King Henry VII of England

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This profile of Henry VII is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History


Henry VII was also known as:

Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond

Henry VII was noted for:

Being the first Tudor King of England, establishing the Tudor Dynasty. His victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field overthrew Richard III and effectively put an end to the Wars of the Roses. Henry is also known for his extreme frugality and his ability as an administrator.

He was responsible for the beginning of the Star Chamber, a closed court that answered to no one but the king.


Military Leader

Places of Residence and Influence:


Important Dates:

Born:Jan. 28, 1457
Victorious at Bosworth Field:Aug. 22, 1485
Crowned:Oct. 30, 1485
Died:Apr. 21, 1509

About Henry VII:

Henry's father Owen Tudor died two months before he was born. His mother, Margaret Beaufort, was only 14 when she gave birth to him, and she remarried soon after; so Henry was raised by his uncle, Jasper Tudor. As a Lancastrian, Henry's life was in peril while the Yorkist king Edward IV was in power, and he was moved frequently until he settled in Brittany. His claim to the throne was slim; only the elimination of so many Lancastrian heirs through the Wars of the Roses gave Henry a chance at becoming king.

When Edward's brother Richard III took the throne and faced strong opposition from a Yorkist faction, Henry was able to negotiate alliances with this opposition, and, together with his own Lancastrian forces and French mercenaries, he invaded England.

His defeat of Richard at Bosworth Field gave him the crown.

Henry cemented his authority through parliamentary recognition of his title and by marrying the daughter of Edward IV, Elizabeth of York. Together they would have seven children, four of whom lived past childhood, including the future Henry VIII.

As king, Henry faced numerous Yorkist plots and eliminated most of these threats to his crown. He was cautious to the point of paranoia and worked hard to preserve and build on his financial fortune, gaining a reputation as a miser. For the most part, he maintained a policy of international peace (which was cheaper than war). Henry succeeded in increasing the power of the monarchy and reducing that of the great magnates, largely through financial means as well as judicial measures. Upon his death he left a modest but sound treasury, a fairly prosperous kingdom and a secure throne.

More Henry VII Resources:

The Tudor Dynasty: A History in Portraits
Encyclopedia Article about Henry VII
Henry VII in Print
Henry VII on the Web
The Star Chamber

Medieval & Renaissance Monarchs of England
Medieval Britain
Medieval France

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