Edward VI

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Edward VI,

1537–53, king of England (1547–53), son of Henry VIIIHenry VIII,
1491–1547, king of England (1509–47), second son and successor of Henry VII. Early Life

In his youth he was educated in the new learning of the Renaissance and developed great skill in music and sports.
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 and Jane Seymour. Edward succeeded his father to the throne at the age of nine. Henry had made arrangements for a council of regents, but the council immediately appointed Edward's uncle, Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford (later duke of SomersetSomerset, Edward Seymour, duke of,
1506?–1552, protector of England. He served on various military and diplomatic missions for Henry VIII and, after the marriage of his sister Jane to the king, was created Viscount Beauchamp (1536) and earl of Hertford (1537).
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), as lord protector. Henry's absolutism was relaxed by a liberalization of the treason and heresy laws. Tempering the reforming zeal of Thomas CranmerCranmer, Thomas
, 1489–1556, English churchman under Henry VIII; archbishop of Canterbury. A lecturer at Jesus College, Cambridge, he is said to have come to the attention of the king in 1529 by suggesting that Henry might further his efforts to achieve a divorce from
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, archbishop of Canterbury, the government moved slowly toward Protestantism. The Act of Uniformity (1549), which required use of the first Book of Common Prayer, increased contention between Roman Catholics and reformers, and an unsuccessful rebellion occurred in the west. The dissolution of chantries and the destruction of relics, both begun under Henry, proceeded apace. Somerset won a victory over the Scots at PinkiePinkie,
battlefield, E of Edinburgh, Scotland. There the English under Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, defeated a larger Scottish force on Sept. 10, 1547. Somerset's invasion of Scotland, to enforce a marriage treaty (arranged by Henry VIII) between the young Edward VI and
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 (1547) but failed to persuade them to agree to a marriage between Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. The Scots instead strengthened their alliance with France, the power that increasingly threatened England's safety. War between France and England broke out in 1549 over the possession of Boulogne. Meanwhile there had arisen at home the pressing agrarian problem of inclosureinclosure
or enclosure,
in British history, the process of inclosing (with fences, ditches, hedges, or other barriers) land formerly subject to common rights. Such land included fields cultivated by the open-field or strip system, wasteland, and the common pasture land.
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 of common lands. By espousing the cause of the disgruntled peasantry, even after the rebellion of Robert KettKett or Ket, Robert,
d. 1549, English rebel. He led an agrarian revolt in 1549 as a protest against the enclosure of common land for sheep grazing. With 16,000 men he blockaded Norwich, but was defeated and executed.
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, Somerset aroused the opposition of the gentry and the council, thus affording his rival, John Dudley, earl of Warwick (later duke of NorthumberlandNorthumberland, John Dudley, duke of,
1502?–1553, English statesman. The son of Edmund Dudley, minister of Henry VII, John was restored to his inheritance in 1512 after his father's attainder and execution (1510).
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), an opportunity to secure his overthrow (1549). Dudley, after confining Somerset in the Tower of London, won complete ascendancy over Edward. With the prorogation (1550) of Parliament and the expulsion of Catholics from the council, the reformers triumphed, and Dudley gained control of the government. He secured peace with France by an ignominious treaty. The confiscation of chantry lands and church treasures brought needed revenue. A second Act of Uniformity and a second Book of Common Prayer, both more strongly Protestant, were adopted. After Somerset's execution (1552), Northumberland's government became increasingly unpopular. Fearing the accession of the Catholic princess, Mary (later Mary IMary I
(Mary Tudor), 1516–58, queen of England (1553–58), daughter of Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragón. Early Life

While Mary was a child, various husbands were proposed for her—the eldest son of Francis I of France (1518), Holy Roman
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), the duke inveigled Edward into settling the crown on Lady Jane GreyGrey, Lady Jane,
1537–54, queen of England for nine days. She was the daughter of Henry Grey, marquess of Dorset (later duke of Suffolk), and Frances Brandon, daughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary.
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, granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister and wife of Northumberland's son, to follow him in succession. The young king died of tuberculosis at age 15.


See A. F. Pollard, England under Protector Somerset (1900) and Political History of England, 1547–1603 (1910); H. W. Chapman, The Last Tudor King (1958); J. D. Mackie, The Earlier Tudors, 1485–1558 (1952, 2d ed. 1959); studies by W. K. Jordan (1968 and 1970).

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Edward VI

1537--53, king of England (1547--53), son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. His uncle the Duke of Somerset was regent until 1552, when he was executed. Edward then came under the control of Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005