Power & Government
Queen Elizabeth I
The England of Elizabeth I was a very structured place, and had a rather complicated system of government. First there were the national bodies of government such as the Privy Council and Parliament, then the regional bodies such as the Council of the Marches and the North, and then county and community bodies.
National, or rather Central, government, consisted of:
These three bodies would work together to rule the country, make laws, raise money, and decide upon matters of religion and national defense. The Privy Council was largely an administrative body, but it could not oversee the administration and government of all England and Wales, and so the Council of the North and the Council of the Marches helped. The Council of the North, residing in York, was responsible for the North of England, and the Council of the Marches was responsible for Wales and some of the English border counties. During Elizabeth's reign, it became settled in Ludlow, which made it effectively the capital of Wales, although it was in England. The Council of the North and the Council of the Marches were also part of a more localized method of government, and in Tudor England, local government was very important. To ensure that the Queen's commands and the laws of the land were being obeyed, there were royal representatives in every county in the country. The most important of these were the Justices of the Peace, the Sheriffs, and later the Lord Lieutenants. Cities and towns even had their own hierarchy of government, and various officials to oversee certain matters, the principal official being the mayor.