Society under Henry VII

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  • Society under Henry VII
    • Structure
      • Hierarchical class system
      • Commoners included servants, labouring poor and the unemployed
      • The 'Great Chain of Being' was the natural order of society
    • Nobility
      • Consisted of 50-60 men
      • Henry was deeply distrustful of the nobility
      • Controlled them through bonds and recognizances
      • ******* feudalism (retainers)
        • Recruited knights or gentlemen to serve administrative/military purposes
        • Law passed in 1487 restricting retainers
    • Gentry
      • Most often were landowners
        • Together with peers they owned 15-20% of the country's land
      • Important gentry members sought knighthoods
      • 1490 = 375 knights
      • Many had a coat of arms
    • Churchmen
      • Important for its spiritual role within society
        • Was also a great landowner
      • At parish level they dealt with ordinary people
      • Bishops were entitled to sit in the House of Lords
      • Archbishops Morton & Fox served as royal councillors


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