The Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII

By G. R. Elton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE ADMINISTRATIVE REVOLUTION

It will be well to review the conclusions already arrived at. It has been shown that between 1530 and 1542 the management of the finances was revolutionized as the chamber declined and became one of a number of parallel revenue courts, and as new courts were set up; that the place of the privy seal as the centre of administration was taken by the office of principal secretary, while both privy seal and signet declined into a formal routine; that the informal council attendant, an inner ring of leading councillors, was organized into a formal government board, the privy council; and that the king's household was given a more perfect departmental organization. To say it once again: in every sphere of the central government, 'household' methods and instruments were replaced by national bureaucratic methods and instruments. The household, driven from the work of administration in which for centuries it had acted as a mainspring and reserve, became a department of state concerned with specialized tasks about the king's person; finance fell to national institutions rather than to the personal servants of the king and those household offices which administered it before 1530; the secretary of state and the privy council stepped out of the household on to the national stage. Every reorganization that took place was in the direction of greater definition, of specialization, of bureaucratic order.

It would, of course, be wrong either to see no signs of such changes before 1530 or to believe that the work was all done by the end of that momentous decade. Yet the rapidity and volume of change, the clearly deliberate application of one principle to all the different sections of the central government, and the pronounced success obtained in applying that principle, justify one in seeing in those years a veritable administrative revolution. Its unity is further demonstrated and indeed caused by the personality which appears in every aspect of it. Thomas Cromwell, whose own career

-415-

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The Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Patr I Matrique v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I - The Last Phase of Medieval Government 10
  • Chapter II - The Bureaucrat Minister 66
  • Chapter III - The Reform Of The Agencies of Finance 160
  • Chapter IV - Privy Seal, Signet, and Secretary 259
  • Chapter V - The Privy Council 316
  • Chapter VI - The King's Household 370
  • Chapter VII - The Administrative Revolution 415
  • Appendix I - Cromwell and the Mastership Of the King's Wards 428
  • Appendix II - Documents 431
  • Index 443
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