The first and second Earls of Rutland and their part in the central and local politics of mid-Tudor England
Norris, Mark Marston
This thesis investigates the role of Thomas and Henry Manners, first and second earls of Rutland, in the central and local politics of mid -Tudor England. In so doing, five factors are scrutinized throughout: landed property, political and military office -holding, Court politics, religion, and the Manners' network of friends, servants, and relatives. The thesis is divided into seven chapters, the first six of which explore how most or all of these factors influenced the political life of the family during a segment of time. The final chapter compares and contrasts the achievement of the Manners with other noble families.Chapter 1 deals with the beginnings of the family until the creation of Thomas Manners, Lord Roos, as earl of Rutland in 1525. The next chapter studies the political life of the new earl until 1536 and particu- larly emphasizes his being drawn into Henry's religious policy. Chapter 3 reveals the effects of his involvement in suppressing the rebels in the Pilgrimage of Grace, his increasing employment in the service of the Crown, and his ability to profit from the Dissolution of the Monasteries until his death in 1543. By this time the family had reached its Tudor economic peak.The themes of continuity and development are explored from the wardship of the next earl until his imprisonment in the Fleet for supporting Northumberland in the Lady Jane Grey crisis. This is followed by a chapter which probes the young earl's ability to come to terms with the Marian regime. Chapter 6 reveals that he experienced even higher favour during Elizabeth's reign, culminating in his office of president of the Council of the North, during which he fell ill and died in 1563.It is seen that the mid -Tudor Manners were able firmly to establish a powerbase in the north -east Midlands, to continue their involvement in the North, and to pass on a pattern of office -holding which would be utilized by successive earls of Rutland. Further, they were able to weather the turbulent mid -Tudor high politics because they were able to demonstrate that they were too useful and loyal to the Crown to be ignored and yet not dangerous enough to be eliminated.In comparison with other nobles at the time they were successful; and yet, they were in many ways typical of the high nobility. In fact, the story of the mid - Tudor Manners demonstrates that if there was a mid -Tudor crisis it was, at least in part, a crisis in the highest levels of leadership. The ruling powers during this time failed to make effective use of these willing and highly important servants of the Crown, and instead tended to place personal ambition or ideology above good governing.