Henry VII Consolidation of Power



  • Special laws passed by Parliament which allowed someone to be declared guilty of treason without going through the process of trial
  • Henry asked his 1st Parliament to issue attainders against men who had opposed him at the Battle of Bosworth Field
  • He also reversed attainders of he thought that it would secure loyalty
  • During his reign, Henry VII passed 138 attainders
  • During his reign, Henry VII reversed 46 attainders
1 of 6


  • Henry VII abandoned Edward IV's policy of distributing lands to loyal followers
  • He was concerned not to create a new group of nobles who could rise up and become a threat
  • The number of people classed as nobles fell by 1/4 under his reign
  • Vacant lands were absorbed into his domain, making him the largest landowner in the country
  • When he needed royal agents in local communities, he looked to men lower down the social scale as they would be dependent on him for position and status
2 of 6


  • Retaining was the practice by which a nobleman kept a large number of men as his personal staff
  • They could put pressures on tenants or on juries to return the verdicts their master desired
  • Henry regarded them as lawless
  • Laws were passed in 1485 and 1504 against illegal retaining
  • The 1485 Act: Parliament, Lords and Comons had to swear they would not retain illegally
  • The 1504 Act: nobles were required to obtain a special license from the King before they could retain large numbers of men
  • Nobles found ways to avoid this - e.g covering up records of wages to servants
3 of 6

Bonds and Recognizances

  • Henry demanded a financial bond from individual nobles or their families
  • This placed nobles in debt to the Crown so they would remain loyal
  • In the last decade of Henry VII's reign, 2/3 nobility were held under bonds
4 of 6

Marriage & Consummation

  • He married Elizabeth of York to establish monarchical authority
  • By marrying her, he was joining together two opposing families that had caused years of bloodshed
  • Henry also established authority by concieving his first child (Arthur)
  • Henry engaged in royal progressions - traditional events which allowed the King to be displayed to the people
  • The royal progressions meant Henry could visit shrines and set up votive candles to ensure the safe delivery of his child
5 of 6

Legitimacy & Acceptance

  • Henry used the Church by appealing for papal conformation which he recieved from Pope Innocent VIII
  • Using the Pope was a smart move as the Pope was deemed almost equally valuable to God himself, thus creating the impression God comfortably acknowledged Henry's rule
  • Henry made Parliament certify his reign had commenced the day before the Battle of Bosworth Field
  • This meant he could condemn those that fought against him with treason
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »