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Economy, Society and Religion under Henry VII Cheat Sheet by




The population of England was 2.2 million and most people made money from farming
Henry VII did not have an active economic policy for the country (only for the crown)
Most money is made from pastoral farming
Change: during Henry VII's reign 90% of exports were of cloth and cloth exports increased by 60% during his reign
Change: Weaving, fulling and dyeing all developed which created more rural employment


The Merchant Advent­urers transp­orted a lot of cloth from London
During Henry VII's reign a commercial axis with Antwerp was developed which was Europe's main money market and the goods were then transp­orted across Europe
The Hanseatic League dominated trade in Northern Europe and the Merchant Advent­urers were not able to overcome their trading privileges

Interc­ursus Magnus:

This said that English merchants could export to any part of the Duke of Burgundy's lands apart from Flanders
It also said that merchants would be granted swift and fair justice
It also said that effective arrang­ements would be put in place for the resolution of disputes
Philip of Burgundy confirmed it in 1499




Growth of the bourge­oisie
Increased social mobility due to economic pressures especially since the Black Death


They were often great landowners
Curates and chantry priests were rewarded well for dealing with the spiritual needs of the people
Bishops and Abbots could sit in the House of Lords
Change: the higher clergy were becoming less socially exclusive
Martin V declared that the King governed the Church in England and so Henry appointed bishops with legal training

Feudal System:

Society was not as firmly hierar­chical as France or Spain but the great landowners and senior churchmen were still just below the king
King: Church
King: Nobility
Citizens (including the bourge­oisie)



Roles of the Catholic Church:

Way of mainta­ining social control
Catered for the spiritual needs of the people
Played an important political role in domestic and intern­ational affairs
Provided opport­unities for employment and social advanc­ement (senior churchmen had great political power)

The Catholic Church:

All English people belonged to the Catholic Church and were under the spiritual leadership of the Pope although Martin V declared that Henry VII was head of the church in England.

Religious community, belief and services:

Religion was an important part of daily life and central to the community.
The year was based around religious festivals and baptism, marriage and death
The threat of hell and purgatory greatly influenced people and you could acquire grace by observing the seven sacraments and going on pilgri­mage.

The Church's social role:

The Church brought people together and Laymen would create a confra­ternity in order to provide for Masses or funeral costs of members, help maintain the church, to donate to charity and to socialise. As a parish, they would take part in the practice of 'beating the bounds' on Rogation Sunday to try and protect the parish.
People would donate to rebuild churches and leave money to the parish church in their wills as well as leaving money for the foundation of chantries
Change: individual religious experience became even more important in the 15th century with the writing of mystics

Religious orders:

Monastic orders:
1% of adult males were monks
Domini­cans, Franci­scans and August­inians
Often enjoyed less prestige than monast­eries
There were 900 monast­eries
Worked among lay people
Often relatively poor
Some operated cathedrals
Declining in importance by the late 15th century

The Lollards:

Followed the teachings of John Wycliffe
Thought it was important to understand the Bible and wanted it to be translated into English
Sceptical about transu­bst­ant­iation
Viewed the Catholic Church as corrupt
By the late 15th century, Lollardy was in decline


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