[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]
Re: Henry VII
Oh, heavens! Henry VII's reign was far more important and exciting (if not
colourful) than Henry VIII's.
H7 began the Tudor dynasty in England, which is a nifty story in and of
itself. After Richard III was crowned King of England, amid much scandal
(murdering children and all--can't go into it or this post will become
veeeeery long), the opposition rallied around one Welshman by the name of
Henry Tudor. Henry Tudor did have Royal blood, but was in no way, shape, or
form in line for succession to the throne. In fact, his line had been
forbidden the succession by an Act of Parliament (another interesting story
that it would take forever to go into).
Henry Tudor was atthat time 27 years old, and earl of Richmond. He took his
followers and invaded England, lnding off the coast of wales in 1485. On
March 22, he, along with a large English army who had joined him (many of whom
were Richard III's troops who deserted) he fought a battle near the town of
Bosworth in which Richard III was killed.
Henry managed to create a new dynasty out of sheer military force, despite
having no claim to the throne. At this time, Henry had no money. The
monarchy was in debt. Henry himself was in personal debt to men al over
England and France. He faced the opposition of teh York family (led by
Margaret of Burgundy, sister of Edward IV). Needless to say, H7 fought fo
rmost of his reign, yet he has been called the most uniformly successful king
in English history. At the time of his death in 1509 he was the wealthiest
king in Western Europe. All of his surplus managed to corrupt his son, H8,
who spent nearly all of it. But the Tudor dynasty did last unquestioned past
his death (the sign of a good monarch). Part of the reason was that England
had seen a real rought period and now desired order and stability. Plus most
all of teh great aristocratic families were nearly dead from the wars.
H7 was extrememly politically skilled. His grandaughter Elizabeth was much
like him in this regard. H8 was not. He was a realistic king who understood
the fragile nature of his position, didn't buy into the chivalry mumbo-jumbo
(but he played the game to keep appearances up--he even founded the order of
bath). H7 ran England like a business, which is why he succeeded. It made
him very unpopular with a lot of the nbobility, but it also made him rich and
powerful. He is one of the only kings whose actual handwriting appears inthe
account books--not a clerk's! He did not delegate any of that
responsibility--he always knew exactly where the money was. And he also did
not let pride or personal offenses cloud his judgement. He was one of the
most level headed kings to sit on teh English throne.
H7 created a "new monarchy" out of all the chaos preceding him. He revived
fundamental medieval institutions and made them work one last time before the
Rennasiance came to town. At this time in history, the King's Council was
still in operation. Parliament was a Royal device still that met only when the
king willed it. It had very limited authority. H7 relied heavily onteh
church as an ally. He duistrusted all the great nobility. Basicallyt he set
out to make the crown as powerful as it once was, and he succeeded.
One of the ways he did this was by exercising his Royal Perogative. This was
the body of powers possessed by kings by the right of inheritance. They were
inate powers not bestowed upon them by the state. They included the right to
enforce the law by whatever means the king choses, including with his own
hands. They included teh right to collect revenue. And they included the
rioght to bestow honours, commond military forces, call or not call meetins og
council & parliament, etc. All of these rights had been ignored during the
period of teh Anarchy, but H7 revivied them all.
During the War of the Roses period, the common law had fallen under control of
teh nobles and they had badly compromised it. H7 took it back. He outlawed
the practice of livery and maintenance (a form of bastard fuedalism), and
exercised his legal perogatives greatly. He was king. He did not have to use
due process in the courts. In fact, he used torture and paid informants. But
he got things done.
H7 used two special perogitive courts. Both of these were committees of the
Royal Council. The first was the Court of Requests. The king and a small
group of close advisors sat in tehis court and corrected asbuses of local
power. It was also called the court of poorman's pleas. They recieved
petitions from local communities who complained of a corrupt justice or other
abuse, and then called that justice or noble into court. (You did not get
called into court and then proclaimed innocent--you just best hope not to be
called into court). even worse than this was the court of the Star Chamber,
so called because of teh way in which it was decorated. It dealt with
problems of public order, political crimes, and the like. It was aimed
specifically at teh great nobility. This is the court that outlawed livery
and maintenance. It confronted teh most powerful men in England and stripped
tehm of land, title, and even their lives. You did *not* want to get called
into this court.
All of this seems extremem but at teh time of H7's deathin 1509, comon law was
once more free of all noble influence.
I've got to run now, but stay tuned for more info on Henry's finances (yay!)
List Archives, FAQ, FTP: http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/
Admin. requests: firstname.lastname@example.org