EDWARD VI  1547 - 1553  (E6)  Lived 1537 - 1553



A force under Somerset, ably assisted by the Earl of Warwick (later Northumberland), defeats the Scots - allies of the French - at the Battle of Pinkie, near Musselburgh, Scotland.


Ivan IV is crowned the first Tsar of Russia. He attacks the Tartars in the south, and starts a thorough reform of the administrative and legal systems to bring them under central control.

The Italian Gabriel Fallopius is appointed professor of anatomy at Padua University. He makes discoveries concerning the structure of the inner ear and the female reproductive organs.



The Kett Rebellion breaks out in Norfolk against the enclosure of common land. The revolt, led by Robert Kett and his brother, is easily crushed and the Ketts are hanged.

Edward VI's Book of Common Prayer is published. Largely the work of Cranmer, this and a later edition of 1552 bring greater uniformity to church services throughout the land.

The French poet and writer Joachim Du Bellay publishes the manifesto of La Pléiade, a new school of French poetry based on the classical works of the Greeks and Romans.

The Jesuit priest Francis Xavier, arrives in Japan and, over the next 3 years, establishes a thriving Roman Catholic mission, but he dies in 1552 while attempting to reach China.

The Maoris, a Polynesian people who had been coming to settle in present-day New Zealand since the ninth century, begin to inhabit the southern island in larger numbers.


ThexItalian art historian Giorgio Vasari publishes his The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors, the work by which he is best known. He is also an accomplished architect.

TheXmisrule of the Ming Emperor Chia-ching brings to an end the long period of peace in China. Mongol tribesmen besiege Peking, and sea-raiders plunder the south-east coast.


After conquering more land from Persia around Lake Van, the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman I captures Tripoli in North Africa, strengthening his control over the eastern Mediterranean.

The Swiss naturalist Konrad von Gesner begins to write his Historia Animalium, an encyclopedia of the animal world. He is regarded as the founder of the science of zoology.

The Italian Giovanni Palestrina, one of the greatest of Renaissance composers, is made director of music at St. Peter’s, Rome. During a long career, he wrote a vast amount of church music.


The English navigator Richard Chancellor, during an attempt to find a north-east passage to China, arrives at the port of Archangel. His voyage opens up Anglo-Russian trade.

The Italian author Straparola completes The Pleasant Nights, one of the earliest collections of folk tales. It introduces such stories as Beauty and the Beast and Puss in Boots.


Edward VI dies of consumption, aged 15. ThexDuke of Northumberland places his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne, but the Roman Catholic Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, marches on London and is acclaimed Queen as Mary I.


Edward VI:  detail, attributed to the Flemish painter Guillaume Scrots (active in England 1537-1553) – Royal Collection, UK. Map (Europe): licensed under Creative Commons-http://worldhistory.wikispaces.com/Reformation. Coat of Arms: licensed under Creative Commons. Author: Sodacan – https://commons.wikimedia.org.


xxxxxEdward VI was Henry VIII's only son by his third wife, Jane Seymour. Because he was only nine years old when he came to the throne, the government of the country, by his father's will, was entrusted to a council of sixteen regents, but his uncle the Duke of Somerset (1506-1552), taking the title of Lord Protector, took over sole command. Having invaded Scotland - allied once again with the French - and defeated the Scottish army at the Battle of Pinkie in September 1547, he then set about establishing Protestantism on a firmer basis, fully supported by Archbishop Cranmer. The Six Articles of 1539, enforcing the major tenets of the Roman Catholic faith, were repealed, English was made compulsory in church services, and, despite some opposition from Roman Catholics, the first Book of Common Prayer was introduced and imposed.

xxxxxIn 1549, however, Somerset was faced with a peasants' revolt, known as the Kett Rebellion, and he had some difficulty in suppressing it. Using this situation to his advantage, the unscrupulous John Dudley, Earl of Warwick (1504-1553), a distinguished soldier and one of the original regents, persuaded the young king to have Somerset removed from office - he was later executed in 1552 on a trumped-up charge of treason.

xxxxxDudley, now in full command and assuming the title of the Duke of Northumberland, convinced the young and ailing Edward of the need to name his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his successor in preference to his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. When the king died of tuberculosis at Greenwich in July 1553, Lady Jane Grey (who, in the meantime, had been married to Northumberland's son!) was indeed proclaimed Queen, but her reign was destined to last but nine days. Rallying support, the Roman Catholic Mary marched on London, entered the city in triumph, and claimed the crown. Northumberland was executed for treason in August, and Lady Jane Grey, the innocent victim of a political plot, was imprisoned in the Tower of London and beheaded the following year.

xxxxxIncidentally, in 1715 the English dramatist and poet Nicholas Rowe, the first writer to attempt a critical edition of the works of William Shakespeare, wrote a play entitled The Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey, produced in the style of the famous bard. ...…

xxxxx...... It was during this reign that fine silver was again used for the making of coins. The silver crown then produced - worth five shillings - was the first English coin to be dated in Arabic numerals.















Dukes of Somerset

and Northumberland




Snippets During Edward VI reign Synopsis of Edward 6 Reign

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