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How strong was the monarchy on the death of Edward IV in 1483?

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Introduction

How strong was the monarchy on the death of Edward IV in 1483? By 9th April 1483 Edward IV had strengthened the monarchy substantially. The problems he faced when he began his second reign were twofold, those to do with securing his kingdom, both peace and finances, and those to do with the rewarding of loyal nobles and the punishment of enemies. The Bastard of Fauconberg, the leader of the May landing in Kent and the attempted march to London, with support from Kentishmen, was initially pardoned. However he was eventually executed and an enquiry led by the Bourchiers dealt with the southeastern counties. Edward rewarded Hastings for his allegiance, as he became the Commander of Calais, where Warwick's former supporters having pardoned them and paid the garrison accepted him. Edward attempted to cause little upset in the nobility by issuing few attainders and a large number of pardons, including Lord Stanley and the earl of Oxford. Edward had managed to regain the throne through his greater noble support and the dominance that the noble retinues gave him over the Lancastrians. On the night of Edward's arrival in London to reclaim the throne Henry VI was murdered in the tower, which though usually blamed upon Richard, duke of Gloucester, was ultimately Edward's responsibility. ...read more.

Middle

In 1476 Clarence's wife died at Warwick, he began his search for a new wife almost immediately. His preferred choice was Mary, the daughter of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Edward vetoed the marriage following the death of Charles the Bold at Nancy in 1477. This was necessary as it kept England out of an expensive alliance with Burgundy and avoided endangering the Treaty of Picquigny. This was also Edward enforcing his power for the first time over Clarence's unappeasable aspirations. Clarence could not cope with these restrictions on his ambition and he executed a former attendant, Ankarette Twynyho, and John Thursby, for 'murdering his wife and son respectively. Having been involved in a revolt in Cambridgeshire in 1477, and questioning the processes of the law surrounding the case of two men who plotted to murder Edward, Clarence was imprisoned in the Tower. In January 1478 Edward's patience had finally been expended and Clarence was, according to tradition, drowned in a butt of Malmesey wine, following his conviction for treason. In 1480 Edward once more collected benevolences so as to fund the war with Scotland. Led by Gloucester the Yorkists managed to recapture Berwick-upon-Tweed and Gloucester began to carve out the individual state he planned in the north. Gloucester helped Edward by maintaining the peace in the historically troublesome, north. ...read more.

Conclusion

This removed territorial power from nobility and brought more land into the king (and family's) possession. The king used customs duties, from the flourishing trade, to raise the finances further, as they were granted to him for life by the government. All of the finances were now diverted from the exchequer into the chamber, this allowed for money to be readily available and proved to be a far more efficient way of managing the finances. Edward's two benevolences, in aid of the wars with France and Scotland both helped to bolster funds, as they were eventually not even required. Furthermore the invasion of France brought even more income trough the Treaty of Picquigny. However Edward did have a more lavish court than Henry VI and had a larger number of royal households to expend money upon. The lack of parliamentary taxation in his second reign points to the fact that Edward had created a far safer country, as does the fewer number of parliaments called. Edward's 'new monarchy' left the Crown in a considerably stronger position in 1483 than it had been in 1461. Finance and trade were thriving in the time of relative concord, the nobility were more supportive of the king and due to the respect Edward had gained he controlled the nation and on 9th April 1483 he left a seemingly peaceful and strong monarchy behind him. ...read more.

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