(1) The kings and queens of England often had financial problems. How did royal financial difficulties, and the monarchs' efforts to solve them, affect the development of church, state and society in England between 1066 and 1660?
While the English monarchs had historically had frequent financial problems, they have also presented an array of problem-solving techniques to save grace in the eyes of the kingdom and to save the English realm itself. From 1066AD to 1660AD there were situations which affected church, state, and society in both negative and positive ways. It is important to point out that throughout the centuries, the monarchy had become flexible enough to survive until today.
Beginning in 1066 with William the Conqueror's Norman invasion and victory, the crown began to strengthen itself against further attack. The Domesday Book in 1086 was an account of all taxable property in every English "hundred" and also served to ready the king for a suspected Viking re-invasion that never came.
Under Henry I, who reigned from 1100-1135, England saw the growth of bureaucracy through the Exchequer system. This system was used to tabulate money due to the crown.
Almost a century later King John found himself forced to agree to baronial terms under the Magna Carta of 1215. John I had lost a fierce battle over taxation for a losing war effort and the barons made him pay. Under the Magna Carta a Council of 25 barons was set up to administer the clauses of the agreement over the realm. Also involved with John was the Pope, Innocent III who had placed England under "Interdict" in 1214 after the dispute of the appointment of bishops in 1208. While the king had traditionally had the right to appoint the Archbishop of Canterbury, the pope stepped in and introduced Stephen Langdon. What followed was John's refusal because he wanted someone with more chance for manipulation and corruption. This crisis resulted in John's submission to the Pope as overlord of England, a return to Christian practice by lifting of the Interdict, and a supportive Pope with John against the Magna Carta.
Next, came the later rules of both Edward I and Edward II, who both fought with unsuccessful results against Robert Bruce of Scotland. These inter-British campaigns were very costly and sent the realm into a degree of unrest.
Edward III took the crown from his father with the help of his French mother Isabella, whom he had to wrestle his power away from as well. During his reign, the Auld Alliance of the French and Scottish was evident and he had the "Hundred Years War" to deal with. His reign from 1327 to 1377 covered a good deal of the war period 1337-1453. While the war was very expensive, Edward III looked continuously to Parliament for the taxation consent. Therefore, in this period of rule Parliament grew in both power and size as it provided the king with the crucial monetary backing for war, which then helped cast his reign in a good or bad light.
Later, under Henry IV war broke out again within the realm in form of rebellion by both the Welsh led by Owen Glendower and the nobles in Northern England led by the Earl of Northumberland. They were upset because the King, then Bolingbroke, had promised them just rewards for their support in his campaign to usurp the throne from Richard II. These battles were both bloody and costly.
Once his son Henry V took power, Parliament seemed only willing to spend money on the defense of the realm. But by 1413, the year Henry V took over, there was the French Civil War with crazy King Charles VI and his son, the Dauphin, in the middle. Henry's successful campaign in 1415 with both the capture of the city of Harfleur and the victory at the battle of Agincourt made Henry a national hero and foreign policy an issue once more to take a look at. By 1420 Henry had earned a treaty from King Charles VI, and as he won, would take over the throne after Charles' death. As fate would have it both men died in the year 1422, leaving the infant son Henry VI to rule both the French and English kingdoms. It would not last.
Also, the War of the Roses was brought to an end with Henry VII's victory over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth (1485) (Stoke battle 1487 was important too). He used the policy of attrition to deplete the ranks of the nobles by not replacing them at the same pace or rate that they had gone down during the Wars of the Roses. His son and successor, Henry VIII was not so unwise and restored may titles and positions. His attack came against the Church as he and his advisors Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, first, and then Thomas Cromwell, worked to convert church money into growth for the royal treasury. Once Henry had announced his separation from Rome and had placed himself as Head of the Church of England in the 1530s he and his Reformation administration began to shut down monasteries and profit with the selling of forfeited church lands.
While both of the following monarch children of Henry VIII - Edward VI and Mary I - represented two different religious scourges; they did about as much damage. Edward abolished chantries and set up foundational rules of Protestantism with the 42 provisions during his short reign from 1547-1553. His sister Mary I crusaded for the Catholic cause by burning over 300 Englishmen and women as heretics. Their successor and sister, Elizabeth I spent the first part of her reign practicing leniency, yet once she found out that those she was lenient with were no longer harmless (the Revolt of the Northern Earls), she used her power to try to sanctify England as one church. Indirectly and for years to come, religious movements and controversy sprang up and hounded the English Church. The resulting movements included Lollardy, humanism, Luther's Protestantism (all quite old already), Presbyterianism, Separatism, puritanism, gathered congregationalism, and the re-emergence of Catholicism under Parsons, Campion, and the foreign Douai College.
James I found a parliament that was still growing and testing its constitutional powers and he also tried to enforce a policy of peace which meant he had to get money some other way. James had to deal with the House of Commons' growth in power over itself, with the 1604 election ruling favoring themselves, and he also had to fight to get the money for the crown not stemming from war taxation. His impositions of 1608, introduced by his council William Laud was a duty which Commons didn't agree completely on. He and the Parliament houses spent years trying to bargain yet neither side would budge sufficiently even up to his 1625 death.
Charles I took over and managed to dismiss Parliament from 1629 to 1640 under his "Eleven Year tyranny" and was able to sustain the crown by charging the illegal and infamous Ship tax of 1634 and on. While he was successful in this absolute action, he had forgotten the rule of English warfare - that it both brought into play the "checks and balances" system of king and Parliament and drained the royal treasury if he did not yield to them. While Parliament was called to answer the Scottish force question in the north, Civil War broke out in 1641 because of a foreign factor, the Irish Revolt, and a domestic one, that the King had impeded a parliamentary right when he tried to arrest M.P. members Denzel Holles, John Pym and three others in the "Attempt on the Five Members."
In conclusion, the English kingdom and its government are set up to provide for each other ways to ensure against absolutism. Therefore, it is evident that both sides have historically tested these boundaries in times of need. The financial problems of the monarchy have ususally been caused by the monarchy itself and its theory of "divine right" but had usually been blamed on the people of the realm. Thus, the financial problems of the English monarchy have usually been attempted to be solved, yet not always successfully, by attacking Parliament, the Church and numerous other forms of religion, the people of the realm, and also foreign countries ...
God save the queen, or rather, God help the monarchy!
An A grade essay.
This answer shows clear knowledge of the whole span of the course, and made sterling efforts to give facts, dates and names. There were a few slips and errors, but no real howlers.
Although it occasionally deviated from the subject in hand (the interrelationship between the crown's financial problems and broader issues), it always returned to it in the end.
For the most part the essay was written clearly and simply, and stuck to a simple chronological organization. Furthermore, there was a real attempt towards the end to establish and support the argument (viz. that the crown created its own financial problems and then loaded them on others' shoulders).
NB The occasional irrelevant or inaccurate point will not lose grade points, provided you get back on track.