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HST 532 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Richard Empson, Lorenzo Campeggio, House Of York

Course Code
HST 532
Martin Greig
Study Guide

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HST 532: Elizabethan England Midterm Study Guide 2017-10-03
Prof: Dr. M. Greig
Created by: L. Cardiff
Page 1 of 10
Pre-Tudor Dynasty
Territory in the United Kingdom
o England and Wales are one unit controlled by the English King
o Ireland was claimed by the English King, but only a small part is actually controlled
o Scotland was completely independent
Medieval Kings
o How to become king
Might is Right Medieval feudalism meant that the King was the most powerful
warlord and owned the territory that he governed
o Succession
Old Germanic tradition of partible inheritance the king splits up his property
between his sons however, could cause sibling rivalries and civil wars
Originally, there were no laws of succession the crown could be captured
through military strength (ie. William the Conqueror)
Theoretically, no barrier to a woman becoming monarch (ie. Matilda)
Sometimes, succession was a messy business kings could not be replaced
unless there was someone to replace them many conspiracy plots by the
nobility to replace monarchs with their own candidates, usually gathering
strength in France (ie. Edward III’s succession)
Finally, adopt the principle of primogeniture succession by the eldest son,
instead of splitting properties among all sons
Often rival noble families with blood claims to the monarchy will compete to put
their own candidate on the throne
Causes of the War of the Roses (1455-1485), fought between the noble families of York and
o Controlling the Crown
Noble families wanted the benefit of the monarch’s patronage also wanted to
make sure those benefits didn’t go to their enemies
o Powerful Noble Families
The nobility was rich, powerful, and had private armies they wanted the king
on their side in the case of a dispute with another noble family
o Weak Monarch
Henry VI was a weak king, and a strong king (like Edward IV) was required to
keep peace in the realm
o Dynastic Struggle
The candidates from the noble families had some kind of blood connection to the
royal line
Result of the War of the Roses
o Richard III, a Yorkist, is defeated by Henry VII, a Lancastrian
England at the Beginning of the Tudor Dynasty
Powers of the Monarch
o Patronage (land, titles, offices, profitable marriages) to bestow upon friends and allies
o Appoint ministers of state
o Appoint councillors
o Appoint judiciary (all of the judges)
o Summon and dissolve parliament
o Control over the military (note: no standing army)
o Conduct all foreign policy (declare war, make treaties)
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HST 532: Elizabethan England Midterm Study Guide 2017-10-03
Prof: Dr. M. Greig
Created by: L. Cardiff
Page 2 of 10
The Royal Council
o The king was the centre of the government, and he appointed councillors to assist him
o Theoretically, this meant that almost all of the nobility, higher clergy, and important
gentry were councillors (approx. 150 men), but in reality only about 40 regularly went to
council meetings
o Henry VII took his most trusted councillors with him when he travelled around the
o There was an exclusive inner ring of councillors that the king relied upon they ran
departments of government and gave him advice
o Privy Councillors also sat in the Court of Star Chamber (criminal law) and the Court of
Chancery (civil law) special courts set up by the king so he could have more control
over the outcomes
o House of Lords
Approx. 100-110 members
King sat at the head
Composed of Lord’s Spiritual (leading members of the Catholic Church) and
Lord’s Temporal (the noble men who had titles inherited or given by the king),
along with Judges to record major decisions
o House of Commons
Approx. 300 members
King could not sit in
Composed of Knights of the Shire (two representatives from each county) and
Borough Members (two elected Members of Parliament)
Knights and Borough Members were elected through a vote, but only men with a
certain amount of land or income could vote, so the elections represented only a
small part of the population
o Powers
Creation of statute law, in conjunction with the monarch
o Met at Westminster Abbey not in the city of London, but easily accessible by the river
English Society in the 16th Century
o Thought to be “degrees of people” based on the concept of the Great Chain of Being,
with God at the top humans have a special place in this chain between angels and
o HIGHEST POWERS: Monarch and Nobility
The monarch held the most power, and could grant titles to other men to make
them nobles those titles could then be inherited by the eldest son
Nobility held special privileges (seat in House of Lords, tried only by peers, etc.)
Only 50-60 men held noble titles, and held about 10% of all of the land
Wide variety of incomes a noble title didn’t necessarily mean wealth
Knights, esquires, gentlemen the only difference from the nobility are king-
given titles
Approx. 3000 men in the gentry, who held 25-30% of all land
Often very wealthy landowners, merchants, lawyers, businessmen, doctors, etc.
Countryside: yeoman (prosperous farmer), husbandmen (small farmer), farm
labourer (hired help)
Cities: urban craftsman (guild member), urban labourer (hired help)
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HST 532: Elizabethan England Midterm Study Guide 2017-10-03
Prof: Dr. M. Greig
Created by: L. Cardiff
Page 3 of 10
The Reign of King Henry VII
Controversial claim to the throne
o Henry VII had a weak blood connection to the royal lineage through his mother’s side
o Raised in France by Jasper Tudor during Richard III’s reign, Lancastrian supporters
gather in France to support their best blood claim to the throne, Henry
o Henry VII defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485
Never claimed to be king by inheritance God allowed him to triumph because
he was the True King
Dated his reign from the day before Bosworth to demonstrate that Richard was
never a legitimate king
One of the first things Henry does as king is marry Elizabeth of York (eldest
child of Edward IV, heir to Yorkist throne) to unite the two families and end civil
strife their children will have the best claim to the English throne
Challenges to his reign
o Lambert Simnel
Posed as Edward, Earl of Warwick (nephew of Edward IV) the real one was
Supported by Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy (Edward IV’s sister) and John de
la Pole, Earl of Lincoln (nephew of Edward IV)
Gathered an army in Ireland, and launched an invasion defeated Simnel is
captured and made to be a servant in the king’s kitchens
o Perkin Warbeck
Claimed to be Richard, Duke of York (one of the Princes in the Tower
supposedly killed by Richard III)
Supported by Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, who claimed to recognize him as
her nephew
Many rulers in Europe accepted him as King Richard IV of England
Gained support of James IV of Scotland invasion from Scotland James backs
down and ships Warbeck to Ireland
Invasion from Ireland defeated, imprisoned, and executed
o Therefore: foreign rulers are willing to support other claims to the English throne, and
powerful English families were still willing to turn against Henry VII
Needs to use diplomacy with foreign powers, and get obedience from his nobility
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
o Diplomacy was a better solution than war war is expensive, and the English throne was
broke from so many years of war
o France
French King Charles VIII had supported Warbeck Henry needed France to
legitimize his reign by engaging in treaties with him
Henry invades France, and Charles agrees to a peace treaty (Treaty of Etaples
o Scotland
Scottish King James IV had supported Warbeck, but Henry resisted his invasion
until James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace (1502)
To cement this peace, Henry arranges a marriage between his daughter Margaret
and James IV
o Spain
Spain is a rising power, governed by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille
In 1489 Henry signed the Treaty of Medina del Campo, in which Henry promised
military help to Spain against their enemy France
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