Henry VII: Henry VII's Government - Councils & Courts & Parliament

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  • Henry VII's Government - Councils & The Court
    • The Council
      • 3 Main Functions
        • 1. To advise the King 2. To administer the realm on the King's behalf
      • During Henry VII's reign the Council had no established rules and procedures
      • Sometimes members met separatly
      • Professional councillors (Bray and Dudley) often met to deal with legal and administrative matters
      • Sometimes separate meetings occured at the same time
    • The Council Learned
      • The body was developed in the second half of the reign, first under Bray's leadership
        • Met in the office of the Duchy of Lancaster, where it formed a 'specialist board'
          • It's function was to maintain the King's revenue and to exploit his prerogative rights
      • Made the system of bonds and recognizances work effectively and able to entrap many of the King's subjects
      • The workings were often viewed as being a rather 'shady' operation
      • Arguably the Council Learned caused fear, frustration and anger, as it bypassed the normal legal systems
        • However, it was the expression of the King's will and was important for the maintenance of his authority, as it was for raising finances
      • Empson (Bray's assosiate and an abitious lawyer and bureaucrat) and Dudley, formed a feared combination of able and conscientious bureaucrats
        • They raised the extraction of money from the King's subjects to a fine art. They created enemies unsurprisingly of some of the King's advisers (Fox and Lovell)
    • Court & Household
      • The royal court was heavily relied on, since wealth was power, the royal court had to be magnificent and generous
      • Henry was heavily influenced by foreign courts (Burgundy and France)
      • Was always found wherever the King was at any given time. The focus on personal monarhcy and a place for a royal ceremony was what in Henry's personal interest
      • There were different levels of court; the household proper and the Chamber
        • The household proper; was responsible for meeting the personal and catering requirements were supervised by Lord  Steward
        • The Chamber was politically important, presided over by the Lord Chamberlain
          • For such a vital part of rhe system if came as an obvious blow to Henry, when he discovered Sir William Stanley (Lord Chamberlain) had been involved with Perkin Warbeck
    • Parliament
      • Comprised of the House of Commons and House of Lords, existing since C13th, but only met occasionally and wasn't central to the government
      • It had 2 main functions; to pass laws and to grant taxation to the Crown
      • Only the King could call a parliament, demonstrating Henry's power
        • His first granted tonnage and poundage
      • His first 2 parliaments passed numerous Acts of Attainder
        • Declaring individuals guilty without going through a trial
          • Those who were dead, had their property forfeit to the Crown
      • The first parliament limited the demand for extraordinary revenue and recieved an undertaking that the King would not seek more revenue
      • Research has shown that Parliament operated effectively,
        • Th King respected decisions and there were a number of private acts passed in response to local demands for improvements


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