‘Henry VII was successful in dealing with the challenges to his royal authority in the years 1487-1499’. Explain why you agree or disagree with this view.
Henry VII, (also known as Henry Tudor) was the King of England who founded the new Tudor Dynasty. Due to his illegitimate claim to the throne through his mother, Henry VII was often insecure and cautious about the challenges to the crown, and as a usurper himself, he was fully aware of the dangers that faced him throughout his reign. Challenges and rebellions at the start of a new dynasty were inevitable, a few notable threats were namely Lambert Simnel in 1487, Yorkshire Rebellion in 1489, Perkin Warbeck from 1491 to 1497 and Cornish Rebellion in 1497 that arose from dynastic and financial dispute. These date parameters range from Simnel through to execution of Warbeck. It has been argued that the severity of the challenges was not high enough to lead to the loss of the throne due to his cautiousness, the viability of other claimants and his success in truce with powerful countries such as France, Spain and Brittany. Generally, Henry VII was quite successful in dealing with the challenges to his royal authority in the years 1487-1499 but he didn’t achieve full success regardless of his victories since the pretenders and rebellions was the main threat to his power due to his weak claim.
In terms of the Yorkist pretenders, the Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck rebellions were seen as the main threats to Henry VII in the years 1487-1499. Henry VII took on a more defensive approach throughout his reign, valuing peace over war. This was seen as both an advantage and disadvantage since it made Henry VII more cautious of the danger he was facing but it also raised Henry VII’s insecurities immensely. After the failure in the Lovell Rebellion in 1486, the Yorkists realised that a figurehead was crucial. In the absence of an available Yorkist descendant, Lambert Simnel was summoned to impersonate the Earl of Warwick, in hopes of overthrowing the throne. As a whole, in the Lambert Simnel imposture, Henry VII was in a better position since Henry VII could rely on the retinues of his core supporters in the Battle of Stoke and had a tight control of nobility, furthermore Lambert Simnel was simply seen as a political pawn, whom simply served the narrow interests of the Yorkists out of step with the prevailing political mood of reconciliation. This rebellion also enabled Henry VII to see who he could trust and gave him an opportunity to handle potential oppositions. In addition, Henry VII realized the importance of good finance management, which lead to his extending of the use of bonds and recognizances. This victory shaped the character of the early Tudor Dynasty and put Henry VII in a more secure position.
Although on the surface, Henry VII was successful in dealing with the rebellion, this Lambert Simnel imposture was seen as a major threat. It involved foreign powers, such as German mercenaries wh...