Classroom Activity : Henry VIII

Classroom Activity : Henry VIII

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Henry VIII is perhaps the most formidable and famous King who has ever reigned in England. Henry put to death the Carthusian monks and Catholics such as Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher but also burned 84 Protestant martyrs during his reign.

According to the historian, Raphael Holinshed, who wrote twenty-five years after Henry's death, 72,000 thieves and vagabonds were hanged during his reign. Jasper Ridley has commented that this figure is truly amazing: "It is over 2 per cent of the 2,800,000 inhabitants of England, which equals the proportion of the 6,000,000 Jews exterminated by Hitler."

Henry's supporters point out that he was an accomplished musician, a patron of the arts, and a fine athlete in his youth. He was also one of the main builders of the English navy and made a great power. However, others would describe him as a bloated old despot with a waist-measurement of 54 inches who treated his six wives very badly.

The reign of Henry VIII (April 1509 - January 1547) is one of the most fascinating in English history and Alison Weir has described him as one of "the most extraordinary and charismatic men to emerge in the history of the British Isles" and has pointed out that contemporaries thought him "the greatest man in the world" and "such a king as never before".

This biography attempts to show all sides of this deeply flawed man who found it impossible not to abuse the power he was given. I cannot claim that it is a purely objective account. The historian, W. H. B. Court, was clearly right when he said: "History free of all values cannot be written. Indeed, it is a concept almost impossible to understand, for men will scarcely take the trouble to inquire laboriously into something which they set no value upon."

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For much of the sixteenth century England and Scotland hated each other with all the passion of warring neighbours. Yet in 1603 a Scottish king would ascend the English throne with the connivance and general approval of the English ruling elite. This unlikely turn of events owed much to the eccentricities of the Welsh Tudor dynasty that had occupied the English for almost precisely that century: the determination of the father, Henry VIII, to marry often and the equal determination of the daughter, Elizabeth, not to marry at all. But it also owed a great deal to Protestantism.

There was little that bound together the English aristocracy and the Scottish king, for whom they developed a profound distaste, than a shared commitment to Protestantism. It was a determination to preserve England as a Protestant nation that gave James VI and I his opportunity and which would doom his son Charles when his actions threatened to undermine this cherished identity.

Hay’s Wharf. By Gillian Barton

The location of Hays Wharf. Source: Google Maps

Hay’s Wharf is located in the Pool of London based around a tidal creek. It was the oldest and most successful of all the general wharves.

From the 11th century, the site of Hay’s Wharf was the town house of the Abbot of Battle (Sussex). The house was called the Inn of Bataille and had its own private quay. Tooley Street was a route of pilgrimage to Bermondsey Abbey crossing various fish-filled streams and fronted by a whole series of large church palaces, as well as the riverside town houses of the church dignitaries. Following the dissolution of the monasteries the area was turned into warehouses and in 1651 Alexander Hay took over the lease of a brew house (Goldings) by London Bridge and set up as a brewer and wharfinger. In 1710 the wharf was officially named Hay’s Wharf.

In the early eighteenth century the Admiralty leased some of the land as an Ordnance Depot and erected a shot tower for the manufacture of gun shot. The wharf was later used as a refuge for German Protestants escaping persecution. Francis Theodore Hay, the last Hay family proprietor, saw no future in wharfingering at London Bridge due to overcrowding and by 1796 most of the warehouses were leased by W. Humphrey & Son, established wharfingers to the west of London Bridge.

The 1861 Great Fire of Tooley St. Source: Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 4.0

In 1840 the wharf came under the control of John Humphrey Junior, an Alderman for the City of London, Master of the Tallow Chandler’s Company, Lord Mayor of London in 1842, MP for Southwark 1832-52 and proprietor of Hay’s wharf from 1838 – 1862. In 1856 he commissioned William Cubitt to design and build new warehouse accommodation. He created a small inland dock so barges could gain access from the river, with a five storey warehouse on each side of the new dock. Business was good, until the Great Fire of Tooley Street in 1861. Described as ‘the greatest spectacle since the Great Fire of 1666’, it destroyed the “best warehouses in the kingdom”. The fire started at Cotton’s Wharf, destroying 11 acres of land. London Bridge railway station also caught fire in the blaze. Most of the wharves were rebuilt in the late 1800s as a result of Humphrey’s partnership with Smith and Magniac (whose company later became Jardine Matheson).

In 1867 the Hay’s Wharf company was founded, which acquired more wharves and warehouses: the Gun & Shot wharf was the only wharf between London Bridge and Tower Bridge that was not swallowed up by the Hay’s Wharf company. With the arrival of tea clippers from China and India, Hay’s Wharf became the leading handler of tea in the Port of London. Cottons Wharf was converted into the first commercial cold storage warehouse in Britain, handling shipments from Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Denmark and Holland. Bermondsey became known as the ‘larder of London’ because of its enormous trade in foodstuffs: mainly dairy and meat products and tea and coffee. Up to three-quarters of all London’s imported food passed through the company’s wharves. The company commissioned a new headquarters, Olaf House, and the first private telephone line in London was erected between the Tooley St wharf and its city office on the north bank of the river.

The wharves were heavily bombed during World War II but recovered: by 1960 the company handled 2 million tons of foodstuffs and had 11 cold and cool air stores, as well as many subsidiary companies providing ancillary services: lighterage, barge building and repair, bottling of wines and spirits, transport and shipping and forwarding. However, a bitter labour dispute with the dockers and a change in trading patterns and containerization, with docks at Tilbury and Felixstowe, affected all the London docks and associated industries. The Hay’s Wharf company set up cold storage in Dagenham in 1968 and announced the closure of the wharves in Bermondsey in 1969.

Hays Wharf as it is today.

St Martin’s Property Group, owned by the sovereign state wealth fund of Kuwait, acquired the property assets in the early 1980s. London Bridge Hospital took over the Chamberlain’s Wharf Building and St Olaf’s House. The dock was mostly filled in and paved over and a glass barrel vault installed to join the two warehouse buildings at roof level to create an atrium, for shops and offices, known as Hay’s Galleria. Warehouses were restored to include five interlinking buildings Goldings, Counting, Shackleton, Tea Auction and Hay’s Lane. It is a Grade II listed structure.

Classroom Activity : Henry VIII - History


In the 16th century, there was a big change in the way some Christians worshipped God. Up until the 16th century most people were Roman Catholic and the Pope in Rome was the head of all the Christian Church.

In 1517, a German monk called Martin Luther led a breakaway from the Roman Catholic church. The new Christians called themselves &lsquoProtestants&rsquo because they were protesting against the Roman 'Catholic' (meaning 'universal') Church, its teachings and its customs.

The word Protestant is made from two Latin words:

pro = "publicly" and testari = "to bear witness" (protest).

Their demand for reform led to this period of history being called the Reformation.

Tudor Britain

People in Tudor times were very religious and were prepared to die for their beliefs. It must have been very hard for them during the 118 years the Tudor kings and Queens ruled because they were often forced to change their religion depending on the religion of the reigning monarch.

There were major changes in the church during the reign of the Tudor king and queens. England started as a Catholic country and ended up being a Protestant one under the Tudors.

Why did Religion change a lot during the Tudor Times?

Religion in England changed depending on the views of the monarch and people often felt confused. They were told to change what they believed, how they worshipped God and how they decorated churches.

Many laws were passed about religion. These were passed by Kings and queens who wanted to make people follow the same religion that they did.

When the first Tudor Kings came to the throne, England was a Roman Catholic country and the head of the church was the Pope in Rome, Clement VII.

England is a Catholic country

England was a Catholic nation under the rule of Henry VII (1485-1509) and during much of Henry VIII's (1509-1547) reign.

Church services were held in Latin.

When Henry VIII came to the throne, he was a devout Catholic and defended the Church against Protestants. Henry VIII did not agree with their views.

In 1521, Pope Leo X honoured Henry VIII with the title "Defender of Faith', because of his support for the Roman Church.

The English Church is split from Rome

When the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII a divorce * from Catherine of Aragon, Henry split off the English Church from the Roman church. Rather than the pope, the king would be the spiritual head of the English church. (Reformation)

*The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not recognise, let alone support, divorce.

King Henry VIII declared himself supreme head of a new Church of England. (The Act of Supremacy and reformation) This marked the start of centuries or religious conflict in Britain.

Despite being cut off from Rome, England, retained much of the doctrine and the practices of Catholicism.

Why did Henry VIII break with Rome?

Henry VIII broke with Rome because the pope in Rome would not grant him a divorce with his wife, Catherine of Aragon, because divorce was against church policy.

The year 1535 saw Henry order the closing down of Roman Catholic Abbeys, monasteries and convents across England, Wales and Ireland. This act became known as the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries'. Click here to find out more

Until Henry's death in 1547, although split off from Rome, the English Church remained Catholic country. It wasn't until Henry's son, Edward VI, and his advisors, that England became a Protestant country.

England becomes a Protestant Country

Henry's son Edward was given Protestant teachers and brought up as a strict protestant.

Under King Edward VI (1547-1553), England became a Protestant nation. King Edward VI was a devout Protestant and introduced a new prayer book.

All church services were held in English.

Catholics were treated very badly and catholic bishops were locked up.

England returns to being a Catholic country

Under Queen Mary I (1553-1558), England was again a Catholic nation. Mary was a devout Catholic. The pope became the head of the church again.

Church services changed back to Latin.

During the last three years of her reign, 300 leading Protestants who would not accepted Catholic beliefs were burned to death at the stake. Third earned her the nickname of 'Bloody Mary'.

Protestant again

Elizabeth was raised as a Protestant.

Under Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), England was again a Protestant nation. It was under Elizabeth that the Anglican church (Church of England) became firmly established and dominant. However, Elizabeth did her best to sort out the problem of religion.

Elizabeth wanted England to have peace and not be divided over religion. She tried to find ways which both the Catholic and Protestant sides would accept and be happy. She did not call herself the Head of the Church of England, instead she was know as the 'Supreme Governor of the English Church'.

Although Elizabeth insisted on protestant beliefs, she still allowed many things from the Catholic religion such as bishops, ordained priests, church decorations and priests' vestments. She also produced a prayer book in English, but allowed a Latin edition to be printed.

Elizabeth disliked and punished extreme Protestants and extreme Catholics who tried to convert people to their faiths.

Church services were changed back to English.

© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the author Mandy Barrow.

Significance in History

Henry is often credited with beginning the Age of Discovery, the period during which European nations expanded their reach to Africa, Asia and the Americas. Henry himself was neither a sailor nor a navigator, his name notwithstanding. He did, however, sponsor many exploratory sea voyages. In 1415, his ships reached the Canary Islands, which had already been claimed by Spain. In 1418, the Portuguese came upon the Madeira Islands and established a colony at Porto Santo.

When these expeditions began, Europeans knew virtually nothing about the area pastꃊpe Bojador on the west coast of Africa. Superstition had kept them from going farther. But under Henry’s orders, Portuguese sailors moved beyond Bojador. By 1436, they had traveled as far as the Rio de Oro.

In addition to sponsoring exploratory voyages, Henry is also credited with furthering knowledge of geography, mapmaking and navigation. He started a school for navigation in Sagres, at the southwestern tip of Portugal, where he employed cartographers, shipbuilders and instrument makers. It was from Lagos, near Sagres, that many of his sponsored trips began.

Enslaved People Trade

Henry has the dubious distinction of being a founder of the Atlantic਎nslaved people trade. He sponsored Nuno Tristao’s exploration of the African coast, and Antao Goncalves’s hunting expedition there in 1441. The two men captured several Africans and brought them back to Portugal. One of the captured men, a chief, negotiated his own return to Africa, promising in exchange to provide the Portuguese with more Africans. Within a few years, Portugal was deeply involved in the਎nslaved people trade.

Classroom Activity : Henry VIII - History

Tudor England is famous for its beautiful and ornate clothing, particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Clothes were a means of displaying how wealthy a person was. Rich people could afford clothing made of fine wool, linen or silk. Their clothes were decorated with jewels and embroidered with gold thread.

No rich person felt properly dressed to impress unless he or she was wearing a ruff. Like so many Tudor clothes, it gave a strong signal about the wealth and importance of the person wearing it.

Rich ladies wore padded skirts held up with loops. Over these went bodices and colourful floor-length gowns.

Rich men wore white silk shirts, frilled at the neck and wrists. Over this they wore a doublet (a bit like a tight-fitting jacket), and close-fitting striped trousers (called hose).

Everyone wore their hair shoulder length.

Why did the Tudors wear ruffs and why did the ladies wear stomachers and have to cover themselves up?

It was all to do with fashion, a bit like ripped jeans are today. It was the in thing to wear ruffs and for ladies to make their stomachs as small as they could by wearing corsets and wide skirts.

What did the poor wear?

Poor people wore simple, loose-fitting clothes made from woollen cloth. Most men wore trousers made from wool and a tunic which came down to just above their knee. Women wore a dress of wool that went down to the ground. They often wore an apron over this and a cloth bonnet on their heads.

There are many paintings of Tudors especially the Tudor king and queens. By studying these paintings we can see what clothes were worn by the Tudors, especially rich Tudor people.

Why did Tudor mens clothes look like a square and ladies triangular?

Women's clothing gave them a triangular shape. Their corsets were tight fitting making their waists very thin, while their petticoats and gowns were very wide.

Men's clothes made them look square. They wore short jackets and the shoulders of their coat were cut wide.

What did rich Tudor children wear?

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Other websites

BBC Costume Game - a really good game where you fit the clothing item to the period mannequin

© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the author Mandy Barrow.

Translations and adaptations

1870: In a joint effort by the Young Men's Institute and Club Dramatic Company, in association with the company of Benjamin Webster, a scene from Henry VIII was performed along with parts of acts 3 and 5 of Hamlet (Shakespeare) on 9 July. The event took place in the St Aloysius Hall, Cape Town and the performers included Benjamin Webster, T. Brazier, Mrs Brazier, Mr Devere and James Leffler, with Mr Yorke (as "Cardinal Wolsey") and Mr Davenport as guest performers.

1953: The City of Port Elizabeth presented the play in the Feather Market Hall from June, 1 - 6, 1953, in honour of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2. Approximately 240 actors and musicians took part in the production.Main Cast: Prologue: Michael Wilson. King Henry VII: Ronald W Davis. Duke of Buckinham: Brocas Harris. Lord Abergavenmy: Louis Yudelman. Sergeant-at-arms: G Robertson. Sir Thomas Lovell: Tom Scotcher. Cardinal Wolsey: Johann Nell. Cromwell: Maurice Weightman. Duke of Suffolk: Gavin Blackburn. Lord Sands: Eric White. Sir Henry Guildford: C Watling. Lord Chamberlain: Jack Fisher. Queen Katharine of Arragon: Peggy English. Patience: Jill Henley. Duchess of Norfolk: Dorothy Davies. Griffith: John Dunn. Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham: Douglas Catt. First Old Lady: Phyllis Taylor. Anne Bullen: Christine Hamilton-Cox. Second Old Lady: Dorothy McClelland. Earl of Surrey: Anthony Booth-Jones. First Gentleman: Frank Townsend. Second Gentleman: Harold Davidson. Third Gentleman: Noel Annear. Cardinal Campeius: John Rebham. Gardiner, (later Archbishop of Canterbury): Leceister Walton. Garter King-At-Arms: Ray Spring. First Secretary: John de Lange. Spanish Ambassador Capucius: Christos Christodoulou. Sir Anthony Denny: Wynton Ferreira. Lord Chancellor: C Fuller Petersen. Dr Butts: Eric White. Porter: P D Armstrong. Archbishop Cranmer: John Hamber. Lady-in-Waiting: Joyce Scotcher. Participating Organisations: In a show of mass patriotism the following organisations participated in the production: Company of Four, Madrigal Singers, Port Elizabeth Ballet Club, Port Elizabeth Caledonian Men's Pipe Band, Port Elizabeth Catholic Amateur Dramatic Society, Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Port Elizabeth Ladies Choir, Port Elizabeth Ladies' Pipe Band, Port Elizabeth Male Voice Choir, Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society, Port Elizabeth Orchestral Society, Oratorio Festival Choir, Salvation Army, St Mary's Church Choir, and the Tasker Art Group. Backstage: Production: Will Jamieson. Musical Director: Robert Selley. Pageant Mistress: Doreen Egan. Decor: Herbert McWilliams executed under the direction of H McWilliams, Chris Murray, A Gardham. Costumes were designed by Maurice Weightman and sewn under the direction of Marie Oosthuizen and Barbara Hopkins. Headdresses by: Elise Barker. Lighting: H Alyn Lane. Stage Direction: Robert Parker, assisted by C Darling, A Nives, J Adey. Dances arranged by the P E Ballet Club. Photography by Middlebrooke Studio. Producer's Secretary: Molly Fuller Petersen. Prompt: Phyllis Davidson. Programme Cover Illustration: Maurice Weightman with special lettering by R H Harmer.

Classroom Activity : Henry VIII - History

Project Britain

Timeline and facts abouts the Kings and Queens who have ruled England, Wales and (from the time of James I) Scotland.

  • King William I, the Conqueror 1066 - 1087
  • King William II, Rufus 1087 - 1100
  • King Henry I 1100 - 1135
  • King Stephen 1135 - 1154
  • Empress Matilda 1141

  • King Henry II 1154 - 1189
  • King Richard I the Lionheart 1189 - 1199
  • King John 1 1199 - 1216

  • King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483
  • King Edward V 1483 - 1483
  • King Richard III 1483 - 1485
  • King Henry VII 1485 - 1509
  • King Henry VIII 1509 - 1547
  • King Edward VI 1547 - 1553
  • Jane Grey 1554
  • Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) 1553 - 1558
  • Queen Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603
  • James I 1603 - 1625
  • Charles I 1625 - 1649
  • Charles II 1660 - 1685
  • James II 1685 - 1688
  • William III 1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694
  • Queen Anne 1702 - 1714
  • King George I 1714 - 1727
  • King George II 1727 - 1760
  • King George III 1760 - 1820
  • King George IV 1820 - 1830
  • King William IV 1830 - 1837
  • Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901
  • King Edward VII 1901 - 1910
  • King George V 1910 - 1936
  • King Edward VIII June 1936
  • King George VI 1936 - 1952
  • Queen Elizabeth II 1952 - present day

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website.
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

Classroom Activity : Henry VIII - History

The Ottoman Empire ruled a large portion of the Middle East and Eastern Europe for over 600 years. It first formed in 1299 and finally dissolved in 1923, becoming the country of Turkey.

Rise of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was founded by Osman I, a leader of the Turkish tribes in Anatolia in 1299. Osman I expanded his kingdom, uniting many of the independent states of Anatolia under one rule. Osman established a formal government and allowed for religious tolerance over the people he conquered.

Capturing Constantinople

Over the next 150 years the Ottoman Empire continued to expand. The most powerful empire in the land at the time was the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). In 1453, Mehmet II the Conqueror led the Ottoman Empire in capturing Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantium Empire. He turned Constantinople into the capital of the Ottoman Empire and renamed it Istanbul. For the next several hundred years the Ottoman Empire would be one of the largest and most powerful empires in the world.

When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire, a large number of scholars and artists fled to Italy. This helped to spark the European Renaissance. It also caused the European nations to begin to search for new trade routes to the Far East, beginning the Age of Exploration.

Suleiman the Magnificent by Unknown

The Ottoman Empire began to decline in the late 1600s. It ceased to expand and began to face economic competition from India and Europe. Internal corruption and poor leadership led to a steady decline until the empire was abolished and the country of Turkey was declared a republic in 1923.

  • 1299 - Osman I founded the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1389 - The Ottomans conquer most of Serbia.
  • 1453 - Mehmed II captures Constantinople putting an end to the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1517 - Ottomans conquer Egypt bringing Egypt into the empire.
  • 1520 - Suleiman the Magnificent becomes ruler of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1529 - The Siege of Vienna.
  • 1533 - The Ottomans conquer Iraq.
  • 1551 - The Ottomans conquer Libya.
  • 1566 - Suleiman dies.
  • 1569 - Much of Istanbul burns in a great fire.
  • 1683 - The Ottomans are defeated at the Battle of Vienna. This signals the beginning of the decline of the empire.
  • 1699 - The Ottomans give up control of Hungary to Austria.
  • 1718 - Beginning of the Tulip period.
  • 1821 - The Greek War of Independence begins.
  • 1914 - The Ottomans join the side of the Central Powers in World War I.
  • 1923 - The Ottoman Empire is dissolved and the Republic of Turkey becomes a country.

Religion played an important role in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans themselves were Muslims, however they did not force the peoples they conquered to convert. They allowed for Christians and Jews to worship without persecution. This kept the people they conquered from rebelling and allowed them to rule for so many years.

The leader of the Ottoman Empire was called the Sultan. The title of Sultan was inherited by the eldest son. When a new Sultan took power he would put all of his brothers into prison. Once he had a son of his own to inherit the throne, he would have his brothers executed.

Planning and teaching issues - the democracy strand

One advantage of this theme is that it creates a natural link between British and other histories. You could begin with an enquiry into &lsquoWas the vote won in Britain by violent protest or peaceful campaigning?&rsquo, a question that brings together nineteenth-century campaigns with &lsquoVotes for Women&rsquo. That&rsquos the British story but it could leave a sense that once rights have been won they can&rsquot be removed or lost &ndash which is the link into to looking at Weimar Germany, why Hitler was able to come to power and remove human rights - and the consequences of this in the form of the Holocaust. You could then widen the big story further, using the answer to &lsquohow did they win the vote in Britain?&rsquo as a hypothesis to compare with the experiences and methods of those who struggled for equal rights in the USA and/or South Africa. Finally your case-studies could be linked to events today &ndash where in the world are rights under threat or where have they disappeared completely? Does it matter to us if monks are beaten in Burma or protesters imprisoned in China?

Don&rsquot start from the beginning!

A helpful strategy when faced with too many things to cover in too little time is to create an activity that is set at the end of the period you&rsquore covering, looking back on events. &lsquoDemocracy&rsquo is a good example &ndash ideally you&rsquod like to touch on The French Revolution, Peterloo, the Reform riots, Chartism and the Suffragettes but it&rsquos a lot of lessons and it could get very repetitive &ndash heroic ideals, courageous protests, prison and/or executions, eventual success! An alternative route is to start with Sarah and Alice in 1900 &ndash they want the vote but disagree on how to get it. Alice thinks peaceful methods will prove successful. Sarah favours direct action &ndash so the pupils&rsquo task in a group role as Sarah or Alice is to find historical examples to support their argument &ndash what happened in 1819, 1831, the 1840s and after, why did many (but far from all) men get the vote in 1867 and 1884?

This approach provides a motive for finding out what happened in the 1800s, seeking the best evidence to argue your case, but the task can be divided up amongst groups &ndash two students investigate 1819, another pair the Chartists etc and pool the results. This would obviously have to be highly structured but it could even be expanded to include the French Revolution if you wished. And this takes you into issues of interpretations of events and into analysis of consequences, long and short term, intended and unintended.

Watch the video: the 6 wives of Henry VIII (May 2022).