s efforts in this respect. as it laid the foundations of a new trading empire. part of the ruling English class. but.A strong impulse was given to trade by some important voyages: Forbisher’ s in search of the North West Passage. Thus. where. Scotland and Ireland). after the conquest. the situation was different. there were more rebellions and wars. The Irish nobles were against the idea of confiscating the monastic land. or to work for the new settlers. From the very beginning the people’s nationalism in Ireland went hand in hand with Catholicism. Although he succeeded to persuade the Irish Parliament to recognize him as king of Ireland. and John Davis’s past Greenland to Baffin Bay. the Irish were defeated. in Ulster. clearly oriented against the English Protestantism. they did it as Catholics.Ps. during Elisabeth’s reign. The ∗ At the end of the 18th century. Wales had become part of England in the period between 1536 and 1543. in this way. there. . the best Irish land was sold to the English. finally. while local Welshmen were appointed J. Drake’s around the world. Later on. he was not successful in making them accept the Church Reformation. was almost forgotten. English became the official language in Wales. and obliged to accept the English authority and religion. the period can be considered an important one. Elisabeth’s policy was of bringing them under better control. only a few people could still speak Welsh.

As regards Scotland. both economically and legally. 10]. materially cumulative in territorial expansion.foundations of the war between Catholics and Protestants in Ulster. James VI succeeded to England’s throne as James I. being aware that a balance had to be kept between peace with England and the old alliance with France. Scotland was weak in comparison with England. “few in England could have liked the idea of a new king coming from Scotland. In 1513. which brought so much misfortune to the people in the second half of the 20th century. but also highly qualitative culturally and scientifically. . “Lonely on her throne”. it succeeded to preserve its independence. an event which they could not forget. Mary caused a lot of trouble to her country. being recognized abroad as one of the important monarchs of the time. 78]. as a widow queen. she perfectly embodied the Renaissance personality. both skeptical and tolerant in an age of growing fanaticism” [37. Henry VIII’ s son (1558). succeeded to rebuilt the authority of the crown. Elisabeth’s reign represented “an age”. during which England was turned into a political force. At Elisabeth’s death. a learned scholar. in spite of Henry VIII’s desire to have it under his authoritative rule. and the Scottish kings avoided an open confrontation with their strong neighbour. who had started to rule Scotland at the age of twelve (1578). When Henry VIII showed his authoritative intentions by using his army and badly defeated the Scots. although. equally “cool-minded as politician and passionate in reactions as real woman. even heroic personality. Mary was sent to France to marry the French king’s son (1558). A strong and complex. After her return to Scotland. p. they had nothing to do but to accept the arrangement of a marriage between their infant queen. p. the Scots had been severely defeated at Floddon by Henry VIII’ s army. their wild northern neighbour” [25. Elisabeth was highly popular at Court and in the country. but her son. as the Scots disliked the idea of having an English king. However. after a couple of years a new parliament turned down the agreement. Mary and Edward. were laid at that time. James VI. perhaps.

8. dramatic events required the frequent summoning of Parliament∗∗ asked to legislate on crucial matters of church and state. besides. legitimizing or bastardizing the heirs to the Crown and so on. mutually advantageous and balanced decisions. by no means an institution whose functions could be to command or initiate∗. and compliance with their requirements represented the general background of the kings’ political attitude in order to get the desired. the latter being called to debate and enshrine in its acts the monarch’s decisions. proclaiming the monarch as supreme headship (governor). The Privy Council was also an institution with an important role to play: it acted as a sort of “spokesman of royalty”. the legislation which was to be turned into law by Parliament being initiated by this body. in the 16th century Parliament met only when summoned by the king. or court expenditures. they were obliged by the events to frequently use it. Social and Cultural Life in Tudor Period In Tudor period the political life was based on the principle of coexistence of the monarch and Parliament.2. although the Tudor kings. to give advice when the Crown needed it. Parliament met thirteen times. During Elisabeth’s reign of forty-four years. in spite of the kings’ intention. Parliament got a high level of authority in the state. the reality forced the movement of the king’s concept regarding Parliament into a different direction. consequently. the political power of this institution grew over the 16th century. ∗∗ Today Parliament meets every year and remains in session for about three quarters of it. and determined the strengthening of Parliament position. The response to their interests. the monarchs needed the support of the new class of merchants and landowners whose political conscience had considerably grown. at the same time. ∗ The Parliament was supposed to do three things: to agree to the taxes required. to make the laws suggested by the Crown. That happened because both the monarchs and their governments were dependent on Parliament for raising the money necessary for military adventures. . in fact. and. as absolute monarchs. and. establishing royal succession. as breaking with Rome. However.5 The Political. The Tudors considered Parliament as an instrument for strengthening their political decisions by law making. In fact. did not highly enjoy the idea of governing through Parliament.

in spite of the monarchs’ effort to control Parliament. However. and freedom to meet and speak to the monarch”. but also in size. from fear of arrest. 53]. 80]. any matter. and be sure that most of them would support his policy. but. in practice. during the 16th century. p. However. according to the royal wish and not to their electors’ wishes. [25. The speaker’s duty was. there was not a clear image regarding the categories of problems Parliament was entitled to discuss and decide upon. in time. reflecting the economic and political importance of the social elements it represented. Parliament was called to advise on almost every subject. ∗ The “speaker” is in charge with taking care of MP’s good behaviour during the debates. at that time. practically. and of more English boroughs among the electing areas). p. the centre of political power moved from the House of Lords to the House of Commons. to make the MPs have the speeches and make the decisions wanted by the king. (The increase in number of MPs also resulted from the inclusion of the Welsh boroughs and counties. the monarch had to be careful in order to have the right control over the MPs’ attitude. the importance of the House of Commons grew considerably. On the other hand. That is why Parliament was not always “democratic” in the proper meaning of the word. Parliament finally came to start considering that it had the right to decide on. at that moment. because of the social changes in the 16th century.Thus. in many cases. “Should the crown’s leadership falter. the MPs acting. Consequently. the MPs were given important rights: “freedom of speech. the House of Commons increased not only in importance. It was generally agreed that the Crown was to select the problems to be debated. it replaced the House of Lords in importance as it had outnumbered nobility. and especially towards the end of Elisabeth’s reign. During Elisabeth’s reign. Another innovation which helped the monarch control the debates in Parliament was the appointment of a “speaker”. Thus. there existed by the end of the century an organization that was quite capable of seizing the political initiative” [53. . a position which has continued to exist up to the present days∗. the number of MPs being practically doubled during the respective period.

at the same time. reducing English coinage even more. with a small number of privy councilors at the top. they knew how to hidden their authoritarism by carefully shaping public opinion and artistically developing pomp and ceremony. scattered in different departments all over the country. the general behaviour was of “paternalism”. while an unprecedented inflation took place∗. The number of people employed in governmental activities was limited. Parliament began to show confidence in itself. and. much work was done by unpaid amateurs. showing the enlighted conceptions of those Renaissance kings. the government tried to stop inflation by making coins containing up to 50% less gold or silver metal. Anyway. As regards the Tudors’ way of governing.2 million in 1525 to 4 million in 1603). barley and other produce prices increased over five times. For a long period of time. Food produce were scarce and expensive. everything being done and shared according to a recognized and accepted status. ∗ At the time of Henry VIII. That increase determined serious food problems. the real wages fell by half. as regards the economic and social philosophy. and with the new class becoming more aware of its own strength.Imperceptibly. For the first time. who were not professionals. . but combined with a benevolent attitude. while wood had been used for the newly developing shipbuilding industry. (From 2. their final aim was to maintain order and stability in the country. the wheat. the House of Commons was changed into its instrument by which the voice of this class could be heard and its will could be fulfilled. the economic and social order of the country had remained untouched. areas of land and forests had been cleared and turned into pasture lands for sheep grazing. and a few thousands at the bottom. the Tudors continue to be medieval. but in the 16th century the general situation began to change. that was a damaging policy. as sheriffs. specific to autocratic monarchies. lord lieutenants or JPs. to 1/7 of its value within twenty five years. However. there was a sudden increase in population which doubled in less than a century.

and the rebellions∗ which took place in the first decades of the 16th century. either the one which had always belonged to the whole village or even that used for farming. which made them lose their job. as for example the yeoman farmers possessing large areas of land. Those who hardly felt the poverty were the poor farmers cultivating small plots of land. (twenty acres or less) and who were often not able to pay the rent for their land. Thus. The words written in 1583 offer a clear image of the situation: “these enclosures be the cause why rich men eat up poor men as beasts do eat grass” [25. Thus. they employed people to work it. Parliament issued a severe law according to which any person found without work was obliged to carry out two ∗ Such a rebellion was the so called “Pilgrimage of Grace” in 1536. and because of an alarming number of unemployed and homeless people who had become vagrants and robbers. the leaders being executed. the government was obliged to take steps in order to keep the situation under control. In time. There were situations when people showed their anger. the situation worsened. It was related to cloth industry. It was cruelly put down. . Another action which had dramatic consequences as it aggravated the situation by reducing the area of farming land. as demand was growing while supply was not sufficient. was represented by enclosures. and it was caused by the important amounts of money paid for the wool necessary to this rapidly growing industry. In many cases they were in the situation of losing it. 82]. other categories of people managed better. represented warning signs of the serious problems to come. was fenced off in order to keep the sheep in. when a large mass of people marched to London in order to show their disagreement with the dissolution of monasteries. the result was that many poor people lost their land. They would ask for higher and higher prices for the food they produced. the land. and were reduced to a state of severe poverty. in 1547. and had plenty of produce to sell. and finding no other work to do. However. they were left without any food for themselves and their families. p.It is not surprising that under such a situation of crisis the people’s living conditions got ever worse.

new weapons appeared. with the stress laid on industrial development. the work had to be carried between five o’clock in the morning and seven o’clock at night. could be produced. besides. and the English learned how to produce improved steel (1565) with the assistance of some German craftsmen. and the church alone could no longer handle the situation. ∗ Wages and working hours were clearly decided. copper) also developed. In 1563 “The Statute of Apprentices” established that everybody had the moral obligation to work. was. Another famous law was Elisabeth’s Poor Law”∗∗ passed in 1601. with a break of two hours and a half for meals and rest.o. when poverty and unemployment had reached unprecedented levels. the JPs had to take care and provide work for those able to do it. giving them the power to levy taxes and pay for the subsistence of the poor ones. pins a. The metalworking industry (iron. other laws had to be issued with the aim of attaining an ordered and stable society in which each person could share some prosperity according to his status. clocks and watches. the law made the local authority responsible for the poor in the respective area. as for example the musket∗∗∗ which replaced the longbow in Henry VIII’s time. and the state had to define and control all occupations according to their utility to society∗. perhaps. thus. especially in Kent. but gunpowder and bullets were cheaper than arrows. aged and the disabled were to receive charity. the musket. Thus. . less efficient than the long arrow. while the sick. It grew especially in the north and west of England where there was a surplus of cheap labour force providing low production costs. it mainly included the textile industry of woolen cloth. better knives and forks. ∗∗ The “Poor Law” remained in operation until 1834. the state had to interfere and to take the necessary steps. According to the same law the indolent persons. The 16th century also meant an important change of the country’s economic patterns.s. besides. nails. or those who refused to work were punished. As a law like that did not solve the problem of poverty and criminality. lead. found workless for a second time the person could be sentenced to death. ∗∗∗ The forefather of the gun. and soldiers easier to be trained. as a result.years’ compulsory labour with some farmers who needed it.

The poor people wore simple clothes made of leather and wool. good food and lavish clothing. The paper industry started to grow due to the introduction of printing. while the poor had to be satisfied with rough bread made from rye and barley. the city’s sky being darkened with its smoke). with the payment of fines or even with some days in the stocks. people had generally a better and larger home than ever before. In its turn. . The differences between the living style of the rich and poor were considerable. the trespassing of the law was immediately punished. peas or oats. Generally. Wealt. the clothes of the well-off people were tailored in a way that altered their figure by the skilful use of padding and framework.Famous for the production of steel were Birmingham and Manchester. The “Sumptuary Laws” which had existed since the 14th century became more severe in Tudor period. Thus. varying in length or draped in exquisite ways. As regards the housing condition. while expensive furs were used for nobles’ coats. The rich ate good quality food. silk being absolutely forbidden to a person who was not a knight’s son. the main extraction being of coal. Due to the new economic developments. or did not possess a fortune of at least £20 a year. Alfold. Nottinghamshire etc.) by religious refugees. or even from beans. especially in towns (by the end of the 16th century. where coal was used for fires instead of wood. more than 150.000 tons of coal from Newcastle had been burnt in London. expressed in the building of magnificent houses. the successful representatives of these activities were able to show off a life of plenty. they showed other clothes from rich materials underneath. in the second half of the 16th century almost all families doubled their living space. and the first glass factories were set up in different places of the country (Loxwood. clothes of specific qualities were allowed to be worn by each social category. the punishment was of three months spent in jail and a fine of £10 a day. in spite of the comparatively hard living conditions of most of them. in keeping with the fortune the person possessed. the mining industry grew. the most commonly used fuel. The intention was of making them to look more imposing. thus. bread made from wheat. The clothes were made of rich fabrics with bright colours.

London had became a centre of attraction for both rich and poor for several reasons: it was the seat of the royal government and of the courts of law offering employment and advantages to those involved in running the country’s matters.A technical development which improved the people’s life. making it more comfortable. there were some exceptions. both in number of inhabitants and territory. 124]. London’s rapid expansion. it made cooking and heating easier. Only the houses of the rich were provided with chimneys. . it was the residence of the leading trading companies. placed in the west of the country. and the increased smoke produced. in. which brought important profits. its sanitation was hard to ∗ Previously. it resulted mainly from immigration rather than from a rising birth rate. and other neighbouring parts. attracting the publishers and news sheets promoters. produced serious administrative problems. some towns continued to decay. including the city of Westminster. Although most of the English nation continued to live in villages∗∗ and manors. Merchant Adventures. both of them developing as important ports. p. towns underwent different trends of development. chimneys and enclosed fireplaces had become necessary because of the widespread adoption of coal as fuel∗. it also offered location to the prosperous printing industry. ∗∗ Woollen industry was mostly developed into the countryside. much of Middlesex. Holborn. Although the old City remained confined to the area within the walls (one square mile). as Bristol or London. mostly women and children in the cottages. was the building of chimneys. it was organized by entrepreneurs who bought raw wool and employed the domestic labour of spinners and weavers. while London “embarked on its extraordinary rise to metropolitan status in the European world” [12. but. was found most convenient for overseas exploration and enterprise. every home. in an age eager of culture. London had a spectacular growth in population over the period between the beginning of the 16th century and the middle of the 17th century. on the one hand. on the other hand. and more than one room could be used in winter time. In fact. increasing from 50. Bristol. a process which had begun in the late Middle Ages caused by the Black Death.000 to 200. of the banking services and other incipient financial institutions (markets and exchanges). wood smoke was allowed to escape from the interior through a hole in the roof. London expanded territorially in all direction.000 people. practically.

as with the Reformation taking place. the Londoners knew that their place was “a nuisance and it stank”. but when it was too expensive. arches and family coat of arms created an impressive entrance which had an awe-inspiring significance. brick was a luxury item and only those placed at the top of the social and economic spectrum could afford to build in brick. plaster was used instead. especially during the first half of the century. Wood was used to create a skeleton. rather than ecclesiastical buildings. it was mainly socially oriented. which was filled in with brick or plaster. (The most remarkable Tudor brick building is Hampton Court Palace). with the permanently growing number of migrants. with Elisabeth’s reign . but richly ornamented. the public order was often threatened. But the real novelty was represented by the use of brick in building. and only those living on the Bridge or having houses overlooking the river ditches and streams could be considered healthy people. There were difficulties with the sewerage systems rubbish disposal and water supply. the building effort went towards secular. Generally. the result being the typical “black and white” small Tudor house. But. smaller windows and doors. most of the houses being built in oak. and the town was only moderately clean. Towards the end of Henry VIII’ s reign there was less building activity in England because of a marked economic downfall which left less wealth available for important architectural projects. or produced in the brick yards established in the country. in many areas of England wood continued to be used. If a transformation took place. which. bricks also served as decorative infill. In the beginning. However. Another specific architectural element was represented by the fanciful gatehouses.keep. Besides. As regards architecture it still largely preserved the Gothic style. Brick was either imported into England. There are some architectural aspects considered as being specific to Tudor period: a special attention paid to details. by their decorated traverses. although the capital’s peace was rarely jeopardized as the English really appeared to value law and order. the replacement of the smartly Gothic arch with the flattened Tudor one.

it consisted in a new and almost universal architectural feature specific to Elizabethan manor represented by the long gallery. but with more prominently staircases. The Renaissance motifs influenced less the small houses of the time. the landed gentry and the important members of the learned professions. a real building boom became a characteristic of the age. Besides the large number of houses built in the countryside. often a portrait gallery. and small artisans of little training and poor rewards. in which the new wealth expressed itself. curvilinear columns and plaster ceilings. Generally. new mansions were constructed or old ones were remodeled or modernized. but the main entry∗ became the new ostentations and elaborate architectural element by which the owner of the house could lavish his wealth. allowing a more elaborated infill decoration which consisted in moulded plaster. at the respective moment. the difference consisted in a more widely spaced apart timber than it was the style in Tudor years. The style adopted was a blend of Italian Renaissance and Dutch influence. while the lowest one was composed of illiterate peasantry. which could be seen especially in the curved gables. although. . the social stratification of the Elizabethan society becomes obvious.economy started to revive. the building material for those who could afford was stone. ∗∗ Windows were quite specific. In between. coloured marble. the highest social position was held by the titled nobility. and. in many cases. they continuing to evolve from the old Tudor style. an odd mix of heraldic pretention and classical columns. However. half-timbering remained the most common material. with common fireplaces and chimneys. there was another ∗ Entries were. made of a multitude of small rectangular panes separated by thin mullions. As regards the novelty of the style. but where stone was scarce and expensive. brick suffering in popularity. Taking into consideration the economic situation of the country especially towards the end of the 16th century. with it. being purely ornamental. The gatehouse lost its previous significance. panelling. used as a family area for entertaining or exercise on dull days. profuse carvings and ornate decoration. Windows∗∗ were larger. showing no arching. unskilled labourers. the social distinctiveness was not quite clearly made.

important political changes. being grown. and others. and a high proportion of the townspeople. The documents show that in the period 1560-1650 more than 140 new schools were set up. writing and arithmetics. They were the average people. of the gentry and merchants were literate.c. but especially. but also close advisers of the crown. people whose interests was centred on business profit. this class.important class. of the yeomanry. and which was to represent the backbone of a progressive society. but to their power as well. built during a long period of peace. or skilled craftsmen. industry and strength of mind. They had developed a philosophy of success. and whose ideas vigorously survived and could be recognized in many clichés of modern civilization. it was not only to teach the young ones the three Rs∗. and large amounts of money (£290. In the respective period nearly 100 p. . The representatives of this class of “Nouveau riche” were not only MPs or JPs.c. the class which had emerged during that century.). trades folk. However. the middle class. As regards the aim of education in Tudors’ time. honesty. The growth of the middle class went hand in hand with a constant effort for educating the young people. the number of literate people among husbandry was reduced (about 10 p. 51]. as Sir William Cecil. ∗ Reading. the bourgeoisie.c. as well. merchants. the vigour and strength of its representatives enabling England to take place of pride among nations. wealth and literacy being directly related. It goes without saying that the political changes of the time had favoured the growth of the middle class. to establish a type of mind control by which the children had to get “knowledge of their duty towards God. in its turn. about 50 p. their prince and all other(s) in their degree” [53.000) were given to Grammar schools for their endowment. but. and their characteristic features were thrift. while peasantry continued to be illiterate. the society’s virile group whose type of culture could explain much of the English culture. The way of life they developed combined with their ethics and ideas contributed not only to their distinctiveness. p. determined and forced. This class was that of Elizabethan businessmen.

and their orientation towards portrait painting. Magdalene a. as for example the German Hans Holbein who had came to London from Basel. besides those already existing. in London 1545-1574. and who produced more portraits of Henry VIII and of other members of the royal family. new colleges being founded as part of Oxford and Cambridge.) and the number of students increased significantly.o. the Tudor age was characterized by different trends. Universities also flourished during the period. and which had been established in the 15th century: St. these elite were the MPs and JPs. paintings. landed gentlemen or merchants able to express their principles on economic. Artistically. The first Irish university. and other important relics: religious images. or Marcus Gheeraerts. works of art. Trinity. which also meant the destruction of manuscripts. sculptures and valuable stained glass. protestant and using the English language. (1526).In this way. limning and miniatures. Glasgow and Aberdeen. Hans Eworth. among whom the portrait of Sir Thomas More. . who painted Queen Elisabeth in an allegorical manner. political.s. John’s. Dublin University College was founded by Queen Elisabeth in 1592. The first important painters of the period were foreigners. the Reformation carried with it a violent destruction of churches and monasteries. In Scotland a new university was set up at Edinburgh. determined by situations specific to the respective historical moments. 1582. A direct consequence of the situation was the painters’ and sculptors’ discouragement to produce religious art. who worked in England in the period 1545-1558. as well as of different official persons at the court. At that time. St. Other foreign painters were Gerlach Flicke. Thus. social or religious matters in an abstract way. a mark showing an educated person and its belonging to the social elite was a good knowledge of Latin and of some Greek. Andrews. the respect and obedience for the established order could be secured. shaping the people’s attitudes and conscience for the further political and religious evolution. (Brasenose.

an artist of European value. the artistic life flourished. which soon became highly appreciated throughout Europe. the soldier poets. famous throughout Europe. or Oriana. Sir Edmund Spenser. At the beginning of the 16th century. the best known playwright of the world literature. England felt the effects of the Renaissance later than the rest of Europe. These painters developed a special kind of painting in England. who filled the theatres with their plays. England enjoyed its most fruitful period ever. but were composers as well). George Gower. was England’ s highest form of art. gloriously nicknamed Gloriana. fully expressing the English Renaissance which included in it the personal cult of the queen. John Taverner or Christopher Tye. the monarchs themselves being gifted musicians (they were not only able to play several instruments. The Renaissance unprecedented explosion of culture produced. appreciated for the realistic treatment of his models. John Dowland or Hugh Aston. namely. Sir Phillip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleig. but which also borrowed and centralized in itself the refinement and elevate human culture of the neighbouring countries∗. rather isolated from the continent. adventurers and highly educated men. poets. and others. . including theatre. Bacon and Donne. and literature. and other types of music as ayre or ballet. and Ben Johnson. Shakespeare. a study of an ideal nation. gifted musicians. Among the well known musicians of the time. playwrights and scholars of an universal value.The first really skilled English painters were John Bettes. were Robert Fairfax. The Tudors encouraged music. ∗ Being an island. MARLOWE In music. Marlowe. Tallis Byrd and Thomas Morley who got the monopol on music printing. the scholars whose deep interest in science laid the foundation of inductive method in the study of natural phenomena. under his influence. who composed both religious and secular music. Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619). and. With Elisabeth. who produced the famous painting “Armada” (1588). The English were famous for their madrigals. the English thinkers became interested in the work of Erasmus. in England as elsewhere. the miniature portrait. Thomas More wrote “Utopia”.

The event also determined the first differentiation between the language spoken by the educated people. lies the extraordinary vision of man as a “tangle of contradictions. and the confidence placed in man’s infinite capacity for moral progress. or social areas. Thus. grammar. drama and poetry. after the introduction of printing which had made that language widely accepted amongst the literate people. The “vowel mutation” was important. a mixture of south Midland and south-eastern English dialects had been accepted as “standard English” even since the middle of the 14th century. p. to a certain extent. with the avoidance of the dialects spoken in other geographic. At the heart of the English Renaissance literature. However. . entailed a profound change in the ethos of English society and became an intrinsic element of the Renaissance concepts regarding universe. the spoken and written English belongs to the third period of evolution. French. Italian. and inborn sinfulness” [37. called “modern English”. and. The language spoken at the Court was recommended as the correct one in a work written in 1589 (author: George or Richard Puttenham). Greek. even that form underwent important changes during the 15th-17th century period regarding phonetics. by the exaltation of man as a sensible creature. and. Spanish. At the beginning of the 16th century the language spoken in different regions of the country still preserved lexical elements reminding the successive invasions. while the other forms continued to be spoken as local dialects by common people. “the correct” English started to be considered the London form of the language. and the languages of the respective settlers. Portuguese or other exotic ∗ Starting with the beginning of the 16th century up to the present. when Chaucer wrote his masterpiece. Renaissance also meant an important moment in the evolution of the English language∗. vocabulary. 15]. On the other hand. a blending of titanic powers of mind and will and of heroic greatness with paralyzing weakness. and the illiterate ones. especially. and the language was enriched with a large number of new words coming from Latin.The contribution of these extraordinary thinkers to the humanist movement.

as a distinct Renaissance movement developed the new doctrine and concept about man. 460]. ∗ Utopia. it placed man at the centre of human preoccupations. Humanism.6 The End of an Exceptional Age The Renaissance was an extraordinary age of transition from the medieval to the modern world. and culture from the dominant. . the English language was used for all literary or scientific works.languages as a consequence of the Renaissance influences. in literature and science [28. rigid. and it is based on the principle of collective ownership. and limited medieval systems. emphasized the study of man and the necessity of enriching men’s minds. From that moment on. In the language area The Renaissance also meant “the final triumph of English over Latin. v. Over centuries. education. the second part is the presentation of an idealistic society placed on an island called “Utopia” (in Greek: a place of nowhere). (1516-1517) consists of two parts: the first part is a keen criticism of England’s economic and social situation. the author was Thomas Elyot). Its humanist thinkers gave the signal for the reform of learning directed towards the emancipation of thinking. written in Latin. and multiple diplomatic contacts.8. (The first Latin-English dictionary had been published in 1538. somewhere in the New World. in 1551. giving him a new status in the universe. I. More’s Utopia inspired the socialist (Utopic Socialism) and communist ideologies. p. as this is considered as generating economic and social imbalances and inequity. The political and administrative organization of this society is democratic. the event took place with the translation of More’s Utopia∗ into English. written in the form of a Socratic dialogue. there is no private propriety. THOMAS MORUS 2.

influenced the spiritual life. both economic. among others.Man’s right to be valued in himself. whether Parliament was called to debate religious matters). the Puritans aimed at changing the very roots of society. in many cases divergent or even controversial and conflicting. and be measured according to the achievements and dimension of his spirit fully asserted the intrinsic value of human life. who asked. their intention was to purify the religious institution. This new conception made life more enjoyable on earth. . There were some tensed moments and Elisabeth managed the crisis in 1586. and its old values. being centred in that part of society – gentry and merchants – who had the means. and social. besides spiritual issues. they continued to represent a potential security risk. endangering the Tudor paternalistic society. In fact. they questioned the role of the Church. and let free the intellectual effervescence and creative activity that characterized the Elizabethan Age. Puritanism which had emerged from Protestantism. but the danger coming from those religious idealists had not passed. Thus. the evolution of the society was not constantly calm and happy. on the contrary. Toward the end of Elisabeth’s reign. and to do away with the last vestiges of Roman Catholicism in England. to influence and even to decide on the state’s matters. They were “a disciplined spiritual elite” considering themselves different from the rest of humanity whom they looked upon as being corrupted. had increased in strength. (attacks in the Commons coming from Paul and Peter Westworth. asking if it consisted in serving the God. or the Crown. But the Renaissance was also the meeting-ground of a diversity of intellectual trends. political.

high inflation. Had been Elisabeth a great queen? She was undoubtedly endowed with special moral and intellectual qualities and her long reign happily coincided with the peak of the English Renaissance. had witnessed the consolidation of the English nation-state. there were negative aspects during her reign as well. The century that came to an end with Elisabeth’s death. Her passing away from life after forty-five years of reign was not only the end of an exceptional life but of an exceptional age as well. in spite of the monarch’s autocratism and even despotism. the result of hazard. as well as to a man. an unwise fiscal policy. the queen offered and guaranteed them political stability. not a woman. p. to a large extent. from clear economic and political reasons. it meant the beginning of England’s supremacy over the world’s seas and oceans. but. as well as an acknowledged corruption both with the Court and local administration. the common people also supported her as.The last years of Gloriana’s reign were not easy. a supremacy which was to last for centuries. the growth of national debt and usury. England’s first colonization of the New World took place during her time. Although the victory against Spain had been. However. powerful allies: the gentry and the newly enriched middle class. 53]. and when she died (1603) “it was almost with relief that men looked forward to the problems of a new dynasty and a new century. she had. . order and peace in the country. and of the national consciousness. upon the throne” [53.

executed by Elisabeth for high treason. he had proved to be a successful king. the image they created to him was not at all flattering. James I was less appreciated by his suspicious English subjects. As ruler of Scotland (1567-1625). a situation which could be explained by the centuries of hostility between the two nations. Civil War. According to his Scottish subjects James was a pleasant person. the moment was important as it was for the first time in the history of England and Scotland that both countries were ruled by the same monarch. James was a legitimate king. the Period of Commonwealth and Protectorate. At the moment of James I’ s accession to the throne. James VI was descendent from Henry VIII’s elder sister. Anyway. . JAMES I enjoyed physical exercises. had been already prepared when the old queen died in 1603.9. and showing interest in the art of statecraft. ∗ Son of queen Mary of Scotland. England’s economic and social situation was quite complex. Although described as sensible. The takeover of the crown by a foreign king went on without any complications.2. in many cases. Besides. and the smoothness of the event demonstrated the soundness of both the nation and of its system of government. and there was an accumulation of difficulties and problems left unsolved by the old queen.1 The Smooth Succession. and he was a scholar himself.9 Culture and Civilization in the Stuart Age. Social and Political Organization The accession to the throne of England of James VI of Scotland∗. as James I of England. being author of political treaties. adaptable and peace-loving person. England at the Beginning of the 17th Century: Economic. he had a sober character. Restoration and the People’s Life 2. able to put an end to the fights between the factions of clans and to limit the influence of the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

London was highly developed at the beginning of the 17th century. leaving the poor farmers without means of living for them and their families. because of the poor soil and severe climate conditions the grain production was less suited and it had given place to sheep raising and wool production. Exeter. . who had come to the large town in hope of a decent life. besides London. it was located especially in the northeast and southwest regions of the country. in finance and overseas trade. This difficult situation in agriculture lasted for several decades. Norwich.000 inhabitants. and turning them into homeless vagrants in search of work. The English mercantile activity. concentrated in the southeast areas and along the coasts. York and Newcastle with a population varying between 10. and more than a quarter of a million people lived there. and only towards the middle of the 17th century starvation was put an end to. Most of this population (85%) was rural. involved in government work. and the rural economy recovered by entering a period of real growth. perhaps. both poor migrants. The rapid growth of population. constituting a significant source of wealth and well-being. There was a high pressure on the local resources determined by the unprecedented population increase.Thus.000 and 15. a mixture of animal husbandry and grain production. The most important centres were. was. the economy being basically agricultural. and the price inflation had created serious social and economic problems. and wealthy people as well. but it was still reduced in comparison with the situation on the continent. the really significant manufacturing activity was that of woolen cloth. highly diversified and busy in transshipping a multitude of domestic and foreign products. the most important development of the century that had just ended. where. As regards the urban centres. As regards the industry of the time. some other towns as Bristol. more than four million people lived in England and Wales at the beginning of the 17th century. and both landlords and tenants were obliged to consider ways of raising productivity in order to obtain either profit or the produce necessary for their subsistence. they had known some development in the 16th century. The practice of enclosures had worsened the situation. or in cultural activities.

being organized hierarchically. whose importance and prestige were constantly growing. . representing the rural middle class. the beginning of the 17th century witnessed the rapid growth of the town middle class. had honorific positions in local government. The next in the social rank were the gentry. The rest of the rural population consisted of husbandmen. being often selected to form the jury that heard different local cases. although they had to work for their survival. generally. At the top of the social hierarchy were the peers (between 76 and 100.As regards the English society. cottagers and labourers who had to work hard in order to get their subsistence. but he society was not ossified. Yeomanry was the next social class. it had developed as a result of the economic situation. They held various positions in local government. They mediated minor disputes and collectively decided on petty crimes. had no titles. there was a clear difference between England and the countries on the continent. and those who had achieved some recent elevation due to their wealth or other skills were highly considered. represented by ∗ JPs had the responsibility to enforce the king’s law . Any able person could rise to a high social status. prosperous and economically independent. As regards the urban population. at the beginning of the 17th century). and held the office of lord lieutenant in their county. such as village elders. being the backbone of governance at local level. whose title was hereditary. but also flexible. Thus. There was no special preference here for the old aristocracy. the social hierarchy reflected the degree of wealth accumulation. those holding a high social position could fall and lose it. in this respect. and. constables or tax collectors. although some of them were knights or even baronets. militia captains or JPs∗. The positions they held were of deputy lieutenants. similarly. They were extremely wealthy. they. Many of them owned enough wealth to participate in the parliamentary selections and aspired to enter the ranks of the gentry.

who had graduated well grounded universities or had attended the law courts. the lord chamberlain (in charge of the king’s household). as the payment of taxes. becoming active participants in the urban and even state politics. However. the rank. were educated people. and they had different obligations to their monarch.merchants and tradesmen. The persons serving the king had no special training or proved skills in this respect. The social hierarchy was reflected in the government organization both at the state and local level. Below them. they ∗ The Private Council mainly included the chief officers of the state: the lord treasurer (he oversaw revenue). [53. the monarch was at the head of the state which he ruled personally on the basis of divine right. the archbishop of Canterbury. characterized by an important concentration of wealth. the fulfillment of military service and the carrying out of local offices. . and reputation representing aspects that matters in the 17th century political community. p. consisting of a body of royal servants and officeholders. “personal service to the king was considered a social honour and thus fitting to those who already enjoyed rank and privilege”. the mass of artisans. or seize the liberty and property of the subjects. being also charged with the administration of government. 54] From among these persons the king selected the members of the Privy Council∗. the lord chancellor (the chief legal officer). most of the aristocracy and gentry were the king’s tenants. status. but he could not limit or interfere with the country’s laws and customs. apprentices and labourers constituted the rest of the towns’ population. this class used the new educational opportunities for its own professional development and cultural evolution. but they. As regards the political organization. (England’s leading churchman). whose obligation was to advise him on matters of domestic and foreign policy. Any king had around him a court. commonly.

were members of the social elite and they had family connections which was just enough to recommend them for different jobs in the state. At the same time, they should be people able of imposing respect to the others, both at the state and local level. Another political institution active at the beginning of the 17th century was Parliament; the historians tend to call it more “an event” than “an institution” because of its intermittent summoning by the king, when the latter needed the support of his subjects for creating new laws or for him being provided with extra revenue. Observing the same rule of hierarchy, Parliament also consisted of the king, lords and commons. The House of Lords was composed of the peers of the kingdom, and the House of Commons of the most important citizens of the communities, the position of MP representing a sign of distinction and an honour for the respective person. The House of Commons grew in number over the years, at the same time with the growth of local communities, and with the right they got to be represented in Parliament. Thus, in the first years of the 17th century, the House of Commons numbered 464 members, and it continued to grow in the next decades. The MPs’ main function was to create a doubly directed link between the royal power and the people; on the one hand, they expressed in front of the king the views of the local communities which they represented, and, on the other hand, they presented the king’s views to the people in their localities. They were also summoned to provide the king’s necessary revenue in some difficult moments, especially for defense purposes. However, the kings tried to summon Parliament as seldom as they could, and their policy was to rule without Parliament. Anyway, at least until the middle of the 17th century, Parliament was a constituent part of the king’s system of government, in spite of some transient clashes between the two protagonists over specific state matters. Against this general social economic and political background, James I began his reign in England. There were some problems left unsolved by queen Elisabeth, and just from the start, he was faced with difficulties and discontent coming from some categories of people. In the beginning,

James showed his abilities and his reign seemed to be under good omens. Thus, there were religious problems, and, just, at the opening of his reign in 1603, he received “The Millenary Petition”, which was signed by one thousand reforming ministers, and which drew his attention to the unfinished Church reform; the king organized a debate (Hampton Court Conference, 1604)∗ with the participation of a number of leading bishops and of the reformers, where he decided to take a personal role. The king was determined to continue, in the ecclesiastical matters the moderate policy inherited from Elisabeth, eliminating the extremists whose desire was to destroy the established church of England. He considered that both Protestants and Roman Catholic could dwell together in the existing church. Unfortunately, his plan, showing a moderate attitude in the hope of achieving reconciliation between the two opponents, was undermined by the foolish plot of the converted Catholic Guy Fawkes. He and his confederates had conspired to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the occasion of the official opening of the debates (5 Nov. 1605)∗∗, assassinating the king, lords and commons. The plot was discovered, Guy Fawkes was captured, sentenced to death, after having been tortured, and executed in the cruel medieval way. Thus, the Gunpowder Plot failed, and the further period meant not only reprisals against Catholics, but also a slowdown of the king’s initiatives towards finding a formula of including Catholics into the Calvinist English Church. Nevertheless, James I’s moderate ecumenical outlook contributed to the creation of an atmosphere of relative peace within the English Church. Another difficulty James I had to face was of financial nature, as Elisabeth had left him a massive debt, larger than the total yearly income of the Crown (more than £ 400,000). Besides, the king turned out to be exceptionally spendthrift himself, and his family of wife and three

The next positive result of this debate was the establishment of a commission charged with the provision of an authorized English translation of the Bible (King James Version, 1611); besides, the decision was taken that a better educated and paid clergy be formed in the country. ∗∗ The event is still vivid in the people’s memory, and in the night of November, 5th of each year, stakes are lighted in parks and private gardens where a “guy” made of old clothes filled with straw, rugs and leaves is burnt. The custom is spread especially in Sussex, Somerset and Kent.

children increased the costs of the Royal Household. By 1606, royal debt was more than £ 600,000 and Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, the Crown’s financial minister tried hard to find various measures for raising the money necessary to the king: an increase in customs duties (impositions) levied on an expanded list of goods, a better exploitation of royal rights of wardship, purveyance and the discovery of crown lands on which rents and dues had not been paid, and, finally, the squeezing of more revenue out of the sale of titles. Although justified in themselves, all these measures were unpopular, and produced many loud protests. One more attempt Salisbury made to commute the crown’s fiscal rights into an annual amount to be raised by a land tax as result of negotiations with the taxpaying subjects, and levied on the counties (Great Contract) failed in 1610, when both the royal officials and the representatives of the House of Commons backed away from the talks. Anyway, by the end of James I’ s reign, the royal indebtedness had reached the huge amount of £ 1 million. James I had some problems with Parliament, as well. Even since the beginning of the 17th century the general situation had changed, and the economic power had moved into the hands of the middle class, represented by merchants and landowning farmers; the Crown was obliged, at the respective moment, to govern with their cooperation, and no money could be raised without the acceptance of Parliament, more exactly of the House of Commons, where these new social groups were represented. In return of money, the Commons demanded political power, but James was not able to understand and accept the new trends, or to give up his own belief concerning the king’s “divine rights” to decide on his own. Thus, during his reign, he summoned Parliament only for three times; the first Parliament was mismanaged and it deteriorated into a series of unproductive clashes, while during the next two Parliaments (1614, 1620-21) only subsidies were accepted and no bills were passed, to the disappointment of those expecting private acts. The situation had worsened with the appointment of Sir Edward Coke as Chief Justice. Coke had opinions different from the king’s, considering that the king was not above the law, and that neither he nor his council could make laws, this activity being the prerogative of Parliament.

Removed by James from his position, Coke continued to express his opinions as an MP, causing the quarrel between the king and Parliament, and determining some negative feeling which accompanied James’ entire reign, and were transmitted to his son, king Charles I. Thus, for most of the time, James I ruled without Parliament and he was successful enough, but such a position was possible as long as the country was at peace. As regards foreign policy, James’ hottest desire was to play an important part into its development. His accession to the throne of England had coincided with the peace with Spain (1604) after two decades of war at sea, and the permanent danger of an invasion coming from the continent. The conflict with Ireland was settled as it had been reconquered. These events were in favour of the king, but not for long, as, in 1618, when the Thirty-Years War burst out in Europe, the king clashed with Parliament once again, as they were of different opinions: James remained determined against war, while Parliament called for military action in support of the Protestant cause. It was only in 1624 that the old king gave up in front of his son Charles, angry with the Spainiards because of the humiliation he had suffered during his incognito visit to Spain, and of his favourite, the Duke of Buckingham∗. Parliament was summoned by James for the last time, in 1624 with the purpose of declaring war to Spain; all laws were passed, the subsidies for the war were voted, the issues of foreign policy were openly discussed and a proper grant of taxation was obtained. The 1624 Parliament had turned out to be the most successful one of James’ reign. A year later, the old king died.

George Villier got James I’s confidence, and became duke of Buckingham (1623) although he was of non-royal extraction; he was an able politician, and understood to support the fiscal reform, as well as James’ desire to re-establish peace in Europe. When James, old and sick, was at the end of his power and influence, Buckingham and the king’s son Charles, took the state matters into their hands. In charge with military and domestic policy after Charles I’s accession to the throne, Buckingham was considered guilty of all that was going on wrong in the country; he was assassinated in 1627, to the satisfaction of the people, who, in the streets, drank to the health of the assassin.

bankers and landowning gentry. (especially after the military defeats the English had suffered) was forced to recall Parliament. was disastrous (1627-1628). freedom from martial law. was raised in that year (1627). as a new ∗ The four liberties were: freedom from arbitrary arrest. and the subsidies needed were not granted. next year (1628). Charles I also inherited all the problems left by James I. politically. many MPs started to fear that the common law was not enough to protect them and their liberties against the king’s will.∗ These rights meant a great victory of parliamentarians. freedom from the billeting of troops. and. the MPs made the king agree to the “parliamentary rights” known as the Petition of Rights. freedom from non-parliamentary taxation. When. the action could be considered a success. in need of more money. the results were not up to the expectations. Faced with such a situation. to the Ile de Ré. As regards the war with Spain. and it worsened in the further years because of some consecutive bad grain crops. But. Parliament that the king summoned in 1626 was badly managed. The country was faced with a serious economic crisis. and another expedition of the duke. Buckingham’s expedition to Cadiz was a failure.000. this time against France in support of the besieged Huguenots (French Protestants). Events that Led to the Civil War Inheriting England’s crown at his father’s death (1625). and the recurrence of a virulent plague that killed tens of thousands of people. Advised by his councilors Charles tried to raise money without Parliament by a forced loan from merchants. Charles.2. fiscally. a number of important gentlemen (27 MPs) refused to pay the money. £ 260.9.2 Charles I’s Reign. the action had bad consequences for the king. and they were imprisoned “by the special command of the king” while Charles’s decision made them get the sympathy of the people. (The wealthy subjects were persuaded to give the money freely). . A large sum of money. and which asserted some liberties for them.

a century before. he dissolved the 1628 Parliament. ∗∗ Religious doctrine. Charles I ruled without Parliament (1629-1640). But. Charles also did his best to do away with the dishonesty and corruption that had existed since Tudor period and had continued during his father’s reign. a determined supporter of the king’s “divine right” concept. ∗∗∗ Puritans supported the idea of a democratic Church. It obliged the king to agree to Parliamentary control of both state money (national budget) and the law. in many ways. the royal revenue had reached £ 1 million a year. advocated by the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. that happened partly because of his lack of information regarding the state of opinion in his kingdom∗. in spite of real successes. could not accept such an approach of the political life. and according to which Parliament had been seen both as a means of making laws and a link between the king and his subjects. trade expanded both with Europe and North America determining customs increase. They had become active since Elisabeth’s time and continued their pressures during James I’s reign.and important rule of government was to be established in Britain. he appointed William Land. peace treaties were concluded ending England’s involvement in Europe’s warfare and the subsequent waste of money. Taking no notice of popular feeling. Due to the clever fiscal policy. quite successful. administrative and fiscal reforms took place balancing the budget and making administration efficient. an institution able to keep one another in permanent informed contact. and next year. as Archbishop of Canterbury (1633). ∗ Ruling without Parliament meant working against the principles on which the unitary state had been imagined by Thomas Cromwell. he was involved into a movement of religious reform under the influence of the Arminian doctrine∗∗ which was not accepted by his Calvinist subjects. Charles made serious mistakes especially in the way in which he managed the religious problems. an able Arminian and an enemy of the Puritans∗∗∗. and introduced some decoration in the churches. with the clear intention to govern without the parliamentary institution. and even decided the separation of the communion table from the congregation. For the next eleven years. . spread to the English Church and supporting the idea of free will and the importance of works along with faith. 1629. Believing into the “beauty of holiness” Land was for the importance of ceremony over preaching. Thus. similar to the Scottish Presbyterian Kirk and asked for the removal of the Anglican bishops. Charles. the doctrine of predestination and justification by faith formed the core of beliefs in the traditional English Church. and the period turned out to be. However.

Under these circumstances. this process continuing during James I’s reign. made him extremely unpopular. The king seemed to control the situation when. made him be positively considered by his subjects and most of the MPs. had started to be colonized in Elisabeth’s time. similar to the Catholic ones. Land had the bad idea to make the Scottish Kirk accept the English Church type of organization. The king would have liked more religious uniformity in the three kingdoms he ruled. in 1641. In the same year. unfortunately. thus. and to pay money to the Scottish army. Ulster. and. The situation exploded into a rebellion. but he had not the force to impose it. and. and a defensive position of the moderates. tried to introduce the bishops and a new prayer book in Scotland. captured Newcastle (the vital source of coal) and. known in history under the name of “the Long Parliament” (1640-1653). “the Triennial Act” was passed. and. stating the king’s obligation to summon Parliament at least every three years. even the Irish workers who had toiled for the new settlers started to be replaced by workers coming from England and Scotland. which allowed the king to show himself as a “conserver of religious matters as they were in Elisabeth’s time”. he agreed to respect the Scottish political and religious freedoms. and frightened the Protestants. in 1637. with more direct attacks coming from the radicals. In general. . and a real protection of Parliament’s existence. It debated on important reforms aiming at both the king’s prerogatives and the church. his attitude and his success in creating a peace treaty with the Scots. As regards the Church reform. the situation was more complicated. the Catholic Irish had lost their land. Its first outcome was a limitation of the king’s authority. under the circumstances. when the people rebelled against the Protestant English and Scottish settlers. Land’s innovation was met with resistance from the Scots. Thousands of people were killed ∗ In Ireland. its northern part. in 1640. the Puritans being the spear’s end of a rallying attitude against any innovation in England. during Charles’s reign. the Anti-Catholic feelings were strong enough and able to unite the diverse elements of the Protestant reform. they invaded England. already worried about the survival of their religious. Charles was obliged to accept a treaty which was not in favour of the English. the king had to summon Parliament. a new crisis emerged in Ireland∗.The introduction of these practices.

∗ The proposals.9. and one point of view could be that they were only “a series of accidents tied together by a small number of personalities on either side” [12. which meant the Parliament determination to impose their conditions. and even of a few of the Commons. 2. When the war broke out in 1642 nobody really wanted it. Charles gathered an army to defeat those who had opposed him in Parliament. by appointing the lord lieutenant. Convinced that the lords would support him. the choice of royal counsellors.3 England during the Civil War and Protectorate The events that caused the war and the war itself. making even many moderates in Parliament to lose their confidence in the king’s good intentions. but suspicion about the king’s intentions regarding Parliament’s fate (The Grand Remonstrance. the king had the support of most of the lords and land gentry. During the first year. most of the nations staying neutral (90%) in hope that the fight would quickly come to an end. after a couple of months (June 1642). The Civil War had started. Parliament was supported by the navy which protected the coast from foreign invasion. in fact. There was a dangerous political situation. included among others the parliamentary control over the militia. and. 1641) divided the commons into opposing factions: the royalists and parliamentarians. were much debated by historians. and the king’s attempt to arrest five MPs worsened it. and by most of the merchants and people of London. On the other hand. he rejected them. 152]. some proposals (the Nineteen Prepositions)∗ were presented to the king. The Royalist known under the name of “Cavaliers” controlled most of the west and north of the country. Parliament had. p. . Failing to reach his objective. and the religious reform in a Puritan direction. the control over the national and international sources of wealth covering East Anglia and the southeast coat. An army had to be raised in order to put the situation under control.during the events. 1642). determined to settle the dispute with Parliament by force. Parliament continued its activity. Charles left London. bearing the device “Give Caesar His Due” (August.

In the next year. which included the parliamentary generals. Lord Protector of England. while Parliament promised to the Scots the establishment of Presbyterian Church (The Solemn League and Covenant) and they brought an army to England. Newbury). gentleman farmer. ∗∗ “Roundheads” because they used to have their hair shortly cut. the victory being on one side or another. In 1644. and they formed the very well centralized “New Model Army”. Meanwhile. but. . It was directed by a parliamentary committee. in 1647. Lostwithief. in 1645. for a ransom that the English had paid. ruled the country. This army was the first regular military force in England from which the modern British army developed. (Marston Moor. there were not only military but also political forces involved in the conflict. he represented the Puritans called the Ironsides. One of them were the Levelers led by John Lilburne. formed around various religious and political centres. a target of reform. and he preferred the Scots in hope of a better bargain. The war seemed to be over but the country was still faced with serious problems. Thus. Charles tried to use the situation in his advantage. he created the „New model army” where he invited educated men. Parliament became. eager to fight for their beliefs. Scotland and North Ireland. succeeded to recast their military establishment. whose desire was a reform of Parliament through elections. known under the name of “Roundheads”∗∗. the war widened (1644) as both Ireland and Scotland were involved in it∗. At that time. he was returned to English custody. faced with a situation which had turned a civil war into a revolution. ∗ Charles negotiated with the Irish Catholic rebels and brought Irish troops to England. by their sending of troop. Parliamentarians. the discontent and material grievances in the army determined its rebellion against the way in which different parties in Parliament. Charles I was obliged to surrender. in 1647. 1645). one of them (the general first) being LieutenantOLIVER CROMWEL General Oliver Cromwell∗∗∗. the war continued between the two opponents and several battles took place. when the latter was definitely crushed. Later on. This army met the royalist one in the Battle of Naseby (June 14. Finally. Seized by Cromwell. ∗∗∗ Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). In the year to come. in its turn. and to negotiate his restoration in exchange of the church reform.

when the army opposed the king’s supporters joined with the discontented Scots. led to a new outbreak of the Civil War (1648). For the first time after these events. where they arrested or removed two thirds of the MPs. The old Parliament was replaced by a new one (the Rump Parliament) and. which had caused loss of lives and started to be called “that man of blood”. and. a permanent part of the government. Two opposing forces clashed again: on the one hand. and found him guilty of making “war against his kingdom and Parliament”. regicide being considered the worst and unpardonable crime. the king encouraged both the rebellion against Parliament and the Scots’ rebellion against the Parliamentarian army. the rest of them together with some civilians and army officers established a High Court of Justice. Charles’ uninspired interference in a situation already complex and difficult. and to establish God’s kingdom in England. on the other hand. Some negotiations with the king failed. but. and fearing that Parliament could. he “was to be sacrificed to the law of necessity if not the law of England” [53. as well as the Anglican Church. where most people realized that Parliamentary rule was not the best option. finally. Furious. compromise with the king betraying its ideals. 60]. at that moment. Even if the charges against Charles I were politically correct.based on a broad franchise (Agreement of the People. some army troops purged the House of Commons. by a Parliament with a single house where the members were nominated and which had at its back the military power. army representing. latter on (1653). all the old legitimate English institutions were dissoluted. including the House of Lords and the representative House of Commons. the legal basis was less sound. King Charles I was beheaded on January 30. but throughout the continent as well. In an attempt to use the situation to his benefit. as he continued to be intransigent in some religious matters. 1649. Charles was accused for his attitude. With the abolition of monarchy. 1647). prepared a charge of treason against the king. p. the army (the Ironsides) whose intention was to put the king on trial for treason. His execution was regarded with hostility not only in England. . Both the English rebellion and the invading Scots were defeated in two brief but bloody battles (Colchester and Preston). the moderate members of Parliament who still believed that a reconciliation with the king was possible and who wanted him back on the throne.

However. 1652). Scotland was obliged to accept the English republican rule. whose intention was to create a state based on the model of ancient Rome. In the beginning. under the name of “Lord Protector”.England had become a republic (Commonwealth). England started to be looked upon as an important military power. Cromwell’s government was not a popular one. and agrarian communists. Drogheda and Wexford were captured (autumn. the country was torn in inside by all kinds of disagreements caused by divergent groups∗.000 people were killed. for the last two years. nominated mostly by the army (The Nominated Parliament). Once again. millenarians. and a large army was assembled. and for security reasons. who thought that the land should be returned to the people. After only five months. Backed by the army. The situation and the demands of the army made Cromwell dissolve the Rump Parliament in 1653. two towns. who dreamed about the establishment of “heaven on the earth”. at his death. Cromwell and his army proved their skills. Due to these victories (including the one against the Dutch. 1649) and the civilian population was merciless put at sword. mystics. and replace it with an assembly. where he had been invited by the Scots shocked with the king’s execution. interested in restoring order. Cromwell and his army were busy to punish the Irish. expecting the Second Coming of Christ. the young English republic was faced with one more danger: Charles I’ s son landed in Scotland. or the Quakers. as the royalist and catholic forces continued to rebel from there. this parliament dissolved itself and the whole power was returned to Cromwell who became the sole ruler of the country. etc. he got far greater power than king Charles I had ever had. social reformers. under the strict command of Oliver Cromwell and. and it preserved this form of government between 1649 and 1660. and the Scots were decisively defeated in the battle at Dunbar (1650) and Worcester (1651). to the idealists and missionaries. . About 6. In the next year. both for the killing of Protestants in 1641. ranging from the pragmatic ones. and the events remained in the Irish memory as a symbol of English cruelty. of his son. and his effort of ruling and maintaining law and order through the army was not appreciated by ∗ Among these groups were the republicans. characterised by religious radicalism.

his personality was as complex as the contradictions it contained. by simply leaving the office. and tackled different other issues in social or religious fields. the first British constitution was drafted in Cromwell’s time. in the period 1658-1659. the contradictions of the war and revolution themselves. there were signs in the government ∗ As representative of the gentry. but being infused with the millenarism doctrine he believed in a glorious world to come. or evolved into oppositions coming from both royalists and republicans. and what the “demands” of necessity meant. Cromwell died in 1658. and the puritan intrusion in their private life discontented the people. Cromwell understood the necessity of a stable constitution. in 1659. and. by John Lambert (1653). stage playing was forbidden as well as playing games on Sunday. His son. he knew the importance of the power. more than that. with him. That constitution created the office of “Lord Protector” who was to govern helped by a Council of State. in fact. but he did not prove to be a good or skilled leader. Thus. the hope that reform could be in the end fulfilled vanished from the people’s heart. this way of governing has remained unpopular in Britain since then. Under the circumstances he resigned. being not at all able to control the Puritans’ Commonwealth. Richard. as well as by a reformed parliament which was to be elected once every three years.the people. However. the position of the groups whose representative he was∗. Some of the decisions did not make the people happy. It is clear that if the regime could continue for a time. a real vacuum of power at the centre became obvious. However. or the celebration of Christmas and Easter. the Protector did not manage better. Cromwell’s republican administration intended a law reform. as an old MP he was convinced of Parliament authority. . reflecting. In the political field. legislation against swearing and drunkenness was introduced. The Protectorate. as an instrument of government. was elevated to the title and dignity of lord protector. but being a member of the army. Meanwhile. disorder prevailed in the country and. it was due only to Cromwell’s personality. the parliaments summoned by him either questioned the new government.

essentially. army had ceased to be a unified force. and the court at Whitehall had started to develop a monarchical ceremonial style. one of the army’s commanders. could be supported by the numerous statements delivered during the period in connection with the fundamental law and the abuse of power. a more or less partisan position. representing. in fact. rising against him in defence of constitutional liberties. Thus. three prevailing theories in this respect. an upper House of Lords had been created. mainly. but. and the period of civil war and protectorate. of various other religious sects ranging from Presbyterians to Quakers. invited Charles II to return to his kingdom. besides. draw the attention of historians. by a papist or quasi-papist conspiration. However. one of them refers to the part played by the House of Commons which no longer could bear the attitude of a tyrannical king. the same Long Parliament and Protectorate ignored the law and liberty’s principle in their battle for victory. but. he marched to London. The political chaos had to be put an end to. This theory. England had been in turmoil for a long time. to act. thus. about twenty years. in fact. It was in 1660. and most of the people remained.and political life resembling the old monarchy. invited all members of the Long Parliament to return under army protection. There are. With Cromwell’s death. at that moment. and. and which claimed the right to warship God in their own way. and the solution found was the Restoration of monarchy. Although the political regime favoured the Puritanism interference with the nation’s life for a while. promoted by the Long Parliament itself. when the eleven years of republic in Britain came to an end. while a general state of confusion characterized the country’s life. attached to the Church of England. as part of the events. the heavy taxation imposed to the people at the respective time was heavier than ever. each of them containing some truth. analysts and many others who tried to find explanations for the events which had influenced human life and the nation’s fate. the nation did not become puritan. Another theory promoted the idea of an upheaval which broke as an offspring of puritan principles threatened. . finally. the reality reveals the free emergence. it was the decision of Monck. naturally.

9-39. on the one hand. as if nothing had happened.The third theory promoted the idea of a revolution supported by the newly raised class. Anyway. Maybe. 1986. by its Puritans and fervent Anglican representatives had got enough economic power to be comparable to the Royalist forces. under the common law” everything being “held together by the common interests of center and localities” [12. the moderate principles of the previous religious thinkers (Cranmer. would have avoided the clash among the various interests acting at the respective moment. with the effort of building a Presbyterian government deplorably failed. Even in the Church restoration was obvious.. p. In support of this point of view are the effects of these convulsions over the nation’s development. Charles II was invited to become the king of England. However. the old order returned with him. the forces emerging from the economic interests of the new classes combined with the political requirements of the age. it is equally true that the landlords had already ceased to be “feudal”. Andrewes. “the series of accidents” were simply caused by an unfortunate incompatibility between the political outlook of a king who had exaggerated the royal prerogatives reigning autocratically in order to preserve his and his allies’ interests. the events. Jones at. rather than a highly autocratic one. Maybe. a class which could be called “bourgeoisie”. p. a monarch ruling in a constitutionally moderate way. both classes believing and being interested in the same facts of economic life. Parker. 156]. to which the religious demands of the Puritans were attached. al. on the other hand. and which. and. judiciously accommodating the new forces present in the English political and economic life. the country was the same unitary realm. C. . Land) being restored. as it had developed as the result of the Tudor Age. 155]∗. p. the nation. B. the king having legislative sovereignty in Parliament and governing “in Council. Coward. “Was there an English revolution?” in “Politics and People in Revolutionary England”. while the dissents were pushed off into sects. when in 1660. bourgeoisie. against the dominance of “feudal” landowners and their king. if it was true that a new class had emerged in England. in the post-war and post-Cromwell period [12. ∗ Also. joined together to contribute to the events which shook the nation and society at the respective historical moment.

and its independence represented. However. accepted by everybody as lawful king. and it took about thirty years and numerous other events for the desired normality and peace to return and install in England.In many historians’ opinion. his general attitude was towards a tolerant religious settlement.9. Cromwell’s laws and Acts were automatically cancelled. at that time. . returned to rule England. Cromwell’s body was exhumed and exposed at Tyburn together with two others. now. but a sequence of events which brought death and destruction in the country. who were exemplarily punished. in the “divine right of the king”. in spite of Oliver Cromwell’s energetic position. and a ∗ The only exception were the Regicides. In this way the king wanted to show that his intention was to make peace with his father’s enemies. although Charles II continued to believe. maybe. CHARLES II Besides. and develop understanding and tolerance in the Church. in spite of Charles II’ s desire to make peace between the different religious groups. 1661-1679) established a rigid Anglican orthodoxy. Parliament (the Cavalier Parliament. was not really a revolution.4 England in the Restoration Period. the one to decide. but. what happened in England. As a consequence. The return to peace and normality was guaranteed by the “Act of Indemnity and Oblivion” (1660) that represented an official pardon of all persons involved in the Civil War and the Protectorate rule∗. and the unequivocal assurance of private property. the situation of the nation was too complex and complicated for a rapid solution. Parliament was. one of the changes that had survived the past events. as his father had done. which eventually ended in the restoration of the same order already set on a long time before. Thus. Domestic and Foreign Policy When Charles II. 2.

James. in 1672. which suspended the penal code against the religious nonconformists. had to resign his position. The dissenters were barred from holding separate church services. a new prayer book was authorized and became compulsory in the church. who were imprisoned by thousands. ∗∗ Under the guidance of the chief minister Thomas Osborne. to a certain extent. etc. with repressive acts passed against tresspassers in order to get general conformity. ∗ Thus. Charles promulgated. (The king’s brother. royal finance was well organized and a standing army could be maintained. The period was known for its mass anti-Catholic hysteria. on the other hand. next year. on the one hand. attracted to the Catholic Church. they were known as the “Whigs” and the “Tories” each of them being clearly defined. either dissenters or Catholic. more than that. Earl of Danby. . characterized by the fear of Charles’s connections with the Catholic France and his interest in the Catholic Church. the Declaration of Indulgence. and demanded the abrogation of the Declaration. resulted in the formation of the first political parties in England. afraid that he could become a Catholic himself. the crown patronage was centralized. but Charles II reacted calmly and decisively keeping the situation under control. The situation at the respective time. especially Quakers and Baptists. and. but they were afraid of an absolute monarchy and of the Catholic faith (Catholicism and absolutism being firmly linked in the popular mind) considering that the king’s authority depended on Parliament consent. and avoiding a new civil war. combined with the fear of the king’s building a base for royal absolutism∗∗. Duke of York who was Catholic. in 1673. and politically opposed.very strong alliance between squires and parsons which was to dominate the local society for centuries∗ Tolerant. The English Protestants united against the king’s attitude. The “Whigs” (Scottish name for cattle drivers) were not against the Crown. Parliament passed the Test Act which prevented any Catholic from holding national office. the admiralty) A declared persecution was carried out against the dissenters as well. bishops returned to Parliament. Parliament was better managed.

succeeding. but. while the king correctly managed many difficult situations.Under the guidance of the chief minister Thomas Osborne. however. being either for. or against the king’s decisions. undecided whom they wanted as king. they strongly were for religious freedom. . he was for a better treatment of the Catholics (he himself had been converted to Catholicism). they had inherited the values of the old “Parliamentarians”. being supporters of the Anglican Church. as Charles. Parliament was better managed. his intention being to repel the Test Act. with no legitimate children would not allow any interference with his brother’s divine right to the Crown. a fact which they could not accept. Earl of Danby. royal finance was well organized and a standing army could be maintained. those who supported the monarch as loyal servants were the Tories. On the religious matters. in the given circumstances. but not for long. towards the end of his reign. James II became the king of England at his brother’s death. although James had guaranteed the preservation JAMES II of the Anglican church. being tolerant towards the new Protestant sects so much disliked by the Anglican Church. in 1685. the Tories and Anglicans were satisfied. Thus. 1685. and they had inherited the “Royalist position in Parliament”. he was financially independent and politically secure. The other political group nicknamed “Tories” (an Irish name for thieves) upheld the authority of the Crown and the Church. to be the full master of his state. having no desire to establish either Catholicism or absolutism in the country. being. and of the principle of passive obedience. the crown patronage was centralized. of the land. When James II became king. The two parties were actively involved in the political events which took place during Charles II’ s last years of reign. In spite of the Whigs’ fear. they feared that the Crown could go to Charles’ catholic brother James.

James II became an undesirable ruler for the Anglican Parliament. and when his son was born being likely that another Catholic heir would come to the throne some day. the leaders of the political groups decided to take action: some leading Protestants drafted an invitation addressed to William of Orange∗∗ to come to England. By his action. ∗ The Duke of Monmouth. Parliament tried to oppose the king. Although dangerous for him. he had nothing to do but to watch its dissipation. but James II was decided in his attitude. Parliament declared legitimate the joint reign of Mary (James II’ s daughter and William’s wife) and of William III of Orange. there. to his surprise. after he had lost the great Seal into the Thames. It was in 1688. who was also Protestant. James tried to escape leaving the country for France. while his closest supporters. but he was defeated at Sedge moor. he was allowed a second “escape”. ∗∗ William of Orange. the more so. betrayed WILLIAM III him joining William’s forces. could have been considered a possible heir to the throne. William accepted the invitation and organized the crossing.Very soon he did it. and he even tried to forge an alliance with the dissenters. an invitation addressed to a foreign king to invade the country. he was Protestant and married to James’ s daughter Mary. . he issued the Declaration of Indulgence. and started to organize his acceptance as king of England. including his own daughter Anne. In a state of breakdown. where he called Parliament into being (the Convention Parliament). and more than 600 supporters were hanged or deported. illegitimate son of Charles II. which suspended the penal law against Catholics and dissenters. landing at Exeter. on the occasion of Monmouth’s rebellion∗. when he imprisoned the bishops who had refused to read the Declaration in their churches. while William reached London. After having recruited farmers and tradesmen he marched to the west country. Finally. he issued a declaration which called for the election of a new Parliament. He was captured and executed. in fact. when. In 1687. James tried to oppose the invasion organizing his own army. ruler of Holland. but. there was. he dispensed with the Test Act and appointed Catholics to military command. Captured.

especially. Acting in this way. but which meant the replacement of the older absolutist Stuart monarchs. and his domestic policy by the Privy Council. when. and not because he had inherited the crown. who had continued to believe in the “divine right of king”. consequently. a sequence of circumstances. personally. Parliament proved that it was more powerful than monarchs. The event marked the final victory of what was called the “Glorious Revolution”. although called “revolution”. The latter. with the new constitutional monarchs. led his army. the Act of Settlement (1701). he invaded Ireland. he was crushed at the Battle of the Boyne by William who. laws and customs of the realm.as the throne had become vacant after James II’ s abdication. . and that he. completely unplanned and unprepared. established the principle according to which only a Protestant could wear the crown of England. and the coronation oath required the king to uphold Protestantism as well as the statutes. Two laws sanctioned the Parliament power over the monarch: the Bill of Rights (1689) and. Parliament decided that James’s flight to France and his gesture of tossing the Great Seal into the Thames could be considered an abdication∗. was even more specific. Thus. it resulted that Parliament and not the king should represent the real power in the state. However. the king’s powers being limited. in the person of the Dutch Protestant. ∗ Besides. stipulating that the monarch had to be a member of the Anglican Church. but. a conservative document. James made one more attempt to take the crown in 1690. and it has continued to keep the same position since then. The former. a Counter-reformation monarch had been replaced with a new Reformation monarch. The idea of a “contract” was part of some theories (the most important ones belonged to Algernon Sidney and John Locke). had lost his right to the crown. William III of Orange. Parliament considered that the king had undermined “the constitution of the kingdom by breaking the original contract between King and People”. backed by the French and supported by Catholic and Puritan partisans. according to which government was based on the “consent of the people” (Parliament). the event was more a “coup d’état” organized by the ruling class represented in Parliament. the event was really a “revolution”. the representatives of this class made William king by their choice. The king was also limited in his right to dismiss judges. In this respect. that his foreign policy was to be directed by Parliament.

being inspired by a pragmatic need to compromise. according to historians. James II’s daughter. was Georg Ludwig. p. Thus. [46. the country was politically divided. The document. the English masses being organised within both a religious and political framework∗. that revolution was “corporate” in spirit. at the time. The Stuarts’ dynasty had come to an end.By its clauses the Act of Settlement showed a high degree of control over monarchy coming from Parliament. etc. the English Glorious Revolution was considered politically parliament-led. By these documents the royal prerogatives were seriously weakened and the immediate effect was the possibility that the newer wealthy classes could be better accommodated. . restricting the monarch’s rights in favour of Parliament: the Military Act (1689) restrained the king’s control over military forces and the use of martial law. and the competition between the two groups – the Whigs and the Tories – for gaining power continued during her reign. When Anne died childlessly. elector of Hanover. 47]. the Triennial Act (1694) re-established the principle of regular parliamentary sessions. When she came to reign in 1702. The major event which took place at the beginning of the 18th century was the union with Scotland which happened in 1707. anti-Catholic Protestant religion. ∗ There were some other laws. and to adjust the old political order so as – in the long run – to fit in with the new one”. and monarchically aimed being. and it proved able to “accommodate the new forces within the older frame. has remained in force since then. religiously tinged. although it permitted more forms of Protestant worship. in 1714. important for the nation’s political development. the succession to the crown had already been resolved in the Act of Settlement. a grand grandchild of James I. The early modern English political scene was to witness the same corporate political spirit. simultaneously. it is interesting to notice that these forces representing the new economic order worked side by side with those representing the newer. The last of the Stuarts who inherited the crown was Anne. the Toleration Act (1689) by which the Anglican clergy preserved its monopoly.. The person who became the king under the name of George I.

its first trading settlements there had been established on both the west and east coasts. England’s main enemies had been Spain. the two countries shared the same king. already captured in 1704/1708. during Anne’s reign. and some territories in the West Indies. Holland and Britain started to cooperate against France. starting with James II (James VII of Scotland). However. in this way. 1672-74) which ended triumphantly for the English as they achieved the trade positions they wanted. During the respective period. In comparison with Spain or Netherlands. . although. Once peace agreed. who brought the country into the Dutch-French conflict. Ramillies. there were three Dutch Wars (1652-54. During Charles’s reign. By the Treaty of Utrecht (1715) France accepted the limits imposed on its expansion to Britain’s advantage. Britain’s empire overseas was still small at that time. 1665-67. and the wars with these countries had been caused by trade competition. England’s neighbour. Oudenarde and Malplaquet. the name of the new state being Great Britain. ∗ However. Besides these new territories. At the beginning of the 18th century. in the next century. the competition with France will determine direct effort of controlling Indian politics.As regards foreign policy in Stuarts’ age. continued to be a separate kingdom in the 17th century. without any interference in Indian politics∗. Britain’s interest in India was still in trade only. Britain already possessed twelve colonies on the east coast of America. Britain controlled the entrance to the Mediterranean. Duke of Marlborough led the British army to victory at Blenheim. and maintaining the possessions of QUEEN ANN JAMES II WIFE Gibraltar and Minorca. Holland and France. Scotland. especially during the reign of William II. political and economic matters urged them to unite in 1707. this will be carried out either by alliance or conquest of Indian states. the latter expanding its colonial empire to Canada and the Carribean.

James made a last attempt of taking his throne back by using Ireland as a supporting base and landing there. however. the decisions were to be taken by only one parliament for both countries. Britain already had so many colonies that it could be considered an important competitor of other earlier colonial nations. with this event. but the Protestants resisted. and a change of its position on the international arena. Protestant victory in Ireland was complete. England’s most dangerous European enemy. the situation was different. which has remained. as well as its own separate Church. the English army arrived. At that moment. as the latter.Thus. These were important events which made Britain a leading European power by the beginning of the 18th century. such as Spain. . James was defeated. the Catholics had some hopes in connection with James II. and refusing to surrender∗. locking themselves in the city of Londonderry. a situation which could revigorate the Auld Alliance with France. Very soon. In Ireland. The new situation became obvious especially towards the end of the century. Scotland preserved its own separate legal and judicial system. and. and had continued with the union of England with Scotland under one sovereign. On the other hand. the 17th century meant the beginning of a new stage in England’s foreign policy. the cry of Ulster Protestantism. might invite a Stuart back on the throne. to our days. Scotland had some economic problems caused by England’s limitation of its trade. as the result of a long process which had begun with the defeat of the Armada. England was interested to unite with Scotland. Thus. a situation which was negotiated with the English against the Scots’ agreement to the union of the two countries. After his abdication. The Scots accepted to unite by “Act of Parliament” and. from that moment on. An Irish Catholic Parliament passed an Act by which the Protestants’ lands in Ireland were confiscated. ∗ “No Surrender!” was the battle cry of the Protestants at Londonderry. Portugal or Holland. especially those who had lost their land because of the Protestant settlers. being free to choose its own king after Queen Anne’s death.

Thus. Social. mostly due to the development of trade. then. The well-known example is that of Kent “the garden of England” where large quantities of fruit and vegetables were grown and. However. as many towns started to have proper shops. coal. Sheep growing continued to develop as well. London remained the ∗ By the end of the century most places were no more than twenty miles from a river or canal.2.). namely. The unprecedented trade development was the direct result of improved transport conditions. Cotswold Hills and East Anglia supplying the raw material for the traditional textile industry. It included. the waterways∗ becoming an important and cheap means of transport which allowed practically each region to develop its own specific produce. a strong interest was showed to an intensive agriculture which was achieved by carrying out farming improvements. especially in Yorkshire. or salt were found. Cultural and Religious Life in the Stuart Age. sold to other regions.9. the silk produced in Canterbury and London. A new activity became largely appreciated. besides the finest woollen cloths designed to export and woven at Norfolk or Kendal. while in Lancashire (Manchester) a cloth woven from cotton and wool was produced. . the linen produced in Scotland and Ireland. glass.5 The Economic. paper or leather industries started to develop. to the development of the respective places. In the field of industry. contributing. At the same time. in this way. Britain was able to export its cereals to the continent. etc. Northumberland. The Revolution in Thought The second half of the 17th century witnessed the flourishing of England’s economic life. besides. new industrial branches such as shipbuilding. where the living conditions were inferior to those on the island. that of shopkeeper. and to sell them on other markets. although the same traditional grains were cultivated. and no place was more than seventy-five miles from the sea. mining was developed in the same old regions where iron (Sussex.

interpreted as divine judgement against a sinful nation (The events had followed the king’s execution and the calamities of the Civil War). secured by a specific customs grant∗. one of them being the Bank of England.000 people in only six months..c. the Guildhall. It was given a monopoly of joint-stock banking and it was empowered to discount bills and issue notes. Important financial institutions were set up in London during the century. a huge amount of £ 1.2 million was raised on only the initial offering. considered gilt-edged securities were highly appreciated by the investors. it seems that the plague killed between 75. Africa Co. partly because of its close relationship with the Treasury. lending to the latter at a fixed rate of interest (initially 8 p. In the beginning. demanded by the increasing trade activities overseas. at that time. and. were the old St. established in 1694. Hudson Co. having the control over the sea trade with other countries by means of large trade companies (East India Co. and famous at that time. numerous churches. London was destroyed by the Great Fire which burst one night in a bakery situated in Pudding Lane (the City).). . because of the dense population. the world most important insurance company was also settled in London. in 1686. with a percentage of 1/3 in the City. and continued for the next three days burning to ashes thousands of houses. London was also the victim of two unprecedented disasters: the great plague in 1665 and the great fire in 1666. At that time. as a necessity of eliminating or diminishing the sea risk.). Although there were not rigorous statistics at that time. the Bank of England was a private bank which wielded great influence.000 and 100. Lloyd’s. Paul’s Cathedral. One year later. mainly to finance the state’s large debt.most important town of the country. during the same period. Among the buildings seriously damaged.. the Royal Exchange. and guildes headquarters. it had been only a famous coffee house where people met to comment trade news. It became the government’s bank. ∗ The bank’s notes. But in the second half of the 17th century.

and as regards the social life. ∗∗ Sir Christopher Wren. as well as a capable architect designed the plan of London’s rebuilding into much of what it is today. however. Besides. there were the “aristocrats”. The middle classes did even better.7 million in Stuarts’ time.The fire broke out and rapidly extended partly because of the crowded and rather insane halftimbered houses. generally. those two unhappy events (the plague and the fire) changed the architectural aspect of London and. the old and the new ones. and partly because of the narrow streets. and. thus. paradoxically. high position could be easily bought in the British society by paying money. determined a state of mind inclined towards the enjoyment of life. the architects John Evelyn and Christopher Wren∗∗ submitted to the king a plan for the CHRISTOPHER WREN reconstruction of the City. some changes became obvious. as fewer people asked for help from the parish. mathematician. the same categories prevailed. However. some improvement in the life of the poor could be noticed. a title which indicated the ruling class of the countryside. for the first time. in only a couple of days. ∗ An impressive description of the Great Fire is presented in Samuel Pepys’s “Diary” (1633-1703). the old nobility was reluctant in accepting the new rich as their equal. but. in order to avoid being confused with them. and giving the town a definite baroque personality. and London enjoyed larger streets and new magnificent buildings in a modern style. the older Tudor gentry started to call themselves “squire”. astronomer. A part of it was turned into life. Thus. the richer citizens of the town had water supplied to their houses carried through specially made wooden pipes. and the newly rich families were eager to add aristocratic titles to their names. to which a strong east-west wind contributed substantially∗. inventor. . and. prices had fallen in comparison with wages. The population had increased to a total of 7. and many former yeoman farmers or traders turned into minor gentry or merchants. After the Fire. together with the JPs the squires governed locally.

Thus. rich and full of perspectives class. the experimental science was imagined. but many others. The chief embodiment of this movement was the Royal Society. The removal of ancients’ authority. and the advancement beyond their ignorance made the scientists embrace the idea of progress. thus. A novelty of the century where the coffee houses were the rich of the towns used to meet. Towards the second half of the 17th century. but. the ordinary people had. and with it. and acknowledged themselves as part of this movement. who admitted the new trend. of a new. thus. advancing the cause of modern science. mind had to be freed from any preconceived ideas. all these new ideas. a general taste for comfort and elegance became the commonly accepted premise for the English life-style in the century to come. the “alehouses” in towns and villages. In the same way in which this new way of thinking had influenced politics or religion. and the inductive method of reasoning started to be used to work on these data.Their power consisted in deciding the taxes for local purposes. the demand for a sceptical mind was considered necessary in scrutinizing scientific matters. it could not have happened if a revolution in human thought had not primarily taken place. with it. and. attitudes and values started to represent a scientific movement comprising not only the authentic scientists. it also influenced science. As a result of the English booming trade. A principle much insisted upon was that of “liberty” with a direct reference to the necessity of freedom for investigation and advance in directing the possible findings against the established ideas. and where coffee. which developed some main and definite principles. for sure. The 17th century is primarily known in England for the revolution which took place in the political area. as a meeting place. A new method of investigation was taken into consideration based on observation and experimentation as the only trustworthy means of securing data. the authoritarian principles of antiquity were undermined. organized around . and trying different legal causes. tea and cocoa were offered as drinks. and a critical attitude towards all points of view ever expressed had to be maintained. especially that of Aristotle. in calling out soldiers.

Joseph Glanvill. Thus. and the Society became. started to study gravity.o. Thomas Sprat. Inspired by him. and. ISAAC NEWTON published his revolutionary discovery. rector in the Anglican Church. John Webster.s. The Stuarts encouraged the movement. a point of view put into practice by scientists ever since. ask questions and share their knowledge and information. 1654). which led to important advances in medicine and in the study of the human body. James I’ s Lord Chancellor. the law of gravitation (Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Matematica). The discoveries which followed laid the foundations of modern science in different fields of research. a Puritan chaplain (his work: Academiarum Examen. a. in 1666. who. the first name which must be taken into consideration is that of Francis Bacon. However. bishop of Rochester. . Robert Boyle (1627-1691) and Robert Hooke (1635-1703) made important discoveries in chemistry and physics (thus. an important centre for the thinkers and scientists to meet. “Advancement of Learning”) disclosed the spirit which inspired and motivated scientific activities of the century. an authentic scientist. being the creator of the inductive method in the research activity Francis Bacon insisted on the importance of testing every scientific ideas by experiment. ∗ Some other important names of that time who supported and popularised the new ideas were Robert Boyle. One of the most important scientific findings of humanity belongs to Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). a Cambridge Professor of Mathematics (Trinity College). when the English scientific movement of the 17th century is investigated. argue. a couple of years later (1687). whose works (“Novum Organum”. in time. The importance of Newton’s discovery was welcomed by his contemporaries. Boyle discovered the law of gas compressing and the role of oxygen in combustion).Francis Bacon∗ (1561-1626). William Harvey (1578-1657) discovered WILLIAM HARVEY blood circulation (1628). Thus.

the Stuart period. ∗∗ Charles’ s possessions included renaissance and contemporary masterpieces as Titian’ s Emperors. the development of three important styles can be noticed: Jacobean. Caravaggio’ s Death of the Virgin a. determining decisive forward moves. and developing. Andrea del Satro’s Holy Family. between the reigns of James I and Georges I.and. sometimes charming or interesting. Raphael’ s La Perla. Halley drew up in 1679. and had important discoveries in optics (Newton’s rings) as well. he has been considered the founding father of modern science∗ in physics.s. As regards arts. a catalogue of the stars in the South hemisphere (Catalogus Stellarum Australum) and even. He also stated three fundamental laws of mechanics called after his name. By about the first quarter of the 17th century (1620-1625) most of the greater aristocracy had built or rebuilt their houses. Newton’s work continued to represent the basis of scientific development in the field of physics. Mantegua’ s Triumph of Caesar. was one of the richest and most interesting in England. who had bought land and needed new houses) who were to play a greater role in the national development. (including merchants. His friend. at his time. ∗ Until Einstein’s discoveries. Charles I was the most enthusiastic and discerning patron of arts. . from that moment on. the lesser aristocracy and squirearchy. at the same time.o. built many houses. With reference to architecture. its impetus came from both the Court and the upper classes. the existence of which he had announced in 1706. containing some of the most vigorous and beautiful expressions of the British genius. classical and baroque. assembling a collection of pictures and works of art unequalled up to him∗∗. the astronomer Edmund Halley (1656-1742) became famous for the tracking of a comet in 1758 (Halley’s Comet). A large quantity of works of art was produced. the interest in the field of astronomy was considereable at that time. the famous architect Christopher Wren was Professor of astronomy at Oxford. and led to the discovery of the geometric movement of stars and planets in the same EDMUND HALLEY direction of interest. Correggio’ s Allegories. a perfect taste for art.

drew their inspiration from Palladio’s careful study of ancient buildings still existing in Rome. made friends with the highest in the land. It was a continuation of the Elizabethan style combined with renaissance-classical elements. The style was enthusiastically readopted in England in the 18th century being used especially for the construction of houses more than for public buildings. these buildings were not only decorated. becoming a pioneer of the classical style in England’s architecture. “a palazzo” in Whitehall. the architects being Thomas Holt or John Ackroyd. The classical style. Inigo Jones’s chief surviving houses are at Greenwich. imported from Flanders. characterized in their planning by a decline in importance of the great hall specific to medieval time. but of the theories of design and of the works by leading Italian architects. and of planning in the manner of the Renaissance buildings: the hall is a central vestibule with other rooms leading out of it. mixed and rather extravagant. he was genius enough to considerably adapt that style to English conditions of climate and taste.The majority of the country houses built before the Civil War followed a line of development originating in the Jacobean architecture. The real Palladian masterpiece by Inigo Jones is the Banqueting House (1622). with mouldings having classical profiles. and made serious studies not only of Italian buildings. with their somewhat rigidly antique Roman style. Queen’s House is Jones’s first demonstration of Palladianism. Pupil of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio of Vicenza. proportions and details coming from the Imperial Roman architectural author Vitruvius. but also planned in the full manner of the Italian Renaissance. its details deriving from Palladian villas. etc. The style. was used at Halfield (1607-1611) built by Robert Lyminge for Robert Cecil. interesting especially for the treatment of brick in a new way. England’s best example of an architectural fashion fully accepted only in the next century. as for example: Kew Palace and Broome Hall near Canterbury (around 1630). monumental composition. a Londoner of humble origin. Jones was truly influenced by him. Palladianism. Many other buildings of the same type can be found. and at Wilton. had a direct connection with Inigo Jones’s∗ buildings. . However. Inigo Jones was also the architect of the Covent Garden piazza. the Queen’s House. and from palaces in Vicenza. The Palladian architects. He paid formative visits to Italy and France. combined with the very precise instructions of planning. showing a great understanding of Italian models.. or for building the bizarre Bodlehein library (1610-1630). It is a serene. count of Salisbury. more “barn like” and indeed called by him a ∗ Ingo Jones (1573-1652).

During this period. William Talman (1650-1719) designed wonderful country-houses. Kensington Palace. the architect who dominated the period was Christopher Wren (1632-1723). Wren found a balance between the classical. demolished. and geometrically laid out as a rectangular square. His buildings represent British national treasures. in Cambridge he designed two colleges (Pembroke and Emmanuel) and the Trinity College Library. and with a great flexibility of mind as an artist. and at Oxford the well-known Tom Tower. students of Inigo Jones. Besides being of an intrinsic value. with a steady weakening of the dependence on Italian Renaissance and with strong baroque elements appearing in architecture and decoration. St. Royal Naval College. Fountain Court and many others. and include Marlborough House. Wren was also a mathematician and a scientist. were Roger Pratt (1620-1685) and Hugh May (1621-1684). His name was closely connected with the restoration of St. the country-house building showed either the persistence of the of type old design. whose main works were. the building was a novelty in London of that time. gothic (Tom Tower) and baroque (St. (Trinity College Library). in 1666. for the flood of invention they offered. However. Many projects designed by Wren can be found in London. his work being extremely important for the understanding of Wren’s character as an architect. being famous at his time. .“Tuscan Barn”. unfortunately. Paul’s) ones. Royal Hospital. Paul’s Cathedral and of other churches in London after the Great Fire. As regards his style. endowed with a surpassing ability as an engineer. or the introduction of the grandiose baroque elements. Towards the end of the century. these building were of major importance in his career. Other two important architects. Paul’s Cathedral and by which an immense practical experience was gained. arcaded in the Italian manner. a change of emphasis took place in English architecture.

Characterized as “an individual genius”. creating and introducing into the country a completely new range of expressions and conventions. including not only Hilliard’s name. “Dido and Aeneas” is Purcell’s opera in which he . while William Dobson was known as Serjeant-Painter at Charles I’ s Court. but also of his epigones. As regards sculpture. Purcell extended the “Ode”. representing a joyful verse-anthem composed to welcome or celebrate a special event. side by side with architectural sculpture. Purcell produced. who spent a part of their life there. Among those who produced important works of art were sculptors as Bushnell. dominated by the full baroque style. simple and worldly. including full anthems and verse anthems solo songs. in his short life. whose style was realistic. especially in the later part of the 17th century. over forty Restoration plays had songs composed by him. a considerable amount of religious and secular music. Cibber or Francis Bird. he also provided five “musicals”. duets and catches in the French style. it became. the name which dominated the century was Henry Purcell (1659-1695). more closely linked with continental art. Cibber is known especially for carving the relief at the base of the Monument celebrating the Great Fire. Tomb sculpture continued to represent the material in which the history of English sculpture can be discovered. Samuel Cooper (1608-1672) was considered a great English portrait painter. but a few important secular statues are also available. A modern and competent school of portrait painting grew up in London. a specific English style in music.The type of painting representative for the English artists continued to be the miniature. all of them offering the image of the artistic creation of the time. Isaac Oliver (1565-1617) being one of the best known. A great contribution to the development of portrait painting in England was brought by the two titans Peter Paul Rubens (1557-1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). an HENRY PURCELL adaptation of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. In music. one of them being Fairy Queen.

His best comedies are “Volpone” (1606) and “The Alchemist” (1610). The 17th century witnessed a vast and diverse literary production.experimented dissonance and created bizarre effects. Shakespeare. including “The Tempest” (1611) represented a quiet acceptance and ultimate reconciliation with life as a fitting close for his SHAKESPEARE literary career. “Anthony and Cleopatra” (1606) and looking deeply into the human soul. “A King and No King” etc. and from poetry to diary. Their plays reveal morally dubious situations. “Macbeth”. and in which he satirized various manners considered unproper BEN JONSON for the prevailing standards of good sense and moderation. Jonson is important in the English drama especially due to his comedies. the future development of the English drama. Francis Beaumon (1584-1616) and John Fletcher (1579-1625). “Hamlet” (1601). “Othello” (1604). reversals of fortune and so on. written with verve and imagination. in which sentimentality was combined with hollow rhetoric. His effort was directed towards improving drama as a form of literature. shaping. although they had been written much earlier. from drama to prose. A cultivated person (translated Horatio’s work) he wrote both comedies and tragedies. collaborated in writing a number of tragicomedies: “Philaster”. “The Maid’s Tragedy”. in his turn. generally connected with Elizabethan age. His last plays. His sonnets were published in 1609. perpetuated his greatness in the 17th century producing his famous tragedies. Ben Jonson (1572-1677) was an influential figure of his time. . contributing to the English music future development. in which he created witty portraits of contemporary London life. “King Lear” (1605). and he advocated adherence to classical forms and rules.

In the period between 1640 and the Restoration. “Absalom and . force and fullness of tone. he was famous especially for his political satires. whose last representative he was. thus before becoming involved with the Puritan cause.Poetry included a significant number of poets. his poetry impressed the readers by the grandeur. which were somehow specific to the Elizabethans. the last work of the blind poet was published. For the first period poets as Michael Drayton (1563-1631). beginning his literary career with a declared preference for graver subjects drawn from classical mythology. where baroque elements can be detected. “A Mask” (1634) and the pastoral elegy of Lycidas JOHN MILTON (1637). Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) or Richard Lovelace (1618-1658) can be mentioned. in the period prior to the revolution. in 1671. a form of poetic genre dominant of the age. Milton evolved towards modified forms in “Paradise Lost”. being the accepted literary authority of his time. John Donne (1571-1631). and the Neoclassic Age. “On Shakespeare” (1630). which showed both his humanist learning and poetic genius. and verged on neoclassicism in “Samson Agonists”. he produced remarkable poems as “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity” (1629). Although he wrote odes. and others after the Restoration. His work covered both historical periods. at the same time. but. Milton wrote fourteen poems and the dramatic poem “Samson Agonists” of religious inspiration. “Paradise Regained”. Milton’ s massive literary achievement stands out as a connection between the age of Renaissance. published in 1667/1674. John Milton (1608-1674). some of them writing in the first half of the century. it expressed the new age by achieving a new clarity and an impersonal atmosphere of JOHN DRYDEN moderation and good taste. “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso” (1631). Another important poet of the second half of the century was John Dryden (1631-1700). Out of them. John Milton could be considered of special importance. it is also the period when he started to work on the blank-verse epic “Paradise Lost”.

“Travel is a part of education”. and clear style defined the tone of his age. 205-206]. His first essays (“Essays or Counsels. Bacon moved philosophical approach to a new . “All for Love. Civil and Moral”) (1597-1625) are advice to be followed in any circumstances. It is difficult to make a clear-cut distinction between his literary and philosophical works. revised issue in Latin (1623) and “Novum Organum” (1620). which represented the translation of the Bible into English from a Hebrew version. his heroic tragedies “The Conquest of Granada” (1670). intentionally sacrificed. As regards prose. or The World Well Lost” (1678). Some of them. Bacon’ s vast work is represented by a trilogy consisting of “The Advancement of Learning” (1605). Dryden also wrote prose: “Essay of Dramatic Poesie” (1668). where his easy. preserving their interest even today [29. showed the dominant trait of all Restoration tragedy: the desire to achieve surprise and splendour on the stage. as “The remedy is worse than the disease”. Thus. dense with aphorisms. who remained in the history of British culture for his activity as essayist and philosopher. the bulk of Dryden’s work was in drama. the most significant writing of the century was considered King James Bible. Among the prose writers. obtained by the display of exotic places and extravagant plots presented on a rather bombastic style.Achitophel” (1681/82) and “MacFlecknoe” (1682) are his most remarkable poems of this type. also known as “The Authorized Version”. the most impressive figure of the century was Francis Bacon (1561-1620). an attack to Aristotle’ s concept on knowledge. “De Argumentis Scientiarum”. p. “Histories make men wise” are often quoted. “Knowledge is power”. but always with a deep moral meaning. and a proposal for a “new instrument” of work (the experiment) in the reform of mind and scientific investigation. on the account of the reality of characterization and consistency in motivation. Anyway. sometimes borrowed from the classics. informal.

the monarch [29. but his main achievement is considered “Leviathan” (1651). in English (1629). it is centred on the idea that man is a rebellious being who must be saved from self-destruction (homo homini lupus) by the setting of a commonwealth which he should willingly join. and later. whose work “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” (1690) JOHN LOCKE . James Harrington (1611-1677) with his utopia “The Commonwealth of Oceana”. p. Locke. Bacon also wrote an utopia “New Atlantis”. the monarch should rule not by divine right. According to Leo Strauss. Hobbes is the father of modern political philosophy. Bertrand Russell) or highly admired (Newton. One of them was John Locke (1632-1704). Isaac Walton (1593-1683) with a work on fishing “The Compleat Angler”. being the founder of the theory on constitutional monarchy. Hooke) Bacon can be considered as the founder of the British empiric philosophical school. 1748). Thus. Other prose writers of the first half of the century worth mentioning are: Robert Burton (1577-1640). by advocating reasoning in any form of human thought. but by an original and indissoluble social contract. in 1660. on the condition of observing some pre-established rules. in order to secure universal peace and material welfare. improved by a superior authority having absolute but not arbitrary power. later. his concept being followed and pushed forward by other philosophers as Hobbes. printed firstly in Latin (1627). whose main work was “The Anatomy of Melancholy” (1621). Berkeley. according to Hobbes. and. Either criticized (Kant.direction. Boyle. an encyclopedic spirit. a work of political philosophy. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) deserves special mention. was roughly used as model in the construction of the Royal Society. left unfinished at Bacon’ s death. The work. David Hume (“An Enquiring Concerning the Human Understanding”. 211]. Thomas Fuller (1606-1661) who wrote “The History of the Worthiest of England” (1662). The second half of the century witnessed the emergence of other important prose writers. Among them. one year after the writer’ s death. he wrote “Elements of Law” and “Elementa philosophiae”.

who wrote works on different topics. the real Protestant movement started to express loudly during the century. “Diary”. He wrote only one work. The revolution in thought. . and new religious groups came into existence. to a heavenly city. The 17th century literature is considered remarkable not only because of its fiction. Badman” (1680) the narratives present the moving. in the beginning. also influenced the religious life of Britain. a special popularity among merchants. often presented with humour and irony. and to the limits of human understanding. John Bunyan’ s (1628-1688) main works “The Pilgrim’ s Progress from this World to That Which is to Come” was written in prison (1678-1684) where he spent twelve years of his life. due to senses (“Nihil fuerit in intellectu quin fuerit in sensu”). There is a really deep characterization of life in both his works. the directness and colour of the description. or religious works. Due to the minute details it offers. and an opportunity of describing his contemporaries’ way of being in the part called “Vanity Fair”. Together with his second work “The Life and Death of Mr. Christian. but who was mostly appreciated for his “Kalenderium” (discovered in 1818). It is an allegory of his character’ s journey.was highly appreciated by Votaire. The treaty consists of four books in which he rejected the theory of inborn knowledge. the vast area of events observed. and published in 1815. considering that its source is experience. but also for its memoirs. especially. 230]. artisans and the poor. science. death and religion. convering the period between 1660 and 1669. The two important representatives of the genre were John Evelyn (1620-1706). Pepy’s Diary remained a unique achievement of its kind [29. and also much vitality which attained. and art. and especially Samuel Pepys (l633-1703). philosophical. a document by which the second half of the 17th century could be perfectly known. Lock’s work was the product of the belief in experience as the exclusive basis of knowledge. allegorical journey of the human being at the level of the fundamental truths of life. p. he also referred to the problem of language. which characterized the 17th century development in politics.

latter on. An important contribution to these events was brought by the translation of the Bible. Their desire was to start a new life in a new place. who. in the 18th century. where they hoped to live a new life of freedom. and they decided to leave Britain for the new land of America. managed to survive. However. many of the members of these groups were not able to bear the opposition showed to them. in spite of the opposition met. The most important of them were the Baptists and the Quakers. ∗ Thus. For the first time. which encouraged its reading by all those who were able to read. when the “Pilgrim Fathers” embarked The Mayflower to reach Massachusetts. leading to the formation of a large number of new religious groups. Until the end of the 19th century. some of them started to interpret the Bible in a new revolutionary way. or. which continued with the Catholic families who settled in Maryland for similar religious reasons. a chance never hoped on the old land. . owe much to the religious non-conformism of the 17th century. according to the new and rather non-conformist trends in thought. having an important impact on the nation’ s life∗. the Quakers gave hope to the poor and powerless developing a reforming social activity. especially among the merchant class and lesser gentry. such a decision was made in 1620. these groups were not liked by the ruling classes in Britain. It was the beginning of the British emigration. in spite of their positive work and attitude. with the hundred of thousands of young people who left the country for economic reasons. trade unionism and different social reforms which occurred.The influence of the Puritanism grew considerably.

Newfoundland and Hudson’s Bay. the country was prosperous and cohesive. ever more people were employed in industries. as a consequence of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). however. and demonstrating. in spite of some controversies in political issues. The Years of Reforms and “Revolutions”. and their way of life because of the new practice of enclosures. besides. Britain’s governments had carried a deliberate policy of creating a trading empire whose routes were protected and controlled by a strong navy. Britain’s economy was still based on agriculture. the strongest in the world. Minorca. enough food for the whole population to be fed. the wealth was. it had also got trading concessions in the Spanish New World. Inside. homes. basically.2. at that time. Britain was already considered a leading European country and an imperial power. however. but. the society was not totally polarized.10 Britain in the Early Stage of the Modernization Process.c. from its large new trading empire. the extent of its wealth. mainly. Nova Scotia.10. Although a wealthy state. unequally distributed. All these aspects were . with colonies in Gibraltar. the middle classes being well represented. many of them being obliged to leave their land.1 Britain in the First Half of the 18th Century: Economic. although there were some categories of people suffering starvation and hunger related diseases. of the population. Continuity and Change – Characteristic Features of British Culture and Civilization 2. and Political Life of the Country At the beginning of the 18th century. obvious in the fighting between the Whig and Tory parties. in most Britain’s regions there was. one third of the national income belonging to only 5 p. Anyway. with a growth of production noticed during the period. the general situation secured social stability in the country. which had resulted from the growth of its industries. but. in this way. proving that it had been able to pay for the wars on the continent.

but of the raw materials and means of production demanded for the exchanges with the wider world. the industrial revolution. had dictated the changes. by taxation. besides. after the discovery and colonization of North America. determining the setting up of factories in town and cities. thus. and to large scale cattle/sheep raising. separation and specialization of certain social functions. in 1714. while their revenues had increased. which. whish provided the raw material for the wool industry and the big centralized markets. under the name of George I. whose main purpose was no longer the supply of the necessary means of subsistence. namely the “free-market principle”. Manchester. structures and institutions and which explains the configuration and tendencies of the modern/contemporary world [46. this centralized control diminished towards the end of the century. they proved that the process of the country’s modernization∗ had already begun. resulting from science advancement. which completely subordinated production to money interests at the market level. Thus. 58]. Later on. later on. which had destroyed the old “cottage-type industries”. it continued to be under the control of “Companies”. the national income of the 18th country. it was the consequence of the small-scale agrarian economy turning into a latifundarian one. At the same time. the first change which had taken place in agriculture meant the transition from farmland cultivation and cattle raising on farms. in fact. The development of these industries led to the growth of important towns as Glasgow. represented the stimulus for a series of economic/trade and legislative ∗ Process that refers to the irreversible differentiation. elector of Hanover became king of Great Britain. Birmingham or Liverpool. however. some of the wool and linen fabric industries were replaced with cotton weaveries. to enclosed land cultivation. surplus oriented one.obvious in the British society at the moment when Georg Ludwig. the country’s economy had changed from a subsistence type economy to a multiple exchange. p. and the farmers and their families driven off the land (because of a new period of enclosures) came to town becoming the working “proletariat”. As regards trade. the social structure had begun to change as well. largely developed in England. the situation was the result of the invention of new machinery. . being replaced with a new trade principle connected with the market selfregulation.

with the setting up of the first enclosures. the best possible means was represented by sea/water.reforms. large amounts of raw materials were required for their running. 1400). in industrial related activities as mining. the heavy/ high-energy ones. 16th century. In the early stages of modernization. the American Virginia Company. the state (in the person of the monarch) gradually became the chief guarantee and manager of production. the South Sea Company. ∗ The denomination of first trade companies reminded the guild names (e.: the company of Merchant Adventurers. politically modernized as well. The different stages of development meant the growth of industries. Thus. which included. such as casting iron or smelting metals in foundries. East India Company. ore extraction or shipping. both as “patron” of some groups of entrepreneurs. and trade facilitated the supplies from remote regions. specialized. 17th century). the series of events that shaped the British civilization of the 18th century represented some chain transformations which had started very early in England. supporting the development of trade companies business. while the next companies mirrored the geographical location of the trade area (Muscovy Company. . Under the new economic conditions. for Britain. the administration of these activities was delegated to a system of national trade companies∗ and other bodies. West Indies Company. the military fleet of the Middle Ages. 15th century. convenient in many ways: safer. and culminated with trade supremacy as “backbone” of British economic development. Guinea Company. turned into the Renaissance both military and buccaneers’ fleet. Levant Company. became in the 17th-18th centuries an international commercial fleet. cheaper and more feasible than land transportation. the growth of transportation became necessary for carrying either the raw materials or the goods produced. besides those already mentioned. Consequently.g. and the beneficiary of taxation coming from them. transportation and trade. dealing in woollen cloth. in their turn. As a result. which turned the commercial and moneyed middle classes into the real and official power of the society. 1600. Barbary Company.

s. founded in 1711. was keen enough. already applied to some ministers during Queen Ann’s reign and frequently used in Walpole’s time. although the inner fight for supremacy between the two parties. Politically.o. The moment was difficult. and Parliament demanded an investigation of the financial scandal. at the moment of George I’s coming to the crown. ∗∗∗ The title. Thus. was. besides. a fact obvious in the way in which he handled the “South Sea Bubble”∗∗∗∗. Tories and Whigs. For raising money. a trading and finance institution. [46. 62] ∗∗ They were known under the name of “Jacobites”. East Indies. the company planed to sell shares. an able manager of financial matters. ∗∗∗∗ The affair was the result of the people’s interest in investing their money in financial matters. an extremely able politician.) which represented a very attractive investment. and supported the return of James II’s son to England. making the share price grow incredibly and ungroundedly. . a real madness seized those who. protectionist tariffs etc. more or less. greedy and entirely Whig”. Walpole used his ability to minimize the scandal and Parliament inquiry. of the commerce prices at the national level. Inevitably. and thousands of people who had invested their money in the business found themselves ruined. some Tories∗∗ disagreed the idea of having him king. Walpole dominated Britain’s political life for a period of ∗ There were passed laws for the control of the workers’ wages. Among the new ministers. and one year later. became an official title only in the early 20th century. the state seemed stable. the crash came with the shares price falling dramatically. The Whig administration supported the action offering the company in exchange. as James III. was offered the occasion to get rid of them entrusting the whole administration of the realm to the Whigs. Robert Walpole was to become an important political figure of the century.while Parliament was called to vote the economic and administrative laws∗ by which the working of the system was held under control. which. Such a company was the South Sea Company. which had raised the possibility of some members of the government and Royal family be implicated in the disaster. for the protection of certain foreign groups of entrepreneurs and their settlement in England. “shrewd. mostly interested in European affairs who did not particularly liked the Tories whom he considered “insular”. could afford buying them. in 1719. the trading companies doing business in the newly developing geographic areas (West Indies. The movement was not an inspired one. offered to take over a large part of the national debt managed by the Bank of England. Robert Walpole. p. a German. as their rebellion was easily defeated. and George I. a serious shortage of money followed in the country. the monopoly rights to trading in the South Seas. a. Considered Britain’s first Prime Minister∗∗∗.

p. in this way. namely to the majority forming Parliament (the House of Commons). while Parliament. the political power in the country was stabilize and the Hanoverian dynasty was helped to become well settled in Britain. and the rule was introduced that any minister deeply disagreeing with the rest of the ministers had to resign. 108]. But it was the king’s obligation to “choose” the ministers. One of Walpole’s main achievements in political management was the idea of all ministers working together and constituting. a “team” responsible for all political decisions made. in its turn. thus. to remove or change laws. and whose members belonged to one of the two main parties. was responsible to the electorate who had voted for one of the two parties that had put forward candidates for election. that at the moment when he began his political career. as ROBERT WALPOLE well as his dependency on Parliament for his financial income and army. although it belonged. Britain was already laid on strong foundations of peace and wealth. to the same extent. . Thus. it is no less true. As regards the relations between government and the crown. managing to restore the public confidence into financial matters. These limitations included the king’s interdiction to be a Catholic. It was for the first time that measures were taken in order to “make companies responsible to the public for the money which they borrowed by the sale of shares [25. to Parliament. being considered by some historians as “the architect of political stability in Britain”. and foreign policy. The team was called “Cabinet”. he took firm steps for avoiding the recurrence of such events in future. due to Walpole’s domestic. at the respective time. However. and the political classes ruling Britain at the beginning of the 18th century did their best to be sure that the power of the king would always be limited by the constitution.twenty years (1722-1742). they had been settled by the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Britain already possessed a constitutional structure by which the “executive” Crown was responsible to the House of Commons.

It is worth mentioning that not only his political opponents. However. resisted the military involvement in continental Europe by carrying a skilful economic policy. But his most important political enemy was William Pitt “The Elder”. Walpole’s policy was often criticized by his contemporaries who considered that he had got too much power. and many historians speak about the existence of “a government responsible to and ultimately controlled by the people” [12. Jonathan Swift. p. However. a point of view sometimes debatable. a desideratum never attained. chocolate) brought to Britain from the new colonies and consumed by the rich. ∗ They were centered around the journal „The Craftsman” widely read in the political circles. but due to his political abilities preserved his position even during the reign of George II. the national debt could not be covered. . 192]. which could lead to corruption and the loss of liberty. (the Tory MPs and the group of Whig dissidents who had confederated against him). ∗∗ The same opinion was expressed by Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) who wrote: “Trade is the wealth of the world. in spite of the high taxes levied on luxury goods (tea. between one nation and another”.In this way. Alexander Pope. in spite of political innovation and important achievements. but also the most gifted writers∗ of the time. Henry Fielding and others took attitude against him. coffee. although. and. in hope that government could finally pay back the money borrowed and get rid of the national debt. who considered that trade represented the main activity able to make Britain the most important economic power in the world∗∗. the government income raised. His conception made Britain be involved in the war with France. in the second half of the century. its most important trade competitor. Walpole became very unpopular. Trade makes the difference between rich and poor. the political debate and action had moved from the Court to Parliament. Walpole enjoyed the support of the crown. for many years. who he had initially planned to dismiss him.

Walpole’s decisions started. had. only adult males had the right to vote. often met with riots and demonstrations coming from some groups of discontented ones. His decisions. the Jacobite army was finally defeated at Culloden. in northern Scotland (April 16. ∗ The electoral system in Britain was far from being democratic at that time. which he had switched to the consumption of luxuries.Walpole’s long political career and the important position held. 1746).5 million in 1720 to £ 64 million in 1740). although in larger constituencies the voice of the public opinion was loud enough to be heard. However. In the “rotten boroughs” constituencies with 100 – 50 voters bribery was widespread. It was an event worth being remembered as it represented the last major land battle to take place in Great Britain. as regards the persons eligible for election as MPs. . even anachronistic. to be viewed as dubious. a situation which caused much disillusionment and anger among those who had expected that with Walpole’s fall a revolution in government and society would take place. they should possess land worth £600/annum for county constituencies and £300/ annum in case of borough constituencies. the decision to keep the land tax at a low rate made the landed class support him. but the political events which followed his resignation meant only the reshuffling of the state employments among his former opponents. as a result. in support of the Stuarts’ restoration. thus. He encouraged trade by abolishing some customs duties. but with a greatly reduced majority. at a given moment. The major event which occurred in the period 1745-1746 was the Jacobite rebellion. (1741). Walpole resigned in 1742 and “his age” came to an end. After some initial victories and a short incursion in Scotland and northern England. Power was closely connected with the possession of property. national prosperity and the growth of national product (from £57. announcing the end of his career. and only if they possessed some residential property. were supported by others who were satisfied with them. as well as agriculture by diminishing taxation from land. in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (the young pretender). and his political power started to decline as well. in spite of his winning the general election∗.

40 p. also influential in society. At the top. ∗ According to the economist of the time Joseph Massie. greater gentry) many of them belonging to the peerage (about 70 families). which began with the Hanoverian succession.2. and to organize civil defence in time of war. and merchants and landed gentlemen in towns. great landlords. the society was still represented by landed aristocracy. and to the development of the urban areas. All these positions carried no salary (it is obvious that the respective persons were prosperous ones) but they were looked upon with much consideration. ∗∗ Lord lieutenants were the crown’s representatives in the territory. its composition and quality changing considerably during the respective period. It was also the landlords who had monopolized the office of lord lieutenant∗∗. besides the aristocrats. they were assisted by deputy lieutenants and JPs. This landed elite held the dominant position of power in both central and local government. those who had got rich as the result of the foundation of the Bank of England (1694) and of other financial institutions/companies. of the population represented the bottom of the society which survived on less than 14 p. . setting the cultural background of the time. witnessed important developments in Britain’s social life. and possessed more than half of the cultivable land in Britain. offices held by squires and lesser gentry in the countryside. they were the representatives of the mercantile families. there was another important new category of wealthy people. being appointed by the king. The three top categories of his estimation continued to be closely connected to land. But.c. of the nation’s income. (peers. Changes in the People’s Life Style The first half of the 18th century. These changes referred mainly to the categories of people included in the upper classes. being locally influential. which carried with it hereditary titles and the right to sit in the House of Lords.2 British Society by the Mid 18th Century. those who had made fortunes either on the stock markets or due to the expansion of trade and industry. important discrepancies continuing to exist between the rich and the poor∗. their responsibility was to maintain law and order in the county under their control.10. Many of them had bought landed estates to boast their wealth. or had built smart houses/villas in towns or in the countryside.c. while the countryside preserved its general aspect and conditions.

in cottages. armchairs. the general growing prosperity determined a higher demand for leisure and luxury industries (porcelain china. newspapers. which had remained predominantly rural regions. They were represented by small merchants. toys.) which. preserving their old values. The opinion could not be but true for large areas. or East Anglia.000/annum while the workers on his land were paid £15 a year. and British aristocracy had less power over the poor than elsewhere. such as the Scottish Highlands. ∗ An information on the discrepancies existing in society is offered by the amount of income of the duke of Newcastle. Wales /. 115]. while. ∗∗ The social conditions were better in Britain. real opportunities in professions as law. and unemployed who needed even the basic commodities∗∗ for a decent life.. fine mirrors. It goes without saying that the new consumer goods which embellished the life of the well-off were beyond the reach of the poor. the fact was due to the large number of shops which had proliferated in Britain at a fast rate. but also in the rural areas. in comparison with other European countries. artisans a. p. Similarly. offered increasing job opportunities. school teaching. side by side with commerce and different industries development. the historians argue that only a minority could enjoy the advantages of the new jobs developed with the new consumer goods as the great majority of the population continued to live in the countryside. Napoleon had described Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. vagrants. medicine. cellars or caves∗. on the other hand. the social classes could mixed freely together. there were in the country beggars. and it was easier to move up and down the social “ladder” [12. However.o. professionals.The period by the mid 18th century was also important because it offered the middle-income groups the opportunity to increase in number. Besides.s. . However. banking or government services. some agricultural or industrial labourers lived in precarious conditions. on the one hand. Not accidentally. ways and traditions. starting even with the end of the 17th century. and which was of £100. the goods which characterized a style of life specific to “modern age” could be seen not only in towns. tradesmen. toys or jewels could not have taken place without an existing demand for the respective goods. the mountainous central region/. Undoubtedly. etc. imposing and smart town houses or villas were built up for the rich ones. highly expanded during that period of time. in their turn. Such proliferation of shops selling even goods as buttons. Thus.

000 people. 70]. Looking in that way. safer. being unique in its size and numerous functions it had. with new theatres. the towns became better organized. [53. the streets were cut wider to afford the horse-drawn vehicle to pass each other. . Starting with the 18th century the preoccupation and effort to make towns cleaner and healthier became permanent. assembly rooms and famous coffee-houses. and made Samuel Johnson express his famous remark “when a man is tired of London. he is tired of life.The paradox of “change in continuity”. with good supplies of clean water and with a ∗ The sanitation conditions in towns up to the respective time had been really awful: there had been no clearing system. growing in size and importance∗∗. the City of London was beyond all praise. debating societies and spontaneous political activities. the towns were real centres of disease. It was a political centre. an economic and financial centre because of the numerous institutions active in trade. ∗∗ By 1750. which affected mainly the poor population. in London). As a result of the new attitude. and the results were obvious. besides. about two metres wide. it was the home of the printing industry producing newspapers and books. and muddy. which had become so clean and tidy that it was considered “the wonder of Europe”. finance or industries. and a system of street lightening (1734. The best example was London. the hub of the communication network. payable by each house owner. pleasant places to live in. many towns asked Parliament to allow them the introduction of a local tax. as. there were 17 towns in Britain with a population of more than 10. street cleaning and social services was introduced in the British towns. and a cultural centre. libraries. and which was designed to local urban improvements. the streets were narrow. being the location of the Court and of Parliament. As a consequence. only one child in four living to become an adult. It had been the local authorities determination to take such steps. “Local authorities” became more seriously involved in the towns’ correct development and their level of sanitation∗: thus. For there is in London all that life can afford”. with sophisticated urban planning and architecture. It was estimated that the young people suffered the consequences. the towns smelling bad with the dirt left in the street and seldom removed. as well. p. Other provincial towns in Britain developed at a similar rate. the base for clubs. characterizing British society is very well mirrored in the urban and countryside development. with insurance companies and fire fighting systems able to protect the citizens against the risk of destruction.

At that moment. and with the type of crop being the decision of the villagers. damaging from the social point of view. Thus. p. farming could be considered a profitable business due to the possible improvements introduced and to the interest showed in the new farming methods. money which had come either from profits made from trade. In many cases the impact was negative.cultural life of their own. by which the old method of the land being left to rest for every three years was replaced. the land enclosure was not done for sheep raising as it had happened in Tudors’ time. or from investments in coal mines. as the villagers were simply sent off the land when it was enclosed. its change had become a necessity. could afford to eat white wheat bread” [25. represented an important development which raised productivity and made possible the growing of animals all the year round. the growing number of schools set up both in towns and surrounding countryside deserving special mention. They were changed into a landless class. but for mixed animal and cereal growing. with a village placed in the middle of three or four fields. the method of growing root crops. 118]. iron works or other industries. and that was mainly due to the new policy of enclosures∗. but. the influential and money-possessing people succeeded to persuade the MPs to pass a law through Parliament allowing them to take over common land and to enclose it. which was possible because of the new farming methods. including the poor. to a certain extent. and their homes were destroyed. as a first result. animal food and wheat in three successive years. The increased productivity had. . the change was determined by the greater landlords’ desire to invest their large amounts of money on land. Thus. and which meant a higher and more efficient food production. and it is said that “for the first time everyone. in the 18th century. some of them getting some work with the ∗ Until the beginning of the 18th century most farming was still carried out in the old traditional system. the old traditional farming system did not allow the efficient and large-scale introduction of these new methods. enclosures were. However. Therefore. the introduction of the “seed drill” had made fields easier to weed. By mid 18th century life in the countryside had changed as well. an improvement of the people’s life. In spite of the positive results expected from this policy.

and “one of the most controversial British kings” [53. the grandson of the former king. anyway. to marry. while a large part of them became unemployed. “Men and women moved about to seek pleasure. less interested in Hanover’s problems and more preoccupied with the British matters. and their ideas or impressions shifted over time” [53. a new king succeeded to the crown of Britain. Thus. eager to take an active part in governing the country. 71]. he was George III. The years of “revolutions” and change. There was an intensive trade between towns and villages. dependent upon the assistance given by the parishes. seven governments being changed. p. The first 10 years of this reign were characterized by a marked instability of administration. and there were many instances when people employed in different urban activities preferred to live in the countryside where they had build their houses. However. they were those who controlled Parliament as well. Conflicts abroad and trade dominance In 1760. taking advantage of the better roads or coach services offered on the hand. his ministers had been chosen according to the old and well settled practices from among the aristocrats. to do business. those who benefited from the new farming policy enjoyed improved life-styles. the contacts between town and village increased. either for settling different personal business or for pure entertainment. although it was supposed that . 2. showing the dynamism of the British society at the respective time. 72]. George III was the first member of the Hanoverian dynasty born in England. and the difference between the two environments tended to diminish. others finding work in towns by providing the labour force which made possible the industrial revolution. the country landowners used to spend some months a year in the neighbouring provincial towns or in London. During the first years of his reign. or to find work.3 Britain in the second half of the 18th century.10.new farming class. p. the towns and countryside were intermingled. to sell goods. Political institutions. The situation of this last category worsened in the following years.

His opinions were new and revolutionary. as well. Due to his organizational skill and well managed propaganda. Arrested for his opinions. Imprisoned “of state necessity” and tried in the court. Thus.000 represented towns or boroughs. mostly important. and. the fact made the king and his ministers extremely angry. its effects being felt in the American colonies. there were fewer than 250.000 represented counties and 85. and elected MP once again. p. in those days. 111]. those persons acted as they were asked. in many cases the boroughs were represented by a reduced number of people. was described as “an interesting. because of the way in which the elections were organized∗. and who were wanted by the rich and powerful people were elected to Parliament. “a martyr for liberty”. whose individual freedom was not assured. MP of a borough which he had bribed. while representation to Parliament was carried by two representatives for each county/borough irrespective of the number of voters. “free speech” representing one of the basic rights of every individual. He had issued a newspaper “North Briton” (1763). he was acquitted. a nation wide movement became active in Britain. being the result of elections. politics was still a matter of the gentry. and.this important institution was a democratic one. closely connected with the political aristocracy. Wilke’s victory proved that Parliament was not representative for the common people. and it is difficult to imagine elections as being “democratic”. out of which 160. tried again and declared an outlaw for impeding royal justice. controlled by a small number of very rich voters. and cheerfully immoral man” [53. However. In other words. . Wilkes was acquitted. Thus. the persons who generally belonged to the gentry. in their turn. 72].000 voters. ∗∗ John Wilkes (1727-1797). ∗ While Britain’s mid-century population was of eight million. the victory made him famous. so that only the favourite representatives of the respective groups became MPs. Wilkes claimed that politics should be open to free discussion by everyone. Such a situation caused the emergence of individuals like John Wilkes∗∗. it established essentially important principles in the history of mankind: first. John Wilkes was considered both in his country and in America. a Protestant dissenter. p. shattering the old behaviour and traditional attitude of the politicians. Leaving Britain for France he was expelled from the Commons. openly expressing his points of view. that “freedom of the individual is more important than the interests of the state” and second that nobody could be arrested without a proper reason” [25. bargains were possible between the powerful groups. and in one of its articles Wilkes addressed a strong attack against government. irresponsible. Returned to Britain.

now. At that moment France and Spain were powerful countries. traders. and to comment.The matter questioned referred to the supremacy of the decisions made by a Parliament elected by only a fraction of the people. Although at peace with France (1748). Leeds. in their newspapers. It was the beginning of “the age of public opinion”. have access to the important political matters of the time. The domestic instability with which the second half of the 18th century began in Britain was. and the British often stopped the French ships to reach or leave their ports. Foreign policy. and they had allied in 1733. Besides. and the right to vote for men of movable property (merchants. as. Thus. It was the beginning of a new age. The shaping of the people’s new attitude towards the way in which they were ruled had started. offering France a trade advantage over Britain. mainly. Their demands referred to parliamentary representation for some important new towns. Another important development which gave impetus to the movement was represented by the increasing number of newspapers printed between 1750-1770. in order to build the world strongest fleet with which they could keep the trading routes under their control and. (Birmingham. . Manchester) the abolition of rotten boroughs. professionals). Politics had ceased to be the monopoly of a certain social category. Political activities outside Parliament started to be organized. Harassment on either sides took place in the colonial settlements in North America. the people began to understand that they had the right to have a word to say in the state politics. possibly. for example. to take over the French trading positions overseas. the consequence of the conflicts which the nation had to face abroad. newspapers got the permission to send reporters to Parliament. West Indies and India. the “Society for the Supporters of the Bill of Rights” (1769) pressing for parliamentary reform. and their task was to inform their readers about the political events. the British continued to invest in their navy. the large number of literate people who had not the right to vote could. the decisions taken by the MPs.

and in 1757. during the reign of Queen Ann. and not for the first time.War broke out in 1756. especially among traders and merchants. later on. and besides. the Royal Navy had suffered a deterioration which could explain the subsequent weakness of the British army during the American revolution. Britain “was drunk with victory” which caused a feeling of patriotic exultation. Britain had become. as well the French trading centres on the west coast of Africa. as well as the necessity for the governments to face the situation with finding new fiscal opportunities. Maryland. In Canada. The novelty of the situation was that the new empire had extended beyond the bounds of Europe. British dominance over the world trade started to be imposed: two most profitable regions of India for European traders. the postwar period was difficult for the British explaining the inner conflicts and political instability. Bengal and Carnatic fell under the British control when the French army was defeated by the British East India Company army both in Bengal. in the south. of Catholics. they were to represent new markets for the British manufactured goods. Guadeloupe was restored to the French in return for Canada’s control. But one year later. the Island of Guadeloupe∗ was captured. ∗ As part of the Treaty of Paris. The new colonies were to provide fresh raw materials. when the French attacked the British at Minorca. the price paid by the nation for the purchase of these “gains” was high enough. where settlements had begun during the reign of James I with the search for new land which had moved an increasing population. Thus. near Madras. The Treaty of Paris (1763) was to confirm most of these gains which had followed the British victories. and. on the other hand. the French fleet was largely destroyed at the naval battle of Quiberon Bay. and of Quakers. followed. . by the emigration of religious dissidents who were seeking freedom to their worship or. among these colonies were Virginia. which was lost. as well as Oswego in North America. at that moment. A chain of colonies were settled along the eastern sea board. British control was effectively secured when Quebec fell. Carolinas. an imperial nation. One direction was North America. Anyway. beginning to extend inland towards the Appalachian mountains. in 1759. However. the British took their revenge over the French at the Battle of Plessey.

tobacco from Virginia. without a sudden take off being necessary for it after 1760-1780. The new British empire was organized in territorial units ruled by governors and councils which were appointed by the crown. . as employment in industry overtook agriculture only later. in spite of some intermittent difficulties as for instance the American colonies’ escape or the Napoleonic wars.10. but also by treaties with the local princess. Thus. Rhode Island and the English New York converted from the Dutch New Amsterdam after the British victory in the second Dutch War. Besides. the raw materials processed in the country’s industries (e. and started to control most of India. until its end. made Britain. the colonies providing. g. there were also representatives assemblies of the local inhabitants. 70]. As a result of the Seven Years War (1756-1763) with France. others argue that the term cannot be applied to the British economy of the respective period. not only by conquest. they say that the large factories became common in Britain in that period. Britain’s international trade continued to grow.: sugar from the West Indies. up to that moment predominantly agrarian. p. whose building started in the 18th century and continued in the next one. into a factory-based economy using technological changes and innovations. ∗ Important debates are carried by scholars in connection with the term of “Industrial Revolution” and the real period of its action over Britain’s territory.New England. while in the previous century (18th century) the average production unit did not employ more than 10 people. some scholars assert that industrialization had started in Britain even from the beginning of the 18th century. 2.4 The years of change and “revolutions” The years after 1760 witnessed major changes in the British society. in the 20th century [46. on the one hand. For the rest of the century. The empire. on the other hand. British expansion included Canada. Thus. India became the “jewel in the crown” of Britain’s possessions overseas. calicoes from India) and. in the second half of the 19th century. the world’s leading trading and manufacturing nation. when it had already become the most industrialized state of Europe. changes known under the name of “Industrial Revolution”∗ and which transformed a society. an important market where the British sold the goods they had produced.

and a speedy system of coaches secured the rapid travel for people. These systems of transportation made possible the economic success of the industrial revolution. Besides. Northumberland. among which the geographic position and the subsoil riches contributed to this economic development. Britain enjoyed perfect ways of communication including the natural ports facing the Atlantic. which were closely located in counties such as Staffordshire. The roads were also improved during the century. iron started to be used as building material. JAMES WATT . Yorkshire. with an accelerated economic growth towards the end of the 18th century. the first iron bridge was built over the river Severn (1779). and eight times more iron than it had done one century before. the high quality of the metal determining the development of other industries. or for the production of different objects or new machinery. Thus. John Wilkinson. giving an impetus to inventions and innovation never though of before. producing an engine with a turning motion. The replacement of wood with coal. Britain was also rich in coal and iron ore. as well as the first iron boats. Lancashire. The demand for coal and iron rapidly grew. a small compact island. A number of factors. and providing a cheap means of transport especially for goods. allowing Britain to make cheap cloth. and the weaving machine (1785) which revolutionized cloth making. made of iron and steel. found in large quantities. and James Watt greatly improved the steam engine. a man with a special confidence in the possibilities offered by iron. Britain had become the most industrialized country in the world. and Britain produced at the beginning of the 19th century four times more coal. for changing iron ore into steel or into high quality iron had as a result Britain’s positioning as the leading producer of iron in Europe. a whole system of inland canals was built during the 18th century connecting towns. thus. coastal shipping and a good system of internal waterways. New and large ironworks were set up in the country.By the beginning of the 19th century. which replaced the slow work of the hand spinners (1764). Other inventions included the spinning machine.

Besides. Wedgwood china continues to be largely appreciated even today. and. large and cheap quantities of goods could be quicker produced. There was. of the industrial revolution was the creation of a new social environment. Besides. Another industry which met with an unprecedented growth was the one producing china goods. the development of machinery determined the growth of the textile industry. with it. the colonies fed the newly set up industries with the necessary cheap raw materials. a positive juncture of circumstances which supporting one another. . determining the eight time growth of annual cloth production in Britain. the amount of new cotton brought from India highly increased in the second half of the 18th century. essential for the further industrial development. constituting the essence of what “industrial revolution” means. they had to keep work hours and rules established by factory owners. there was an expanding population at home.(The Lancashire cotton was sold everywhere in the world). at the same time. developing a new class. serving. It brought about he unprecedented growth of trade. as customers eager to purchase the processed goods. by using the locally found clay. ∗ A good example is the cotton textile industry. Thus. Another important consequence of the technological development. created huge advantage∗ for the nation’s growth. large quantities being exported. in the period 1770-1800. The most famous factories were those belonging to Wedgwood. Most of the production was consumed by the home market. and by the overseas market constituted of the larger number of colonies. as the demanded goods were easily produced for an ample supply of customers represented both by the home market. bringing in the workers’ mind the idea of “labour division”. the workers. at that moment. But this replacement meant a lot of people being put out of work and obliged to move to the industrial centres which offered them job opportunities in a new environment. being replaced with a “factory industry”. Thus. mainly constituted of a large number of prosperous people. and their high quality products became very popular. meaning both labour force and great demand. each machine developed only one working process. the former “cottage industry” practically disappeared. Thus. determining the “mass production” never thought of before. But the introduction and use of machines had diverse and important consequences.

Both children and women were employed in the industrial sectors. As a consequence. dangerous environmental pollution and machines often producing mutilating injuries. The government supported the factory owners. when the workers started to destroy the machines considered the cause of their losing the jobs. both adults and children being obliged to work for long hours. and larger families meant increased financial assistance. there were some families who made enormous private fortunes. the system being. were encouraged to pay even lower wages. but a large number of people painfully felt the dark side of early industrialization. . and the hard working conditions made their life quite miserable. The working conditions were hard. cheap labour force. getting. and the attacks against the machines became punishable by death. especially the handloom weavers. enclosures in agriculture. undoubtedly. It goes without saying that the social effects of industrialization were huge. There was enough labour force emerging from different sources (the ruin of “cottage industries”. practically.s. p. and a new law was passed in 1834 [25.o. sometimes even brutal. they asked for fair wages and reasonable working conditions. the national cost regarding the poor’s assistance doubled from 1790 to 1800 (from £2 million to £4 million). as long as the workers tried to join in self-assisting societies (forecasting the development of tradeunions) in order to protect themselves against the employers. a form of slavery. The workers received only food in return of their work. The act stipulated the obligation of the parishes to help those whose wages were extremely low with money taken from local taxes. in this way. A secondary effect of the Act was that it indirectly determined the growth of the population. A famous riot was that of the Luddites (1799). Finally. The act had disastrous effects. they were organized by the people left unemployed when their work was replaced by machines. The Act also brought to the building of the “parish houses” where the poor families were housed and fed. some businessmen thought about hiring these “work houses” and the people living there.). but the payment offered to them was extremely low. or even death.Another category which was practically ruined was that of some skilled craftsmen. the help was given to the families according to the number of children. There were also situations when riots occurred. the old Poor Law collapsed. At this point there is much debate among scholars in connection with the standard of the labouring people’s living conditions∗ but it is certain that it could not have been decent. the unprecedented growth of the population a. as the employers being aware of the parishes obligation. ∗ The existence of the “Speenhamland Act” is an example of how the social problems were solved in the 18th century. 118]. which badly diminished the payment offered to the workers. with minimal industrial safety.

. smuggling was limited by THE YOUNGER cutting import duties (especially for tea). between 1770-1790. In the last two decades of the century. Some decades were to pass until the existence of a full free trade.However. Two of his principles turned out to be of essential importance to the economic health and growth of the nation’s economy: the division of labour using specialized skills in the factory setting. but the foundations had been laid for the incipient practice of manufacturers. and that the results of industrialization had been positive. Britain’s economic situation at the end of the 18th century showed that. (For comparison. and an important commercial agreement was concluded with France (the Eden Treaty) showing Britain’s availability to explore trading opportunities in Europe after the loss of her colonies in North America. (1776) and its author was Adam Smith. It was “The Wealth of Nations”. his policy was in keeping with Adam Smith’s argument which had directed the nation positively. in the absence of a real industrialization a serious famine occurred there at the beginning of the 19th century as a result of a similar population explosion). of 1. Britain was able to sustain the growth without famines or severe ADAM SMITH unemployment being registered. and traders. and until the fully developed factory system really worked (the mid 19th century). Ireland’s case can be considered. under William Pitt’s direct control the national debt was reduced by WILLIAM PITT increasing tax revenue. Thus. The 18th century also represented the age of the first economic treatise which laid the foundation of modern economic science. it was the most industrialized state of the world. and the freeing of trade within which the market demand was to decide the supply. Thus. Britain’s economy was closely connected with the name of the prime minister William Pitt the Younger (1773-1801). while occasional decisions of governments started to limit the restrictive monopolist attitudes. (the increase was. although during the second half of the 18th century an unprecedented growth in the country’s population took place. at the respective moment. and had ultimately determined economic growth and prosperity.5 million people).

the nation recovered rapidly. while at home. they basically consisted in the results of a new experience. Besides. who had come to the New World. As regards the British colonies in North America. often referred to as New England. including books. larger numbers of people had access to information. advertisements and primers. But the dramatic progress in real communication was the printed word.During Pitt’s rule. including the political one. they could become aware of different events inside or outside the country. but also everywhere in the country. producing a serious impact on the British society and on the whole world as well. at the time of their revolutionary movement. a special type of communities. and in the period 1794-1796 British average exports were of about £22 million per annum. An important development. and partly because of his reforms and policies. after a short decline in exports and industrial productivity related to the American war. the recovery had wider and more complex explanations. Even the Napoleonic wars could not slow down Britain’s economic boom and prosperity. took place in the field of communication which knew a higher mobility. they represented. Thus. As literacy was almost general. An accelerated economic growth was required in that period. dictionaries. there were numerous newspapers printed in the provincial towns. It was also in the second half of the 18th century that the American revolution broke out. the fact demonstrating that. which also became obvious. mainly. In 1760 there were already four dailies and six tri-weekly papers which could be read not only in London. national confidence was registered. or the foundation of the . that of the “industrial revolution”. Printing became an extensive activity. Starting with the same period the improvement of roads and of postal services made the relations and communication between people safer and more rapid. to get land ∗ Colonization of the New World included important events such as: the coming of the separatist Puritans on board of the Mayflower in 1620. as well as of political scandals or protests. while Scotland had established its own newspapers and periodicals. besides Pitt’s positive measures. These colonies∗ were socially constituted of middle and lower classes. being considered one more revolution of the century. traders and farmers. Britain demonstrated renewed power and international prestige abroad. because of the emergence and further development of a new state and nation.

and who had transformed the British manorial system they had been used to. p. other coast territories became British.. 65]. and the Carolinas. the colonies’ interests were different. Pennsylvania was founded in 1683 by the Quakers as a Neo-Protestant colony. Far from the metropolis. they were self-governing townships led by elected small public officials organized into court-house assemblies at the local level. p. some other disappointing measures included the restriction of colonial paper money (1764). and the introduction of a stamp/duty on printed matters and documents (1765). the British government decided to tax the inter-colonial trade. The metropolis representing the British capital was interested in organizing the trade of the colonies and in taxing them according to their own needs. (1640) in order to defend the American colonies against the Indians. The metropolis’ policy worsened the already existing discontent of the new Englanders. such as the New Netherlands territories conquered by Charles II in 1667 (including New York and New Jersey). caused by the previous unpopular measures taken by the British Parliament without the colonies’ agreement. but. especially in the Southern colonies. From the English. But. they had inherited the common law system and the justice administration. serving as a defence zone against the Spanish colony of Florida. and general assemblies at the country’s level. There were also the inland colonies inherited from the French Arcadia (Louisiana) and the Hudson Bay Co. besides the old colonial navigation acts which specified that only England/Britain was to intermediate all the navigation transactions. although they had been unofficially set up even before Restoration. Rhode Island. Plantation and of the Massachusetts Bay colony. [46. these people were self-dependent. Georgia was a sort of “buffer” colony. the conditions imposed for a standing British colonial army quartered in North America (1765). New Haven and Connecticut. they had already succeeded to enforce the expression of the people’s political will in their Parliament.for free. as a religious experiment. into the plantation system. with a view to strengthen Britain’s position against the colonial competitors. not only economically but also politically. thus. . were chartered as proprietary colonies in 1663 (named after Charles II). with the goods from different areas having to be shipped only to England. its government as well as its trading errors made furious the British North Americans. turned into a Crown dominion after the Restoration. Thus. 65]. thus. the metropolis mercantile policy. and the setting up of the New England Confederation. and to control the market prices to its benefit. In the period which followed the Glorious Revolution. in the North and which had become the objects of the colonial wars between the European great powers of the respective period in the New World [46. the establishment of Maryland. they wanted to buy the goods they needed cheaper on the colonial market. at a time when England was divided between the monarch’s and the parliament’s power which led to the Civil war.

a group of colonists threw a shipload of tea into the sea rather than pay tax on it. mostly. The clash became obvious in 1773. brought about the loss of the North American colonies. finally. even the British were divided with regard to the political opinion on the situation in North American colonies. The war cost Britain a lot. Tom Pain) who openly supported the colonists’ cause. in their turn. The event is known in history as “the Boston Tea party”. the colonists reacted by preventing any British ship from entering the American ports. when. and. and started to act under the slogan “no taxation without representation”. at the respective moment. replaced “a rather local conflict on economic matters into the noble universalities represented by the principles of freedom. justice. drafted by Thomas Jefferson. but. Undoubtedly. considering the laws passed by the British Parliament as enslaving them. The British answered by closing the port. there were many others (Wilkes. while there were some politicians who considered the attitude of the British government as being fair. the national confidence was restored. The American “Declaration of Independence” (1777). Chatham. the British unwise policy had caused the events that. mainly because they had failed to see the force of the numerous people who represented. and it represented the beginning of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). communication . the country crossed a period of accelerated economic growth and prosperity. the war also meant an unexpected humiliation for a strong and proud nation. because of the new revolutionary trends in technology. Drifted by their own prosperity and inspired by the Enlightenment ideas. the situation was partly due to the correct measures and reforms initiated by the Prime Minister William Pit. their point of view was that the British were not entitled to pass laws without their agreement. and in the next years. industry. besides the loss of one of the most profitable region of the empire.The colonists reacted. those people chose to start a revolutionary war of political and economic liberation. at that moment. However. democracy and human fraternity”. the recovery was rapid. and many people were convinced that their country was in decline. at the port of Boston. the New Englanders. and denied their validity. It is interesting to note that. in the wonderful language of the Enlightenment philosophy.

confident in its power and stability. when. In fact. Monarchy. the economic. . leading the peasants and the working classes in towns. the middle classes and the gentry had already been acting together in the House of Commons for centuries. public education. a real best seller. at that moment. again. Thus. ∗ The main difference consisted in the relations existing between the social classes in the two countries. Pain’s ideas were considered so dangerous. there were. maternity benefits. Some views were courageously expressed in defense of the French revolution and of the common people’s rights. under whose influence some political. that he had to escape to France. in Britain. from where he never returned. at that moment. the most powerful social classes in the country. Such a radical was Thomas Paine with his “The Rights of Men” (1791-1792). social and political situation was completely different∗ in the two countries (France and Britain). a. against the power of monarchy and aristocrats. there was a category who THOMAS PAINE believed that the post-revolutionary France would become an enlighten state. the author demanding important rights for ordinary people: manhood suffrage. this time against revolutionary France. the writer William Godwin and Mary Wallstonecraft. full employment. it was the middle class who made the revolution against aristocracy. British Reaction to the French Revolution At the moment of the French revolution outbreak (1784). it was a wealthy country.and trade. On the one hand. Among those in this category were the poets William Wordsworth. His book remained one of reference on the problem of political freedom. s. in 1793. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. and they represented. while in France. which aroused the nation’s enthusiasm for democratic reforms. but it still created fear in Britain. two different attitudes towards the French revolution. as it did all over Europe. in Britain. aristocracy and all kinds of privileges were attacked in this book. religious and social changes could be accelerated in Britain. o. Britain entered a war. old-age pensions.

the British government. universal manhood suffrage and annual elections. the period meant the setting up of the first political organizations of the lower classes. When Louis XVI was guillotined by the new French regime. that the working people all over the country had started to organize themselves in order to achieve political change. In February 1783. Sheffield. Britain itself entered a long period of war (1793-1815). as well as similar ones in Scotland) and which required political reforms. the radical leaders were arrested and the army started to be trained. An important representative of this category was Edmund Burke. in which he expressed his fear that the situation in France could cause the fall of the political European established order. established in London and some other centres (Norwich. . They were the Corresponding Societies. Although these problems were mainly debated by the representatives of the middle class and gentry.On the other hand. just in the end of the 18th century. (the yeomen) being asked to live in specially built army camps. it was for the first time. however. as a consequence. At the respective period of time. Britain and France went to war. Although these societies did not last long as the government closed them down in 1798. most of the European countries had already been defeated by Napoleon and had entered under his control. Undoubtedly. among others. who wrote “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790). after the French army invasion of the Low Countries the general opinion in Britain began to change becoming harder. expressing their members’ faith in the French Revolution principles. and. there were those who did not sympathize with the French revolution. without voices coming from the working classes being really heard. slow as it was in its reactions in comparison with other European cabinets. particularly. also started to be afraid that the revolution in France could spread to Britain. Nottingham.

Cahill. . assumed its later face” [12.R 9 (1918). there were plenty of children ∗ New wealth got a higher status. the idea of levelling the social order had not yet been taken into consideration. the bottom layers of society witnessed much poverty and despair. the House of Lords. the British society had made decisive steps towards modernization. as for example. but more especially urban. from its ascendancy position. p. the face under which we can discover it today. after 1775. On the other hand. economically. As a result of enclosure and of other causes. “Peerage Creations and the Changing Character of the British Nobility”. socially. for example. the middle ones. a lot of families had no other choice but to go to parish workhouses. in favour of the representatives of the middle class in search. or Brighton. of possible peerage.5 Life in Britain at the End of the 18th Century Although. 203].10. The hardest life was for the children of the poor people. and even if a remedy for social injustices had been considered. banking or trade determined the increase in number and influence of the representatives of these classes. the towns renewed themselves. in front of the new wealth upsurge the old landed gentry had retreated. W. 259-284].2. the wealth accumulated by the classes situated immediately below the highest “rank”. rose in membership from 199 to 358. to a certain extent. the prevalent concept continued to be “the rank” more than “the class”. the standards of material ambition and taste were those of aristocracy. “It was in the century after 1750 that England both rural and urban. p. Towards the end of the century. More than that. it had remained attached to the old hierarchical structure. At the same time. aristocracy continued to set in the general tone of the British society. E. Due to the rapid growth of the population in the 18th century. “with some families dying out to hide the fact of over 200 new creations” [M.H. in the fashionable enthusiasm of the Regency style creating modern spas. such as Bath. and they were obvious in architecture. the top layers of the society altering in composition∗. who were obliged to work from the age of six or seven. Thus. now. namely by the people making profitable investments in industry. which. in order to keep themselves alive.

120]. the first actress employing female roles on the stage. and the young girls were often obliged by their parents to make efforts in order to match the general image regarding feminine beauty. However. Even in the preceding century. The modern English novel owes a lot to Fanny Burney and especially to Jane Austin. and were easier to discipline than the latter. who was more the ruler of the kingdom than her husband king George II. the 18th century novelist who continues to be read with pleasure by the 20th century readers. on the one hand. it was not much different from that of men. as well as some corresponding education especially in the intellectual arts. towards the end of the century child labour started to be considered shameful as a result of a charge in people’s mentality and “their increased dislike for cruelty towards both humans and animals” [25. in many respects. However. or administering their own land or other property. running some small. they had to be. outstanding individuals as Dorothy Osborne (1627-1695). especially food producing industries. As regards the woman’s condition in the British society of the 18th century. slim with a tight waist and a pale face. p. side by side with her husband Sir William Temple.in the country. women started to play an important part in politics and arts. proving that the society was not a repressive or an old fashioned one regarding women. who had taken an active part. and there were women personally attending to the sale of different products. Thus. Thus. or Aphra Behn (1640-1689) a well-known playwright. . Sarah Siddons (1755-1831). a certain mentality on “women’s frailty” continued to prevail. and. and they were particularly useful to the factory owners who preferred to use their work as they could be paid less than adults. In the 18th century. had succeeded to make a name of their own. They enjoyed a good deal of true independence. in political entrepreneurial programs. on the other hand. there are extreme examples as Queen Caroline. the British society accepted the women active in some business.

Although this attitude did not always prevail. Parliament passed the first Factory Act (1802) limiting child labour to twelve hours each day. p. The same attitude and the efforts made. . the slave trade was abolished by law in 1807 in Britain. thus. it was. and although the 18th century continued to be still “crude” and not entirely refined. limited the children’s long hours of work. for the achievement of which even their houses were rebuilt in such a way that every person in the family had his/her own bedroom. even the attitude towards children changed and they started to be seen as a distinct group with special needs and requesting a gentle treatment. it was due to a growing idea of kindness. which made people change their perspective on life in general. in the need for more privacy. to a larger extent. uninvolved courteous selfishness of a polite world” [ibidem]. This advancement was due to the increase of life expectancy. a desire for a “smooth. brought Britain large amounts of money. in fact. The end of the century also meant an attempt to improve morals and morale. and in 1833 slavery was abolished in all British colonies. and in respect of individuality Britain was ahead of the rest of Europe. 207. 120] This individuality was reflected in their new style of life. directed this time against the cruelty of the employers. which. which was to pervade everything: ”individual behaviour. shown both to humans∗ and animals. Basically. ruling that “no man could be a slave in Britain”. and it became manifest in a “polite” attitude. the people had reached the level of culture which made them understand that cruelty under all its forms. ∗ This new concept could be seen in the attitude of some groups of people who openly declared themselves against the evils of the slave trade. with that. 208]. at last. Britain became the international leader in the struggle the aim of which was to end slavery. under the pressure of a growing opinion against the children’s hard working conditions. Such an attitude gave a true meaning to the words of the song “Britons never should be slaves”. the building of a “façade” behind which reality might hide. its contemporaries achieved.The 18th century meant an advancement in the people’s mentality regarding family life. [25. p. A first success was recorded when a judge freed a slave. the most important change being a more openly expressed affection among the family members. and some years later (1819) the employment of children under nine was forbidden. relationships between men and women. was wrong and incompatible with the human as a superior being. but. at least. even the play of politics” [12. this dislike to cruelty was connected with the idea that “every human was an individual”.

and be considered to have stood in the way of liberty. civic administrations or other dynamic categories avoided these universities considered as teaching things irrelevant for life. silver and other artefacts. Thus. china. Harvey. and giving the age and the country a certain glow which made it attractive to many other Europeans. where lawyers were trained. p. the old universities Oxford and Cambridge had been turned into institution for the formation of “gentlemen”. C Banning. pictures. obvious in arts. but preferred the Inns of Courts. T. 356-365. providing excellent instruction in some skills which could be considered as unprofitable (e. for example. and fought for their interests with the lives of other people∗”. absorbing a lot of the wealth produced.g. “who started to be blamed for their position. However. As regards education. D. The Origins of the French Revolutionary Wars (1986). at the respective time. In this respect. It is no wonder why some social classes representing merchants. the fact that they produced thinkers as Adam Smith is a proof of their efficiency.: the composition of Latin or Greek texts). a trait of culture which made Britain famous. „European Attitudes to Britain during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era History” 63 (1878). the events in the 1790’s determined a change of the European nations’ attitude towards the British.The 18th century is also known as the age of clubs and coffee-houses. There was. and where people with similar backgrounds and upbringings could meet to politely and unfanatically discuss on divergent opinions. in buildings and in gardens. 131-132. . the Scottish universities could be considered as better serving the real needs of the society. the 18th century seemed to draw to its end in a general atmosphere which looked relaxed and intent on social peace in comparison with the unrest and turmoil on the continent. ∗ A. much outburst of taste in the country.

the British army. French Guiana. becoming one of the Britain’s greatest national heroes. the Cape of Good Hope. both geographically (they covered all of the five continents) and from the point of view of the expenses required. Java. The Second British Empire As well known. 1798). which involved Britain starting with 1793. In the following years. But its efforts were not in vain. Not only once the financial situation was difficult for the British.000). Besides. and from 1812 Napoleon’s final defeat was only a matter of time. which caused the destruction of the French navy safeguarded the British possessions in India. even the land war began to turn in Britain’s favour. the Napoleonic wars. The British army under the command of Arthur Wellesley.000. H. ∗ Unfortunately. Faced with the danger of a French invasion.10.650. The words he addressed to the fleet before the famous battle were “England expects that every man will do his duty” and they are remembered as a memorable “motto” in time of national danger. Duke of Wellington gained important victories. the British fleet captured from the French a lot of remote territories including St. NELSON with the country brought to the verge of bankruptcy. the British fleet once again under the command of Admiral Horation Nelson∗. Guiana. . Nelson himself was killed at Trafalgar. Martinique and others. won an extraordinary victory at Trafalgar. (The wars cost Britain over £1. while the allied forces expelled the French from many European territories. Lucia.2. Tobago. where the French-Spanish fleet was almost WELLINGTON completely destroyed. were massive. A series of naval victories (1797.6 The Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) and Britain’s Imperial Expansion. Starting with 1803. near Spain (1805). the Royal Navy and the civil defense forces had to expand more rapidly and to a larger extent than ever before.

It was further extended to Africa. Jamaica was won from Spain (1655). Malta. constructed around West Indies in the Pacific. the Australian continent and New Zealand. Britain was still in possessions of areas in India. the contribution to the final victory of the British army under the command of Wellington was of utmost importance. used by Britain as a penal colony. the Napoleonic Wars brought 20 new colonies to Britain. China and the Tibet. St. and many. Thus. Napoleon was obliged to surrender in 1814. the Cape.Weakened by the disastrous invasion of Russia. many others. when it reached the peak of its extension in the 19th century. “By 1820 the total population of the territories it governed was 200 million. as far down as the Cape of Good Hope. a new territory necessary to shelter the convicts previously sent to North American colonies. covering one third of the world. It was also the wars which further increased Britain’s colonial possessions during the 19th century. the India of the East India Company. it ended with his final and total defeat at Waterloo Belgium. it was a private enterprise and a scientific inquiry. 26% of the world’s total population” [53. as well as Canada. Mauritius. Every major war Britain had been engaged in during that period increased its colonial power. Britain’s control over its neighbours took place by the Acts of Union. the Boer’s War (1890s) fought with the Dutch ∗ The foundations of the first British empire were laid during the Protectorate with the intervention of the army in colonial trade. later. Napoleon escaped from his exile on Elba and returned to France where he quickly assembled an army to fight his last campaign (March-June 1815). including Tobago. ∗∗ Captain James Cook’s explored Australia and New Zealand after 1770. The events also determined Britain’s move from the first∗ to the second empire. as for example “the Opium War” (late 1830s) which secured the British trade from and to India. However. one year later. Although the defeat was accomplished by the allied forces. Lucia. The direct consequence of these historic events was the British political dominance over Europe and much of the world for the next one hundred years. . with Scotland in 1707 and with Ireland in 1801. was created. discovered by Sir James Cook∗∗. 76]. Canada and other colonies (even North American) won from France as a consequence of the seven years war. p. West Indies. the United Provinces of Ague and Ouch in India. K. After the loss of the North American colonies. “the Afghanistan War” (1839-1842) meant to keep under control Russia’s advance in Asia and continued in Europe with the Crimean War (1854). when U.

as the objectives of the wars further to the Napoleonic ones had clearly indicated. and new acquisitions were located in remote tropical areas. who were an obstacle in the development of a south route trade with India. at the respective moment. However. 70]. the undisputed sovereign of the world’s oceans and commercial routes – a sea-power – as well as the ruler of 1/5 of the entire world. Thus. “The white man’s burden” as the poet . but the opportunities it offered. and even of some colonial crises or colonial wars in Africa. p. The vast territory with its numerous problems was a challenge for the centre. its mission being to preserve “the balance of power” or “the equilibrium of the politically established world” [46. in fact. in the direction of necessary improvements required in the area. as most of the historians consider. in 1882 the British invaded the Suez Canal. Thus. forcing its way into Sudan. in the middle of the 19th century it was widely considered that the colonies were “burdens” for the centre and that markets and raw materials could be more easily acquired by trade. Britain had pursued the preservation of its own interests over the already gained territories. p. Asia or Pacific. and the theories and explanations with reference to that growth are numerous. Anyway. and Britain’s right to rule the world” [46. Britain was inclined to consider itself a sort of “victorious military guardian” of the political interests of Europe’s leaders”. 68]. But. both economic and political. which caused “the belief into the British superiority. post-Napoleonic Second British Empire that hugely grew in the 19th century was more a political empire than only a commercial one. (2. In spite of such opinions. the process did not stop. Britain had become. the processes by which the empire had grown were complex. the British presence and rule over many of the territories had to be justified. The situation encouraged a certain imperial ideology (known as Jingoism). made the empire’s rulers focus on “the sense of duty” which the British had to assume. representing a real power on the world’s arena. Starting the growth of its second empire with the victories gained during the Napoleonic Wars.5 million square meter of territory fell under British control). with no European inhabitants or civilization.settlers in South Africa. Keeping under its control numerous strategic and trading trans-oceanic positions. and it was done in terms of benefit of law and order.

The event further caused the emergence of a great nationalistic movement (the First Indian National Congress took place in 1885). the overall image of the British type of culture being one of surprising continuity. the construction of a railway network in the country enforced the British position. which culminated in the 1920’s. but by conquest. had. A real “network” of interwoven motives and interests was built up in support of the “physical empire” which was doubled by an ever larger “empire” of trade and investments where. the characteristic features of the general scene were preserved. In case of India. its territory represented both the beginning of the British nation imperial greatness and the cause of its downfall. . were decolonized. After the Indian Mutiny (1857) suppressed by the British. with those events the second British empire did not longer exist. “the brightest jewel in the British crown”. 2. they had been given important powers of self-government (Durham Report. all territories once belonging to Britain. 85]. turned the territories of many Indian states into East India Company possessions.Rudyard Kipling saw it. 1840). the situation was different. gradually. coming from other peoples’ passage on the island’s territory. if practically. when India was finally granted independence. in spite of dramatic events. India was part of the British empire not by consent. with Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for liberation. drastic circumstances and important changes. which reached its peak in 1877. while the imperial control was tightened.7 Continuity and Change − Characteristic Features of British Culture and Civilization The history of British culture and civilization started a thousand and more years ago. and the title of Viceroy was instituted. “was a burden of responsibility” [53. including in it some older traces of culture and civilization. the period during which. p. As regards the “white” colonies as Canada. Canada Union Act. the East Indian Company was abolished. when Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India. 1839. covered most of the planet. although the British flag did not fly. practically. It happened only a quarter of a century later (1947). the initial phase of “friendship” between Britain and India.10. Australia or New Zealand.

as a result of frequent wars on home grounds. they acquired and retained a conviction of uniqueness over outsiders. with the foreign invaders and alien rulers coming from the continent. and. As the historians argue. formerly. later on. they succeeded to get a sense of nationhood which was enforced. later. from an early date and once again as a consequence of a people living on an island. first. which the British show and mostly impress at the moments of crisis.The British formed one people at stages. at first. Besides. being easily recognizable. and. represented different realms and peoples. but also the control over the society organized according to “the standards of European experiment”. quite early. preserved its Germanic other elements that came their process of its formation. as an evidence of their origin. they succeeded. unity. to build external empires. and. in spite of the diversity still persisting in different regions. in the language developed as a means of and adaptable. the features which characterize the British as a people and a nation are due to two “mechanisms” which have always worked and become part of the British society and culture: monarchy and law/administration. the monarchy meant the institution which provided not only the leading power of the nation. at the beginning. the communication both flexible What the British really achieved over the centuries was a sense of unity at home. from the mixture of Anglo-Saxons warriors and farmers with the Celts on the fringes. Although the British started as a rural people. but enriched with a multitude of way. It is this sense of unity. which made them extremely active on the continental and world markets. As a consequence of their insularity. administration and law constituted the pillars . to promote trade. then. From its early existence. overseas. on other peoples’ territories. and which. The language. but a lot was learned from the latter in the process of their nation’s development.

with the beginning of 19th century and with the events which had made Britain the ruler of a global empire and a real world political and economic power. if. it goes without saying that changes occurred. developed and confirmed during the events produced over the ten centuries of human existence. Turmoil and strife are aspects specific to any human society. fundamentally. When the changes occurred. without serious disruptions or total destructions. The events that followed in the next two centuries made Britain a modern. occurred. 214]. periods of exception. . ∗ Reference to the period of Civil War and Protectorate. The exceptional ease with which the previous “normality” was restored is one more proof of the British society basic feature. it continued to enjoy its well settled principles and important values. However. the British were not spared. it is considered that it lies in “the mixture of order enforced by authority with freedom exercised under authority” [12. but each time they were short-lived. and the long historic periods witness much of them. showing a changed image but. with a temporary break in continuity. but they took place within the same framework of continuity. and settle the facts of a self-aware people. rare. breaks of different bonds.supporting the building of a nation. advanced society. according to the demands of the historical periods crossed by the nation. one example of failure in the mechanisms action∗ can be given the situation was only an intermittent one. they represented actions of positive reorganization in the uproar of the events. at least. but they managed to handle them keeping unchanged an authority accepted and shared by the nation. the situation had become so complex that important changes were to be taken into consideration. and without enduring consequences. Breaches of this principle. this feature constituting in itself a principle. However. the two mechanisms being present to set the things right. undoubtedly. p.

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