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The Tudors – Faction in the Tudor Court, 1509-1603

7. Conclusion

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In this module, we offer some final thoughts related to faction the Tudor court, focusing in particular on: (i) the usefulness of faction as a way of thinking about Tudor politics – as long as faction is defined relatively loosely; (ii) the importance of not overstating the importance of faction and its influence; (iii) the importance of treating contemporary evidence carefully and critically: what sources say is the case may not in fact be the case; (iv) the limited influence of faction given the strength and character of Tudor monarchs; (v) the importance of the concept of action in helping cast light on the innermost working the court and highlighting connections between individuals; and (vi) the extent to which individuals were motivated by a combination of different beliefs and concerns beyond self-interest, e.g. religious beliefs, a sense of duty, etc.


In this course, Dr Janet Dickinson (University of Oxford) explores the concept of faction in Tudor England, 1509-1603. In the first module, we introduce the concept of faction itself – what do we mean when we talk about 'a faction' or just 'faction'? In the second, third and fourth modules, we consider the extent to which faction is a useful tool for explaining the fall of Anne Boleyn. First, was there a faction around Anne Boleyn? Second, was Anne Boleyn brought down a faction? And third, did Thomas Cromwell destroy Anne Boleyn. In the fifth module, we fast-forward to the end of the Tudor period and ask whether there was a faction surrounding the Earl of Essex, before turning in the sixth module to consider to influence of faction more generally in the final decade of Elizabeth's reign. And in the seventh module, we offer some concluding thoughts as to the usefulness of faction as a means of understanding the workings of Tudor court politics.


Dr Janet Dickinson is Senior Associate Tutor in History at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education, where she teaches on a range of programmes. Her main research interests focus on the nobility and the court in early modern England and Europe, on which she has contributed a number of chapters to edited volumes. Her first book, Court Politics and the Earl of Essex was published in 2011.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dickinson, J. (2021, March 17). The Tudors – Faction in the Tudor Court, 1509-1603 - Conclusion [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dickinson, J. "The Tudors – Faction in the Tudor Court, 1509-1603 – Conclusion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Mar 2021,