Britain 1483-1485

In depth study into Britain 1483-1529.

This section is on

  • The reign of Richard III
  • Buckingham rebellion
  • Cornish rebellion
  • Battle of Bosworth
  • Henry Tudor / Henry VII

Revision quiz


The Reign of Richard III

The new King

  • Richard III arranged his coronation for July 6
  • No time was wasted in establishing a new government
  • Loyal servants were rewarded with titles (The Norfolk family became Dukes and Earls)
  • The greater, loyal magnates guarded sections of the Kingdom
  • Forces from Richard's powerbase in the North were deployed to keep order during the coronation
  • Promises of peace and to govern justly were made by the new King
  • John de la Pole was named as Richard III's heir

(NOTE: Magnates = the most powerful noble families)

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The Reign of Richard III

The New King's policies

  • Stopped the use of Benevolences
  • Introduction of bail for criminals
  • The Titulus Regius, recognising Richard III as King
  • Council of the North governed the North of England and were loyal supporters of Richard III
  • Economic reforms were made to protect English merchants
  • Attempted to gain Lancastrian support

(NOTE: Benevolences = gifts nobles were obliged to give to Edward IV)

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Growing Opposition

  • By September opposition began to worry the new King
  • Henry Tudor had gained support of the King of France by this time

Causes of this Opposition

  • The rumours still circulated surrounding the Prince's in the Tower
  • Richard III was accused of poisoning his wife in order to marry his niece
  • When rebellions began in 1483 Richard III punished rebels by taking away their land
  • Forced Loans were introduced to meet the cost of resisting the Tudor invasion
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Buckingham's rebellions

  • The Duke of Buckingham was unsatisfied by the little rewards Richard III gave him
  • He was also uncertain as to whether the King would turn on him like so many others
  • In the beginning, Buckingham considered his own claim to the throne
  • John Morton convinced Buckingham to back Henry Tudor's claim instead
  • Buckingham's rebellions were not just one rebellion or under one leader
  • In July and August, a series of rebellions began in the South-East
  • The Duke of Buckingham seized this opportunity an launched an uprising from his power base in South Wales
  • He also contacted Henry Tudor in this time, who was in exile in France
  • Henry Tudor launched his claim to the throne during the uprisings and set sail from Brittany
  • Richard III managed to contain the rebels however, and Henry Tudor retreated
  • Buckingham's uprising was heavily affected by the weather which made their journey South impossible and made them vulnerable to Richard III's counter attacks
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The aftermath

  • Most of the rebel leaders fled from England
  • The Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason without trial
  • 97 people were attained and lost lands (mainly those in the South)
  • Northern nobles were rewarded with land for their loyalty
  • Although Richard III managed to suppress the Buckingham Rebellions the consequences of these rebellions were disastrous
  • Henry Tudor was now seen as a credible heir to the throne and a threat to Richard III
  • Richard III was now unable to depend on many of the nobility
  • After the rebellions, Richard III was very open to attack
  • To reduce the threat of more rebellions and treachery, Richard III sent loyal Northerners to the South and Midlands as spies
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Threats to the throne

Henry Tudor

  • Henry Tudor was being sheltered by the Duke of Brittany
  • Richard III negotiated a secret pact with the Duke to surrender Tudor
  • This would have eliminated Henry Tudor's threat
  • However, John Morton sent warning to Henry Tudor, who then fled to France
  • Henry Tudor's claim to the throne was through his mother, Margaret Beaufort
  • Margaret Beaufort's marriage to Lord Stanley put her in a very influential position
  • She promoted Henry Tudor in England helping to build up hsi public support
  • Whilst in exile, Henry Tudor sent agents, such as the Earl of Oxford, over to England to measure his level of public support
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Henry Tudor

Public promise

  • Henry Tudor public promised to marry Elizabeth of York
  • Elizabeth of York was the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV and sister to the two Prince's in the Tower
  • This promise involved dissatisfied Yorkists in the support for Henry Tudor
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Henry Tudor

The invasion

  • On the 1st of August, 1485 Henry Tudor set sail from France
  • The King of France had leant Tudor money and 1'800 mercenaries for the invasion which gave Henry an advantage
  • On the 7th of August Henry Tudor landed at Mill Bay, South West Wales
  • This position was strategic since the landing would be out of sight of Ricardian strongholds in South Wales
  • The area around Mill Bay was also an area formerly controlled by Jasper Tudor

(NOTE: Mercenaries = trained forces)

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The Battle of Bosworth

Henry Tudor's advance

  • Henry Tudor travelled North at first, gaining support and gathering a bigger army
  • Key members of the nobility, such as the Stanley's, had not declared support for either Ricardian or Tudor forces at this time
  • As Henry Tudor continued advancing towards Market Bosworth in the Midlands, some members of the nobility began to join him; still no key nobles.
  • As Tudor made advances, he took time to send messages to potential allies
  • Finally a key noble, Rhys ap Thomas, joined Tudor's forces after being promised the Lieutenancy of Wales under Tudor's reign
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The Battle of Bosworth

Dilemma at Shrewsbury

  • When Henry Tudor reached the town of Shrewsbury, the bailiffs would not let him pass
  • This could have posed a real threat to Tudor's bid to the throne
  • However, Lord Stanley sent a message to the bailiffs to allow Tudor to pass
  • They did and Lord Stanley's stepson joined Tudor's forces soon after
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The Battle of Bosworth

Lord Stanley

  • Lord Stanley was an extremely powerful noble with a huge powerbase was in Cheshire
  • Stanley's intervention in the battle would have been crucial
  • Lord Stanley had made excuses when Richard III summoned him for battle
  • Richard III could not rely on Stanley's loyalty, mainly because Stanley was married to Henry Tudor's mother
  • In a bid to keep Stanley loyal, Richard III held Stanley's eldest son hostage
  • This brought Lord Stanley into the battle physically
  • Lord Stanley and his brother William Stanley met Henry Tudor at Atherstone and discussed battle tactics
  • Neither of the Stanley's declared commitment to Henry Tudor however
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The Battle of Bosworth

Richard III

  • Richard III had anticipated an attack from Tudor and had set up in the Midlands so he could access any part of the country
  • On the 11th of August, Richard III learned of Henry Tudor's landing
  • Richard III summoned his nobles, but he did not rush believing that Henry Tudor would be crushed in Wales
  • However, Richard III soon learnt that his nobility in Wales had joined with Tudor
  • Richard III declared Lord Stanley and Rhys ap Thomas traitors and advanced to meet Henry Tudor's forces
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The Battle of Bosworth

The battle

  • Richard III had 10'000 English men and had the higher ground on Ambien Hill
  • Henry Tudor had 5'000 men of varying nationalities
  • The Stanley's had positioned their armies on either side of the hill
  • Sir William Stanley intervened crucially at the last minute, however Lord Stanley played no part in the battle
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The Battle of Bosworth

Richard's Charge

  • Historians believe that the deciding point in the battle was the King's charge
  • He charged towards Henry Tudor on a white horse
  • Henry Tudor was surrounded by the French mercenaries who were able to defend Tudor with complex Swiss manoeuvres that had never been used in England
  • Richard's charge cost him the battle and his life
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After the battle

Richard III

  • Richard III's body was stripped naked and slung on a horse
  • It was taken to Leicester and put on public display for two days
  • Richard III is the only King in British history not to have been laid to rest in a tomb fit for a King
  • His body was eventually thrown into a river and lost
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