Henry VII and the nobility

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  • Henry VII and the nobility
    • Why were they a problem?
      • They were partly responsible for causing the Wars of the Roses in the 1450s and 60s.
      • There was nothing stopping another powerful noble overthrowing Henry.
        • Given their wealth and power, it was vital Henry controlled them.
    • Why were they vital?
      • He needed their help and advice to rule.
      • He needed them to enforce royal will in the localities.
      • They were required to fill key offices.
    • Inducements
      • He gave many who supported Richard at Bosworth a 2nd chance.
      • He established the Order of the Garter, seen as prestigious.
      • He gave patronage in return for loyal services, not in the hope of loyal service. Nobles had to prove they were loyal.
      • He issued summons to the King's Council, a sign of trust.
    • Sanctions
      • Acts of Attainder damaged families as they lost the right to possess land, bringing social and economic disaster. They could be reversed as a result of good behaviour.
      • Bonds and recognisances were written agreements where nobles who had offended Henry paid him money or paid money as security for future behaviour.
        • This discouraged potentially disloyal nobles.
      • Limits were placed on noble retainers; they now needed a license and this was followed by a heavy fine if not.
        • Lord Burgavenny was fined over £70k.
      • Henry asserted his feudal rights over marriage, profiting from the arranged marriage of heirs and by exploiting the estates of wards.
      • Henry took back former royal land, seen with the Act of Resumption in 1486. This made the king wealthier and more powerful than any noble.
    • Effectiveness
      • There was little unrest after Simnel's defeat.
      • The number of overmighty subjects was reduced.
      • The number of new nobles created was limited and so elevation was seen as a great privilege.

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