c.1345-1565:  The Henxmen Era
Reigns & Key Dates from the times of the Henxmen

This page provides an overview of the names of the English monarchs, and key dates from their reigns, when Henxman were employed within the Royal Household.

Documentary evidence proves that the post of Henxman existed at court during every intervening reign from circa 1345 to about 01 December 1565 AD (the year of an unusually harsh winter).

The Henxmen therefore existed for a total of about 220 years, through the reigns of 12 established monarchs of the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties (as well as several pretenders to the throne).


The Henxmen were a Plantagenet innovation.  Their era commenced in the reign of Edward III (illustrated here), of the Plantagenet family.  This was early in the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453), shortly before the Battle of Crécy in 1346 - at which the Henxmen may have been present.

As a symbol of royal power, the Henxmen continued to be employed – by both sides – throughout the turbulent Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) which followed, between the rival York and Lancaster branches of the Plantagenet family.  The Battle of Bosworth in 1485, also probably attended by Henxmen, saw the death of King Richard III (himself formerly a Henxman), and the final end of Plantagenet rule.

Overall, the Henxmen were employed in the Royal Households of 7 consecutive Plantagenet kings, not counting Edward V (one of the Princes in the Tower), who did not survive to actively rule.  This period of 140 years constitutes the majority of the Late Middle Ages (1300-1500).

Illustration 1:  King Edward III.  1590s-1620.  He created the post of Henxman, which served England's royalty for the next 220 years.  For picture details, see footnotes.

The reigns of those Plantagenet monarchs under whom the Henxmen served, were as follows:
  • Edward III
    • Reigned:  25 Jan 1327 - 21 Jun 1377
    • 1337:  Start of the Hundred Years' War
    • Circa 1345:  Post of Henxman created
    • Circa 1347:  First known records of the Henxmen
  • Richard II
    • Reigned:  21 Jun 1377 - 29 Sep 1399
  • Henry IV
    • Reigned:  30 Sep 1399 - 20 Mar 1413
  • Henry V
    • Reigned:  20 Mar 1413 - 31 Aug 1422
  • Henry VI (House of Lancaster)
    • Reigned:  31 Aug 1422 - 04 Mar 1461  (First reign of Henry VI)
    • 1453:  End of the Hundred Years' War
    • 1455:  Start of the Wars of the Roses
  • Edward IV (House of York)
    • Reigned:  04 Mar 1461 - 02 Oct 1470  (First reign of Edward I)
  • Henry VI (House of Lancaster)
    • Reigned:  03 Oct 1470 - 11 Apr 1471  (Second reign of Henry V)
  • Edward IV (House of York)
    • Reigned:  11 Apr 1471 - 09 Apr 1483  (Second reign of Edward I)
  • Edward V (House of York)
    • Reigned:  09 Apr 1483 - 25 Jun 1483  (Never ruled; died in the Tower of London)
  • Richard III (House of York)
    • Reigned:  26 Jun 1483- 22 Aug 1485  (Killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field)
    • 1485:  End of the Wars of the Roses

Tudor Dynasty

The Battle of Bosworth Field, on 22 Aug 1485, is generally accepted as marking the end of the Middle Ages (Mediaeval period) in England, and the beginning of the Renaissance period.  This battle also ended the long rule of the Plantagenet dynasty, and resulted in the ascension of the new Tudor dynasty to the throne of England. 

The position of Henxman survived these great changes because the Tudors - like their predecessors - embraced the use of the Henxmen's post.  Like the Plantagenet Kings, they saw advantages in using the continuity of the Henxmen to help confirm their newly royal status, and in the presence of the Henxmen within royal processions to enhance their personal safety.

Henxmen continued to be included in the Royal Household under the rule of all 5 consecutive Tudor monarchs (not counting Lady Jane GRAY, who did not survive to actively rule: she was
imprisoned and later beheaded at the Tower of London).

The Henxmen continued into the first 7 years of the reign of Elizabeth I (illustrated here), but were finally abolished on about 01 Dec 1565 – probably as a result of one of Elizabeth’s many cost-cutting reviews of expenditure.

Overall, the Tudor portion of the Henxman period covered the first 80 years of the English Renaissance.  This period saw much religious upheaval, including much of the English Protestant Reformation, such as the gradual separation of the Church of England from Rome (1529-1537), and the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535-1540).

Illustration 2:  Queen Elizabeth I.  Circa 1575. 
She ended the post of Henxman - and in doing so, enabled the founding of related surnames such as HINXMAN.  For picture details, see footnotes.

Here are the reigns of the Tudor monarchs under whom the Henxmen served:
  • Henry VII
    • Reigned:  22 Aug 1485 - 21 Apr 1509  (Victor of the Battle of Bosworth Field)
  • Henry VIII
    • Reigned:  21 Apr 1509 - 28 Jan 1547
    • 1520:  Henxmen pictured at the Field of the Cloth of Gold
    • 1529-37:  Separation of the Church of England
    • 1535-40:  Dissolution of the Monasteries
  • Edward VI
    • Reigned:  28 Jan 1547 - 06 Jul 1553
    • 1547:  Henxmen pictured in the Riding from the Tower
    • 1549:  Grant of arms to Edward Henxman
  • Jane GRAY
    • Reigned:  10 Jul 1553 - 19 Jul 1553  (Never ruled; beheaded at the Tower of London)
  • Mary I
    • Reigned:  19 Jul 1553 - 17 Nov 1558
  • Elizabeth I
    • Reigned:  17 Nov 1558 - 30 Nov 1603
    • 1565:  Post of Henxman abolished
    • Circa 1565-70:  Founding of the HINXMAN family

The approximately 220 years of the Henxmen’s existence covered a turbulent and formative period, representing about 11% of England's documented history.

Throughout this era, the Henxmen remained close to the Kings and Queens of England.  They knew many key historic figures, witnessed many significant historic events, participated in many great state occasions, and added their own small contribution to the history of England.

Today, more than 450 years after the abolition of the Henxmen, their title is still proudly remembered in the surnames of their descendant families, such as HINXMAN.

This page draws on content from a range of original sources, which for the sake of simplicity are not listed here.  However, all of them are in the process of being published in detail on a companion website, Henxmen Sources.

Webpage version 2021.1.  First version 2016.
Webpage copyright © Richard HINXMAN, 2016.


1.  King Edward III

Original:  Unknown artist.  Oil on panel.  1590s-1620.  King Edward III.  23 in. x 17 5/8 in. (584 mm x 448 mm) uneven. 
© National Portrait Gallery.  London, England.  Purchased 1974.  Primary Collection.  NPG 4980(7).
Source:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AKing_Edward_III.jpg.  Licence:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0.

2.  Queen Elizabeth I
Original:  Unknown artist.  Oil on panel.  Circa 1575.  Queen Elizabeth I.  44½" x 31" (1130 x 787mm).  Purchased 1925.  © National Portrait Gallery.  London, England.  Primary Collection.  NPG 2082.
Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADarnley_stage_3.jpg.  Licence:  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0.