Establishing royal authority

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Establishing royal authority

Henry learnt a lot of the ways of the courts during his time in Brittany, as he was in amongst the people of the court, learning the ways of politics and the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. “No wonder that as a king he was careful, always wanting to double check every bit of information, always determined to keep up a front, to prevent the mask slipping, never behaving as “one of the lads” in the way Edward IV or Henry VIII often did. “ C.Davies, “the making of Henry VII” 2001

Personal strengths

-Bilingual, particularly comfortable with the French culture

-Knew dangers of the imposters in foreign courts looking for help

-Built a close royal and trusted colleagues whilst in exile

Personal disadvantages

-No formal experience of estate financial management

-Hadn’t attended English court

-he had not developed effective relationships with the political nation in England

-he knew little of the country and was virtually unknown to the English people

The English magnate was still highly influential in the English government and governance towards the end of the 15thc –no of nobles fallen to 60 due to the WOR.

 During HVII’s reign, change in relationship between crown and nobles (less as free agents to the crown) –increasingly drawn to work of central and local govt. excluding the Marcher Lords, who continued to exercise considerable independence, and HVII’s stepfather, Lord Stanley, (Earl of Derby) who had substantial control in Lancashire and Cheshire.

 More active and centralised govt. under HVII. Changes driven by gentry (social climbers – educated their sons in law at Inns of court, rather than in a noble household.) Royal service effective way for social mobility (royal patronage.) Sir Reginald Bray (royal servant who made a fortune) – his will left £1,000 a year in lands.

 Sir Reginald Bray

-faithful servant of Henry Tudor- joined Buckingham rebellion in 1483 and fled into exile. Helped Tudor to raise funds for his Bosworth campaign, used his administrational and financial skillz in govt. member of the counsel. Held many important posts including chancellor and was a leading member of the counsel learned.

Legal training meant the gentry became skilled administrators, able to function as the lynchpins both of the crown control of the shires and of the increasing bureaucracy of central govt. especially the emerging specialised committees overseen by the counsel. Henrys constant reliance on more socially low born people is used as evidence for his anti-noble attitudes. However, HVII trusted men with legal training who shared his crown-centred view that royal authority needed to be centralised not devolved.

M. condon:

- “Few men had any real influence with HVII. He was a strong king who was master of his own policy. There is remarkable unanimity amongst contemporary observers and chroniclers emphasising the King’s independence and naming those few men who could command influence. Morton, Fox, Bray, Lovell, Daubeny and latterly, Dudley were most frequently mentioned. The one factor common to


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