11th May 1509 – Henry VII laid to rest and how he taxed the rich


Tudor fact if the day: 506 years ago today, in 1509, Henry V11 was laid to rest with his wife Elizabeth of York. There is loads that an be said about Henry. He was the first Tudor monarch, rising to power after killing the unholy crap out of Rochard III. He brought peace back to the country (which before had been in a massive shit storm), and was dad to the infamous Henry VIII. Anyway, because of the current political state of the country, I thought it would be interesting to tell you about this move that Henry pulled in order to restore financial balance to a country in debt. Henry had no experience of court life or ruling. He spent most of his life in exile and had little political know how, yet was pure amazing at managing finance. Along side the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Morton, they developed one of the most effective taxation systems to date (in terms of the debt repaid, money banked for the country and length of economic stability). Henry and Morton recovered debt by heavily taxing the wealthy with a catch 22 rule (this is where we get the term ‘Mortons Fork’, for when 2 contradictory scenarios end in the same result). Henry’s tax law went like this: if you are from a wealthy family and do not spend money, then you obviously have a shit load of savings, so will face large taxation to aid the realm. If however you are from a wealthy family and spend lots of money then you are obviously filthy rich and will face large taxation to aid the realm. If you were poor you would pay significantly less tax. This law also helped Henry keep nobles in check and created much needed economic prosperity for the first time in a long time. Obviously not a Tory then eh?!

Tomb effigies of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York Henry’s tomb with his wife Elizabeth of York in Westminster Abbey, (he was so cool he has his own chapel in there)

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