Two areas of England had their own provincial councils – Wales and the North. These provincial councils had existed before the reign of Henry VII and Henry decided to continue with them after he became king after his victory at Bosworth.
In general, these councils had a positive relationship with Henry. Any member of the central government sent to either Wales or the North was usually well received. Henry realised that the sheer distance from London made both regions difficult to govern in his normal ‘hands on’ approach – hence his continuation of the Yorkist policy of delegation.
Both provincial councils had a clearly defined function, which originated before 1485. Yet they were both closely linked to the Royal Council as they enjoyed similar administrative and judicial power. They both had the authority to swiftly enforce the law and both were subordinate to Henry.
However, Henry had the problem of ensuring that both councils did not become too powerful so that they undermined his position. He therefore ordered the Royal Council to monitor all that both regional councils did. By doing this Henry ensured that he extended royal authority based in London to the provinces. By placing his own men in both regions (the Earl of Surrey and the Duke of Bedford) Henry did all that he possibly could to maintain a personal form of government in every area of his realm.
- Many in England believed that the succession of Henry VIII would usher in a less austere era than the one Henry VII had ruled…