Battles and Sieges

Preparations for expected Tudor Invasion. Royal Proclamation, December 1484.

On 7 December 1484, a Royal Proclamation was made regarding the expected invasion by Henry Tudor. Reissued in June 1485 it outlined the concerns that the crown had about Henry and warned citizens to resist his invasion and to array when commanded.

By December of 1484, the expectation was that Henry Tudor would mount an invasion of England and Wales. The evidence was unequivocal. Tudor had attempted to land once already, before realising that the rebellions in the South had failed. The build-up of a large group of disaffected nobles in exile was another sign that plans were being made. Intelligence reports too would have reached the ear of Richard III and his council, making the prospect of invasion seem to be inevitable.

And so the King began planning for the event of an invasion. He appointed Captains to take charge of different coastal areas and have systems in place for a quick array against enemy forces. Viscount Lovell took a key command role along England’s South Coast. Richard charged the Earl of Pembroke and Rhys ap Thomas with securing their territories in the South of Wales.

Royal Proclamation against Henry Tudor

“Rebels and traitors disabled and attainted by authority of the high Court of parliament” also being accused of being “open murderers, adulterers, and extortioners contrary to truth, honour and nature” in addition to abusing “and blind the commons of this said realm of the said rebels and traitors have chosen to be their Captain one Henry late calling himself Earl of Richmond which of his ambitious and insatiable covetousness stirred and excited by the confederacy of the King’s said rebels and traitors encroacheth upon him the name and title of the Royal estate of this Realm of England. Whereunto he hath no manner, interest, righ or colour as every man well knoweth. And to the intent to achieve the same by the aid, support and assistance of the king’s said ancient enemies and of this his Council of France to give up and release in perpetuity all the title and claim that Kings of England have had and ought to have to the Crown and Realm of France.”

The issuing of Royal Proclamations relating to the likelihood of invasion is effectively giving the population advanced warning of what is about to happen. The men who would be expected to answer the call to array could begin to plan for the management of their lands or trades in the event of their absence, or death, on the campaign. Such a proclamation gave time to prepare enfeoffments, pay debts, collect debts, make provisions for their families, whilst providing the gentry and nobility time to prepare for war.

A copy of the proclamation can be viewed here.


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