Henry VII’s Letter to Carlisle in 1498

His Concerns about Retaining in a Border Fortress

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Abstract

Henry VII’s reign has been the subject of increased study in recent years, in particular his relationship with the nobility and his determination to ensure the loyalty of his subjects. Henry VII was adept at utilising the numerous methods at his disposal in order to keep his crown. This article makes a contribution to this broader understanding of Henry VII’s reign by focusing on one document, a letter to the city of Carlisle dated 15 February 1498, which ordered that the statutes relating to retaining and the distribution of liveries should be upheld. While the letter has been noted by previous historians, it has not been the subject of a detailed examination. This article explains the significance of the document for understanding the reign of Henry VII, his attitude towards retaining and the relationship between royal and urban governments in the late fifteenth century. This particular letter includes two novel features not found in other letters to towns about retaining. First, there is an explicit reference to the possibility of a Scottish invasion. Second, the city’s government were all required to swear oaths of fealty to Henry VII. Although, the letter confirms the general picture that Henry VII was keen to remind his subjects of their duties and obligations to the crown and that he built on and adapted Yorkist innovations, it highlights his specific concern in early 1498, in the aftermath of the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy that James IV of Scotland may still invade.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNorthern History
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Keywords: Henry VII
  • Carlisle
  • urban government
  • James IV
  • Perkin Warbeck
  • bastard feudalism

Cite this

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title = "Henry VII’s Letter to Carlisle in 1498: His Concerns about Retaining in a Border Fortress",
abstract = "Henry VII’s reign has been the subject of increased study in recent years, in particular his relationship with the nobility and his determination to ensure the loyalty of his subjects. Henry VII was adept at utilising the numerous methods at his disposal in order to keep his crown. This article makes a contribution to this broader understanding of Henry VII’s reign by focusing on one document, a letter to the city of Carlisle dated 15 February 1498, which ordered that the statutes relating to retaining and the distribution of liveries should be upheld. While the letter has been noted by previous historians, it has not been the subject of a detailed examination. This article explains the significance of the document for understanding the reign of Henry VII, his attitude towards retaining and the relationship between royal and urban governments in the late fifteenth century. This particular letter includes two novel features not found in other letters to towns about retaining. First, there is an explicit reference to the possibility of a Scottish invasion. Second, the city’s government were all required to swear oaths of fealty to Henry VII. Although, the letter confirms the general picture that Henry VII was keen to remind his subjects of their duties and obligations to the crown and that he built on and adapted Yorkist innovations, it highlights his specific concern in early 1498, in the aftermath of the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy that James IV of Scotland may still invade.",
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Henry VII’s Letter to Carlisle in 1498 : His Concerns about Retaining in a Border Fortress. / Mckelvie, Gordon.

In: Northern History, 13.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - Henry VII’s reign has been the subject of increased study in recent years, in particular his relationship with the nobility and his determination to ensure the loyalty of his subjects. Henry VII was adept at utilising the numerous methods at his disposal in order to keep his crown. This article makes a contribution to this broader understanding of Henry VII’s reign by focusing on one document, a letter to the city of Carlisle dated 15 February 1498, which ordered that the statutes relating to retaining and the distribution of liveries should be upheld. While the letter has been noted by previous historians, it has not been the subject of a detailed examination. This article explains the significance of the document for understanding the reign of Henry VII, his attitude towards retaining and the relationship between royal and urban governments in the late fifteenth century. This particular letter includes two novel features not found in other letters to towns about retaining. First, there is an explicit reference to the possibility of a Scottish invasion. Second, the city’s government were all required to swear oaths of fealty to Henry VII. Although, the letter confirms the general picture that Henry VII was keen to remind his subjects of their duties and obligations to the crown and that he built on and adapted Yorkist innovations, it highlights his specific concern in early 1498, in the aftermath of the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy that James IV of Scotland may still invade.

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