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Henry's Financial Policy Did Henry Use Finance To His Advantage Notes

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History Revision Notes Unit 1 A7. HENRY'S FINANCIAL POLICY. How did Henry use finance to his advantage?



As land was the most important source of regular revenue for the King, Henry ensured that his was as extensive as possible. He inherited all of the lands which had belonged to the houses of York and Lancaster, due to the fact that he came to the throne at the end of the Wars of the Roses. This included the Earldoms of Richmond, March and Warwick, the Duchy of Lancaster, and the Principality of Wales. He further increased the extent of the Crown lands by passing the Act of Resumption in 1486 (a second followed in 1487). This meant that all of the lands, offices and revenues given away by the King from 1455 onwards were to be returned. Henry also gained land through Acts of Attainder (good as P supported) placed upon Richard III and his supporters at Bosworth: 138 attainders were passed during his reign (46 were partially reversed), and escheats - where men died without heirs and their land passed directly to the Crown. In addition to increasing his amount of land, Henry adopted methods developed by Edward IV and Richard III to manage land more successfully. In particular, he capitalised on the Duchy of Lancaster's sophisticated method of estate management, centred around its Chancellor. Under Sir Reginald Bray, the Duchy went from bringing in £650 to around £6,500 by 1509. Henry also transferred the control of his land from the Exchequer to surveyors, receivers and auditors (who specialised in maximising income). They, along with the King, rigorously checked the accounts to ensure ultimate efficiency and maximum profit.

Henry made an astute decision when he chose the date of 1455 for his Acts of Resumption. This was during the reign of Henry VI, who had given away great amounts of land through patronage. However, most of these gains were mitigated as he had to restore lands to his mother, as well as the Earl of Oxford and others whose attainders by Edward and Richard had been annulled. Henry retained more land than previous kings could have due to his lack of male blood relatives; Jasper Tudor's land in Ireland and Wales was returned on his death in 1495, and Crown lands were also increased after the deaths of Prince Arthur in 1502, Elizabeth in 1503, and her grandmother, the Duchess of York. Another factor which was successful in increasing the wealth brought in by Crown lands was Henry's use of attainders, as notable men such as Sir William Stanley and the Earl of Suffolk had to forfeit their land to the Crown. Overall, Henry's policies for Crown lands were fairly successful. On his death, they were more extensive than they had ever been, and his efficient management and thrifty nature meant that annual income from Crown lands had increased from £29,000 at the death of Richard III to £42,000 in 1509. Henry's new methods centralised gov't and control, increasing his security.

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