Henry VII's penalties for Noblemen

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Acts of Attainder

Details- Parliament passed the act to declare a noblemen guilty of a crime against the Crown, usually treason. The noble might be imprisoned and the attainted family lost the right to inherit lands and titles. These acts were however reversible.

Examples- Thomas Howard lost the title Duke of Norfolk and his family estates after Bosworth. He was released from prison and restored to the Earldom of Surrey in 1489 to supress uprising in Northumberland. 

Henry VII passed an Act of Attainder when he faced a crisis. Each act attainted a different number of people, for example;

1485-6: 28 people attainted

1487: 28 people attainted

1495: 24 people attainted

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Acts against illegal retaining and maintenance

Detail- Noblemen kept retained men who served them as accountants and land agents, but who also fought in private armies. These retained man wore their noblemen's badge, known as Livery, to confirm their loyal service.

Noblemen somtimes used retained men to bring unlawful influence on others in a court case, for example controlled juries, known as maintenance. There was a considerable amount of illegal retaining that Henry VII permitted to continue.

Examples- Parliament passed laws against retaining. In 1485, the Lords and Commons were required to swear that they would not retain illegaly.

In 1504, nobles had to obtain special licences to retain from the King.

Both acts gave the King, rather than his nobles, the power to decide whether retaining was illegal.

In 1504, Lord Burgavenny was set a £70,000 fine for retaining over 471 men.

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Bonds and Recognisances

Detail- A bond recongised that the person involved recognised himself as owing the lump sum stated, that was not payable if the condition (usually good behaviour) was observed. If the condition was not observed, the sum stated was paid. A person did not have to do anything wrong to give a bond, whilst most givers of bonds did not pay.

A recognisance was when a person formally acknowledged a debt or obligation, often enforced by a bond.

Examples- The Marquis of Dorset had to give a bond after his suspected involvment in the Simnel plot. The bond guaranteed future loyal conduct.

Lumps payable from bonds- 1493-4: £3000

1504-5: £75,000

(These figures were not actually paid to the King but the potential revenue if all bonds were broken)

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