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Henry VII background
(Parents and when he was born)

Henry was born in 1457
Parents were the earl of Richmond (died shortly after Henry was born) and Margaret Beaufort (descendent to Edward III)
Henry didn’t have a strong claim to the throne


Battle of Tewsbury

During the battle, the House of Lancashire lost many claims to the throne
This left Henry the main claim to the throne, his left his life in danger, so he fled to Brittany


Battle of Bosworth

Henry gained some soldiers from the king of France, he went to England on August 1st 1485
In England he tried to gain support and the two armies met on 22nd August 1485. Henry had 5,000 men but Richard had double.
But Henry’s step father lord Stanley who was watching at first, helped Henry win with his 4,000 men


Henry’s main problems

Nobility gained lots of power from the war of roses
Henry had uneven control of England, lack of support in the north
The crown had poor finances


How Henry consolidated his power

He dated his reign back to punish people who fought against him
He publicly rewarded people, he granted 11 knighthoods
He captured Elizabeth of york and the earl of Warwick who had better claims to the throne
He granted powerful titles (lord chamberlain)
He arranged his coronation before parliament met
He married Elizabeth of york in 1486, creating the Tudor rose and he had a son Arthur, who had Yorkist and Lancashire blood


How Henry VII dealt with the nobility

Attainders - used them to seize titles and possessions of nobles he didn’t trust. This were created by parliament and you could be committed of treason without a trial. 138 attainders were used in his reign and 47 were reversed with Lord Tyrell paying £1,738 to reverse his attainder.
Patronage - Henry rewarded the gentry not the nobility. Nobility fell by 1/4 in his reign.
Retaining - needed a licence to retain due to the 1504 law. £5 per month per man.
Financial controls - used bonds to place nobles in Henry’s debt. 2/3 of nobles were under bonds. Lord Burgavenny charged £70,000 for retaining and put under a bond paying £5,000 per 10 years


Lovell rebellion

In April 1486, during a royal process to york. Francis Lovell led this with Humphrey and Thomas Stafford. Lovell tried to raise support in North Yorkshire, whilst the Stafford’s raised support in the midlands. But they gained little support.
Henry sent troops to the rebellion, then the rebellion melted away.


Simnel rebellion

Simnel tried to impersonate the earl of Warwick. In 1487 with the help of John De La Pole, he was crowned king of England in Ireland. But Henry showed the real earl of Warwick.
Simnel went to Burgundy where Margaret gave them 2,000 soldiers. The two armies met at the battle of stoke field in 1487. Henry’s army was lead by the earl of oxford. John De La Pole was killed in the battle and Simnel was sent to work in the royal kitchen


Henry’s problems in governing England

The main problems were:
- strength and power of the nobility
- lack of support in areas (north)
- how to keep law and order
- how to keep control of Wales and Ireland
- how to raise funds for the crown


How Henry VII governed England

Council - they helped him make decisions. 227 men attended the council. But Henry had an inner council of 6/7 that he actually listened to. Main functions were to advice the king, run the country and make legal judgements
Great council - made up of powerful nobles that met in times of war and rebellion (only met 5 times).
Council learned in law - formed in 1495 and the main job was to exploit the prerogative rights and maintaining the kings income. They made bonds work more efficiently. Following Brays death in 1503 Richard Empson and Edmond Dudley took over and they were executed in 1510 by Henry VIII
Star chamber - created after the star chamber act 1487. Responsible for prosecuting anyone who acted in a rebellious or lawless way. But it wasn’t used much.
Royal court - privy chamber for Henry’s trusted friends, people wanted to spend time with the king. Lord chamberlain (lord Stanley) decided this, which was important in a personal monarchy
Parliament - main job was to grant kings tax and pass laws. It was called by the King and he called 7 parliaments. 5 in the first 10 years which were based around finance and control.
Law and order - Henry left the north to the Stanley’s and the earl of Northumberland. JPs maintained order in the countryside. They went to places 4 times a year. They were usually from the gentry and did tasks unpaid but they did it to increase their reputation


Henry’s sources of income

Crown lands - act of resumption 1486 have Henry crown lands lost in he war of the roses. Money from this went from £12,000 to £42,000 a year
Feudal dues - traditional rights that the crown had to demand money. Money was paid in marriages, when heirs received inheritance and livery (by a ward for taking control of land when a lord was too young).
Custom duties - payment on goods entering and leaving the country. Money from tonnage (exports) and poundage (imports). This rose from £33,000 at the start of his reign to £40,000 at the end
Legal dues - money from fines and other payments. Henry gained money from attainders. Henry got £9,000 for attainder of William Stanley in 1495
Bonds and recognisances - payments made as a guarantee of good behaviour. Yorkist supporters paid bonds to ensure loyalty. Earl of Westmorland paid £10,000 after battle of Bosworth. Council learned in law got these payments.
Loans and benevolences - kings right to ask for money in times of emergency. Henry got £45,000 for war in Brittany (£9,000 alone came from the city of London).
Feudal Dues 2 - king was entitled to gifts on special occasions. In 1504 Henry got £30,000 from parliament for the knighthood of his son Arthur
Clerical taxes - clergy were exempt from paying tax. Henry got money from simony (payment for a position)- £300 for the archdeacon of Buckinghamshire.
Parliamentary taxes - guaranteed crown money in times of war. Usually in the form of fifths and tenths (form of tax). This was resented and caused the Yorkshire 1489 and the Cornish 1497 rebellions


Perkin warbeck

Warbeck was a cloth trader from Flanders. He pretended to be Richard duke of york. In 1491 he was discovered by Margaret of burgundy and was sent to Ireland. He failed to gain Irish support and went to the court of Charles VIII of France.
But the treaty of Etaples 1492 meant he had to leave. His first attempt to land in England failed. Henry’s spy Sir Robert Clifford was part of Warbecks advisors. But Warbeck had a spy of his own - William Stanley.
After this Warbeck went to Scotland, he was offered marriage to James IV of Scotland’s cousin. In January 1497 a small Scottish force crossed the border but quickly retreated. The treaty of Ayton 1497 meant Warbeck had to leave France.
His final attempt was to exploit the Cornish rebellion in 1497. But his force was crushed. Warbeck surrendered and Henry let him into his royal court. But after Warbeck didn’t attend he was sent to the Tower of London. In 1499 he was executed with the earl of Warwick after they both tried to escape.


Foreign policy
Brittany and France

Duke of Francis died in 1487 leaving Anne in charge of Brittany. France saw this as an opportunity to invade. Henry wanted to defend them as he lived there as a boy and it was near to England for a future French invasion. They agreed on the treaty of Redon 1489, Anne paid for 2,000 English soldiers.
However Anne married Charles leaving Henry’s soldiers stranded. In 1492 Henry invaded France at the end of the campaigning season while France invaded Milan. Charles VIII signed the treaty of etaples in 1492 whiz stopped the invasion in return for money and Warbeck had to leave France.


Foreign policy
Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire

Most of England’s trade was through Antwerp (under Burgundy’s control). This was in charge by Margaret but she gave it too Maximilian (holy roman emperor) who gave it to his son Philip. They both supported Warbeck, so Henry created a trade embargo. After Warbeck left Burgundy in 1496 the embargo was lifted by the intercursus Magnus.
In 1506 the treaty of Windsor included the treaty of intercursus Malis, which improved trade and gave Henry Edmund de la pole back


Foreign policy

Treaty of Medina del campo 1489 meant the two countries supported each other if attacked, not to support revels and the marriage alliance between Arthur and Catherine of Aragon.
Marriage alliance ended in 1502 when Arthur died. In 1504 Isabella died and this caused a power struggle between Ferdinand and Joanna. Henry sided with Joanna but in 1506 Philip died which caused Joanna to go mad. Ferdinand delayed the marriage of prince Henry and Catherine of Aragon until Henry VII died.
England were also left out of the league of Cambrai in 1508


Foreign policy

1485-1495 relations were tense. James IV of Scotland gave Warbeck marriage to his cousin and crossed the border with an army
The treaty of Ayton 1497 offered peace and after a Warbeck left relations improved.
1502 signed the treaty of perpetual peace which granted the marriage between James IV of Scotland and Henry’s daughter Margaret which happened in 1503.
Good relations continued the rest of Henry VIIs reign


Foreign policy

Power in Ireland was with local barons. Dominant figure in Ireland was the earl of Kildare, who was lord deputy of Ireland since 1477. He was a Yorkist sympathiser.
Henry used Englishmen to control Ireland as he trusted them more. He used prince Henry as Lieutenant of Ireland with sir Edward Poynings as his deputy. Poynings law was passed in 1495 which meant all Irish laws had to be approved by the English monarch.
When Scotland invaded in 1497 he moved Englishmen controlling Ireland. Earl of kildares Yorkist sympathises ended in 1500, giving Henry a cheap way of controlling Ireland


Marriage alliance successes

Marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Arthur in 1501
Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, despite Ferdinand delaying this until Henry VII died
Margaret married James IV of Scotland in 1503
Mary married Louis XII of France in 1514


Marriage alliances failures

Rumours Henry VII might marry Catherine of Aragon
1505 Holy Roman emperor Maximilian proposed Henry marry his daughter Margaret of Savoy but she refused
1505 Louis XII of France proposed he marry his niece Margaret of Angoleme but nothing happened
In 1507 negotiations of Henry marrying Joanna but they took too long


Great chain of being

Nobility dominated land ownership .
The peerage (nobles) made up 50/60 men.
Peerage is when you have the titles of Baron, Earl, Duke, Marquis and Viscount
Henry was reluctant to create peerage as he didn’t trust them.
Henry preferred to control the nobles through bonds and recognisances
Henry couldn’t fully stop retaining as the nobles needed some men to control their areas but some were fined - Lord Burgavenny was fined £100,000 for retaining in 1507


Great chain of being
Great gentry and the gentry

Made up of wealthy and important figures below the peerage. Often great landowners and to be in the great gentry you needed a knighthood.

By 1490 there were 375 knights among the great gentry and with the peerage they owned 15-20% of land in England.


Great chain of being

The church was significant at this time.
If offered a spiritual role for people and was huge landowner with great wealth and power.
Local priests helped local people whereas bishops and archbishops could sit in the House of Lords.
Henry VII appointed bishops who were educated and legally trained (like John Morton).


Great chain of being

Lowest position of the great chain of being. Top of this class were educated lawyers or administrators.
Yeoman were also at the top of this class, they were farmers who owned the land.
Lower down the class were local traders and shop keepers. These players an important role on town councils.
Lowest was peasants who would labour land in return for low pay or food



3/4 of the population lived in the south and east of the country
5% lives in towns. However by 1490 populations of towns started to increase. There were 700 towns in England, all small except London with a population of 30,000.
Living conditions for peasants improved, by 1490s wages were increasing.
Social discontent was low as England didn’t suffer from any subsistence crisis



During middle ages land was farmed in open field systems. Usually 3 fields which surrounded each village and each peasant had a strip of land. But some land was closed off by land owners as this was easier for pastoral farming.
This angered peasants but in the Midlands (height of the problem) only 3% of the land was enclosed.
Henry passed first laws against this in 1489. Aimed at the Isle of Wight. It focused on stopping destruction of houses that sat on 20 acres of land. Laws were never enforced as it left land owners to enforce them, but landowners benefited from enclosures so they wouldn’t stop them


Yorkshire rebellion 1489
Cornish rebellion 1497

Occurred when Henry taxed England for war with Brittany, the earl of Northumberland was murdered in this 1489 rebellion

Occurred when Henry taxed England due to a Scottish invasion. Rebellion involved 15,000 in 1497. Exploited by Perkin Warbeck but the rebellion was stopped at Blackheath just outside of London


English economy

Economy was beginning to recover in the 1490s from the Black Death which created labour shortages.
Move to pastoral farming
England’s largest export was wool. Cloth and trade was 80% of England’s exports.
60% increase of this during Henry VII’s reign
England depended on the cloth industry.
But tin was mined in Cornwall, lead in the Pennies and coal from Northumberland.


Merchant adventures

Founded in 1307 and were a trading organisation who dominated he London wool and cloth trade.
It reinforced London’s dominate with places like Antwerp.
Merchant adventures never achieves total dominance due to the Hanseatic League. They were a group of German towns that dominated the Baltic regions
Dominate over England was reassured by trade treaties in 1474 and 1504. Henry did this to ensure they didn’t support Yorkist pretender Edmund de La Pole, who was seeking support in Burgundy


Navigation acts

Passed navigation acts in 1485. This meant only English ships could carry certain products too and from English ports. Promoted the merchant adventures and meant Henry achieved more money from tax.
1489 another navigation act passed made it illegal for foreigners to buy English wool to made into cloth. Export of cloth dropped 30% during Henry’s reign, improving the profitability of the cloth industry and trade. Wasn’t effective as people ignored the act



Henry gave John Cabot permission to search for new lands.
In 1497 they found Newfoundland which developed the Bristol fish trade
Henry wasn’t bothered by exploration



Henry was interested in changing coinage in England for political and economic reasons.
1485 Henry granted titles of master of monies and keeper of the exchange to Sir Giles Daubeney
Also introduced a new shilling piece and he introduced the fist coin with his face on it, which helped the consolidate his power


The church was powerful and popular

Everyone belonged to the church
8,000 parishes in England
The church provided entertainment and ceremony linked to the agricultural calendar
It maintained social control as there was an emphasis on good behaviour as the church provided fear through doom-paintings
Clergy were powerful as only priests could read the Latin bible
Louth, Lincolnshire paid £305 for their church spire
Nearly 2/3 of churches were built/ rebuilt in the 15th century
The dying left their wealth to the church
Provided the framework for how people thought
Church educated people and ran schools


The church wasn’t powerful and popular

Clergy were absent from churches but still claimed stipend (payment),
some were pluralists claiming stipend from multiple churches
some clergy couldn’t say the Lord’s prayer
Groups like Lollards existed



The movement started in the second half of the 1300s.
They wanted the Bible in English, were suspicious of transubstantiation and believed the Catholic Church were corrupt. They also didn’t want priests to have special status in society


Heresy and anticlericalism

A Heretic is someone who speaks out against the church. Lollards views were seen as heresy. This was punished by death which was stated and a 1401 law. 12 were burnt at the stake for heresy during Henry VII’s reign.

Anticlericalism is opposition to the clergy for its real or alleged influence in political and social affairs. They spoke out against the clergy (priests) not the church



Humanism is a set of intellectuals who appeared during the Renaissance period. They wanted to establish the reliability of Latin and Greek translations in order to confirm ideas of religious texts.
Erasmus was a Dutch humanist who came to England for the first time in 1499. He wrote the handbook for the Christian soldier in 1504 and sought to regenerate the Christian faith through better education.
During the time of Henry VII humanism and the Renaissance has little impact on England