Many people all over Britain, and in other parts of the world too, have grown up learning about the Tudors. From Henry VIII’s six wives to the Spanish Armada to probably the most famous playwright in the world, the Tudor period is rich with history. And although it seems like such a long time ago, you would be surprised at how much influence the Tudors have had in today’s society.
Religion is such a big part of many people’s lives both back then and today, however without the Tudors, the present religious scene in England could have looked very different. Henry VIII, one of England’s most well-known monarchs, is argued to be responsible for this. When the pope didn’t permit Henry to annul his marriage, Henry birthed and independent Church of England , which caused the separation of England from the Catholic Church and the papacy. He named himself the supreme head of the Church of England and consequently allowed himself to get a divorce. This lead to many changes including the bible appearing in English, it was translated by William Tyndale and allowed many people who would have otherwise not understood it, to enjoy the stories and lessons taught by this sacred book. By translating the bible, Tyndale introduced lots of new words and phrases such as “scapegoat” and “atonement” into the English language, many of which are still a part of our vocabulary today. Also by introducing an independent Church of England, some historians argue that Henry VIII has increased the Church of England’s popularity in the present day with (according to the detailed 2018 BSA survey on religion in the UK) 12% of the UK affiliating with it, compared to only 7% of the UK affiliating Catholicism.
The schism with the papacy due to the introduction of the independent Church of England also greatly contributed to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The smaller monasteries and religious houses were dissolved first in 1536 and the rest were dissolved dissolved between 1539 and 1540 – this also lead to many changes. It caused: the monarch to become wealthier, the removal of the papist influence that came with the monasteries and the loss and destruction of monastic libraries. Also, the money made from the dissolution was used to establish colleges and new bishoprics ( districts under the jurisdiction of bishops ). It could be argued that all of these things have influenced today’s society, for example if the monastic libraries had not been destroyed we may have had a lot more historical knowledge today.
Additionally, the Tudor’s have altered the way that we perceive Richard III. They painted him as a bad, unlawful king, most likely to increase their own legitimacy as the line who deposed him. Sir Thomas More wrote a book named: “History of King Richard III”. In this book he described the former king as “malicious, wrathful, envious” and suggested that the way he was born made him monstrous and unnatural. This portrayal of Richard III has been carried throughout history and although it may not be entirely accurate , is further emphasised by William Shakespeare’s renowned characterisation of Richard as a dishonest and treacherous king who was very skilful at manipulating human weakness in his hunt for power.
William Shakespeare, who was born in 1564, has had a massive impact on societies all over the world. He has influenced the English language, creating almost three thousand new words and phrases such as “fashionable”, “softhearted”, “heart of gold”, “be-all and end-all” and even the name Jessica. He has changed our perception of English history, often conveying political messages through his plays, which have inspired many major movies, including the likes of ‘The Lion King’ which was based on ‘Hamlet’, ‘West Side Story’ which was based on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and the ‘House of Cards’ which was based on Richard III. In fact studying Shakespeare is now a compulsory part of the English national curriculum, meaning that a whole new generation of people are growing up with him and his plays in their lives.
Finally, many things that we have grown up with using in our daily lives were invented during the Tudor period. The first flushing toilet was designed by Sir John Harington in 1596, the Royal Mail was devised by Sir Brian Tuke in 1512 ( although it was called the kings post then and was not open to the public ), the first ever wrist-clock (watch) was worn by Queen Elizabeth I and last but not least the first real theatres, like the globe theatre, were built – before then, actors would perform in the streets or outside inns.
In conclusion the Tudors have contributed a lot to our lives today, whether that be by creating watches and toilets or by destroying monasteries , we can thank and blame the people who lived between the years 1485 and 1603.