In the autumn and winter of 1546-1547 there was a major change in the distribution of political power in England. A group of leading councillors linked by conservatism were driven from court and council. Some forfeited office, others their freedom, and the Earl of Surrey his life. Bishops Gardiner and Bonner went to gaol. Tunstal suffered the loss of much of his vast liberty of Durham. Great Norfolk lay under sentence of death, in the Tower. Lord Chancellor Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, was deprived of his office, allegedly for acts ultra vires, and was under house arrest in Ely Place, his London palace. He had also been fined 4,000 pounds, under the sentence given on the 6th of March and the additions to it made on June 29th.
Historians seeking an explanation of the political earthquake have often adopted a simple but attractive thesis. As Henry VIII's life ebbed the balance tipped toward the “Protestants,” perhaps because it was the king's own wish or because there was a secret pact, in fact a conspiracy, between Sir William Paget and Sir Edward Seymour. The chief historians of the transit of power have provided direct evidence supporting the idea of a pact between Paget, the ‘master of Practices,’ and the king's brother-in-law, the military hero Hertford who was also the uncle of Prince Edward.