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Finances in the reign of Henry VII 1485-1509


  • Henry needed money to fund soldiers
  • King expected to ‘live of his own’
  • Ordinary sources of income- crownlands, custom duties, profits of justice (eg;fines, feudal duties) extraordinary circumstances like war or rebellions he could request a grant of money from people through parliament.


  1. Exchequer= centre of financial administration since C12
    • Slow- sums often took years to be collected
    • Complicated- monrach’s little control over crown’s finances
    • Difficult to administer-henry initial focus on threats to crown meant within year crown estates had ‘fallen into decay’ and revnue from them plummeted by 50%.
    • Poor cashflow- Exchequer operated on basis of ‘assignment’ (revenues collected by localities and then assigned at designated times to particular individuals in sane area)
    • Impact on henrys early position-no ready supply of money


  1. Chamber; system based in kings private apartments

King got more personal control over finances, Henry VII unfamiliar with system and it lapses until 1487. By 1490 it handled 90% of crown’s income, annual turnover of 100,000

  1. Personnel
    • Lord Treasurer seen as most important financial officer; in practise it was treasurer of chamber. Henry VII was active in this area and monitored his accounts, signing each entry up to 1503
  2. Impact
    • Privy chamber took over chambers administering kings personal finance and running the household. Chief officer-groom of the stool, second  in importance to the treasurer of the chamber, lesser household officials now find opportunities for promotion.



  1. Ordinary

-Crown lands:

    • got from good fortune, inherit lands and wife brought more
    • Frugality- didn’t gve out many grants of land
    • Cunning- strikes up deals with widow of Nottingham and warwick, benefits for land.
    • Escheats and act of Resumption- men dies w/o heirs- land to king and any land granted away since 1455 to be returned to the king.

-Custom Duties

  • Provided 1/3 of ordinary revenue, duties levied on wool, leather, cloth and wine. Henry updated Book of rates twice by end of reign to tighten up loopholes.

-Feudal dues

  • Wardship- crown as guardians control estates of minors until come of age and receives the profits.

-Profits from justice =

  • Fines- head of system and entitled to profits
  • attainders- profits from attained persons land go to the crown.


  1. Extraordinary

        Money collected as result of parliamentary legislation

        Basic tax- 15th and 10th however fixed sum of 30,000 was agreed but took years to collect

        Subsidies also collected sometimes

        Monarch’s expected to live of his own






What immediate steps did Henry VII take in 1485 to secure his crown?

  • Coronation- 30th oct. so can’t be said parl made him king
  • Married eliz or york soon after Bosworth, 18th jan 1486, united Lancaster and york
  • Sent earl of warwick to tower, got john de la pole and duke of Suffolk to profess loyalty to him


Henry faced various rising from 1485-1506


Minor: 1485-6

  • King on royal progress to N. Capital of York. April 1486 3 lords, lovel and Stafford brothers broke sanctuary. Staffords went to Worchester to stir up rebellion and Lovel headed north to plan to waylay the king. Henry found out but continued
  • He dealt with this by sending armed forced to offer rebels choice of pardon and reconciliation or if fought and lost-death. Rebels dispersed, Lovel evaded capture and fled to flanders. Staffords sought sanctuary once more but were arrested and sent to the tower. Humphrey executed and Thomas pardoned.
  • Success?: showed calculated mercy, severity to ringleaders was successful. People became loyal and obedient in disaffected areas seen as upholders of justice and order.


Lambert Simnel 1486-7

        Oxford=Yorkist. Rumours spread that Warwick was dead. Richard Symonds (priest( picked out Lambert Simnel (10 yr old_ and symond decided to pass him off as Richard of York. As rumours changed he swapped to impersonating warwick. Symonds took simnel to Ireland, centre of yorkist support and irish leaders proclaimed simnel as Edward VII in Dublin and it was supported by Edward IV’s sister Margaret. She sent forces of 2000 german soldiers to Ireland. Irish crowned simnel king Edward VI in Dublin in may 1487. Henry aware in new year 1487.

        Dealt with? Real earl of warwick exploited to expose the imposter. Lincoln had fled to join Lovel and Margaret and go to Ireland. Henry offered pardon to long staning rebels Thomas Broughton. On 4th june 1487, Lincoln and army landed at Furness but got little support. Lincoln forces -8000, henry 12000. Lincoln and irish perish along with half army. Lovel disappears or killed. Simnel and symonds caprtues. Symonds= life imprisonment, simnel becomes turnspit in royal kitchen and later promoted to kings falconer as reward for good service.

Significance: last time henry faced army of own subjects on English soil.

        Country was still unsettled and henry’s grasp on the crown fragile.

        Henry victorious despite foreign intervention

        Crowned eliz as queen to calm yorkists.


Perkin warbeck 1491-9

        17 yr old toumai in france, arrived in cork with master, a Breton merchant. As he flaunted the silk wares of his master, people thought he was warwick as rumour still was rife about his whereabouts. He denied it saying he was Richard, duke of york, who’s murder was assumed but never proved. When he fled to flaunders he was accepted as margarets nephew. Maximillian the newly elected holy roman emperor recognised him as Richard IV in 1494. Also got support of kind of france but attention was diverted to italy.

        Dealt? Broke of cloth trade for short while in 1493. Executed Stanley to show he would spare no traitor. Warbeck failed to get local support from Deal and set sail for Ireland abandoning the men already gone ashore. He laid siege on Waterford for 11 days then departed to Scotland. James IV gave warbeck refuge and support. Scottish invasion=disaster no support, rretreated. He was arrested and gave himself up August 1497 an confessed. Henry accused him of treason but let gim remain at court. He ran away in 1498, was recaptured, humiliated and imprisoned. 1499 charged with escaping again and hanged with warwick.


Other threats1499-1506

  • Edmund de la pole, earl of Suffolk. When he fled to Guisnes, Henry = scared and made him return. He later fled to flanders. Holy roman empire worried-wife dead, sons dead, only henry who was weak. Imprisoned Edmund de la pole relations and pole imprisoned in tower, later executed by henry VIII

Rebellions in Yorkshire 1489 and cornwall 1497

  • Rebelled due to taxes being raised regularly. Tax collectors milking them so open rebellion. Dealth with easily.


What did he learn from this?

  • Country not prepared to pay for major war
  • Many of subjects not prepared to join rebels, not out of loyalt but sicj of civil war
  • Better to negotiate then to fight
  • Many people were content with style of government and leadership as gave them stability.



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