Initial threats to Henry's reign

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The Minor Risings 1485-6

  • Lovel & Stafford rising April 1486: Minor incident, showed Henry as a gracious victor.
  • Lord Francis & The Stafford Brothers (Humphrey & Thomas) led a group of minor nobility in a rising against Henry VII during his royal progress of the North (this itself was another of Henry's attempts to gain support in a Yorkist area.)
  • Prior to this the men had been living in sanctuary in Colchester (having escaped in shame from the Battle of Bosworth) where the King was unable to arrest them.
  • The rebels broke sactuary
  • Lovel headed North to ambush the King
  • The Stafford's headed West, to drum up support for their plight
  • Henry VII headed off the rebels with an armed forced, offering them opportunity to surrender, recieve pardon & an opportuntiy to reconcile & regain their status (option for refusal = death)
  • Lovel escaped capture, fleeing to Flanders
  • The Stafford's tried to return to sanctuary, but were arrested by king's men. Both were sent to Tower of London (couldn't go to sanctuary twice!)
  • Humphrey was executed & Thomas pardoned, ensuring he remained loyal thereafter.

The Vaughan rising 1486 - A further rising conducted by Welsh Yorkists. Planned & led by Sir Thomas Vaughan; Idea was to seize Brecon castle & execute Henry. Henry's alliance with Rhys ap Thomas assured this got no further, rising was crushed.

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Yorkshire Rebellion 1489

  • CAUSE = Increased TAX demands made by King, so that he might pursue support of BRITTANY
  • Especially ill-recieved in the economically poor & typically pro-Yorkist county of YORKSHIRE
  • Made worse by the fact that it was recovering from the impact of POOR HARVESTS
  • Resentment grew over the fact that many NORTHERN counties were not expected to pay these taxes as they were instead expected to pay to protect & defend England against Scotland.
  • Henry Percy, Earl of NORTHUMBERLAND tried to negotiate a similar deal for Yorkshire, but was dismissed by the King.
  • Percy, (Earl of Northumberland) murdered in York
  • Rising supported & led by Sir John EGREMONT, taking advantage of the unpopularity of Northumberland
  • Earl of SURREY sent to deal with Egremont. Rebels were DEFEATED but Egremont FLED to Flanders
  • King goes NORTH to offer pardons, but fails to collect further revenue.
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Cornwall Rebellion 1497

  • CAUSE = Financial strain by the King;
  • Henry needed to finance an armed force, prepared to defend an attack from SCOTLAND by King James IV & PERKIN WARBECK
  • Many in Cornwall refused to pay tax in defence against the NORTH, as they felt they would not be under direct threat.
  • MAY 1497; Rebels left Bodmin, on their way to LONDON. Only significant leader: Minor noble, Lord AUDLEY
  • 16th JUNE 1497: Rebel force grown to 15000 & reached outskirts of the capital. Set up CAMP on BLACKHEATH. Force CONFRONTED by an army led by Earl of OXFORD, RHYS AP THOMAS & Lord DAUBENEY. Around 500-800 rebels killed in the battle.
  • Alarming event for Henry as he did not respond til it was almost TOO LATE
  • Henry PRE-OCCUPIED with ideas of a NORTHERN INVASION, it demonstrated that England was completely UNPREPARED for any military action against Scotland.
  • As a direct RESULT, Henry instead opted for a ROUTE OF DIPLOMACY
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Impact of the Rebellions

  • They showed that opposition towards the King was not from Yorkist threat, but instead from issues he had created (TAXATION)
  • Clearly demonstrated that England was not prepared to FINANCE any WAR in the name of expanding or defending the Tudor line
  • Henry established the type of leadership he would take: For the monarch who inherited a very unstable country, he preffered methods of diplomacy rather than a policy of war. Financially & militarily, this was a positive decision for both monarch & country, which led many to be comfortable with his governance of the country.
  • A policiy of MILITARY action was only pursued at LAST RESORT
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The Pretenders (1: Lambert Simnel) 1486-87

  • Winter 1486: rumours about fate of Edward Earl of Warwick circulated, (died under the conditions of his imprisonment at Tower of London.)
  • An over ambitious priest Richard SYMONDS used opportunity to claim that one of his pupils (Lambert Simnel) had a resemblance to Edward IV's children
  • Symonds used his position within the clergy to convince the common people that Simnel was Richard, youngest son of Edward IV
  • However, limited success so then Symonds claimed that Simnel was actually Warwick
  • Idea not v.successful, & chiefly via the support of Yorkist noble John de la Pole, (Earl of LINCOLN)
  • Looking for further YORKIST SUPPORT, Symonds took Simnel to IRELAND (Yorkist stronghold since Richard Duke of York)
  • Although limited support that Simnel was of Yorkist line, key Irish nobility acted pragmatically, seizing an opportunity to disgruntle the King - Simnel declared KING IN DUBLIN!
  • MARGARET OF BURGUNDY (sister of Edward IV) also gave SUPPORT; sent MONEY & force of 2000 German mercenaries to Ireland, encouraging bravery in the Irish, who then officially crowned Simnel as KING in MAY 1487
  • Henry VII didn't react to conspiracy til JAN 1487, moving decisively by placing Elizabeth Woodville & Marquis of Dorset under house arrest & removing their land
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End of 1: Lambert SImnel

  • Further fear instilled when Henry VII had minor Yorkist nobles arrested, declared traitors and executed.
  • The real Earl of Warwick was shown around London to dispel myths
  • Despite clearly knowing Simnel was an imposter, Lincoln FLED to the court of Margaret of BURGUNDY, making it clear that MILITARY action would soon follow: Lincoln, Lovell & German military man, Schwartz, landed in IRELAND, where Lincoln became the leader of their rebellion.
  • He planned to put forward his own claim to the throne.
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The Battle of Stoke (part of Simnel's pretence)

  • 4th JUNE 1487: LINCOLN lands in Lancashire with his multinational army, marches across the Pennines before turning South.
  • Hoped to gather SUPPORT on route but instead faced a population exhausted by war & unencouraged by the thought of joining an IRISH REBEL ARMY (rep. for plundering)
  • King Henry VII was fully prepared. 2 sides clashed on 16th JUNE 1487 at Newark, East Stoke.
  • Despite royal army outnumbering rebels 12000 to 8000 it took 3 hours to defeat them
  • Lincoln, Lovell, Schwartz & Kildare's brother, Thomas Fitzgerals were all killed along with 1/2 of their army. Simnel & Symonds both captured.
  • Symonds sentenced to life IMPRISONMENT in a bishop's prison
  • Recognising that Simnel was manipulated by those around him, Henry showed him mercy, allowing the boy to work as a turnspit in the royal kitchen, later promoted to the King's falconer
  • Henry showed leniency toward Simnel as the main ringleaders were dead. However, to ensure a deterrent was issued, he used his 2nd parliament (Nov-Dec 1487) to pass 28 Acts of ATTAINDER against those who had been involved in the plot.
  • 25th NOV 1487: Henry had his wife ELIZABETH offically crowned QUEEN of England.
  • Purpose of timing: 1) Satisfy disaffected Yorkists 2) Provide a 'feel good' factor to the people, by allowing opportunity for public celebrations 3) Unite the nation by securing the goodwill of the people
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The Pretenders (2: Perkin Warbeck) 1491-99

  • NOV 1491: 17yr old Warbeck arrived in Cork, IRELAND on board his masters silk merchant ship. (Apprentice originally from Tournai, France)
  • (Historians suggested) "his silk wearing exploits so impressed the townsfolk that they assumed he was the Earl of Warwick" although also suggested that the plot was hatched a long time before Ireland.
  • Key foreign players with a vested interest in the downfall of Henry still included MARGARET OF BURGUNDY & CHARLES VIII of FRANCE
  • Plot only gained credibility because no one at this time knew what Edward IV's sons looked like or what had actually happened to them, allowing possibility that one could have escaped the tower.
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Pretender 2: Charles VIII's Involvement

  • MARCH 1492: Charles VIII offers support to Warbeck in his quest for the English throne (which he gladly accepts as there was little enthusiasm to support him from the Irish)
  • Reasons for this seem to be that Charles had hoped to use Warbeck as a DISTRACTION to Henry, so that he could realise his own ambitions by taking CONTROL of BRITTANY, without English support for the region
  • Charles VIII's willingness to accept Warbeck as Richard of York (Earl of Warwick) gave the conspiracy an air of authority and publicity; within 6months over 100 English Yorkists had joined Warbeck in Paris.
  • NOV 1492: Hospitality for Warbeck cut short when the TREATY of ETAPLES was signed. One of the clauses of the treaty was the agreement of Charles not to support enemies of Henry VII, forcing Warbeck to flee to Flanders & the court of Margaret of Burgundy.
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Pretender 2: Margaret of Burgundy's involvement

  • Margaret publically recognised Warbeck as her nephew, which she hoped would attract dissident Yorkists to her court & stir up trouble in England, leading to a Yorkist rebellion
  • Henry VII so disturbed by this action that he temporarily broke off all TRADE with Flanders, Jeopardising his own economy (1493)
  • Margaret encouraged the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor (Maximilian) to join her conspiracy, & he too recognised Warbeck as Richard (1494)
  • However, it would take at least a year for these combined forces to raise the resources necessary to invade England
  • Simultaneous to the actions taking place in Burgundy, Henry VII had worked to draw up a list of those implicated in this plot & used Parliament in 1495 to pass a number of acts of ATTAINDER (even his own step-uncle William STANLEY was on the list, despite only being suggested as perpherally involved) Later many of these suspects were executed inc. Stanley
  • JULY 1495: Warbeck launched his invasion, landing at Deal, Kent
  • Huge flop; failed to secure sufficient local support & so turned & headed directly to IRELAND for support. He abandoned those mercenaries who had been hired to help him.
  • In Ireland he laid siege to town of Waterford for 11days but no evidence of success here either.
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Pretender 2: Scotland's involvement

  • Next he moved for Scotland. Welcomed by JAMES IV who supported him as he too thought he could wield Warbeck as a weapon against Henry VII.
  • James even gave Warbeck his cousin, Lady Catherine Gordon to MARRY & an annual PENSION of £1200 (500000 today) He also promised PHYSICAL SUPPORT should an opportunity to attack arise
  • Upon attack of the Northern border, again Warbeck was LACKING SUPPORT (mainly because the Scottish had a love of plundering to fighting too, but also because the English had been forewarned of the attack)
  • James IV BETRAYED Warbeck (his usefullness had expired) & also decided a PEACE TREATY with England was in Scots best interests. (TREATY OF AYTON 1497)
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Pretender 2: Failure of Warbeck

  • Forced out of Scotland, Warbeck fled back to IRELAND (JULY 1497) but again no support
  • Heared of CORNISH REBELLION so set sail hoping to harness support but it had already failed by the time he arrived. However, he was able to appeal to West Countrymen, where a few thousand did rebel, marched on EXETER & besieged the city
  • CONFRONTED with royal army at TAUNTON, rebel army DISPERSED finally forcing Warbeck to seek SANCTUARY
  • AUG 1497 persuaded to give himself up
  • Henry showed leniency, not accusing him of treason (unable to as he was foreign) instead allowed him to live at court with his Scottish bride. But was shunned by Warbeck further when he tried to escape in 1498
  • Warbeck recaptured, placed in Tower of London. Conspiracy continued; some historians suggest Warbeck & Earl of Warwick (Ed. IV's nephew) were planning to escape & murder King.
  • NOV 1499: Warbeck convicted of trying to escape & hung, drawn & quartered.
  • 2 weeks later Earl of Warwick found guilty of Treason & beheaded
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