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Council of the North

Council of the North. The chief arm of government in the turbulent northern shires of Yorkshire, Durham, Cumberland, Westmorland, and Northumberland in the Tudor and early Stuart period. It was responsible for law and order and had wide jurisdiction. As duke of Gloucester in Edward IV's reign, Richard III had shared power in the north with the earl of Northumberland. Having seized the crown in 1483, he appointed Northumberland warden of the marches but created a separate council at York under his nephew and heir, the earl of Lincoln. Henry VIII allowed the council to lapse but revived it in 1525 under the nominal control of his natural son Henry FitzRoy. In 1530 it was made a royal council and after the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, which the council had failed to prevent, it was reorganized once more. Its importance in Elizabeth I's reign is indicated by the fact that, after the dangerous rising of the northern earls in 1569, the presidency was held by Lord Huntingdon, the queen's cousin, from 1572 until 1595, and by Lord Burghley, elder brother of Sir Robert Cecil, from 1599 until 1603. In 1628 Charles I appointed Strafford to be president. He retained the office while he was lord deputy in Ireland but in 1641 was attainted and executed. The council was abolished by the Long Parliament shortly afterwards. It was not revived at the Restoration, though Charles II considered doing so in 1664. From the dissolution of the monasteries to its abolition, the council met in the King's Manor at York, the residence of the lord president.

J. A. Cannon

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