Henry VII (b.1457 r.1485-1509)
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Henry VII (b.1457 r.1485-1509)

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Henry Tudor, by defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, became king at the age of 28. As chief Lancastrian claimant to the throne, Henry ensured the end of the long Wars of the Roses by marrying Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV. Together, they founded the Tudor line of English Kings and Queens. Through his effective development of the Court of Star Chamber, Henry greatly increased the prosperity of the country - fining the Barons heavily for their misdemeanours. He died in 1509.

The king's head is derived from the bronze funeral effigy in nearby Westminster Abbey; the rest is drawn from a wall-painting by Holbein, which survives in a 17th century copy.

He was a prince sad, serious and full of thoughts and secret observations, and full of memorials of his own hand, especially touching persons: as, who to employ, whom to reward, whom to enquire of and the like, keeping as it were a journal of his thoughts.
Francis Bacon, History of Henry VII.

(2) Henry VII (b.1457 r.1485-1509)

Additional Information on
Henry VII (b.1457 r.1485-1509)

Henry Tudor took the English crown more by way of force than by birthright, although he was the leading claimant to the throne. Henry was crowned King after his victory over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. This ended thirty years of bitter fighting for the English crown between the Houses of Lancaster and York - The Wars of the Roses. In order to make sure peace continued, Henry married Elizabeth of York (the eldest daughter of the late Edward IV) soon after his coronation - uniting the two houses.

The early years of Henry's reign were troubled by false Yorkist claims to the throne - the two most famous examples being Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck (who pretended to be one of the sons of Edward IV). However, Henry defeated attempts and survived a long reign relatively peacefully.

Henry was a wise, strong and lawful king who set about breaking the power of the English barons and so he revived the Court of Star Chamber. He was also very financially astute and managed to pursue various policies which brought the Royal Exchequer handsomely into credit. Unfortunately because of his fiscal drive some thought him mean and so he was never much loved by his people who thought he lacked warmth and charm.


He dwelt more nobly dead in his Tomb, than he did alive in Richmond or any of his palaces.
- Francis Bacon, History of Henry VII.

He was magnificent in his building; sparing in his rewards.
- Ibid.

Henry Tudor of his ambitiousness and covetousness encroacheth and that usurped upon him the name and title of royal estate, notwithstanding he is descended of bastard blood, of the father's side and of the mother's. Whereby it evidently appeareth that no title can nor may in him.
- Richard III King of England, on Henry Tudor.

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