Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England

Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England

Publisher: OUP Oxford
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:416 pages
Size:235x155x22 mm
Weight:610 g
Illustrations: several black and white figures
Short description:

Reconstructs the lives of Henry VII's new men?low-born ministers with legal, financial, political, and military skills who enforced the king's will as he sought to strengthen government after the Wars of the Roses, examining how they exercised power, gained wealth, and spent it to sustain their new-found status.

Long description:
The reign of Henry VII is important but mysterious. He ended the Wars of the Roses and laid the foundations for the strong governments of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Yet his style of rule was unconventional and at times oppressive. At the heart of his regime stood his new men, low-born ministers with legal, financial, political, and military skills who enforced the king's will and in the process built their own careers and their families' fortunes. Some are well known, like Sir Edward Poynings, governor of Ireland, or Empson and Dudley, executed to buy popularity for the young Henry VIII. Others are less famous. Sir Robert Southwell was the king's chief auditor, Sir Andrew Windsor the keeper of the king's wardrobe, Sir Thomas Lovell, the Chancellor of the Exchequer so trusted by Henry that he was allowed to employ the former Yorkist pretender Lambert Simnel as his household falconer. Some paved the way to glory for their relatives. Sir Thomas Brandon, master of the horse, was the uncle of Henry VIII's favourite Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. Sir Henry Wyatt, keeper of the jewel house, was father to the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt. This volume, based on extensive archival research, presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of the new men. It analyses the offices and relationships through which they exercised power and the ways they gained their wealth and spent it to sustain their new-found status. It establishes their importance in the operation of Henry's government and, as their careers continued under his son, in the making of Tudor England.

Each of these sections is richly detailed, drawing on the remarkable depth of research which is the book's most impressive feature. The footnotes bear witness to an astonishing amount of archival work. Material is cited from no fewer than 66 archives, scores of classes of documents in the National Archives, and copious printed works. In most cases Gunn's claims are supported by multiple examples, sometimes dozens. Throughout the book, the handling of argument and evidence is deft and the book is always readable.
Table of Contents:
List of abbreviations
Caitiffs and villains of simple birth
Principles and talents
Council, Court, and Parliament
Borderlands, war, and diplomacy
Towns and stewardships
Church and churchmen
Law and power
Families and friends
The profits of power
The land market
Expenditure and status
The new reign
Faith and fortune
The making of Tudor England