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The Welsh Rebellion that Henry VII Lost to Richard III

To win against these two, you had to hit ‘em where it hurt the most. And never give up, never surrender.

To win against these two, you had to hit ‘em where it hurt the most. And never give up, never surrender.

While reading Michael K. Jones’ dry, if detailed, study of the life of Margaret Beaufort[1], I was amazed to learn about a small but significant Welsh rebellion conducted against Henry VII and his hagiographic mummy that I’ve never heard mentioned anywhere else.

It appears that Henry and Margaret were thwarted on at least one occasion, and not just by pesky York which, after all, could only be expected to rise up against the Welsh usurper because of the duke of Gloucester’s (aka Richard III) good lordship to York and their loyalty to him, no matter he was dead. It also appears that some Welshmen were prepared to cast aside military tactics in favor of thumping the king and his mummy where they knew it would hurt the most – and in such a way that John de Vere (13th earl of Oxford) couldn’t run in and save Henry’s visually disabled, skinny derrière as de Vere did at the Battle of Redemore (aka Bosworth) and the Battle of Stoke.

This, kiddies, is the Brecon Rebellion I’ve never heard mentioned in any “We loves us the Tudorz” documentary — and pray let it be remembered that author who revealed it is not a Richard III devotee, yet he still documented this cold, unfriendly historical fact that has been pretty much ignored in a “La la la, can’t hear you” sort of a way because it’s not favorable to Team Tydder.

The complicated details are thus:

  • On 2 November 1483, Richard III chopped off Henry Stafford’s (2nd duke of Buckingham) head directly after Stafford led a failed rebellion against the king.
  • On 22 August 1485, French pikemen enabled Henry “Tudor” to win the battle of Redemore (aka Bosworth). Henry subsequently and retroactively declared himself king from 21 August 1485, the day before the battle.
  • On 7 November 1485, Katherine Woodville (the duke of Buckingham’s widow and younger sister to Elizabeth Woodville) married Jasper “Tudor” (uncle to the new king, and the newly minted 1st duke of Bedford).
  • On 3 August 1486, Henry VII gave Margaret Beaufort wardship of Edward Stafford (the 3rd duke of Buckingham, and the oldest son of Catherine Woodville-Stafford-“Tudor” and the beheaded duke). The king also gave his mummy custody of all the lands belonging to Edward, with the exception of the lordships of Newport, Thornby, and Tonbridge because Catherine Woodville had joint ventures on those. Happy 8th birthday, Edward!

The paperwork transferring Edward Stafford’s lands may have been done by Henry’s clerks in August 1486, but Henry retroactively declared his Mummy had the right to revenues reaching back to September 1485.

Given that Henry had the unmitigated gall to date his reign from the day before the battle of Redemore, I’m sure he saw no problem backdating his mother’s grant. She was, after all, working as his agent (that is, his collection agency) as well as in her own interests. So why not let a stroke of the royal quill create an instantaneous 13-month retrospective profit for both their coffers? It’s nothing personal and certainly not greedy; it’s just good business – at least from the crown’s point of view.

Margaret obtained direct control of the following estates, among others:

  • English estates centered around Maxstoke, Stafford, and Holderness.
  • The Welsh lordships of Brecon and Caurs.

These lands had the following financial obligations:

  • Revenues to Jasper “Tudor” for his wife’s dower.
  • 500 marks per year to help maintain the Stafford brothers. (Edward had a younger brother named Henry.)
  • £1000 per year to help maintain the royal household.

The English estates cooperated and paid up. The Welsh estates did not.

Why not? As Michael Jones puts it: “In Brecon, Lady Margaret’s authority was much weaker than in the English lordships,” and, “Margaret’s officers had massive problems in trying to collect revenue.”

Whatever could have been the problem? Oh, you know…the usual general administration difficulties in the Welsh marches. Every king had ‘em, didn’t they?

It’s strange that England cooperated, but Wales did not, especially since Margaret did a marvelous job of changing the accounting system for her English estates. She centralized all the receipts and had the final say on fees and wages. She appointed her own receiver-general (and changed him frequently), slashed local costs, and wasn’t afraid to eliminate whole offices — like the bailiff feodary (i.e., feudal vassal) of Staffordshire. So if administrative difficulties had been the only ones she encountered in Wales, she should have had no problem in solving those difficulties.

Alas, the Welsh of Brecon had other ideas. Other loyalties. And they weren’t about to let the usurping “Tudor’s” Welsh pretences, or his pushy mother, have their way.

You see, the more serious problem that Henry and Margaret faced was that Brecon had previously supported Richard III.

Way back in October 1483, Brecon locals had made clear their fury and contempt after Henry Stafford (the same 2nd duke of Buckingham whom Richard III subsequently beheaded) threw in with the supporters of Henry “Tudor” (which supporters included his mummy). At that time, the Welsh attacked and sacked Buckingham’s castle of Brecon. Afterward, Richard rewarded Welsh loyalty by giving back Brecon farms and reducing their rents.

So the Welsh of Brecon liked Richard III, and they liked his rewards. As a consequence, and as Jones understates it, “There was as a result considerable unrest early in the reign of Henry VII.”

What forms, exactly, did this unrest take against the Welsh usurper?

  • “Various rebels moving against the king” narrowly failed in their attempt to take Brecon and its castle.[2]
  • The porter of the castle gate deliberately let escape prisoners sympathetic to Richard III.
  • Henry was forced to garrison 140 soldiers at Brecon to guard against future attacks.
  • Henry fined those who had supported the rebels.

Jones writes that “amidst the disorder and uncertainty, Margaret’s officers faced massive problems trying to collect revenue,” but it sounds like the Welsh were anything but disorderly in their intentions or uncertain in their actions. To put it simply, they liked the king they’d had before, and they weren’t about to let the Tydder raise their rents after Richard III had lowered them. Or, as a contemporary source says, “No man would take an increment above the old rent or would pay it.”[3]

Henry and his mummy had other troubles with Brecon as well:

  • No man wanted the office for the “great farm.”
  • Margaret couldn’t get any income from the agistment (i.e., the feeding or pasturing of livestock for a fee) because Richard had also granted the Welsh free passage to the forest.
  • The drastic drop in overall receipts wasn’t a one-year wonder; it was an ongoing financial rebellion on the part of Brecon’s Welsh for years.

Tenants usually paid a fee to be excused from the duty of attending great sessions in Brecon. In 1488, those receipts dropped from 2060 marks to 760. So to spite the Tydder, the tenants preferred to attend the sessions rather than pay to not attend them.

Eight years later in 1496, the “I want to be excused from the sessions” fee raked in 1100 marks for Margaret. But this was still less than half the total she anticipated, and her son took 800 marks of it into his coffer.

What about the matter of the rents? Did Margaret raise them over time? Did the Welsh end up paying what the crown demanded?

No.

A measly £300 was the total income in 1494 from the lordship of Brecon — little more than a third of its actual value.

This means that Brecon’s Welshmen had been tweaking the royal nose for eight years, which makes me wonder what “Do what we want and pay up, and we won’t hurt you…much” tactics Margaret and her avaricious son tried on Brecon that have been lost to history. Eight years is a long time to tolerate losing that much revenue, so we’re missing much of the story.

Obviously, this sort of behavior from the unwashed could not continue to be tolerated by the anointed. And so it was that Margaret sent three new men to deal with the uppity Welsh of Brecon.

  • William Bedell – Margaret’s new receiver for the Stafford lands.
  • David Philip – A most trusted servant of the king’s mummy.
  • John Gunter – An experienced royal auditor.

The mandate from the king and his mummy? “Collect the debts.” Privately, that mandate may have been something more like, “Collect the #@! debts from the #@! Welsh, would you?”

Now, in the usual heartless, greedy scheme of the “Tudor” regime, Henry “the winter king” VII usually got what he wanted. So the three officers bled the Brecon Welsh dry and returned with sturdy oak chests filled with bags simply bursting with coin, yes?

No.

The Brecon Welsh refused to let Henry and Margaret bleed them as they did others. We don’t know the financial-battle tactics the Welsh used. We only know that the king and his mummy had no choice but to write off Brecon’s one-year deficit of £2095.[4] What, I wonder, did they have to write off for the other years, past and future?

The Welshmen of Brecon knew their true value – Richard had told them. They rebelled against Henry VII. And they won.

__________

[1] Jones, Michael, the King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond & Derby, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1992, pp 108-110.

[2] British Library, Egerton Roll, 2192.

[3] Public Record Office, E101/414/6, folio 103v.

[4] Public Record Office, SC6/Hen. VII/1652.m.5v: Rawcliffe, C., The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521, Cambridge, 1978, p. 128.

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43 thoughts on “The Welsh Rebellion that Henry VII Lost to Richard III

  1. Jasmine on said:

    An interesting article which deserves a wider audience subject to two small changes:

    The constant referral to Margaret Beaufort as Henry’s ‘mummy’ and the use of quotation marks around the name Tudor.

    Whatever a Ricardian might think about Margaret, she was a wealthy landowner, a religious woman who made grants to worthy causes and played a large part in the upbringing of Henry VII’s children. I am sure many would not be happy to refer to Cecily Neville (an equally wealthy, powerful and religious woman) as Richard’s mummy.

    Equally, as I have said before, English law considers the name one is generally known by as being one’s legal name, the constant use of quotation marks around the name Tudor is wearying. After all , the possibility of a different parentage for Catherine de Valois’s children is a theory, not a proven fact and whether we like it or not, the dynasty founded by Henry VII has been known as the Tudor dynasty for several hundred years. Even JAH has given up using the quotation marks. Perhaps it is time to let it rest.

    Both of these affectations detract from what is an interesting historical study of Wales under Henry VII, given that he is lauded by some as the saviour of Wales and the fulfillment of prophecy.

    Like

    • mairemartello on said:

      This is a blog not an academic research paper. Blogs, by very definition, are informal. I, for one, am not going to observe rules that are set down by ‘Jasmine’ in her constant tsk-tsking on this site.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jasmine on said:

        Oh no, not constantly tsk-tsking, Marie – many of the posts on here are well founded in tone, and there is a difference in being informal and constantly using patronising words to describe people from the Lancastrian side – after all there is FB for that.

        Like

  2. sighthound6 on said:

    Revenues from Welsh lordships reached a peak circa 1399. After that, good old Owain caused immense damage in his attempt to make himself Prince of an independent Wales, and people were still claiming relief on the strength of that damage 100 years later in some cases. The general effect of the revolt was that Welsh revenues declined dramatically, and the Welsh tenantry grew picky about what sort of tenure they would have. They were a difficult lot for an Englishman (or even a Welshman) to handle. I should imagine it was rather like herding cats.

    I suspect this local difficulty had something to do with the Vaughans of Tretower. Although they were distantly related to the Vaughan who got his head lopped in 1483, they were extremely pro-Richard III, and led the looting and burning of Brecon at the time of Buckingham’s revolt. Part of the reason was that Uncle Jasper had summarily executed the head of the family at Chepstow in 1471, in the aftermath of Tewkesbury. It’s a funny thing, all those articles I have seen condemning Richard for his summary executions of various fellows who were out to kill him, but I’ve never seen *one* condemning Jasper’s execution of Vaughan of Tretower. Richard was at least Protector and Constable, Jasper had no authority whatsoever. But it was OK, as he was a ‘Lancastrian’ and it appears Lancastrians can do what the hell they like without criticism. And indeed, why not? Henry Bolingbroke started the trend.

    Liked by 7 people

    • white lily on said:

      Totally right, sighthound6. Let’s also consider the summary executions by the Kingmaker in 1469-70, a total of 7 by my count.

      Like

  3. viscountessw on said:

    An absolutely absorbing article, merlynmacleod I didn’t know of all this, and it is certainly food for thought. Good for the Welsh! And good for Richard, showing the way yet again.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Love the opposing portraits of Henry and Margaret! Side by side like that the resemblance is uncanny- had not seen it that strongly before.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. mairemartello on said:

    Most of us here will continue to write as we must. The dogs may bark but our caravan is moving on!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jasmine on said:

      I guess it depends upon whether you wish to be taken seriously or simply be another blog. I would hope that Ricardians would wish to be taken seriously. There is a lot of good work in this article, and reference to relevant sources. Just the sort of thing needed to help restore Richard’s reputation.

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  6. mairemartello on said:

    ‘Jasmine’, you repeat the same circular talking points every time you post here. I can say your words in my sleep – “…if you wish to be taken seriously…” you say it here and on Facebook. The Murrey and Blue has a pretty good readership and is building. If you don’t like some of the blogs or portions of the blogs you can certainly go elsewhere or ignore what you don’t like and focus on the positive.

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    • Jasmine on said:

      You make my point for me, Marie when you say the Murrey and Blue has a good readership and is building. Great – as a Ricardian, I very much want to ensure that as many people as possible understand the real Richard is a much different person from the one portrayed in the traditional accounts. Therefore, surely, it is important not to use ‘in-jokes’ like the quotation marks around Tudor or to refer to important Lancastrian figures in a patronising manner.

      There are a lot of positive points in the article as I said (see – a positive focus there) but that does not mean one should ignore other aspects.

      With regard to the advice to go elsewhere – as I understand it, this is an open blog which asks for comments. Are you saying that only favourable comments are acceptable?

      Like

  7. halfwit36 on said:

    Translation: You disagree with me, even on a minor point? You have no right! If you don’t agree with everything I post, just.shut.up!
    Always happy to be of service.

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  8. Personally I like the humour in this blog and others obviously do too! I don’t see anything wrong in referring to MB as ‘Mummy’ for example. You need a bit of light with the more serious, scholastic pieces. Fair enough if you don’t like it – you have made your point. It’s done, so there’s no point in going on – the author can write whatever they wish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jasmine on said:

      True, jrlarner. But this artical is a serious, scholastic piece – not a light-hearted ‘funny’ blog. That is why I commented, only to be taken to task by Marie for having an opinion different from hers. So presumably only posts which fully agree with every word, every line is welcome here. Shame really…..

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  9. mairemartello on said:

    Nonsense, ‘Jasmine.’ As always, you exaggerate. My point was simply to say you repeat yourself. We all get the drift that you don’t like the word “mummy.” My other criticism is that you always try to set uptight rules here – without success, I might add.

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    • Jasmine on said:

      Uptight? Not sure what you mean, Marie. It’s true I find the constant use of quotation marks around Tudor to be both irritating and a distraction, but I am perhaps in good company because Richard himself referred to Henry as Tydder with not a quotation mark in sight.

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  10. As the author of this particular blog entry, it was my intent to appeal to as broad an audience as possible — not just to medieval scholars or Ricardians or fans of Henry and the *sigh, she was such a great and pious lady* Margaret Beaufort.

    I doubt very much that the woman in question would have objected to anyone calling her Henry’s mummy. The term, after all, is a child’s informal word for his or her mother.

    Margaret insisted on styling herself as the king’s mother, complete with a coronet of her very own in the later version of her arms and seal. The two of them had a sort of platonic maternal romance going on in terms of how she addressed him and how he addressed her in correspondence — it was very much a mutual admiration society.

    Additionally, she personally tended Henry when he was sick, dictated the decor of his children’s nursery, insisted that physicians should stand by as her grandchildren were fed, dictated the formal and informal designs of her grand-children’s cradles, and also dictated how her dear son’s bed should be made, and how he should be tucked into it every night. (In all fairness, she did include a postscript saying the queen’s bed should be made the same way, but there was no insistence on how Elizabeth of York should be tucked in.)

    So I make no apologies for referring to Margaret as Henry’s mummy.

    You say that Tydder was used by Richard. Indeed, it was. And the dire predictions he made in the proclamations regarding England under said Tydder came true within only a few years. In any case, the blog above also contains “Tydder” (without quotes), so the Welsh/contemporary pronunciation gets equal time.

    In any case, the second paragraph of the blog you’re commenting on should alert the reader that my tone is not and will not be All Serious. I’ve no idea why no one has picked up on “Henry’s visually disabled, skinny derrière” not being grammarically correct (how can one’s derrière be visually disabled?)…yet that image is exactly what I meant to convey. If the reader hasn’t “gotten” that my approach is not All Serious by the end of paragraph two, then the use of the word “kiddies” to address readers at the beginning of the next paragraph might suggest the ride in this blog is not going to be BBC documentary smooth.

    Jasmine, you appear to be quibbling over style. I am fully capable of framing a thesis, an article, and all its sundry arguments in painfully formal style, acceptable to and gradable by any university don. “Been there, done that, got the degree.”

    There are times when Richard deserves something stylistically different. Not better, just different — a style that speaks to a wider audience which includes readers of all ages and backgrounds, who might not enjoy being bored to sleep by yet another Important Academic Presentation on Ye Olde King Richard III that contains only a recitation of hard facts.

    Michael Jones wrote *The King’s Mother*, and my use of it is referenced above. The book is a slog to get through because it is written in the scholarly style you are promoting. Please allow me to point out that form in writing must follow function (and intended audience): Jones has written for his academic audience; I have written for Murrey & Blue’s audience.

    I am well aware that the style I have used is not appropriate for a university setting. I am also aware this is not a university setting. My choice of style is deliberate, and yes, it includes the use of the word “mummy.” While my style may have irritated you, it may inspire some other reader to dig deeper into the life and times of Richard III…and into Henry VII and his Sainted Mummy.

    In any case, your version of the Lady Margaret Beaufort, King’s Mother, Countess of Richmond & Derby, and her hagiography are still intact on university shelves and ebooks, bringing cold historical comfort to academics everywhere.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Don’t you ever dare to cramp your style, merlynmacleod! There are plenty of readers who enjoy it.
      Of course, being absolutely devoid of a sense of humor, H7 and his pia mater would not agree. But neither they nor anybody else can claim to have the absolute judgment of style and taste.

      Liked by 2 people

      • *

        *

        Thanks for your kind words, Julia.

        I’m always willing to explain why I’ve presented something the way I have, but it’s impossible to please everyone. Not even God can do that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Additionally, she personally tended Henry when he was sick, dictated the decor of his children’s nursery, insisted that physicians should stand by as her grandchildren were fed, dictated the formal and informal designs of her grand-children’s cradles, and also dictated how her dear son’s bed should be made, and how he should be tucked into it every night. (In all fairness, she did include a postscript saying the queen’s bed should be made the same way, but there was no insistence on how Elizabeth of York should be tucked in.)”

      Oh. My. God.

      No wonder Elizabeth of York hated Margaret’s power and interference. This really sounds like a meddling mother-in-law from hell who treats her son like he’s still a little boy. Though in Margaret’s case it’s understandable, since she did not have a chance to take care of him when he was growing up.

      It’s interesting that Margaret got along with Cecily, but that’s probably because Margaret did not live with Cecily and her husband.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like the original MIL from hell. I wonder- Bess of York must have known her, she was frequenting Edward’s as well as Richard’s court. She cannot have met Henry who was on the continent, but if she was – rightly-guessing he was like his mother that might explain why she would perhaps have gone to extremities rather than wed Tydder, at least while she still had a choice. When she didn’t any more after Redmore she must have felt like a lamb to the slaughter.
        Her sister Cecily was probably profiting from the fact that she was not MB’s daughter-in-law so the latter didn’t feel she had to make her toe the line.
        As for Henry, he must really have been a milksop if he allowed his mother to meddle in his most personal affairs like that. Or he was trying to catch up on twenty years of missed maternal affection. In either case I almost pity him.

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    • Jasmine on said:

      Fine, Merlyn. Style is important and sometimes over-rides substance, but if you wish to present your material in a particular style, that is your choice. It is also the choice of readers of this particular site to comment on what is written by anyone. I am not a particular fan of MB, so disliking the use of the modern term ‘mummy’ to refer to her has nothing to do with being a MB worshipper and all to do with tone. I would feel the same if someone had referred to Cecily as mummy and Richard of York as daddy.

      If you take the trouble to read my original post, I said that the article was good and deserved wider publication subject to two changes – the ‘mummy’ and the use of quotation marks.

      I think that is perfectly clear, but just to make sure, it means that the material in the article is a fresh look at a particular episode, with appropriate sources and footnotes which should be published elsewhere, but if it is, then it would benefit from the stylistic changes I mentioned .

      It is just my opinion . I thought the whole idea of a blog, with a comments facility meant that readers could express an opinion politely, but it seems that Marie takes great exception to my opinions, following our discussion on another thread on this site. That is Marie’s choice and it is mine to respond to her.

      So to sum up this storm in a teacup – you wrote a good article, I commented, Marie objected by my ‘tsk-tsking’ and I responded to her and here we are. Still, as I was informed last time, the site gets the clicks………

      Like

  11. mairemartello on said:

    Henry & his mother sound a lot like Coriolanus and his mom, Volumnia. It didn’t work out as well for Coriolanus as it did for Henry. Lucky man, that ‘Tydder’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • halfwit36 on said:

      Of course, a person can write whatever they want to, and post it on a blog. But once having done so, he or she should be prepared to accept criticism on it.
      Of course, a person can write in whatever style he or she wants, even if it means putting “quotation marks,” “around” “every” “word.” (All right, I always exaggerate – a mortal sin here.) But others should be free to say that that isn’t grammar, and to repeat that criticism, if necessary.
      Why not quotation marks around “Henry” as well. He never answered to that. All medieval Henries were called Harry.

      Like

  12. white lily on said:

    There’s a lot here other than the stylistic use of quotations or euphemisms, which are what to be expected from a blog post. The substance of this piece lends insight into the very nuanced position of Wales; it certainly was not completely forsworn over to a new regime (whether you call that “Tudor”, “Tydder”, etc. doesn’t matter). The historiography is what is being called into question; and the “revolt” in Brecon is a classic example of how local events don’t fit into the broader narrative that is often asserted. For instance, there are parts of Wales, even today, that still call themselves “Plantagenet Wales” – I’m speaking of Abergevenny, for instance, where I once stayed at a cottage on a street called “Plantagenet Court”. Within a hundred yards of that cottage was Abergevenny Castle (now in ruins) which Richard obtained in right of his wife Anne Neville from her mother Anne Beauchamp. Even today, there is not much of a “Tudor” presence there; it is the Plantagenet. I think it’s probably a wise effort to understand that Henry VII did not completely command Welsh sympathies. They were varied, especially along the eastern border with England. There’s no reason to object to this, the Marches were always something of an unusual political sphere. Brecon is not far from Abergevenny, even today you can drive there in short order. So, this all makes sense. Given a choice between the ancestral Beauchamp/Plantagenet hegemony, and a new order, the locals would probably be recalcitrant to any intrusion into what they had known.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Hooray White Lily – someone who is commenting on the substance rather than the style which is, IMO, up to the blogger!

    Liked by 1 person

    • white lily on said:

      I think one point that has been overlooked by everyone, is how easily law (or government) could be manipulated and turned into an oppression. One of the really interesting points that this blog post points out is the back-dating of a regime. While I understand the politics behind that (for surely, that was a political maneuver if ever there was one), is that it disrupts and contorts what the common people would see as every day business in their own sphere. They, certainly, did not have the power to do so in their own lives. One must ask oneself whether such a huge distortion of “reality” would be worth it to a new regime. I’m not sure if this was ever done in prior coup d’etats in England, but the repercussions are very serious. Yes, they really are. To the extent that when the American colonies were formulating a Constitution, they made a special prohibition on that sort of behavior. Changing the status quo “retroactively” was deemed by these 18th century people as being a classic case of oppressive and unchecked government, bringing uncertainty, injustice, and a peculiar type of “judgment by hindsight” or worse, “punishing those who were not infringing law” into the sphere of government control. Granted, the Tudor regime felt the need to establish a sort of order and control and possibly to squeeze out of Wales every dime of its natural and untapped resources. But the squeeze was very brutal, and it is not unexpected that the common people would object to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Regarding the Colonies, the Declaration of Independence lists very clearly, item by item, the tyrannies of King George and his government that caused the Colonies to embrace revolution. It’s always amazed me how often throughout history the actions of one man has caused thousands of other men to rise up and take action against him.

        In the case of Henry’s backdating his reign, the cynic in me says one of the major reasons was to condemn the men who were fairly bound to fight for Richard, only to graciously “allow” them to purchase their freedom while stripping them of their power (money) to revolt against the new king. I often wonder who, exactly, came up with that idea. Morton? deVere? Margaret? Henry’s advisers were very good at teaching him to be ruthless, but then again, he was an apt pupil.

        As for setting a nasty precedence, Henry and his minions set many of those. When I dove into exactly how Henry grasped and kept power, and how he made his subjects paranoid about catching his attention (the Eye of Sauron comes to mind), the more I read the more I thought, “And they traded Richard for this?”

        Liked by 5 people

      • King George had little to do with the decisions of the British Parliament and the government.

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      • The members of the Continental Congress framing the Declaration of Independence (which included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin, among others) thought differently.

        “…The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

        ” He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

        “He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.”
        .
        .
        .

        The Declaration continues at some length, point by point, and it’s all directed at King George as well as his Parliament/government. There’s also the fact that King George declared the Colonies in rebellion and sent troops against them months before the Colonies declared themselves in rebellion.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, because no doubt it sounded better to represent Britain as if it were some absolute tyranny of a monarch, even though that was far from what Britain was in the late 18th century.

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  14. white lily on said:

    I didn’t mean to introduce 18th century concepts into the discussion about 15th century politics. I will leave that for the “judgment of history” and that’s about as fair a comment as we can say about anything, including the repercussions of our own present-day govts. But, putting that aside, I have come to learn that Henry VII was the first to do this “back-dating” of his regime, and I agree with you Merlyn, it was a convenient mechanism to exact a sort of extraordinary taxation on people who fought for Richard III at Bosworth. It’s clever, and obviously a ploy to maximize their discomfort by putting them “on the wrong side” of the new regime. Whether it was Margaret Beaufort, or deVere or Morton who suggested it is a fascinating question. Maybe this was part of the wider situation in late 15th century politics; people were attainted, and then, after a while, they regained their lands. It was very fluid, and it could have been a kind of unspoken thing that many powerful people were used to, and cynically speaking, they might have always understood it to be so. They may have always been thinking that the one thing that could be done was back-dating a regime, and it may have taken extraordinary circumstances, and a lot of fear or desertion from a tenant of chivalry, to bring it about.

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  15. white lily on said:

    BTW, the point I was making about the US Constitution wasn’t so much in the Declaration of Independence, which is a brilliant piece of rhetorics but has absolutely no power or precedential (or binding) value here. The Constitution of the Continental Colonies, written later, explicitly declares that there shall be no Ex Post Facto laws. In other words, there cannot be a law that makes illegal what used to be legal in the past. I wrote a Law Review article about how it is not permitted to make current law “retroactive” – it is always based on that clause of the Constitution. The reasons behind it are what fascinate me. It requires us to examine the very purpose of retroactive prohibition, why it was considered to be a bad premise to any sort of considered or stable govt. And it usually boils down to (1) we don’t want to upset plans that people’ve made, whether by their last wills, or by entering into a legal contract; (2) it’s basically unfair to accuse people of doing wrong, when they were not under their current set of circumstances; and (3) a govt that can decide to change the past is entering into very dangerous territory; because then, you could never trust if law was stable or susceptible to change. You cannot hedge yourself against future changes in the law. But the past cannot, and should not, be changed. It is what it is. If we choose to somehow alter the obligations and standards ex post facto, we are probably going to criminalize people who had no pretensions of being a criminal.

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  16. halfwit36 on said:

    The framers of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution condemned Bills of Attainder, but these were common in 15th century England, and used by Richard as well as Henry VII. We can claim that “they should have known that these bills were wrong, just as Americans should have known that slavery was wrong.” But the fact is, they didn’t.

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  17. I’m an American. Our two major parties have as their party platforms ideas that are variations on those of the Whigs of the U.K circa the time of Edmund Burke. (He had been a loyal Whig in his youth but redefined Conservatism and Toryism in his old age.) Our Declaration was definately aimed at the changes George III had brought about, by comparison to the previous two Georges, but it was more focused on his bad timing and policies in terms of his series of ministers. Only the supporters of Doctor Ron Paul still frame political issues as of late in a rhetoric rather like those of the generation that fought in our revolution. Sometimes the better kings of the U.K have been unseated from a worldly throne. I rather do like this blog, today I learned a few things about old Wales that I didn’t know before, even though some of my ancestors emigrated from Bristol. Up above, something caught my eye, it must be noted not until the presidency of Andrew Johnson did slavery cease to be in our most recently unified Republic. Abraham Lincoln tragically dies in April, but our Civil War continues on into May of 1865, after the fall of Richmond. We are told in school that George Washington owned slaves, but after reading several biographies of the early presidents you may slowly start to realize that he had married up by the standards of Virginia’s Tidewater families. As to Iron Resolve, maybe Lady Beaufort in her day could have run circles around Margaret Thatcher whereas poor Elizabeth Woodville and Cecily Neville simply are way too polite more often than not. Could the complex reasons behind Elizabeth I’s long reign stem from what she had inherited? Was Henry VII always a “momma’s boy” or did he actually have an adolescent rebellion? I dare not psychoanalyze his Id too often! 🙂 If I am going by public policies and future events, quite clearly Richard the Third was often the kinder and better monarch. I’m a Josephine Tey fan!

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  18. “white lily” —- if i had to informally choose between Lady Beaufort, deVere or Morton of “Morton’s Fork” fame, I can see how Sir Thomas More’s patron influenced the choice of sources the saintly young scholar later drew on when writing up a history. Could it be that a Catholic Church saint can also be a somewhat sloppy or lousy historian bordering on today’s “one source” journalism when being comfortable inside a universe of tabloids or informal blogs? Clearly folks who write Royal Society papers often footnote sources. Clearly RIII’s well connected political foe was good at raising revenues, indeed he was more heavy handed than was poor Henry Strafford, who basically is beheaded in 1641 for being and having been a loyal servant of Charles I. (Again I am thinking over the Daughter of Time and the way the politics of an era can be framed!) I like what you have said! We Americans try not to go retro-active but sometimes a Supreme Court decision can send us into new areas, case in point, the three Reconstruction Amendments. We have now placed at the federal level much that was at the discretion of each state or local community when discussing our very basic civil rights.

    John Locke’s ideas most definitely built on the Magna Carta and the way each individual’s rights are understood. Much of what Richard III did when trying to loyally serve his brother anticipates the rule of law as a political concept. Kings can govern by whim, sometimes… but let it also be said Constitutional Monarchs accept limits on power. Traditions can be created over time, after a new area is ventured into. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the phrase “Equal Justice Under Law” sums up things after 1865 and why Plessy v. Ferguson is overturned in 1954 by a brief Thurgood Marshall wrote. Maybe we need to talk about Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans or even John Locke’s relatively bloodless Glorious Revolution as we see why some historians think James II to be a coward and not just prudent or politic as he goes again into exile. Perhaps if you realize his daughter Mary and her husband William are much more relieved by that particular outcome as it is allowed to come into being, we can see why Richard becomes linked in our mind’s eye to Harold Godwinson and 1066 as an era ends. This all has been a very unique historic event, even with the somewhat regional squabblings over as to exactly where poor Richard’s tomb ought to be! I learned today Philippa Langley and John Ashdown-Hill have received MBEs for their intuitive insights! Perhaps this says more to us than if she was physically at the Leicester area ceremonies. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/12/queens-birthday-honours-list-knights-outnumber-dames-five-to-one

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  19. * a contrite correction…

    Thomas Wentworth is the 1st Earl of Strafford (1593 – 1641)

    Henry Stafford is the 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1455 – 1483)

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  20. blancsanglier on said:

    I find it interesting that there is a thought that Henry sent Katherine Gordon and ‘Perkin Warbeck’s’ son to south Wales after he had them both under house arrest. Katherine is said not to have seen her son again, but she ended her days in Swansea area, very near the place he is said to have lived.

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  21. blancsanglier on said:

    …….. Also, speaking to a lady from this area quite recently she said that it is very ‘for Richard’ to this day. She runs a local history group and is overwhelmed by support for him against ‘Tudor’ ….

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  22. Julie Stafford on said:

    Fabulous information. Absolutely fabulous. Thank you!

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