Henry VII, king of England


Henry VII, king of England
(Reigned 1485-1509)
   First king of the Tudor dynasty. His military victory over King Richard III brought an end to the 30 years of sporadic civil war known as the Wars of the Roses. Henry was a shrewd and calculating politician, skilled at exploiting the traditional powers of the monarch in order to guard against anti-Tudor conspiracies and to keep the higher aristocracy under far closer control than any of his 15th-century predecessors had been able to do. He was also frugal in spending money and notoriously ruthless in exploiting the financial rights of the crown. Hence he placed his new dynasty on a sound financial basis that was one of the principal reasons for its survival.
   Henry's reputation for stinginess was reflected in the modest scale on which he acted as patron to the new Renaissance culture. He employed one Italian humanist of considerable talent, Polydore Vergil, as historiographer and patronized a handful of other humanists, most of them Italian. One or two buildings were built under Italian inspiration, though none of these survives. His most significant surviving architectural monument is the beautiful royal chapel he built at Westminster Abbey, but it was constructed in the traditional English Gothic style. Henry also extended patronage to a limited number of English scholars, including the vernacular poet John Skelton and the Italian-educated humanist and physician Thomas Linacre, who became physician to the king and also tutor to Henry's eldest son Arthur, Prince of Wales.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

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