Early years of Henry VIII

  • Henry and dynasty
  • Henry and the nobility
  • Henry and the Council
  • Financial policy



  • A foreign wife- provide an ally
  • a congeneial wife
  • a male heir- continue tudor dynasty

Catherine of Aragon

  • Married Henry in 1509
  • Son of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.
  • loyal wife with no scandel.
  • no children in early years.
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  • end hostile atmosphere which had marked relations between nobility and H. VII.
  • Support of nobilty- hoped they would lead invasions on France,creation of "army royal"


  • Arrest Empson and Dudley (1510)
  • Meeting of the Great Council (1509) - commissioned "oyer" and "terminer"
  • jousting with nobilty (e.g Marquis of Dorset)
  • reinstated Yorkist families- (Greys and Courtenays)
  • cancelled bonds and recognaisences.
  • Wars provided opportunity for nobles to advance themselves (Sir Charles Somerset was made Earl of Worcester, Charles Brandon created Duke of Suffolk)
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The Council

Inherited from Henry VII

  • William Warham- Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Richard Fox- Bishop of Winchester.
  • aims clashed with Henry VIII's: didn't want the expense and uncertainty of war.
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Foreign policy


  • secure alliance with Ferdinand to invade France
  • Claim crown on France
  • emulate Edward III and Hery VIII

1512 campaign in Spain

  • reason: Henry claimed to defend Pope Julius II against Louis XII of France. Really wanted crown and alliance with Ferdinand.
  • What happened?: English army of 12,000 men (under Marquis of Dorset) sailed to support F.  
  • Evidence of failure: F. only interested in conquerring Navarre. Englsh rotted in Fuenterrabia.
  • Low morale and disease caused the English to withdraw.
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Success of 1513 (Battle of Spurs)

1513 campaign to invade Northern France


  • Emulate victory of Edward III in capture of Therouanne.

What happened? 

  • Landed at Calais with 25,000 men and 23 nobles (30 June)
  • 1st Auguest seige of Therouanne began.

Why was it a success?

  • French fled
  • English captured 6 standards and 1 duke (amonst others)
  • Became known as "Bttle of Spurs"
  • Tournai captured- Henry came to attention of Maximillian and Grandson Charles- strong European powers.
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Successes of 1513 (Battle of Flodden)


  • James VI of Scotland took advantage of Henry's absence.
  • honouring "Auld Alliance"

Why was it a success?

  • Weakened Scotland: James VI dead, 12 earls and  10,000 scots killed.
  • Showed Henry as capable militant leader and sent a message to toehr European power.
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The Anglo- French Treaty of 1514


  • Henry was short of money- competition with Ferdinand for treaty with France.


  • Peace and mutual defence.
  • Henry to keep Therouanne and Tournai.
  • French pensions to be increased and reinstated.
  • Marriage organised between Louis XII and Mary (Henry's sister)
  • Scotland could be included in the peace.
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The Cost of Wars (financial failure)

Henry's early wars were very expensive:

  • £922,000 since 1511.
  • £650,000 in 1513 alone.

Who paid?

  • Henry VII's reserves.
  • Parliamentary taxtion- reluctance to pay by 1514.
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