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Henry VII: Law and Government

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Lucie Collett

on 12 May 2014

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Transcript of Henry VII: Law and Government

Henry VII: Law and Government
The Privy Council
Regional/Local Government
Number of times called
Called 7 times on the whole of Henry's 24 year reign.
He rarely needed to ask for taxes for war.
He didn't want to financially strain subjects unnecessarily and risk losing their loyalty.
He didn't feel the need to initiate legislation on a large scale especially as Parliament's judicial function was now fulfilled by subsidiary courts of the Royal Council.
Laws Passed
Social engineering laws: Corporations couldn't make regulations without approval of the king, vagabonds put in stocks and returned to original place of residence, changes made to hours of work and wages.
Two statutes against retaining 1487 and 1504 reinstated the laws of Edward IV - limited a noble's number of retainers and insisted on licences approved by Henry for keeping retainers.
10% of statutes dealt with responsibilities of JPs, which were increased, and the control of provinces.
Relationship with Parliament
Parliament willing passed laws confirming Henry's power e.g. Acts of Attainder and the Act of Succession.
1504 the House of Commons objected to the large amount of money requested for the king's daughter's marriage and his son's investiture, and voted him a smaller amount.
The men employed
made up of clerics, nobles and gentry or 'new men'.
Both loyalists who had accompanied Henry in exile and former Yorkists who had fought against him at Bosworth were on the council - John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, made great Chamberlain and Lord Admiral, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, and Lord Stanley given positions on the council; John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, given position on council until death at Stoke 1486, and Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, became a councillor and Lord Treasurer in 1501 after release from the Tower 1489.
Relied on elite group - chief officers of state: John Morton the Lord Chancellor, Richard Fox the Lord Privy Seal, John Lord Dynham the Lord Treasurer. Minor office holders: Sir Reginald Bray, Giles Lord Daubeny, Sir Richard Guildford, Sir Thomas Lovell, Sir John Riseley. Members of the gentry or lower levels of society: Sir Richard Empson, Emund Dudley, Sir Edward Belknap, Sir Edward Poynings.
Henry awarded positions on the council to those who were loyal, useful and efficient. Noble blood was not enough.
government made stable by the length of time men remained in power, e.g. Morton Lord Chancellor for 14 years.
Conciliar Committees
Conciliar committees set up from within the council to deal with particular tasks to improve efficiency of central government.
1495 Court of Requests re-established to deal with the legal cases of the poor as the regular court system was expensive.
1487 implementation of the statute of livery and maintenance.
1487 prevention of intimidation of juries.
Council Learned in the Law
set up 1495 to defend the king's prerogative rights as a feudal landlord, e.g. wards, bonds and recognisances, marriages.
Sir Richard Empson (promoted to President of the Council Learned 1504) and Edmund Dudley became known and feared for their ruthless and rigorous collection of bonds and recognisances.
Dudley illegally misused bonds to threaten nobility and gentry.
Roles of the Council
Offer advice, usually on wars or taxation.
overseen by the king or Lord President of the Council, position set up in 1497, if the king was away.
Council of the North
Earl of Northumberland released from imprisonment and restored to the title Lord Lieutenant of the North, though didn't receive any extra powers or territory, as Henry recognised his power/influence there.
Earl of Surrey given power over law enforcement in thr north after Nothumbland's murder in 1489. His land and power base was in the south so Henry split the areas of influence of different nobles.
Northern nobles families were bypassed when choosing Northumberland's successor to prevent them becoming over mighty.
Henry regularly demanded updates from councillors, chosen personally by him, and required them to oversee activities.
Jasper Tudor, Duke of Beford, most influential nobleman in Wales until death in 1495.
John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, most influential nobleman in East Anglia.
Lord Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby, most influential nobleman in north west.
Sir Edward Poynings Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1494 but Earl of Kildare restored later on to title when it proved too difficult and expensive to control Ireland through outsiders.
Council of Wales and the middle Marches
Council of the Marches restored in 1493 and given judicial powers.
Prince Arthur made Prince of Wales with his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, guiding him.
Trusted Welshmen elected to the Council and key positions: William ap Gruffud given power in the north and Rhys ap Thomas power in the south.
By 1495 Henry controlled most of the Marcher lordships.
Area was mainly peaceful, partly because Wales supported the Tudor family.
Called to meet by the king for specific reasons; usually money or war. Only 7 parliaments called in Henry's reign so it didn't have much power.
The Court
Moved from place to place with the king, holding the functions of entertaining him, and offering company and advise. was a good place to influence the king and factions grew up competing for influence.
Privy Chamber
At the heat of the royal apartments and offices, Gentlemen of the Privy Chamer were chosen by the king and were the most trusted members of his household. They subsequently were closest to the king and so had the most influence over him.
Groom of the Stool
Was in charge of the Privy Chamber and had the task of attending the king in the bathroom. Was subsequently the moat trusted of all the king's Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber.
Royal Household
Members of the court who traveled with the king and looked after his domestic needs.
Privy Council
40 to 50 men chosen as the king's advisers from the nobility, the church, lawyers and royal household officers.
Justices of the Peace
Were responsible for local law and order and were appointed from local landowners annually, but were not paid for services. Henry appointed more from lesser landowners and widened their responsibilities to reduce power of greater landowners.
The Law
Justices of the Peace
Elected from upper classes for life, mainly from the gentry in Henry's reign.
Not paid so relied on self-interest for upholding the law.
1485 act of parliament gave them power to arrest poachers and hunters in disguise.
1487 act of parliament gave them power to grant bail to prisoners on trial.
Acts of 1495 gave them power to replace suspect members of juries, to act without a jury in non-capital offence cases, and to reward informers.
Henry's only control over them was through removal from commission.
Different or the same:
Different as Henry employed people from all levels of society for reasons of loyalty and usefulness. Kept them in power for a great length of time showing his trust in them and the government's stability.
Same as Henry still relied greatly on the gentry and was closest to the members of his family and long-serving loyalists; could be said to have favourites though not to the extreme of Henry VI.
Different or the same:
Same as Court of Requests previously set up by Richard III and committees had been used often by previous monarchs.
Different or the same:
Different as had not been used by previous and monarchs and was set up first by Henry. No other monarch had relied on bonds/recognisances as much so did not need separate conciliar body to deal with them.
Different or the same:
Same as council held the same roles as before.
Different as position of Lord President of the Coucil was set up for the first time by Henry.
Different or the same:
Different as Henry's foreign policy s far more pacific than that of previous monarchs so his need for Parliament was far smaller.
Different or the same:
Different as new laws were introduced dealing with social discipline.
Same as retaining laws were effectively the same as Edward IV's, just enforced more rigorously.
Different or the same:
Different as most of the time Henry's relationship with parliament was good and they were happy to grant his rquests, mostly because he didn't often ask for taxes.
Different or the same:
Same as Henry kept a Council in the North and at first recognised the Percy family's traditional control there.
Different as Henry decreased the power of the council from what it had been like under Richard III's rule, kept a more personal involvement in its activities, and ignored the usual line of succession after Northumberland's murder and choosing instead to split influence of nobles.
Different or the same:
Same as Edward had begun tradtion of naming son and heir Prince of Wales and had begun the process of controlling the previously powerful Marcher lordships. Also the Council itself was a previous Yorkist idea.
Different as Henry controlled more of the area directly, increasing links between central and regional government, and the powers of the Council were increased.
Different or the same:
Different as tried, unsuccessfully, to break tradition of ruling Ireland through Irish nobles in an attempt to diminish their power.
Same as went back to using Irish Lords to control Ireland.
Different or the same:
Same as he widened the JPs responsibilities as Edward IV had done.
Different as responsibilities were widened in a more more official and different way through the use of acts of parliament.
Corruption was common on the courts of law as intimidation of juries was a common way for more powerful men to escape punishment for their crimes.
Justices of the peace were given powers to prevent corruption in the parliament of 1595.
Different or the same:
Different as Henry was the first monarch to pass acts of parliament against corruption in the courts.
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