The English Parliaments of Henry VII, 1485–1504

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of North Texas]On: 25 November 2014, At: 01:17Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Parliaments, Estates andRepresentationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>The English Parliaments of Henry VII,14851504Sean Cunningham aa UK National Archives , KewPublished online: 16 Dec 2011.</p><p>To cite this article: Sean Cunningham (2011) The English Parliaments of Henry VII, 14851504,Parliaments, Estates and Representation, 31:2, 199-200, DOI: 10.1080/02606755.2011.617977</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>REVIEWS</p><p>P.R. Cavill, The English Parliaments of Henry VII, 14851504 (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2009), Hardback 61, 312 pp., ISBN 978-0-1995-7383-7</p><p>Paul Cavill is at the forefront of scholars engaged in reappraising Henry VIIsluminal position between the historiographical traditions that still dominate theintellectual landscape of scholars of medieval and of early modern England. Hisbook explores a dazzling array of unstudied manuscript and primary sources tocreate an authoritative study of the constitutional role and practical function ofparliament at the end of the fifteenth century. Additionally, the book offerswell-considered insight into the character of the king and the nature of thecountry he ruled.</p><p>This complex analysis requires concentration and effort from the reader, butfew more comprehensive and rewarding modern studies of the impact of the firstTudor king upon the ruling institutions he inherited have yet been produced.Dr Cavill has created as full a survey of known commentaries on Henry VIIsparliaments as we are likely to require. He also supplies more general context forthe role of parliament in England immediately before the Reformation.</p><p>The introduction offers a satisfying summary of parliaments part in the impor-tant historiographical debates revolving around Henry VIIs kingship: from thecharacteristics of the Yorkist and early Tudor experiments in new monarchy, tothe adversarial relationship of crown and parliament in the Whig interpretationof Englands constitutional development. The first of three sections then discusseshow the king used parliament to communicate with the representatives of therealm and to support his struggles to maintain the Tudor regime.</p><p>The second section tackles the practical interaction of parliament with thenormal business of the polity how did the kings subjects contribute to parliamentand what were their expectations of parliaments function. Although survivingsources are limited, Dr Cavill does an excellent job in locating evidence of thepeople who were selected to represent counties and boroughs; how elections wereconducted; and the struggle for influence within early Tudor constituencies.</p><p>In the final part of the book, Parliament under the New Monarchy, theachievements and activities of Henry VIIs parliaments are linked back into theother branches of government. This section also presents a rewarding overview</p><p>Parliaments, Estates &amp; Representation 31, November 2011. Published for the International Commission</p><p>for the History of Representative &amp; Parliamentary Institutions by Routledge/Taylor &amp; Francis. # 2011International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions/Commission</p><p>Internationale pour lHistoire des Assemblees d Etats.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 0</p><p>1:17</p><p> 25 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>of how parliament and parliamentary commentators recorded the institutions owndevelopment. Here, Dr Cavill demonstrates a clear understanding of the intricaciesof parliamentary procedure and history.</p><p>The strengths of the authors discussion stem from an analysis of parliamentsgrowing role as a legislature. In the final section, this is integrated into a broaderdiscussion of the administrative framework inherited by Henry VII as his regimesought stability.Dr Cavill does tackle head-on some of the myths concerningHenry VII and parliament. There is a detailed examination of the truth behindthe kings intention not to summon another parliament after 1504, and a rejectionof the Eltonian view that Henry perhaps abandoned parliament to focus on lessconsensual means of government through the activities of small groups of directlyappointed councillors, that were closely aligned to the kings private wishes.Although their influence undoubtedly grew, Henry VII recognized the authorityinvested in parliament and turned naturally to parliament to amplify and relayroyal authority (p. 245).</p><p>Dr Cavills book stands out as one of the very few modern studies to venturesuccessfully beneath the surface of the narratives of Henry VIIs reign. He providesa meticulous analysis of the intersection of late medieval institutional and personalrule, and creates a thorough portrait of parliament as the realms most importantconstitutional agency.</p><p>Inevitably in a study with such a broad sweep, some sections are disappoint-ingly brief. For example, Chapter 6, The Wider Realm, mixes explanation ofhow the decisions made at Westminster were broadcast nationally with evidenceto show the functioning of that process. An interesting discussion of the language,form, and use of statute books is truncated, and at such points the reader mustfollow the footnoted sources very carefully.</p><p>Much of the success of this study results from the authors clear style and rig-orous organization of structure. The employment of less skill in the presentation ofthe books sophisticated discussion of constitutional ideas and political theory, orthe minutiae of parliamentary and electoral procedure, might have rendered thisbook somewhat indigestible.</p><p>These minor points do not detract from a very fine study of parliamentary prac-tice and parliaments place within the early sixteenth-century polity. Henry VIIsparliaments were the high point of discourse between the king and the nation.On both sides of the discussion there were tensions and challenges. The authorsevidence makes it clear that parliament was neither wholly subservient to, norobstructive of, the kings wishes. Henry VII, too, learned to balance his demandsupon the nation through parliament. He emerges from Dr Cavills analysis as aking very much involved in the functions of parliament, who recognized andvalued its constitutional place as the provider of a stable platform for his rulingambitions.</p><p>SEAN CUNNINGHAMUK National Archives, Kew</p><p>200 Reviews</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 0</p><p>1:17</p><p> 25 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Keith M. Brown and Alan MacDonald (eds), The History of the Scottish Parliament,Vol. 3, Parliament in Context 12351707 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,2010), Hardback 70, 304 pp., ISBN 978-0-7486-1486-8</p><p>The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland is a momentous electronic publicationwhich makes the proceedings of the unicameral Scottish Estates from the thir-teenth century to 1707 available to researchers, scholars and the general publicon the Web. Tremendous credit for the organizing, implementing and final deliv-ery of this project must go to the general editor, Professor Keith Brown. Thisvolume of edited essays, the last in a series of three, supplements rather than comp-lements the electronic publication of the Records. That they can be deemed as nomore than supplementary is in part because an eclectic collection can never hopefor comprehensive coverage. However, the primary reason is the introspection andinsularity of Professor Browns historical perspective which, as associate editor forall three, he has stamped over the complete set. This is an essentially static view ofhistory which prioritizes power plays, pragmatism and the peerage over the inter-action of policy and process and of principles and party. History in Scotland is see-mingly unchanging from the High Middle Ages until the dissolution of the ScottishEstates through the Treaty of Union in 1707: all that matters are the relations of theCrown and the nobility, not periodic changes brought about by confessionalism orstate formation and latterly by the emergence of political economy.</p><p>In this volume, Browns essay on The Second Estate: Parliament and the Nobi-lity encapsulates the problematic of this pervasive approach. The first problem isthat of definition. Certainly it can be convincingly claimed that Scotland had abroad definition of nobility to include peerage and gentry which was in keepingwith European tradition. But Scotland increasingly moved in line with theEnglish separation of nobility and gentry from the later sixteenth century. JamesVI effectively created temporal lordships from 1587 (not 1606) at the same timeas the lairds (later gentry) were being encouraged to come to parliament as commis-sioners for the shires. Charles I markedly accelerated the process of differentiationthrough his Revocation Scheme. The Lord Lyon, Sir James Balfour of Denmylne(the adjudicator of honours) was using essentially English definitions for nobilityfrom 1627. At one moment (p. 68) Brown aligns the Scottish nobility with the Euro-pean in having their world broken up by the forces unleashed by global exploration,industrialization, urbanization and the Enlightenment. At another, he points outmore accurately (p. 94) that eighteenth-century Britain was to be dominated bythe nobility and in Scotland that dominance was more extreme than elsewhere.In reality, the gentry operated as a distinctive estate not from its formal recognitionin 1640 but from the outset of the Covenanting Movement in 1638, which, in turn,brings us on to further problems of interpretation.</p><p>Brown makes the summative claim (p. 93) that it was only in 164849 that thepeerage was in danger of being politically eclipsed through the alliance of the othertwo Estates (the gentry or shire commissioners and the burgesses). However, thisdanger had been evident since 1646 with the ending of civil war in Scotland and thetransfer of Charles I from the custody of the Scottish Covenanters to the EnglishParliamentarians. The Engagement of conservative Covenanters with Charles I</p><p>Reviews 201</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 0</p><p>1:17</p><p> 25 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>in 1648 was an attempt to reassert aristocratic control whose failure led to a notablyradical regime in 1649. Although neither radical nor conservative Covenanters inalliance with Royalists could hold off the occupation of Scotland by Oliver Crom-well, the English forces negotiated political incorporation in 1652 with the Scots asjunior partners. It was not the peers but the other two Estates who participated inthe negotiations. The Restoration of 1660 can thus be interpreted as the restorationof peerage as well as monarchy. But again this position of apparent dominancecame under extra-parliamentary threat from the later Covenanting Movement,which episodically mobilized forces of up to 14,000 to assert their rights of resist-ance without any notable backing from the peerage. Alternative readings of theRevolution and of 168891 and of the Treaty of Union of 170607 see themless as the triumph of the nobility as the conserving of their position. Undoubtedly,the shire commissioners were tied to the nobility through ties of kinship, localassociation and clientage. But these facets are not the only determinants of politicalallegiance. The gentry, more so than the nobility and no less than the burgesses,were distinctive participants in the expansion of landownership, in the commercia-lization of estate management, in developing manufactures and private banking, incolonial entrepreneurship and in integrating cities and towns with their rural hin-terlands. As well as their leadership of religious dissent, they maintained their tra-ditional role as foremost military adventurers on the global stage. Ennoblement wasan incidental outcome, not necessarily a pre-eminent aspiration by the later seven-teenth century.</p><p>Browns static views on power plays, pragmatism and the peerage are readilyendorsed in the two chapters in which Roland Tanner was joint author; the firston Balancing Acts: The Crown and Parliament and the second on The FirstEstate: Parliament and the Church. However, in the first Gillian MacIntosh and,to a greater extent in the second, Kirsty McAlister inject a more coherent periodicanalysis which takes account respectively of how state formation and confessionalcommitment impacted on the Scottish Estates. Two minor quibbles arise respect-ively from their analysis. The opposition in 1704 promoted the Act anent Peaceand War as well as the Act of Security to limit the powers of the Crown. The WineAct was promoted by the Scottish ministry to attempt to head off such limitations.In the list of years in which the parliament passed acts confirming the denomina-tional establishment of the Kirk of Scotland, the Treaty of Union does not immedi-ately feature as the final confirmation of Presbyterianism. The three articles whichlook beyond Scotland and engage with continental and Scandinavian comparatorsare the most commendable. Although more could have been made of the commer-cial linkages between gentry and burgesses (as outlined above), Alan MacDonaldprovides an informative and engaging account of The Third...</p></li></ul>