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Word Count: 440
Henry VII and Retaining Retaining involved magnates taking men into their service generally involving the payment of fees and sometimes the granting of a distinctive badge or uniform livery This practice served the king in that it allowed him to recruit armies more easily by making contracts with leading magnates who then provided their retinues for service with the kings army for a specified time However it did allow magnates to retain what were in effect private armies and at this could be very detrimental to public order Thus kings grew increasingly concerned to control the practice The major statute of the fifteenth century which tried to limit it was Edward IVs statute of 1468 This outlawed some forms of retaining but implicitly allowed others by stating vaguely that no unlawful retaining was allowed In practice retaining continued after Bosworth Henry VIIs Attempts to Control Retaining In 1486 Henry persuaded both Houses of Parliament to take an oath promising that they would not retain unlawfully In all Henrys parliaments passed four acts relating to retaining but three of these did little to change the position that had existed since 1468 According to Chrimes Henry wished to maintain the practice of retaining but only so that he himself got the benefit of it for his own purposes Chrimes also noted that he sought to repress it insofar as its practice by his subjects redounded to the public disadvantage and the corruption of public order Thus Henry never intended totally to end the practice of retaining but he did intend to control it The most significant of Henrys acts relating to retaining was 19 Henry VII c14 1504 which stated that retaining other than of household servants was illegal According to Cameron this act represented the first occasion upon which the right of a nobleman to retain was called into question The act did however allow Henry to grant licences to
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