History, Unit 1, Dealing with the Nobility

So, GCE History Unit 1B is tomorrow... Guess who's doing some last minute cramming? Buh. Anyhows,here's some cards on various 'carrot and stick' policies used to control Henry VII's nobles. Omnomnom carrot.

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Patronage was giving positions of power, land titles, etc to nobles. It was essentially a way to buy loyalty. Henry turned this medieval practice on it's head, and it became a reward for loyalty, not a bribe to buy it in advance.

Those rewarded following the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 included...

  • John de Vere, Earl of Oxford
  • Jasper Tudor, now Earl of Bedford
  • Lord Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby
  • Lord Robert Willoughby

Other rewarded for good service included...

  • Lord Giles Daubeney
  • Sir Reginald Bray
  • Edmund Dudley
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The Order of the Garter.


The Order of the Garter was a prestigious honour reserved for the King's closest servants.

Henry created 37 Knights of the Garter, such as John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Giles Daubeney, Robert Willoughby and Reginald Bray.

It was favoured by Henry as it gace prestige but no power of lands.

This may have been why, to Henry, the Garter was the ultimate mark of honour, rather than a peerage.

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The King's Council


A position on the King's Council was a sign that you were loyal and had Henry's confidence. The emphasis was on loyal and trusted servants.

John Morton and William Warham retained their positions for long periods, which was unusual.

Five key councillors were...

  • Reginald Bray
  • Giles Daubeney
  • Richard Guildford
  • Thomas Lovell
  • john Riselly
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Acts of Attainder


These were not new, but were increasingly used by Henry. They stripped a nobleman of his title, lands and ability to inherit or pass on these things. The Acts were, however, reversible, and so could be used as a Carrot to encourage good behaviour as well.

One perfect example of this method is Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey. He ahd fought for Richard III at Bosworth, and was attainted in 1486. In 1489, he took an oath of allegiance, and was restored to the earldom of Surrey. He was put in charge of the North, were he ended the Yorkshire uprising, thus being returned some of his estates. After putting down the second Yorkshire uprising, he was returned the rest of the Howard estates. However, it was no until after the Battle of Flodden, in Henry VIII's reign, that he regained his father's title as Duke of Norfolk.

Henry VII also required many, such as Thomas Tyrell, to pay for their attainders to be reversed.

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Bonds were written agreements in which people stated they would pay a certain amount of money should they fail to carry out a set promise.

Recognisances were a formal acknowledgement of an obligation that previously existed, with the understanding that money would be paid should this not be met.

Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset was required to transfer all his land to trustees, pay a recognisance of £1000 and find others who would give recognisances worth £10000 on his behalf. By 1499, Dorset proved his loyalty, for example, helping in putting down the Cornish Rebellion, and these agreements were cancelled. The bonds and recognisances had worked.

Between 1485 and 1509, 36 out of 62 noble families gave bonds and/or recognisances. Compare this with only 1 during Yorkist rule...

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This was the long-held practice of the nobles recruiting gentry followers. They were often for administration, but they served a fighting purpose also. This was necessary, as Henry had no standing army. However they also posed a threat to Henry as King, and as such, Henry had to limit the extent to which it was allowed.

The Lords and Commons had to swear in the 1485 parliament that they would not retain illegally. In 1504,  proclamations were made that nobles had to obtain 'placards' or licenses, to retain. The 1504 Act also had a £5 per month, per illegal retainer penalty. Lord Abergavenny fell foul of this in 1506.

The Earll of Devon also was forced to pay money in 1506 for illegal retaining, having signed a recognisance not to illegally retain in 1494.

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This is precisely what I was looking for! Thanks :)

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