Ch1: The Outbreak Of The Wars 1445-1450

  • Created by: nataliak
  • Created on: 14-03-17 18:06

How was England governed in 1445?

During 1445, the king was at the heart of the government. It was believed he was created by God and to depose of him would be going against God's will, yet that happened to Henry VI twice.

The king himself had limited powers, as he could not change laws without the agreement from the parliament. He however decided when parliament sat and could reward good service through patronage of land and name. The king also decided what relationships would be like with other countries, therefore deciding between war and peace, thus leading the army during the war if needed. The penalty for criticising the king himself was death as it was considered treason - therefore if people wanted to criticise the king, they would do so indirectly, for example by criticising his advisors.

The nobility helped the king govern the country - they were to enforce the laws in the country and provide an army when needed. Oyer and Terminer were commissions that determined and punished those found guilty of treason. If the king was weak, nobles would often act outside of the law, leading to local feuds getting out of control. The nobility was only called to parliament in terms of crisis, and the king took advice from those around him on an informal basis. The more senior the nobleman was, the more the king was inclined to listen to what he had to say. Access to the king therefore was very important for the nobility.

The king's household was responsible for looking after the king, feeding and clothing him. The most senior person within the royal household was Lord Chamberlain, as he controlled access to the king. More access = more influence over the king. Unfortunately, some nobles felt that they had less access than others, resulting in problems emerging. To avoid this, the king was to control factions at court, ensuring balance.

The role of the parliament was to focus on king's business, which involved providing him with money. Parliament was made up of the Lords (dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, barons, archbishops, bishops, abbots and priors) and the Commons (representatives from the shires and towns). Parliament's powers were very limited but the king could not amend laws or demand taxes without parliament's consent.

What problems did the nobility cause, 1445-50?

The major nobles were crucial to the running of the country. The Duke of Gloucester was Henry VI's uncle and therefore heir presumptive until the birth of Henry's son. He was the younger brother of Henry V, but wasn't the King's closest blood relative. Gloucester died in 1447, leaving Duke of York as heir presumptive. York was known as the greatest landowner in the country and was descended from Edward III.

The other noble family at the time was the Beauforts, the illegitimate Lancastrian line. Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, was a major source of finance for the campaigns, lending the Crown over £200,000. The cardinal's nephew, Edmund Beaufort, was successful…


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