A Tamed Nobility? An Evaluation of the Relationship between the English Monarchy and the Late Medieval Peerage
Master of Arts (MA)
The fifteenth century in England was an extremely tumultuous period. The beginning of the century saw the continuation and eventual end of the Hundred Years War while the latter half saw a period of noble-led civil war known as the Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses lasted for approximately thirty years and spanned the reigns of four kings: Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry VII. The English peerage was intimately involved throughout the entire conflict. Nobles such as Richard, Duke of York and Richard, Earl of Salisbury were responsible for beginning the Wars of the Roses, and other members of the nobility supported the Duke of York and the deposition of Henry VI in favor of Edward IV in 1461. Nine years later, Richard, Earl of Warwick and George, Duke of Clarence were responsible for the brief deposition of Edward IV. In 1483, the Duke of Buckingham aided Richard III in usurping his young nephew. Finally, in 1485, John, Earl of Oxford, Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, and Thomas, Lord Stanley were integral in placing Henry VII on the throne. Some scholars have argued that Henry VII recognized that the main cause of the previous thirty years of civil war was the unrestrained and independent nobility which is why he sought to tame his nobility. This study will look at the Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Calendar of the Fine Rolls, Calendar of the Charter Rolls, and Calendar of the Close Rolls from the reigns of the four kings intimately involved with the Wars of the Roses and its immediate aftermath. These sources will be used to examine the patronage given to the nobility by each king as well as any punitive measures taken against the nobility for misbehavior. This evidence will show that Henry VII did, in fact, tame his nobility. He did so by restricting his patronage to the nobility in comparison to his predecessors. He also placed troublesome nobles under repressive bonds to ensure their loyalty.
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Long, Elizabeth Paige, "A Tamed Nobility? An Evaluation of the Relationship between the English Monarchy and the Late Medieval Peerage" (2017). LSU Master's Theses. 4497.