Depth 5 - Henry VII: seizing the throne and trying to keep it, 1485-97


How successful were the methods Henry VII used to secure his hold on the throne?

Claiming the throne and the significance of the marriage to Elizabeth of York

  • Tudor claim was weak - lots of other claimants
  • Victory at Bosworth and death of Richard III seen by some as God's approval
  • Henry said he claim was hereditary but also by right of conquest - indicated that those loyal would be rewarded
  • Dated his reign before Battle of Bosworth - meant all Yorkists were traitors so ensure their loyalty
  • Marriage to Elizabeth very beneficial - would unite houses and allow his heirs to claim the throne on Lancastrian and Yorkist side
  • Was arranged by their mothers after princes in tower died
  • Impediments to the marriage - they were distantly related, all children of Edward IV had been declared illegitimate by Richard III

The bastardisation of Edward IV's heirs and parliament's reversal of this

  • Passed by Richard to secure his claim to the throne
  • Janruary 1485 - parliament reversed it and ordered the Act to be destroyed - extreme measure reflective of Henry's paranoia
  • Was given papal dispensation

How successful was Henry's marriage to Elizabeth of York?

  • Appeared to be content
  • Keen to not be unpopular like Edward and Woodville - had little relations to reward anyway
  • Margaret Beaufort very controlling over Elizabeth - bit of a tense relationship
  • Elizabeth successful - provided Henry with plenty of children
  • Only Henry VIII survived to adulthood - Arthur's death was a big emotional blow for the couple as he was the perfect heir
  • Elizabeth died in childbirth in 1503

Living in fear and striving for security: the use of spies and bonds

  • Henry changed the way a king ruled - more modern, tighter form of government - seen as tyrannical
  • Seems relatively peaceful reign - ended the Wars of the Roses - however tighter control and rebellions showed otherwise

Henry's intelligence network

  • Social structure - nobles informed king of trouble - king used them to send messages to gentry etc. - however king couldn't always trust nobles
  • Spies common in war - to see enemy camp etc. - also to lay false trails
  • Ensured he had good information from foreign courts - important because France tended to ally with Scotland and Wales
  • Henry had a lot of spies - but so did other monarchs including Henry VI and Edward IV
  • Margeret of Burgundy sister to Richard - was plotting with Yorkists - used spies to gain intelligence about these dissidents
  • Innovative in 2 ways - ciphers (codes) used, and placed lots of financial pressure on nobles to ensure they acted as informers

Henry's financial policies towards the nobility

  • Use of bonds to generate fear and loyalty - payments to the crown by nobles for priveleges (and showed their loyalty) - also fines for untrustworthy nobles. Henry associated financial security with power
  • More than half the peerage obliged to pay the crown as security
  • Some wealthy figures obliged to sign bonds to guarentee the good…




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