Edward IV - Second Reign 1471- 1483

  • Created by: elyornais
  • Created on: 02-05-15 14:55

Restoration of law and order

  • Issued royal proclamations to make sure his commands were heard across the country.
  • Determined to be obeyed and those who didn't would be punished like sir John Paston (knight from Norfolf). He failed to answer to two royal summons so Edward sent a message of threat- When Paston appeared he was put in prison alongside the county sherrif, John Howard.
  • Secured his dynasty and restored law and order through a system of reward and punishment.

Rebellion in Kent:

  • Thomas of Fauconberg issued a call to arms to the people of Kent to resist the usurper Edward and demand government reform. He was supported by the pro-Neville governor in Calais but the rebellion failed and Fauconburg executed

Rebellion in Wales:

  • Lancastrians continued to defy Edward + executed Roger Vaughan, a yorkist.
  • Surrendered by October 1471. Edward issued acts of attainder against the rebels but offered pardons if they remained loyal but persecuted Jasper Tudor and John de Vere as these were a threat to him.
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Livery and Maintenance

  • Illegal retaining was a serious problem.- Great Lords recruited lesser status men to help advance their ambition and increase their prestige. They had uniforms showing their master's crest.
  • It was useful as it could help magnates control their locality and to efficiently raise an army for the King. But they could also be used against the king and nobles abused maintenance too often.
  • Parliament of 1486 passed a statute prohibiting retaining with the exception of domestic servants, estate officials and legal advisers.
  • The law was largely ineffectual- allowed retaining for 'lawful service' so nobles continued to maintain their retinues.
  • Edward never had any real intention of sticking to the statute.
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Foreign Policy

  • Major concern as he wanted to prevent interference in English affairs.


  • Sought revenge on Louis XI for supporting Warwick and Margaret of Anjou. Also gave refuge to Jasper and Henry Tudor in 1471.
  • Edward also wanted to defend Calais and from 1471-5 he planned an invasion of France.


  • October 1473- negotiated treaty with James III.- Edward offered his 4yo daughter, Cecily to James' 6mo son and offered 20,000 crowns to James.
  • Lasted until 1481- Edward determined to invade Scotland after they raided border of north.
  • Gloucester led army and captured Edinburgh, Scottish army retreated- came to terms.

Brittany and Burgundy:

  • Hoped to get them as allies against France but limited success.
  • 1472- Edward sent 3000 archers to aid Brittany when France invaded them. Duke promised to send 8000 troops if England invaded France.
  • 1474- Treaty of London between Burgundy + England. (help if either was attacked)
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Invasion of France

  • Edward led army of 12,000 from Calais into Northern France.
  • Troops promised by Brittany didn't show up.
  • French army kept it's distance from England as they wanted to avoid conflict.
  • Edward was frustrated and sued for peace- Louis XI was relieved.
  • August 1475- Treaty of Picquingy signed.
  • Louis paid £15,000 to be followed by a pension of £10,000.
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Clarence and Gloucester

  • Gloucester trusted with government and defence of the north. Clarence was restored to all his properties and given land that was confiscated from Courtenay earls of Devon.
  • Clarence resented the favour shown to his younger brother- Edward tried to satisfy him by granting him lands of the earldom of Richmond (the earl, Henry Tudor was in exile.) He had originally gave these lands to Richard.
  • Edward allowed Richard to marry Anne Neville- angered Clarence as he feared the couple may lay claim to Warwick's properties.
  • King summoned them to put their case before the King's council.- matter settled when Clarence was assured his Neville properties were safe.
  • Clarence pressed king for royal appointment at court so Edward bestowed on him the office of Great Chamberlain of England in may 1472, replacing Gloucester.
  • 1473- Parliament passed act of resumption which deprived them of all their estates held by royal grant- Edward showing that he was in charge.
  • Estates were restored with a further act of Parliament in 1474.
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Clarence and Woodville quarrel

  • Clarence made known his resentment of Anthony, Earl Rivers' power in Wales and queen's increasing influence at court.
  • Isobel died in 1476 so Clarence looked for a foreign bride.
  • First choice was Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold (duke of Burgundy)- Edward refused to accept this marriage as he feared being involved in Burgundy's problems.
  • Clarence blamed the queen for Edward's refusal and looked to the daughter of King of Scotland but Edward wouldn't sanction this marriage either.
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Clarence's Trial and Execution

  • His aspirations were becoming over- mighty.
  • Has been claimed that Gloucester is to blame for persuading Edward to arrest and convict him of treason.
  • Queen bears some responsibility as she was convinced that Clarence was conspiring against the succession of her son.
  • February 1478- Clarence was tried for high treason, found guilty and executed.
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  • Only organisation with the means and authority to reach every community in the realm.
  • To disobey the king was to disobey God.
  • God's displeasure was indicated through challenges to the throne (eg; Richard III) people only took up arms as a last resort.
  • Church helped to maintain social stability and ensure loyalty.
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Council and Councillors

  • Remained key co-ordinating body, made up of king's most trusted advisors.
  • Main roles: Advice on matters of state, administer law and order, dispense justice, draw up issue letters, warrants and Proclamations.
  • Lancastrians like John Morton included- showed how Edward made use of talent wherever he found it.
  • Did not appoint members of the nobility just for their status and title- they had to have the right skills or talent.
  • They carried out the King's decisions.
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Regional or Provincial Councils

  • No big difference between his 2 reigns in how he governed the regions of his kingdom.
  • Relied on members of his own family to enforce his will and his personal government was felt in the remotest parts of the kingdom.


  • Council was based in York.
  • Responsibility to oversee defence in northern counties- vulnerable to attack from Scotland.
  • Controlled by Gloucester.


  • Entrusted gov of Wales and the Marches to Woodvilles, Earl Rivers at the head.
  • King seemed determined not to allow any magnate to establish a heditary title to any office or region of his realm.


  • George was Lord Lieutenant
  • The actual work of governing Ireland was carried out by a Lord Deputy.
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The Midlands and South-West

  • William Lord Hastings given charge of the Midlands.
  • Thomas Grey was entrusted with the south-west.
  • Not everyone included in Edward's attempt to share out power in the localities.
  • Problem- disputes between nobility. He dealt with this by travelling around the country intervening in disputes and personally hearing cases in the common law courts- successful until his death.
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Local Government

  • He appointed Crown commissioners to travel the country to support local law enforcement.
  • Appointed only the most trusted gentry to serve as justices of the peace and sheriffs.
  • Appointed powerful local magnates to control particular regions or areas.
  • Increased size of his household so that he could draw on a larger pool of servants.
  • His household was divided into those servants that attended him daily and those whose who could do so occasionally- these were meant to extend the reach and influence of the royal household into the localities.
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  • Carried out local government and Edward communicated with them through written orders (writs).
  • Their work was checked by senior judges at regular intervals.
  • Sherrif appointed annually from local landowners in each county and closest thing to a police officer.
  • Kept the peace and arrested criminals.
  • Also acted as a judge and had his own court.
  • Organised and supervised elections to parliament.
  • Also had a military role, responsible for supervising the muster of the milita.
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Justices of the Peace (JPs)

  • Appointed annually among local landowners, average number for a county was around 18.
  • Responsible for maintenance of public order and implementing statutes of a social and economic nature.
  • Acted as judges and dealt with criminals brought to them by sherrifs.
  • Required to meet in Quarter sessions to try those accused of serious crimes- except treason which was left to the council to investigate.
  • More difficult cases brought to the assize courts.
  • No form of payment.
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King, Lords and Commons


  • Made up of two groups: th Lords spiritual and the Lords temporal. Greater authority than the commons.


  • Composed of MPs.
  • Two members represented each county and Borough.
  • Met when king discussed issues with the lords but they only spoke through the speaker.
  • Parliament was only summoned for a special need and usually only lasted a few weeks.


  • Summoned on only 6 occasions of his reign.
  • Majority of statutes passed by Parliaments were concerned with finance.
  • Four acts of resumption were passed, bringing Crown estates that had been granted out to favourites by previous monarchs. Added greatly to regular income.
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  • Kings were expected to 'live of their own.'
  • Henry VI had borrowed money but Edward had to pay off these debts, settle the interest and raise enough money to pay for cost of governing the realm.
  • Could not ask parliament for a grant except in unusual circumstances, like war. He wanted to prevent rebellion.
  • Ordinary Revenue: Came in every year from crown lands and custom duties. Included fines and feudal dues on lands held in return for military service.
  • Extraordinary Revenue: taxation, borrowing from rich subjects in an emergency or gifts from other rulers, clerical taxes from Church.
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Ordinary Revenue

  • Crown Lands- by 1482-3, annual income was £30,000.
  • Custom duties- imported goods. Average annual yield had increased from £25,000 to little over £35,000.
  • Profits of Justice: Fees paid by those involved in a court case. Income between £300- £800 per annum. Fines levied at court by the courts as punishment.
  • Feudal dues: Paid by those who held land from the king. Collected £550 per annum from this.
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Extraordinary Revenue

  • Parliamentary grants: he did not misuse this. In 1473, the fifteenth and tenth brought in £30,000. Not satisfactory as the system was out of date.
  • When Edward needed money to finance the french war he tried a form of income tax but it failed. Only half of the expected £60,000 was collected.
  • Loans and Benevolences: from richer subjects for emergencies. Benevolence was a forced loan introduced in 1475 while preparing for the French war. General tax and subjects were asked to contribute as a sign of goodwill. Edward collected nearly £22,000 from this.
  • French Pension: Treaty of Piquingy brought annual pension of £10,000.
  • Clerical taxes: Between 1472 and 75, Church paid Edward £48,000.
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Financial Administration

Exchequer and Chamber:

  • Exchquer had 2 functions: To recieve, store and pay out money and to audit the accounts.
  • It was flawed so Edward developed the Chamber as his financial department.
  • Used the King's chamber to handle his finances to exert more personal control over what happened. Money now went directly to the king.
  • Made the financial system more flexible.
  • Crown's income rose to just under £70,000 per annum.
  • He restored the Crown's finances to the extent that he could act independently of both parliament and nobility. He died solvent.
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