Tudor Policies-the nobility


A threat?

  • Political role underwent dramatic change
  • In second half of 15th Century-ruled tenants like petty kings over vast areas of land-e.g-Howards, Percys, Staffords and Nevilles
  • For example-Percys in the North-controlled about 10,000 tenants
  • Many lords had private armies, battled against neighbours from fortified castles, had little respect for King's Laws
  • War of the Roses-depleted their numbers BUT some still unwilling to accept Henry VII as rightful King
  • Many used to governing country without King


  • leaders of political community-governed the country
  • Needed their troops to suppress disturbances and fight foreign wars
  • If competent and loyal King would leave them alone but if acted independently or against his best interests he would rein them in

Restricting the Military threat

  • Dismantled castles in non-strategic sites, confiscated gunpowder supplies, decommissioned cannons
  • Most nobles complied, though encouraged to keep suits of armour and harnesses ready for royal service
  • HVII- Trammelled the English and the Irish nobility into a state of subservience
  • Statutes of 1487 and 1504-attempts to confine retainers to licensed holders-harsh fines for those who ignored the law-e.g-Lord Burgavenny fined £71,000, Sir James Stanley fined £245,000 in 1506
  • HVIII-relied on 700 of Norfolk's retainers and Lord Ferrers provided 1000 men to supress P of G(1536)
  • MI-issued over 200 licenses for retaining
  • EI-nedded retainers for Northern Earls (1569)
  • Private feuding especially in Welsh marches, scottish borders and outside the pale. However, there is evidence that cases invovolving livery and maintenence declined in course of 16th century
  • Success?-gained royal monopoly of violence from aristoracy but some nobles still capable of raising and equipping troops independantly if they so wished

Ensuring good behaviour

  • HVII-138 acts of attainder-only reversed minority of them
  • HVIII, EdVI and MI- more generous in restoring lands but few nobles involved in treason after 1536
  • Bonds and recognizances


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