How Far Do You Agree That the Yorkists Remained a Serious Threat to Henry VII
Post on 11-Jan-2016
DESCRIPTIONA study of Henry VII's security on the throne
How far do you agree that the Yorkists remained a serious threat to Henry VIIs throne throughout his reign?Henry VIIs reign marked the end of one of the bloodiest civil wars in English history, and did not become king without making a few enemies. Chief among these enemies were the remnants of the Yorkist supporters, now culled in battle or stripped of any power by the new king. Despite the apparent lack of power, these last remaining few were still a serious threat to Henry VIIs throne throughout his reign. These threats came in many forms; the support of another, less powerful threat; a last ditch attempt to unseat a new monarch; a half hearted flee from a king trying to destroy any other claimants to his throne.Early in Henry VIIs reign, Richard IIIs loyal supporters, Lord Lovel, and two other followers of Richard, Thomas and Humphrey Stafford, posed a minor threat to Henrys throne. Any new king who comes to the throne in a time of war, though, can expect some rebellion from the old kings allies, so this encounter was no major issue for Henry, especially given how easily the trouble was put down; Henry, confident of his power, continued his northward path, showing how little he thought of Lovels rebellion. He was right to do so, as only a small armed guard was needed to disperse the laity raised by the Yorkists nobles. Clearly the Yorkists were not strong enough to pose a serious threat to Henrys throne, and would need some form of external support in order to take back Richards crown.This external support came in the form of the pretender, Lambert Simnel. While Lovel had fled, and the Staffords were executed, there were still surviving Yorkists who could pose a serious threat to Henrys throne and the Simnel plot capitalised on this fact. The young Earl of Warwick was still alive, though he hadnt been seen for months, and while he still survived, the Yorkists could use him (or his character) as a hero to rally around. This was a serious threat to Henrys throne if he allowed it to continue, and unfortunately he had to, because not even a king can justify killing children. Simnels rising was, in some ways, a positive for Henry putting down the leaders of the rebellion (since Simnel was no more than a Yorkist poster child) allowed Henry to squash rumours of Warwick for the moment and to remove the other Yorkist threat: Lincoln. While the Simnel plot and the subsequent Battle of Stoke were serious threats for a king trying to avoid a regression into civil war, and the 8,000 Irish and German soldiers caused the English some trouble, Henrys army was able to essentially wipe out two thirds of the Yorkist threat to his throne.The final third of the Yorkist threat was no big deal realistically the fleeing de la Poles posed no serious threat to Henrys throne, and yet Henry treated them as such. With no particular support, and being in Europe, the remaining Yorkists were isolated and powerless, and were not a serious threat to Henry, but because one of his sons was dead and his other son was a frail ten year old, and so he pursued the final Yorkists with a vengeance. Thankfully, he did not need to do so for long, as a chance storm forced Phillip of Burgundy to hand over the Earl of Suffolk: on the proviso that Suffolk would not be harmed. Since de la Pole was allowed to live for Henrys entire reign, it could be argued that the threat remained throughout Henrys entire reign, but de la Pole was not well supported or particularly cunning, and so his stay (no matter how long) in the tower, was not a serious threat to Henry VIIs throne. Throughout his reign, Henry VII faced many threats to his throne, but the amount of these that were of Yorkist origin were surprisingly few, and those that were, were not overly serious. Henry was able to deal with these issues easily, and so even serious threats were not likely to remove him from his throne. Clearly then, the truth of the Yorkist resistance was that it had lost the strength of the past - a few dying fragments of Richard IIIs regime could never pose a serious threat at any point of Henry VIIs reign.
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