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Henry VII's Government- Councils and Parliament.

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by

Chris Elliott

on 22 January 2016

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Transcript of Henry VII's Government- Councils and Parliament.

Henry VII's Government- Councils and Parliament.
Starter
"Henry's success as a ruler was achieved by a highly unusual style of rule which bypassed the elites and relied heavily on the exercise of royal power through official channels, backed by the intervention of the monarch. To the governing classes it was baffling. Henry was a king who held them, his natural councillors and servants, at a distance. Nor did they understand a king who was obsessed with accumulating income, not for the traditional purposes of war or to reward his servants, but to ensure his freedom from dependence on their goodwill. It is not surprising they greeted his death with relief"
How did Henry rule?
The Council - King's Council - Privy Council (these all mean the same)
The council was made up of three main types of councillor:-

1) Members of the nobility

2) Churchmen such as John Morton and Richard Fox.

3) Laymen, either gentry or lawyers, who were skilled administrators.
The council:-

Had no established rules and procedures.

Often met without the king.

Did not require you to be a noble to be on it. If you had talents HVII required you could be accepted onto the council. Noble birth guaranteed nothing.
The Council Learned in the Law
The most famous offshoot of the King's Council.
What view of Henry's style of rule is given in the above source? Summarise in 1 sentence in your notes.
HVII ruled with a council of advisors who advised him on key decisions. In practice HVII's council was made up of around 7 people.
The council was:-

To advise the king
To administer the realm.
To make legal judgements.
Often called the Council Learned.
The council was, at first, led by Reginald Bray and
was responsible for maintaining the king's
revenue.
The council learned was responsible for making the system of bonds and recognizances work so well. It entrapped subjects into owing the king money, sometimes on flimsy pretences.
The council learned (cont)
Often seen as shady.
It was not a recognised court of law.

Those summoned had no chance to appeal.

It was an expression of the King's will.

Bray's colleagues Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley raised the extraction of money to an art-form.

They were feared and hated by the nobility due to their money making efforts.
Court and Household
The Tudors relied on the royal court.

This was the centre of government. It was a physical place.

It travelled with the king.

Courtiers stayed at the court attempting to gain favour.
The chamber was where the real business took place. It was managed by the Lord Chamberlain.
Look at your diagram and identify where
you think key important decisions were made.
After William Stanley, HVII created the privy (private) chamber.

Only his closest advisors on his council were allowed into this chamber. Henry cut himself off from traditional contacts at court.
Parliament
Made up of House of Lords and House of Commons
Did not meet regularly (7 times in HVII's reign) and was not a major part of government.
It had two main functions - to pass laws and grant tax to the king.
Local Government
Look at the map handout. What does this map tell you about Henry's style of government in the provinces?
Different areas of the country, which had proven troublesome in the past, were led by different councils led by trusted advisors of HVII.

Therefore you had the Council of the North, The Council of Ireland and the Council of Wales.
Why would HVII not call P very often?
Local Govt (cont)
Supervision from the centre was key for HVII.

HVII depended on individuals to run the provinces but at the same time kept a watchful eye on them (
why?
) and encouraged more frequent use of the royal council.

HVII utilised the royal court and council learned to make sure he received money from Crown Lands all over the country - why?
Task
Create a flow-chart, with HVII at the top, setting out how the country was governed under HVII. Ensure each particular area of Government makes reference to at least one person.
Questions
1) Why would HVII keep some members of the council in power for so long?
2) Why did HVII feel it was important to extend royal control to the provinces?
"Henry VII established a council in his household by whose opinions all things should be justly and right governed...without the bitterness of lawsuits. He (HVII) chose men of shrewdness, loyalty and reliability. John, Earl of Oxford, Jasper, Duke of Bedford, Thomas Stanley, John Morton, Richard Fox, Rhys ap Thomas, Thomas Grey, George Talbot, Thomas, Earl of Ormond..... (the list goes on)
Strengths and Weaknesses of HVII's style of Government
Create a chart on the board comparing the strengths and weaknesses of HVII's style of Government.
Then, in a sentence, state how you would improve his style of Government.
Polydore Vergil, 1513
Create a chart on the board with the following people:
Phones out...
Jasper Tudor
Thomas Stanley
Rhys ap Thomas
Reginald Bray
Thomas Morton
Edmund Dudley
Richard Empson
Use your mobile phones to complete the chart on the board. You have 5 minutes so allocate these people to groups in class!
What were the benefits of these councils?
Read the handouts and summarise, in a single paragraph, how HVII's rule of local goverments - using the handout and your own knowledge - was different to Edward IV's and why.
Full transcript