The Legacy of Henry VII

His reign is seen as a watershed between Medieval and Early Modern Europe in how he ruled the country. Is this a fair description?

  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 03-01-12 13:40


  • Henry VII seized the throne from Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
  • Batle of Bosworth Field drew the War of the Roses (Civil War from 1450-1485) to a conclusion. Three changes to the throne occured during the Civil War between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians. Nearly half of the nobility were removed.
  • Main focus of Henry VII was to secure the throne and create a dynasty (keep reign in the family).
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  • He was exiled in France/Brittany which taught him a lot.
  • He recognised plots and plotters quickly.
  • He was a skilled military leader as he won two great battles.
  • He was surrounded by very good and loyal advisors.
  • He was a very efficient person, with good organisation - he was personally involved in government.
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Security and Politics

  • His own marriage was significant as he married Elizabeth of York to join the 2 warring families together. As a Tudor, he was a key Lancastrian & showed he was the compromise candidate.
  • He avoided foreign wars & the expense, so was able to focus on being king.
  • He rarely made mistakes in whom to execute - he was a very good judge of character & he did not have to deal with errors of his own making.
  • He used parliament to legitimise his claim to the throne, which wrong footed his opponents.
  • He relied upon a small circle of friends, many of whom had been in exile with him.
  • He was recognised by the Pope in 1485, which brought a sense of dynasty.
  • Ferdinand & Isabella of Spain also recognised him, especially when their daughter Catherine was arranged in marraige to Henry's oldest son, Arthur. Tudor dynasty gained European recognition.
  • He only asked parliament for money through taxes three times.
  • Fortunate that most rivals had gone by the end of the War of the Roses.
  • Fortunate that most nobility wanted stability as they had had enough of the Civil War.
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  • He left the crown solvent when he died (no debt - left lots of money).
  • He left a pretty secure throne.
  • His reign was diplomatically secure with the Spanish alliance.
  • He re-establsihed order after Richard III.
  • He quelled (found things out) and controlled the nobility.
  • He passed the throne to his son, which was significant after having seized it.
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  • England was virtually isolated as it took no part in glorious war, which was vital to European monarchs at the time.
  • At the end of his reign, much of the money he gained had been done so illegally or in an unpopular method, thus he was becoming unpopular.
  • He was over reliant on a small group of advisors.
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