Richard III (The increasing instability of his reign)

Refers to AQA AS History (Britain 1483-1529 - Section 1, Chapter 2 - The reign of Richard III)

  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 26-04-13 16:46
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  • Richard III - Increasing Instability in his reign.
    • Relations to the nobility
      • Avoided reliance on great magnates, as they might be prone to abuse their power/ usurp the throne.
      • Chose to rule trough minor nobles, as more likely to be loyal for extra reward
        • e.g. Scrope of Bolton, Dacre, Greystoke, Fitzhugh.
      • Lower tiers adapted well to new rule - educated
      • Some gentry who were rewarded great land and offices did not get titles
        • e.g. Sir Richard Ratcliffe and William Catesby.
    • Counsel of North
      • Independent royal counsel designed to keep law and order.
      • Named son Edward as leader of counsel but intended to run it himself.
        • As North less troublesome for Richard, however, he handed it over to his nephew, John de la Pole.
      • Overrode interests of the two great magnates in the North, the Earl of Westmorland and Northumberland.
        • Not surprising the Northumberland chose not to back him at Bosworth.
    • Justice
      • Main problem for the King was that he was only seen as an usurper to the throne by his subjects.
        • The public satisfaction with the King was very low.
        • His hold on power, was, according to historian Cathy Lee, 'tense and uncertain.'
      • Richard III sent instruction to Southampton, Windsor and York that city authorities should punish those who suggested he poisoned his wife and murdered the two princes.
    • Financial Management
      • Yorkist Tradition; active supervision of royal purse.
      • Faced high expense of lavish funeral of his brother.
      • Closely administered crown estates to maximise ordinary revenue.
      • Act of Parliament outlawing 'benevolences' relied on by Edward, instead favouring forced loans (equally unpopular!) to meet growing commitments.
      • Had to pay for suppression of Buckingham rebellion, to wage war with Scotland and for the impending confrontation with Henry Tudor.
    • Parliament and Personal Affairs
      • Only called one parliament in his short reign, and even this was delayed until January 1484 by the Buckingham Rebellion.
      • Dominated by Richard's right to rule and be King
        • Titulus Regius, proclaiming the illegitimacy of the Princes in the Tower, and therefore strengthening his own legal claim.
        • Voted the King customs revenues for life
      • Passed acts of attainders against men implemented in Buckingham Rebellion
      • Nothing major was passed as 1484 was dominated foreign policy and family tragedy, with the death of his son, Edward, in 1484. His wife then died the following year.
    • Foreign Policy
      • Continued to chose to continue Edward's war with Scotland despite James III desiring peace.
        • Ill-judged as required an expensive campaign.
        • Defeat at Lochmaben in July was the result
      • Henry Tudor posed a growing threat. He was the leading Lancastrian claimant and had been sheltered in Brittany since 1471.
        • Richard negotiated secretly for Duke Francis II of Brittany to surrender Tudor in return for the annual revenues from the Earldom of Richard.
          • Plans were foiled by Bishop Morton in exile in Flanders, sent a warning to Tudor who swiftly fled France.
    • Renaissance King
      • Gave impressions he was reconciled with Edward IV's family.
        • Indeed, he won over Elizabeth Woodville by guaranteeing her safety, allowing her to stay at court and providing her with an annuity of 700 marks per anum.
      • Placated Lancastrians by developing a cult for Henry VI.
        • Exhumed and reburied in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
        • Supported Henry VI's foundation at King's College, Cambridge.


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