Henry VII's government: councils and court

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  • Councils and the Courts.
    • The Council
      • 3 main functions: to advise the king, to administer the realm on the king's behalf, to make legal judgements.
      • 3 main types of councillors
        • members of the nobility (although the working council rarely included the great Magnates/ high nobles)
        • churchmen such as John Morton and Richard Fox who had legal training and were great administrators
        • laymen (either gentry or lawyers) such as Sir Reginald Bray and Edmund Dudley who were skilled administrators.
      • no established rules but permanent body with core membership.
        • some met separately to deal with administrative concerns without the king.
          • these 'professional' councillors like Bray and Dudley didn't see themselves as courtiers
      • The Great Council
        • Gathering of the House of Lords without the house of commons
        • no clearly defined functions
        • occasional rather than permanant
        • Only met 5 times throughout Henry VII's reign, relating to war or rebellion
      • The Council Learned in Law
        • offshoot of council, developed in 2nd half of reign 1st under Bray's leadership and then Empson (a lawyer and bureaucrat)  and Dudley from 1503
        • Met in the office of the Duchy of Lancaster
        • function: maintain king's revenue and exploit his prerogative rights (rights or powers kings could exercise without consent of parliament)
        • made system of Bonds and Recognizances used to control nobility.
          • bond= legal doc. bounds individual to complete action or pay a forfeit sum. recognizance= formal acknowledgement of debt or other obligation which could be enforced by financial penalty.
    • The Royal Court and household
      • The Chamber
        • overseen by Lord chamberlain, used for holding audiences and public dining.
          • Lord Chamberlain=powerful position and one of considerable trust.
            • in 1495, Henry discovered that his Lord Chamberlain (Sir William Stanley) had been involved in a treasonous plot.
        • centre of communications and court patronage.
      • Privy Chamber
        • king's private quarters for work and leisure
        • met personal friends and servants in these rooms.
        • created after Sir Stanley's treason.
        • made it more difficult for those out of the King's favour to regain his trust as their access was limited.
      • Royal court= centre of court. Henry VII heavily influenced by his time at French court. found wherever the monarch was. focus on personal monarchy and royal ceremony.
        • power of monarch demonstrated to all of courtiers in attendance. rewards and statuses also distributed here.
        • courtiers enjoyed paid postion or free food.
      • Personal Monarchy
        • political influence of an individual depended on the relationship that person had with monarch.
        • access to king= main determinant of power, royal court controlled access
      • Levels of court
        • Household proper responsible for looking after the king, courtiers and the guests who were being entertained. these personal and catering requirements supervised by the Lord Steward
        • The Chamber
          • overseen by Lord chamberlain, used for holding audiences and public dining.
            • Lord Chamberlain=powerful position and one of considerable trust.
              • in 1495, Henry discovered that his Lord Chamberlain (Sir William Stanley) had been involved in a treasonous plot.
          • centre of communications and court patronage.
        • Privy Chamber
          • king's private quarters for work and leisure
          • met personal friends and servants in these rooms.
          • created after Sir Stanley's treason.
          • made it more difficult for those out of the King's favour to regain his trust as their access was limited.

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