The reign of Richard III

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  • Created on: 07-12-18 12:12
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  • The reign of Richard III
    • Justice and Law & Order
      • Buckingham's rebellion in the autumn of 1483 suggests that Richard couldn't enforce law and order on his subjects - they were rebelling against him! Moreover 9 counties were involved in the rebellion suggesting Richard couldn't control his subjects.
        • But Richard did put down the rebellion quickly, and executed Buckingham. Buckingham's son became a royal ward. Henry Tudor, who had been meant to join the rebellion, never even landed - weakening his claim and support for him. He put Margaret Beaufort under house arrest and most of the gentry involved fled to exile.
        • Bishop Morton escaped after Buckingham's rebellion. Not only did Richard lose the chance to gain from his skills, it was Morton who told Tudor that Brittany was prepared to hand him over to Richard.
        • But most of Edward IV's servants supported Richard in the rebellion, suggesting they were loyal to the crown not the dynasty.
      • After Buckingham's rebellion, there was no more open opposition.
      • Like Edward, Richard went on progresses to show his involvement.
      • Gentry and Landowners in the south were not conspiring against Richard by 1485.
      • He set up 'oyer and terminer' for the capital city to try people for an 'enterprise' - possibly trying to free the Princes in the Tower by setting fires all over London (these fires were either a distraction or a symbol of protest of Richard's rule)
      • Buckingham's rebellion meant that Henry Tudor emerged as a serious rival to Richard - and an alternative if people decided to challenge Richard.
      • Was as involved in local affairs as state affairs EG his signet is found on documents which show preparations to resist invasion as well as instructions to his tenants to practise archery.
      • Had to rely on individuals not departments so losing trusted men was important because it was hard to place trusted, qualitifed candiates in their place.
      • Was determined that if anyone needed legal justice, they should have it EG he offered the commons of York provision to apply to the law after they protested
      • He only called one parliament in his reign - which he wanted to ratify his claim to the throne, to allow him to attaint the Buckingham rebels, and to publicly pass reforming legislation.
    • Image of Kingship and Personal Affairs
      • Richard was widely blamed for the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower - this hung over his whole reign
      • Richard's claim was weak (Clarence's son had a better claim) so some people may have disliked him because of this.
      • By going on progresses, Richard was able to gain support. His progress in 1483 made its way through reading, Oxford, Gloucester, Nottingham and York.
      • Richard made less use of patronage than Edward had
      • He had an heir - his son Edward of Middleham. When Middleham died, Richard named his nephew Lincoln his heir.
        • His wife Anne died meaning he wouldn't have any more children to name his heirs, and as his sister's son some might oppose Lincoln as heir - Tudor's claim was just as good as Lincoln's.
      • He was an experienced soldier and administrator.
      • Was quite religious, EG founded 10 chantries, was a patron of Queen's College Cambridge, was interested in humanist education EG surrounded himself with scholars like John Russel, Bishop of Lincoln, and Thomas Langton, Bishop of St David's. This liberal mindset seems to have been popular with people - Langton wrote that the common people were content with Richard.
      • Was impressive as king EG built a new Great Hall in Nottingham and in Middleham, also helped to complete King's College Cambridge.
      • He was a master at propaganda - he stated in the 'Act for the Settlement of the Crown upon Richard III' that Edward IV's reign had been 'perverted' and dangerous to the common people, against God, and full of 'murders, extortions and oppressions'. This was because of Edward's marriage to Elizabeth.
      • He reburied Henry VI so that he could benefit from the reputation of the miracles happening at Henry's tomb.
      • He made good use of royal ceremony EG he was crowned with Anne in a lavish ceremony, he had a lavish ceremony investing his son as Prince of Wales, in 1484 he invited the London Mayor and other dignitaries to a feast - many were moneylenders to the crown, helping him.
      • Most of the peers of England were at his coronation, so were 70 knights, demonstrating either support or toleration of Richard.
      • He introduced some reforms of legal procedures and set up conciliar measures - councils to address particular problems - which helped the less well off.
      • He had to send instructions to Southampton, Windsor and York to punish people who spread rumours he had killed his nephews and poisoned his wife.
    • Relations with Nobility
      • The southern nobles saw Richard as a northern king who was imposing himself and his trusted northern supporters on the south.
        • EG 'The Cat, the Rat, and Lovell our dog, rulen all England under a Hog'
          • Ratcliffe had been given great estates in Devon which made the local people - and other landowners - resent him.
        • These discontented southerners were perfectly placed for Tudor to gain their support later.
      • Several nobles from Edward's reign stayed with Richard eg Lovell, Ferrars, Audley, Dudley. By the summer of 1485, half the peers were firm supporters of Richard.
      • Hastings' and Rivers' executions might have frightened nobles.
        • This could scare them into not challenging Richard.
        • Or it could encourage them to challenge Richard as a tyrant.
      • The Woodvilles, in sanctuary or exile, were too weak to challenge Richard.
      • Of the four most challenging nobles, Buckingham was executed, Norfolk was loyal to Richard, Northumberland was loyal is his power in the north was protected, and Lord Stanley (Henry Tudor's stepfather) never declared any support for Tudor.
      • Many of Edward's servants worked with Richard to govern
      • His decision to confiscate land from John Welles, who he deemed a possible rebel, caused Welles to defect to Tudor.
      • 26 of Edward's 54 councillors served Richard
      • Used 'bonds' - sums of money were paid to Richard to show the payer's loyalty. Other conditions, such as Nicholas Gaynesford being forbidden to enter Kent without royal licence, were also made to ensure support.
    • Local Government and Council of the North
      • Richard ad had to leave the north to become king, and placed his nephew John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, as head of Council of the North - but Lincoln was a weaker ruler than Richard had been in the north.
        • This upset Northumberland and Westmorland.
      • He worked closely with his secretary John Kendall and his Chmaber Treasurer Edmund Chatterton to carry out government.
      • He made Buckingham, Norfolk and Northumberland his lieutenants in Wales, East Anglia and the North respectively.
      • Spent little time in London compared to other kings - he felt it was important to reinforce royal authority through progresses.
      • Centralised rule, partly because he had too few people to trust to allow much devolved power, EG his treasurer was in charge of all of Buckingham's forfeited lands, as he was in charge of money.
    • Finances and Trade
      • Richard used the land confiscated from the 1483 rebellion to improve the royal coffers.
      • He didn't have to fund any wars with France.
        • He had to pay to fight Buckingham and Tudor.
      • He outlawed benevolences and hadn't had to ask Parliament for any tax by 1485.
      • He used the Chamber as the financial department, as Edward had done, and tried to maximise income from his lands.
        • He gave instructions to local officials of his estates, and made an effort to get payments from his tenants and officers.
      • Gave out less money than Edward had.
      • Was in bad financial difficulties by 1485 - he had not been able to afford a lay subsidy in 1484, had sent out messages demanding all his lands to pay in January and October 1484, had set up auditors - who were educated, not titled, men - to maximise profits from his lands, and then in 1485 had to set up forced loans to gain money
    • Foreign Policy
      • Richard reached a deal with Francis, Duke of Brittany, to hand Tudor over. He became a close ally of Brittany.
      • France supported Tudor against Richard, they saw him as a diversion against England who they feared would attack because Richard had opposed the peace treaty of Picquigny
        • France lent Tudor 60,000 francs and 1,800 mercenaries to fight Richard.
      • He agreed a treaty of friendship with Isabella of Castile.
      • He decided to fight France in an attempt to seem kingly, but this was expensive, resulted in a defeat and gained nothing but a three-year truce - at the point he needed to deal with Tudor anyway.

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