Item 4 - Letters Patent: Henry VII

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GB 1859 SJLM/4/4/4


Letters Patent: Henry VII


  • 1487 (Creation)

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1 item, parchment

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Biographical history

Henry VII, born Henry Tudor, was King of England from August 1485 to April 1509. He was the only son of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, born at Pembroke Castle in Wales in 1457.

Henry never met his father, who died several months prior to Henry’s birth. Henry and his newly-widowed mother, thirteen years old at the time, were therefore initially protected by Henry’s uncle, Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke. In 1561, guardianship of Lady Margaret and Henry passed to William Herbert, who assumed the Earldom of Pembroke after Jasper’s exile abroad. Henry lived in the Herbert household until Herbert’s death in 1469.

When Edward IV of England regained control of the crown in 1471, Henry was one of a number of Lancastrians who fled to Brittany. Henry’s main claim to the English crown and challenge to the Yorkist king was through Lady Margaret, who was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. During most of the next fourteen years, Henry was protected by Francis II, Duke of Brittany. By 1483, he held the strongest claim to sovereignty on the Lancastrian side.

In August 1485, Henry finally defeated the incumbent Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in order to become King of England. His coronation was held in Westminster Abbey on 30 October 1485. When Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, in early 1486, he not only reinforced his existing claim to the English throne, but also brought an end to the long-standing conflict known as the Wars of the Roses, fought between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet.

Henry’s reign of almost twenty-four years was characterised by relative stability and fiscal prudence. He was father to four children by Elizabeth: Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary. In April 1509, Henry died of tuberculosis at Richmond Palace. He is buried alongside his wife, Elizabeth, in a specially-commissioned chapel at Westminster Abbey.

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Letters patent of Henry VII, granting manors in Devon, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Westmoreland, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Northamptonshire, Dorset, South Wales and property in London to his mother Margaret, Countess of Richmond.
Westminster, 22 March 1486/7

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  • Latin

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broken great seal

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Publication note

Cal. Patent Rolls, 1485-1494, p. 154

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