Wars of the Roses
Overview
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England
Throne of England
The Throne of England is the English term used to identify the throne of the King of England. The term can refer to very specific seating, as in King Edward's Chair, which has been used in the coronations of British kings for eight centuries...

 fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
The House of Plantagenet , a branch of the Angevins, was a royal house founded by Geoffrey V of Anjou, father of Henry II of England. Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century. Their paternal ancestors originated in the French province of Gâtinais and gained the...

: the houses of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

 and York
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

 (the "red" and the "white" rose, respectively). They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period. The final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 and married Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

's daughter Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England....

 to unite the two houses.
Encyclopedia
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England
Throne of England
The Throne of England is the English term used to identify the throne of the King of England. The term can refer to very specific seating, as in King Edward's Chair, which has been used in the coronations of British kings for eight centuries...

 fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
The House of Plantagenet , a branch of the Angevins, was a royal house founded by Geoffrey V of Anjou, father of Henry II of England. Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century. Their paternal ancestors originated in the French province of Gâtinais and gained the...

: the houses of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

 and York
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

 (the "red" and the "white" rose, respectively). They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period. The final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 and married Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

's daughter Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England....

 to unite the two houses. The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 for 117 years.

Henry of Bolingbroke
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

 had established the House of Lancaster on the throne in 1399 when he deposed his cousin Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

 and was crowned as Henry IV. Bolingbroke's son Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

 maintained the family's hold on the crown, but when Henry V died, his heir was the infant Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

. The Lancastrian claim to the throne descended from John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster , KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

, the fourth son of Edward III
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

. Henry VI's right to the crown was challenged by Richard, Duke of York
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
Richard Plantagenêt, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 4th Earl of Cambridge, and 7th Earl of Ulster, conventionally called Richard of York was a leading English magnate, great-grandson of King Edward III...

, who could claim descent from Edward's third and fifth sons, Lionel of Antwerp
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence
Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, jure uxoris 4th Earl of Ulster and 5th Baron of Connaught, KG was the third son, but the second son to survive infancy, of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault...

 and Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, 1st Earl of Cambridge, KG was a younger son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, the fourth of the five sons who lived to adulthood, of this Royal couple. Like so many medieval princes, Edmund gained his identifying nickname from his...

. Richard of York, who had held several important offices of state, quarrelled with prominent Lancastrians at court and with Henry VI's queen, Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England. As such, she was Queen consort of England from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471; and Queen consort of France from 1445 to 1453...

.

Although armed clashes had occurred previously between supporters of York and Lancaster, the first open fighting broke out in 1455 at the First Battle of St Albans
First Battle of St Albans
The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York and his ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians under Edmund, Duke of Somerset, who was killed...

. Several prominent Lancastrians died, but their heirs continued a deadly feud
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

 with Richard. Although peace was temporarily restored, the Lancastrians were inspired by Margaret of Anjou to contest York's influence. Fighting resumed more violently in 1459. York and his supporters were forced to flee the country, but one of his most prominent supporters, the Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

, invaded England from Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

 and captured Henry at the Battle of Northampton
Battle of Northampton (1460)
The Battle of Northampton was a battle in the Wars of the Roses, which took place on 10 July 1460.-Background:The Yorkist cause seemed finished after the previous disaster at Ludford Bridge...

. York returned to the country and became Protector of England, but was dissuaded from claiming the throne. Margaret and the irreconcilable Lancastrian nobles gathered their forces in the north of England, and when York moved north to suppress them, he and his second son Edmund were killed at the Battle of Wakefield
Battle of Wakefield
The Battle of Wakefield took place at Sandal Magna near Wakefield, in West Yorkshire in Northern England, on 30 December 1460. It was a major battle of the Wars of the Roses...

 in December 1460. The Lancastrian army advanced south and recaptured Henry at the Second Battle of St Albans
Second Battle of St Albans
The Second Battle of St Albans was a battle of the English Wars of the Roses fought on 17 February, 1461, at St Albans. The army of the Yorkist faction under the Earl of Warwick attempted to bar the road to London north of the town. The rival Lancastrian army used a wide outflanking manoeuvre to...

, but failed to occupy London, and subsequently retreated to the north. York's eldest son, Edward, Earl of March, was proclaimed King Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

. He gathered the Yorkist armies and won a crushing victory at the Battle of Towton
Battle of Towton
In 1461, England was in the sixth year of the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster over the English throne. The Lancastrians backed the reigning King of England, Henry VI, an indecisive man who suffered bouts of madness...

 in March 1461.

After Lancastrian revolts in the north were suppressed in 1464 and Henry was captured once again, Edward fell out with his chief supporter and advisor, the Earl of Warwick (known as the "Kingmaker"), and also alienated many friends and even family members by favouring the upstart family of his queen, Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

, whom he had married in secret. Warwick tried first to supplant Edward with his younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, and then to restore Henry VI to the throne. This resulted in two years of rapid changes of fortune, before Edward IV once again won complete victories at Barnet
Battle of Barnet
The Battle of Barnet was a decisive engagement in the Wars of the Roses, a dynastic conflict of 15th-century England. The military action, along with the subsequent Battle of Tewkesbury, secured the throne for Edward IV...

 (April 1471), where Warwick was killed, and Tewkesbury
Battle of Tewkesbury
The Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses. The forces loyal to the House of Lancaster were completely defeated by those of the rival House of York under their monarch, King Edward IV...

 (May 1471) where the Lancastrian heir, Edward, Prince of Wales, was executed after the battle. Henry was murdered in the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 several days later, ending the direct Lancastrian line of succession.

A period of comparative peace followed, but King Edward died unexpectedly in 1483. His surviving brother, Richard of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

, first moved to prevent the unpopular Woodville family of Edward's widow from participating in the government during the minority of Edward's son, Edward V
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

, and then seized the throne for himself, using the suspect legitimacy of Edward IV's marriage as pretext. Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, a distant relative of the Lancastrian kings who had inherited their claim, defeated Richard at Bosworth in 1485. He was crowned Henry VII, and married Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England....

, daughter of Edward IV, to unite and reconcile the two houses.

Yorkist revolts flared up in 1487, resulting in the last pitched battles. Although most of the surviving descendants of Richard of York were imprisoned, sporadic rebellions continued until 1497 when Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England. By claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, one of the Princes in the Tower, Warbeck was a significant threat to the newly established Tudor Dynasty,...

, who claimed to be the younger brother of Edward V, one of the two disappeared Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

, was imprisoned and later executed.



Name and symbols

The name "Wars of the Roses" refers to the badges
Heraldic badge
A heraldic badge is an emblem or personal device worn as a badge to indicate allegiance to or the property of an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance...

 associated with the two royal houses, the White Rose of York
White Rose of York
The White Rose of York , a white heraldic rose, is the symbol of the House of York and has since been adopted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole.-History:...

 and the Red Rose of Lancaster
Red Rose of Lancaster
The Red Rose of Lancaster is the county flower of Lancashire.The exact species or cultivar which the red rose relates to is uncertain, but it is thought to be Rosa gallica officinalis....

. It is not thought to have been used during the time of the wars. Rather, it came into common use in the nineteenth century after the publication of Anne of Geierstein
Anne of Geierstein
Anne of Geierstein, or The Maiden of the Mist is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. It is set in Central Europe, mainly in Switzerland, shortly after the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury...

by Sir Walter Scott. Scott based the name on a scene in William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's play Henry VI Part 1, set in the gardens of the Temple Church
Temple Church
The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church...

, where a number of noblemen and a lawyer pick red or white roses to show their loyalty to the Lancastrian or Yorkist faction respectively.

Although the roses were occasionally used as symbols during the wars, most of the participants wore livery badges associated with their immediate lord
Lord
Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior . The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'...

s or patrons under the prevailing system of so-called "bastard feudalism
Bastard feudalism
Bastard feudalism is a term that has been used to describe feudalism in the Late Middle Ages, primarily in England. Its main characteristic is military, political, legal, or domestic service in return for money, office, and/or influence...

". For example, Henry Tudor's forces at Bosworth fought under the banner of a red dragon
Y Ddraig Goch
The Welsh Dragon appears on the national flag of Wales . The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales is from the Historia Brittonum, written around 820, but it is popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of King Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders...

, while the Yorkist army used Richard III's personal device of a white boar
White boar
The White Boar was the personal device or badge of the English King Richard III of England , and is an early instance of the use of boars in heraldry....

. It is not even certain whether the Red Rose was used. However, after the wars ended, and his Yorkist marriage, King Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 adopted the badge of the single red and white Tudor Rose
Tudor rose
The Tudor Rose is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the Tudor dynasty.-Origins:...

 to symbolise the reunion of the houses of York and Lancaster.

Though the names of the rival houses derive from the cities of York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

 and Lancaster
Lancaster, Lancashire
Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the River Lune and has a population of 45,952. Lancaster is a constituent settlement of the wider City of Lancaster, local government district which has a population of 133,914 and encompasses several outlying towns, including...

, the corresponding duchies had little to do with these cities. The lands and offices attached to the Duchy of Lancaster were mainly in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

, North Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

 and Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, while the estates and castles which were part of the Duchy of York (and the Earldom of March, which Richard of York also inherited) were widespread throughout England, although there were many in the Welsh Marches.

Lancaster, York and Richmond (Tudor) are all represented by their own rose and all three are named for districts in the North of England, not a traditional power base for the English monarchy, which had hitherto usually been drawn from dynasties originating further south, in Normandy and Anjou, Mercia and Wessex. The Tudor fief
Honour of Richmond
The Honour of Richmond in north-west Yorkshire was granted to Count Alan Rufus by William the Conqueror in 1071AD. The honour, which was assessed for the service of 60 knights, was one of the most important fiefs in Norman England. - Territory :...

 of Richmondshire
Richmondshire
Richmondshire is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England. It covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales including Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Wensleydale and Coverdale, with the prominent Scots' Dyke and Scotch Corner along the centre. Teesdale lies to the north...

 lay squarely between the duchies of Lancaster and York and on the forefront of the Anglo-Scottish border country
Border Country
Border Country is a novel by Raymond Williams. The book was re-published in December 2005 as one of the first group of titles in the Library of Wales series, having been out of print for several years. Written in English, the novel was first published in 1960.It is set in rural South Wales, close...

.

Armies and contestants

The wars were fought largely by the landed aristocracy
Landed property
Landed property or landed estates is a real estate term that usually refers to a property that generates income for the owner without the owner having to do the actual work of the estate. In Europe, agrarian landed property typically consisted of a manor, several tenant farms, and some privileged...

 and armies of feudal retainers, with some foreign mercenaries. Support for each house largely depended upon dynastic factors, such as blood relationships, marriages within the nobility, and the grants or confiscations of feudal titles and lands.

The unofficial system of livery and maintenance, by which powerful nobles would offer protection to followers who would sport their colours and badges (livery), and controlled large numbers of paid men-at-arms (maintenance) was one of the effects of the breakdown of royal authority which preceded and partly caused the wars. Another aspect of the decline in respect to the crown was the development of what was called bastard feudalism
Bastard feudalism
Bastard feudalism is a term that has been used to describe feudalism in the Late Middle Ages, primarily in England. Its main characteristic is military, political, legal, or domestic service in return for money, office, and/or influence...

 by later historians, although the term and definition were disputed. Service to a lord in return for title to lands and the gift of offices remained important, but the service was given in support of a faction rather than as part of a strict hierarchical system in which all ultimately owed their loyalty to the monarch.

Given the conflicting loyalties of blood, marriage and ambition, it was not uncommon for nobles to switch sides and several battles were decided by treachery.

The armies consisted of nobles' contingents of men-at-arms, with companies of archers and foot-soldiers (such as billmen
Bill (weapon)
The bill is a polearm weapon used by infantry in medieval Europe.The bill is similar in size, function and appearance to the halberd, differing mainly in the hooked blade form...

). There were also sometimes contingents of foreign mercenaries, armed with cannon or handguns. The horsemen were generally restricted to "prickers" and "scourers"; i.e. scouting and foraging parties. Most armies fought entirely on foot. In several cases, the magnates dismounted and fought among the common foot-soldiers, to inspire them and to dispel the notion that in the case of defeat they might be ransomed while the common soldiers, being of little value, faced death.

It was often claimed however, that the nobles faced greater risks than the ordinary soldiers. Philippe de Commines
Philippe de Commines
Philippe de Commines was a writer and diplomat in the courts of Burgundy and France. He has been called "the first truly modern writer" and "the first critical and philosophical historian since classical times"...

 reported that Edward IV, once he had seen that victory was certain on the battlefield, would call out that the fleeing common soldiers were to be spared but no mercy was to be shown to the lords. Furthermore, while the capture of a high-ranking noble would have promised a wealthy ransom in the wars against France, an attainted traitor was of no value to his captor.

Disputed succession

The antagonism between the two houses started with the overthrow of King Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

 by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

, Duke of Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

, in 1399. Richard II's government had been highly unpopular and Bolingbroke returned from exile, initially to reclaim his rights as Duke of Lancaster. With the support of most of the nobles, Bolingbroke then deposed Richard and was crowned as Henry IV. As an issue of Edward III's third son John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke had a comparatively poor claim to the throne
Throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

. According to precedent, the crown should have passed to the male descendants of Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the English and British Royal families. The first three creations were in the Peerage of England, the fourth in the Peerage of Great Britain, and the fifth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.The title was first...

, Edward III's second son, and in fact, the childless Richard II had named Lionel's grandson, Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March as heir presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

. Roger Mortimer had died the previous year however, and no nobles immediately championed his young son Edmund's claim to the crown. Within a few years of taking the throne, Henry faced several rebellions in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

 and Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, which used the Mortimer claim to the throne both as pretext and rallying point. All these revolts were suppressed, although with difficulty.

Henry IV died in 1413. His son and successor, Henry V
Henry V of England
Henry V was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. He was the second monarch belonging to the House of Lancaster....

, inherited a temporarily pacified nation. Henry was a great soldier, and his military success against France in the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

 bolstered his enormous popularity, enabling him to strengthen the Lancastrian hold on the throne.

There was one conspiracy against Henry during his nine-year reign: the Southampton Plot
Southampton Plot
The Southampton Plot of 1415 was a conspiracy against King Henry V of England, aimed at replacing him with Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March. The three alleged ringleaders were Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, Mortimer's brother-in-law; Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham The...

 led by Richard, Earl of Cambridge
Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge
Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge was the younger son of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and Isabella of Castile....

, a son of Edmund of Langley, the fourth son of Edward III. Cambridge was executed in 1415 for treason at the start of the campaign which led to the Battle of Agincourt
Battle of Agincourt
The Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory against a numerically superior French army in the Hundred Years' War. The battle occurred on Friday, 25 October 1415 , near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France...

. Cambridge's wife, Anne Mortimer
Anne de Mortimer
Anne de Mortimer, Countess of Cambridge was an English noblewoman in line of succession for the throne of England...

, who had died in 1411, also had a claim to the throne, being the daughter of Roger Mortimer and thus a descendant of Lionel of Antwerp. Her brother Edmund, Earl of March, who loyally supported Henry, died childless in 1425 and his claim and titles therefore passed to Anne's descendants.

Richard
Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
Richard Plantagenêt, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 4th Earl of Cambridge, and 7th Earl of Ulster, conventionally called Richard of York was a leading English magnate, great-grandson of King Edward III...

, the son of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer, was four years old at the time of his father's execution. The title of Duke of York
Duke of York
The Duke of York is a title of nobility in the British peerage. Since the 15th century, it has, when granted, usually been given to the second son of the British monarch. The title has been created a remarkable eleven times, eight as "Duke of York" and three as the double-barreled "Duke of York and...

 descended to him from Cambridge's elder brother, Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York
Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York
Sir Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, 2nd Earl of Cambridge, Earl of Rutland, Earl of Cork, Duke of Aumale KG was a member of the English royal family who died at the Battle of Agincourt....

, who died fighting alongside Henry at Agincourt. Although Cambridge was attainted
Attainder
In English criminal law, attainder or attinctura is the metaphorical 'stain' or 'corruption of blood' which arises from being condemned for a serious capital crime . It entails losing not only one's property and hereditary titles, but typically also the right to pass them on to one's heirs...

, Henry later allowed Richard to inherit the title and lands of his late uncle, who died without issue. Henry, who had three younger brothers and was himself in his prime and recently married, had no doubt that the Lancastrian right to the crown was secure. After Henry's death, when his only son proved incapable of rule and his brothers produced no surviving legitimate issue, leaving only distant cousins (the Beauforts) as alternate Lancaster heirs, Richard of York's claims to the throne became important. They were eventually held by supporters of the House of York
House of York
The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

 to be stronger than those of the Lancastrian kings.

Henry VI

Henry V died unexpectedly in 1422 and his son, King Henry VI of England
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

, ascended the throne as an infant only nine months old. After the death of his uncle, John, Duke of Bedford in 1435, he was surrounded by mostly unpopular regents and advisors. In addition to Henry's surviving paternal uncle, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester, 1st Earl of Pembroke, KG , also known as Humphrey Plantagenet, was "son, brother and uncle of kings", being the fourth and youngest son of king Henry IV of England by his first wife, Mary de Bohun, brother to king Henry V of England, and uncle to the...

, who deliberately courted the popularity of the common people for his own ends, the most notable of these were Cardinal Beaufort and William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk
William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk
William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, KG , nicknamed Jack Napes , was an important English soldier and commander in the Hundred Years' War, and later Lord Chamberlain of England.He also appears prominently in William Shakespeare's Henry VI, part 1 and Henry VI, part 2 and other...

, who were blamed for mismanaging the government and poorly executing the continuing Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

 with France. Under Henry VI, virtually all English holdings in France, including the land won by Henry V, were lost.

Suffolk eventually succeeded in having Humphrey of Gloucester arrested for treason. Humphrey died while awaiting trial in prison at Bury St Edmunds in 1447. Some authorities date the start of the War of the Roses from the death of Humphrey. However, with severe reverses in France, Suffolk was stripped of office and was murdered on his way to exile. Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, KG , sometimes styled 1st Duke of Somerset, was an English nobleman and an important figure in the Wars of the Roses and in the Hundred Years' War...

 succeeded him as leader of the party seeking peace with France. The Duke of York, who had succeeded Bedford as Lieutenant in France, meanwhile represented those who wished to prosecute the war more vigorously, and criticised the court, and Somerset in particular, for starving him of funds and men during his campaigns in France. In all these quarrels, Henry VI had taken little part. He was seen as a weak, ineffectual king. In addition, he suffered from episodes of mental illness that he may have inherited from his grandfather Charles VI of France
Charles VI of France
Charles VI , called the Beloved and the Mad , was the King of France from 1380 to 1422, as a member of the House of Valois. His bouts with madness, which seem to have begun in 1392, led to quarrels among the French royal family, which were exploited by the neighbouring powers of England and Burgundy...

. By 1450 many considered Henry incapable of carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a king.

In 1450, there was a violent popular revolt in Kent, Jack Cade
Jack Cade
Jack Cade was the leader of a popular revolt in the 1450 Kent rebellion during the reign of King Henry VI in England. He died on the 12th July 1450 near Lewes. In response to grievances, Cade led an army of as many as 5,000 against London, causing the King to flee to Warwickshire. After taking and...

's rebellion. The grievances were extortion by some of the king's officials and the failure of the courts to protect the local property-owners of all classes. The rebels occupied parts of London, but were driven out by the citizens after some of them fell to looting. The rebels dispersed after they were supposedly pardoned but several, including Cade, were later executed.

Two years later, Richard of York returned to England from his new post as Lieutenant of Ireland and marched on London, demanding Somerset's removal and reform of the government. At this stage, few of the nobles supported such drastic action, and York was forced to submit to superior force at Blackheath
Blackheath, London
Blackheath is a district of South London, England. It is named from the large open public grassland which separates it from Greenwich to the north and Lewisham to the west...

. He was imprisoned for much of 1452 and 1453 but was released after swearing not to take arms against the court.

The increasing discord at court was mirrored in the country as a whole, where noble families engaged in private feuds and showed increasing disrespect for the royal authority and for the courts of law. The Percy-Neville feud
Percy-Neville feud
The Percy–Neville feud was a series of skirmishes, raids and vandalism between two prominent northern English families, the House of Percy and the House of Neville, and their followers that helped provoke the Wars of the Roses.-Beginnings:...

 was the best-known of these private wars, but others were being conducted freely. In many cases they were fought between old-established families, and formerly minor nobility raised in power and influence by Henry IV in the aftermath of the rebellions against him. The quarrel between the Percys, for long the Earls of Northumberland, and the comparatively upstart Nevilles was one which followed this pattern; another was the feud between the Courtenays and Bonvilles in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

. A factor in these feuds was the presence of large numbers of soldiers discharged from the English armies that had been defeated in France. Nobles engaged many of these to mount raids, or to pack courts of justice with their supporters, intimidating suitors, witnesses and judges.

This growing civil discontent, the abundance of feuding nobles with private armies, and corruption in Henry VI's court formed a political climate ripe for civil war. With the king so easily manipulated, power rested with those closest to him at court, in other words Somerset and the Lancastrian faction. Richard and the Yorkist faction, who tended to be physically placed further away from the seat of power, found their power slowly being stripped away. Royal power also started to slip, as Henry was persuaded to grant many royal lands and estates to the Lancastrians.

In 1453, Henry suffered the first of several bouts of complete mental collapse, during which he failed even to recognise his new-born son, Edward of Westminster
Edward of Westminster
Edward of Westminster , also known as Edward of Lancaster, was the only son of King Henry VI of England and Margaret of Anjou...

. A Council of Regency was set up, headed by the Duke of York, who still remained popular with the people, as Lord Protector
Lord Protector
Lord Protector is a title used in British constitutional law for certain heads of state at different periods of history. It is also a particular title for the British Heads of State in respect to the established church...

. York soon asserted his power with ever-greater boldness (although there is no proof that he had aspirations to the throne at this early stage). He imprisoned Somerset and backed his Neville allies (his brother-in-law, the Earl of Salisbury
Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury
Richard Neville, jure uxoris 5th Earl of Salisbury and 7th and 4th Baron Montacute, KG, PC was a Yorkist leader during the early parts of the Wars of the Roses.-Background:...

, and Salisbury's son, the Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

), in their continuing feud with the Earl of Northumberland
Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland
Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland was an English nobleman and military commander in the lead up to the Wars of the Roses. He was the son of Henry "Hotspur" Percy, and the grandson of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland...

, a powerful supporter of Henry.

Henry recovered in 1455 and once again fell under the influence of those closest to him at court. Directed by Henry's queen, the powerful and aggressive Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England. As such, she was Queen consort of England from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471; and Queen consort of France from 1445 to 1453...

, who emerged as the de facto leader of the Lancastrians, Richard was forced out of court. Margaret built up an alliance against Richard and conspired with other nobles to reduce his influence. An increasingly thwarted Richard (who feared arrest for treason) finally resorted to armed hostilities in 1455.

First St. Albans and the Love Day

Richard the Duke of York led a small force toward London and was met by Henry's forces at St Albans
St Albans
St Albans is a city in southern Hertfordshire, England, around north of central London, which forms the main urban area of the City and District of St Albans. It is a historic market town, and is now a sought-after dormitory town within the London commuter belt...

, north of London, on 22 May 1455. The relatively small First Battle of St Albans
First Battle of St Albans
The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York and his ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians under Edmund, Duke of Somerset, who was killed...

 was the first open conflict of the civil war. Richard's aim was ostensibly to remove "poor advisors" from King Henry's side. The result was a Lancastrian defeat. Several prominent Lancastrian leaders, including Somerset and Northumberland, were killed. After the battle, the Yorkists found Henry sitting quietly in his tent, abandoned by his advisors and servants, apparently having suffered another bout of mental illness. (He had also been slightly wounded in the neck by an arrow.) York and his allies regained their position of influence. With the king indisposed, York was again appointed Protector, and Margaret was shunted aside, charged with the king's care.

For a while, both sides seemed shocked that an actual battle had been fought and did their best to reconcile their differences, but the problems which had caused conflict soon re-emerged, particularly the issue of whether Richard the Duke of York, or Henry and Margaret's infant son Edward, would succeed to the throne. Margaret refused to accept any solution that would disinherit her son, and it became clear that she would only tolerate the situation for as long as the Duke of York and his allies retained the military ascendancy.

Henry recovered and in February 1456 he relieved York of his office of Protector. In the autumn of that year, Henry went on royal progress in the Midlands, where the king and queen were popular. Margaret did not allow him to return to London where the merchants were angry at the decline in trade and the widespread disorder. The king's court was set up at Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

. By then, the new Duke of Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset was an important Lancastrian military commander during the English Wars of the Roses. He is sometimes numbered the 2nd Duke of Somerset, since the title was re-created for his father after his uncle died...

 was emerging as a favourite of the royal court. Margaret persuaded Henry to revoke the appointments York had made as Protector, while York was made to return to his post as lieutenant in Ireland.

Disorder in the capital and the north of England (where fighting between the Nevilles and Percys had resumed) and piracy by French fleets on the south coast were growing, but the king and queen remained intent on protecting their own positions, with the queen introducing conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 for the first time in England. Meanwhile, York's ally, Warwick (later dubbed "The Kingmaker"), was growing in popularity in London as the champion of the merchants.

In the spring of 1458, Thomas Bourchier
Thomas Bourchier
Thomas Bourchier was an English archbishop, Lord Chancellor and cardinal.-Life:Bourchier was a younger son of William Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu , and through his mother, Anne of Gloucester, a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, was a grandson of King Edward III of England. One of his brothers was...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, attempted to arrange a reconciliation. The lords had gathered in London for a Grand Council and the city was full of armed retainers. The Archbishop negotiated complex settlements to resolve the blood-feuds which had persisted since the Battle of St. Albans. Then, on Lady Day
Lady Day
In the western Liturgical year, Lady Day is the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin in some English speaking countries. It is the first of the four traditional English quarter days. The "Lady" was the Virgin Mary. The term derives from Middle English, when some...

 (25 March), the King led a "love day" procession to St. Paul's Cathedral
Old St Paul's Cathedral
Old St Paul's Cathedral is a name used to refer to the medieval cathedral of the City of London which until 1666 stood on the site of the present St Paul's Cathedral. Built between 1087 and 1314 and dedicated to St Paul, the cathedral was the fourth church on the site at Ludgate Hill...

, with Lancastrian and Yorkist nobles following him, hand in hand. No sooner had the procession and the Council dispersed than plotting resumed.

Resumption of fighting, 1459–1460, and the Act of Accord

The next outbreak of fighting was prompted by Warwick's high-handed actions as Captain of Calais. He led his ships in attacks on neutral Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 and Spanish ships in the Channel on flimsy grounds of sovereignty. He was summoned to London to face enquiries, but he claimed that attempts had been made on his life, and returned to Calais. York, Salisbury and Warwick were summoned to a royal council at Coventry, but they refused, fearing arrest when they were isolated from their own supporters.

York summoned the Nevilles to join him at his stronghold at Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle is a large, partly ruined, non-inhabited castle which dominates the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England. It stands on a high point overlooking the River Teme...

 in the Welsh Marches. On 23 September 1459, at the Battle of Blore Heath
Battle of Blore Heath
The Battle of Blore Heath was the first major battle in the English Wars of the Roses. It was fought on 23 September 1459, at Blore Heath in Staffordshire, two miles east of the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire, England.- Background :...

 in Staffordshire, a Lancastrian army failed to prevent Salisbury from marching from Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle in Wensleydale, in the county of North Yorkshire, was built by Robert Fitzrandolph, 3rd Lord of Middleham and Spennithorne, commencing in 1190. It was built near the site of an earlier motte and bailey castle...

 in Yorkshire to Ludlow. Shortly afterwards the combined Yorkist armies confronted the much larger Lancastrian force at the Battle of Ludford Bridge
Battle of Ludford Bridge
The Battle of Ludford Bridge was a largely bloodless battle fought in the early years of the Wars of the Roses. It took place on 12 October 1459, and resulted in a disastrous defeat for the Yorkists.-Background:...

. Warwick's contingent from the garrison of Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

 under Andrew Trollope
Andrew Trollope
Sir Andrew Trollope was an English soldier during the later stages of the Hundred Years War and at the time of the Wars of the Roses. Born into a family of Durham dyers, Trollope began his long military career in France in the 1420s as a man at arms, serving under Sir John Fastolf and later John...

 defected to the Lancastrians, and the Yorkist leaders fled. York returned to Ireland, and his eldest son, Edward, Earl of March
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

, Salisbury and Warwick fled to Calais.

The Lancastrians were back in total control. York and his supporters were attainted
Attainder
In English criminal law, attainder or attinctura is the metaphorical 'stain' or 'corruption of blood' which arises from being condemned for a serious capital crime . It entails losing not only one's property and hereditary titles, but typically also the right to pass them on to one's heirs...

 as traitors. Somerset was appointed Governor of Calais and was dispatched to take over the vital fortress on the French coast, but his attempts to evict Warwick were easily repulsed. Warwick and his supporters even began to launch raids on the English coast from Calais, adding to the sense of chaos and disorder. Being attainted, only a successful invasion would restore the Yorkists' lands and titles. Warwick travelled to Ireland to concert plans with York, evading the royal ships commanded by the Duke of Exeter
Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter
Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter was a Lancastrian leader during the English Wars of the Roses. He was the only son of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter and his first wife Lady Anne Stafford. His maternal grandparents were Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford and Anne of Gloucester.He inherited...

.

In late June 1460, Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of March crossed the Channel and rapidly established themselves in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 and London, where they enjoyed wide support. Backed by a papal emissary who had taken their side, they marched north. King Henry led an army south to meet them while Margaret remained in the north with Prince Edward. At the Battle of Northampton
Battle of Northampton (1460)
The Battle of Northampton was a battle in the Wars of the Roses, which took place on 10 July 1460.-Background:The Yorkist cause seemed finished after the previous disaster at Ludford Bridge...

 on 10 July, the Yorkist army under Warwick defeated the Lancastrians, aided by treachery in the king's ranks. For the second time in the war, King Henry was found by the Yorkists in a tent, abandoned by his retinue, having apparently suffered another breakdown. With the king in their possession, the Yorkists returned to London.

In the light of this military success, Richard of York moved to press his claim to the throne based on the illegitimacy of the Lancastrian line. Landing in north Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, he and his wife Cecily
Cecily Neville
Cecily Neville, Duchess of York was the wife of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and the mother of two Kings of England: Edward IV and Richard III....

 entered London with all the ceremony usually reserved for a monarch. Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 was assembled, and when York entered he made straight for the throne, which he may have been expecting the Lords to encourage him to take for himself as they had acclaimed Henry IV in 1399. Instead, there was stunned silence. York announced his claim to the throne, but the Lords, even Warwick and Salisbury, were shocked by his presumption; they had no desire at this stage to overthrow King Henry. Their ambition was still limited to the removal of his councillors.

The next day, York produced detailed genealogies
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 to support his claim based on his descent from Lionel of Antwerp and was met with more understanding. Parliament agreed to consider the matter and accepted that York's claim was better, but by a majority of five, they voted that Henry VI should remain as king. A compromise was struck in October 1460 with the Act of Accord
Act of Accord
The Act of Accord was passed by the English Parliament on 25 October 1460, fifteen days after Richard, Duke of York had entered the Council Chamber and laid his hand on the empty throne. Under the Act, King Henry VI of England was to retain the crown for life but York and his heirs were to succeed....

, which recognised York as Henry's successor, disinheriting Henry's six year old son, Edward. York accepted this compromise as the best offer. It gave him much of what he wanted, particularly since he was also made Protector of the Realm and was able to govern in Henry's name.

Lancastrian counter-attack

Queen Margaret and her son had fled to north Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, parts of which were still in Lancastrian hands. They later travelled by sea to Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 to negotiate for Scottish assistance. Mary of Gueldres, Queen Consort to James II of Scotland
James II of Scotland
James II reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death.He was the son of James I, King of Scots, and Joan Beaufort...

, agreed to give Margaret an army on condition that she cede the town of Berwick
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed or simply Berwick is a town in the county of Northumberland and is the northernmost town in England, on the east coast at the mouth of the River Tweed. It is situated 2.5 miles south of the Scottish border....

 to Scotland and Mary's daughter be betrothed to Prince Edward. Margaret agreed, although she had no funds to pay her army and could only promise booty from the riches of southern England, as long as no looting took place north of the River Trent
River Trent
The River Trent is one of the major rivers of England. Its source is in Staffordshire on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor. It flows through the Midlands until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary, which empties into the North Sea below Hull and Immingham.The Trent...

.

The Duke of York left London later that year with the Earl of Salisbury to consolidate his position in the north against the Lancastrians who were reported to be massing near the city of York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

. He took up a defensive position at Sandal Castle
Sandal Castle
Sandal Castle is a ruined medieval castle in Sandal Magna, a suburb of the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, overlooking the River Calder. It was the site of royal intrigue, the opening of one of William Shakespeare's plays, and was the source for a common children's nursery rhyme.-The...

 near Wakefield
Wakefield
Wakefield is the main settlement and administrative centre of the City of Wakefield, a metropolitan district of West Yorkshire, England. Located by the River Calder on the eastern edge of the Pennines, the urban area is and had a population of 76,886 in 2001....

 over Christmas 1460. Then on 30 December, his forces left the castle and attacked the Lancastrians in the open, although outnumbered. The ensuing Battle of Wakefield
Battle of Wakefield
The Battle of Wakefield took place at Sandal Magna near Wakefield, in West Yorkshire in Northern England, on 30 December 1460. It was a major battle of the Wars of the Roses...

 was a complete Lancastrian victory. Richard of York was slain in the battle, and both Salisbury and York's 17-year-old second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland
Edmund, Earl of Rutland
Edmund, Earl of Rutland was the fifth child and second surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville...

, were captured and executed. Margaret ordered the heads of all three placed on the gates of York.

The Act of Accord and the events of Wakefield left the 18-year-old Edward, Earl of March, York's eldest son, as Duke of York and heir to his claim to the throne. With an army from the pro-Yorkist Marches (the border area between England and Wales), he met Jasper Tudor
Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford
Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford, 1st Earl of Pembroke, KG was the uncle of King Henry VII of England and the architect of his successful conquest of England and Wales in 1485...

's Lancastrian army arriving from Wales, and he defeated them soundly at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross
Battle of Mortimer's Cross
The Battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought on 2 February 1461 near Wigmore, Herefordshire . It was part of the Wars of the Roses....

 in Herefordshire. He inspired his men with a "vision" of three suns at dawn (a phenomenon known as "parhelion"), telling them that it was a portent of victory and represented the three surviving York sons; himself, George and Richard. This led to Edward's later adoption of the sign of the sunne in splendour as his personal device.

Margaret's army was moving south, supporting itself by looting as it passed through the prosperous south of England. In London, Warwick used this as propaganda to reinforce Yorkist support throughout the south – the town of Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

 switched allegiance to the Yorkists. Warwick's army established fortified positions north of the town of St Albans to block the main road from the north but was outmanoeuvred by Margaret's army which swerved to the west and then attacked Warwick's positions from behind. At the Second Battle of St Albans
Second Battle of St Albans
The Second Battle of St Albans was a battle of the English Wars of the Roses fought on 17 February, 1461, at St Albans. The army of the Yorkist faction under the Earl of Warwick attempted to bar the road to London north of the town. The rival Lancastrian army used a wide outflanking manoeuvre to...

, the Lancastrians won another decisive victory. As the Yorkist forces fled they left behind King Henry, who was found unharmed, sitting quietly beneath a tree.

Henry knighted thirty Lancastrian soldiers immediately after the battle. In an illustration of the increasing bitterness of the war, Queen Margaret instructed her seven-year-old son Edward of Westminster to determine the manner of execution of the Yorkist knights who had been charged with keeping Henry safe and had stayed at his side throughout the battle.

As the Lancastrian army advanced southwards, a wave of dread swept London, where rumours were rife about savage northerners intent on plundering the city. The people of London shut the city gates and refused to supply food to the queen's army, which was looting the surrounding counties of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

 and Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

.

Yorkist triumph

Meanwhile, Edward of March advanced towards London from the west where he had joined forces with Warwick's surviving forces. This coincided with the northward retreat by the queen to Dunstable
Dunstable
Dunstable is a market town and civil parish located in Bedfordshire, England. It lies on the eastward tail spurs of the Chiltern Hills, 30 miles north of London. These geographical features form several steep chalk escarpments most noticeable when approaching Dunstable from the north.-Etymology:In...

, allowing Edward and Warwick to enter London with their army. They were welcomed with enthusiasm, money and supplies by the largely Yorkist-supporting city. Edward could no longer claim simply to be trying to free the king from bad councillors; it had become a battle for the crown. Edward needed authority, and this seemed forthcoming when Thomas Kempe
Thomas Kempe
Thomas Kempe was a medieval Bishop of London.Kempe was the nephew of John Kemp, Archbishop of Canterbury.Kempe was provided to London on 21 August 1448 and consecrated on 8 February 1450. He died on 28 March 1489. He had previously held the office of Archdeacon of Richmond from 1442 to 1448.-...

, the Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

, asked the people of London their opinion and they replied with shouts of "King Edward". This was quickly confirmed by Parliament, and Edward was unofficially crowned in a hastily arranged ceremony at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 amidst much jubilation, although Edward vowed he would not have a formal coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 until Henry and Margaret were executed or exiled. He also announced that Henry had forfeited his right to the crown by allowing his queen to take up arms against his rightful heirs under the Act of Accord, though it was being widely argued that Edward's victory was simply a restoration of the rightful heir to the throne, which neither Henry nor his Lancastrian predecessors had been. It was this argument which Parliament had accepted the year before.

Edward and Warwick marched north, gathering a large army as they went, and met an equally impressive Lancastrian army at Towton. The Battle of Towton
Battle of Towton
In 1461, England was in the sixth year of the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster over the English throne. The Lancastrians backed the reigning King of England, Henry VI, an indecisive man who suffered bouts of madness...

, near York, was the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses. Both sides agreed beforehand that the issue was to be settled that day, with no quarter asked or given. An estimated 40,000—80,000 men took part, with over 20,000 men being killed during (and after) the battle, an enormous number for the time and the greatest recorded single day's loss of life on English soil. Edward and his army won a decisive victory, and the Lancastrians were routed, with most of their leaders slain. Henry and Margaret, who were waiting in York with their son Edward, fled north when they heard the outcome. Many of the surviving Lancastrian nobles switched allegiance to King Edward, and those who did not were driven back to the northern border areas and a few castles in Wales. Edward advanced to take York where he replaced the rotting heads of his father, his brother, and Salisbury with those of defeated Lancastrian lords such as the notorious John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, also 9th Lord of Skipton was a Lancastrian military leader during the Wars of the Roses...

 of Skipton-Craven, who was blamed for the execution of Edward's brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, after the Battle of Wakefield.

Edward IV

Edward IV's official coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 took place in June 1461 in London where he received a rapturous welcome from his supporters. Edward was able to rule in relative peace for ten years.

In the north, Edward could never really claim to have complete control until 1465. After the Battle of Towton, Henry and Margaret had fled to Scotland, where they stayed with the court of James III
James III of Scotland
James III was King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family.His reputation as the...

 and followed through on their promise to cede Berwick to Scotland. Later in the year, they mounted an attack on Carlisle but, lacking money, they were easily repulsed by Edward's men who were rooting out the remaining Lancastrian forces in the northern counties. Several castles under Lancastrian commanders held out for years. Dunstanburgh, Alnwick
Alnwick
Alnwick is a small market town in north Northumberland, England. The town's population was just over 8000 at the time of the 2001 census and Alnwick's district population was 31,029....

 (the Percy family seat), and Bamburgh
Bamburgh
Bamburgh is a large village and civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It has a population of 454.It is notable for two reasons: the imposing Bamburgh Castle, overlooking the beach, seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, and at present owned by the Armstrong family ; and its...

 were some of the last to fall.

There were Lancastrian revolts in the north of England in 1464. Several Lancastrian nobles, including the third Duke of Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset was an important Lancastrian military commander during the English Wars of the Roses. He is sometimes numbered the 2nd Duke of Somerset, since the title was re-created for his father after his uncle died...

, who had apparently been reconciled to Edward, readily led the rebellion. The revolt was put down by Warwick's brother, John Neville
John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu
John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu KG was a Yorkist leader in the Wars of the Roses, best-known for eliminating Lancastrian resistance in the north of England during the early part of the reign of Edward IV of England....

. A small Lancastrian army was destroyed at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor
Battle of Hedgeley Moor
The Battle of Hedgeley Moor, 25 April 1464, was a battle of the Wars of the Roses. It was fought at Hedgeley Moor, north of the village of Glanton in Northumberland, between a Yorkist army led by John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu and a Lancastrian army led by the Duke of Somerset...

 on 25 April, but because Neville was escorting Scottish commissioners for a treaty to York, he could not immediately follow up this victory. Then on 15 May, he routed Somerset's army at the Battle of Hexham
Battle of Hexham
The Battle of Hexham marked the end of significant Lancastrian resistance in the north of England during the early part of the reign of Edward IV....

. Somerset was captured and executed.

The deposed King Henry was later captured for the third time at Clitheroe
Clitheroe
Clitheroe is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England. It is 1½ miles from the Forest of Bowland and is often used as a base for tourists in the area. It has a population of 14,697...

 in Lancashire in 1465. He was taken to London and held prisoner at the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 where, for the time being, he was reasonably well treated. About the same time, once England under Edward IV and Scotland had come to terms, Margaret and her son were forced to leave Scotland and sail to France, where they maintained an impoverished court in exile for several years.

The last remaining Lancastrian stronghold was Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle, located in Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales, is a concentric castle, constructed atop a cliff close to the Irish Sea. Architecturally, it is particularly notable for its massive gatehouse....

 in Wales, which surrendered in 1468 after a seven-year-long siege.

Warwick's rebellion and the death of Henry VI

The powerful Earl of Warwick ("the Kingmaker") had meanwhile become the greatest landowner in England. Already a great magnate through his wife's property, he had also inherited his father's estates and had been granted much forfeited Lancastrian property. He also held many of the offices of state. He was convinced of the need for an alliance with France and had been negotiating a match between Edward and a French bride. However, Edward had married Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

, the widow of a Lancastrian knight, in secret in 1464. He later announced the news of his marriage as fait accompli, to Warwick's considerable embarrassment.

This embarrassment turned to bitterness when the Woodvilles came to be favoured over the Nevilles at court. Many of Queen Elizabeth's relatives were married into noble families and others were granted peerages or royal offices. Other factors compounded Warwick's disillusionment: Edward's preference for an alliance with Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 rather than France and reluctance to allow his brothers George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

, to marry Warwick's daughters Isabel and Anne
Anne Neville
Lady Anne Neville was Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster and Queen of England as the consort of King Richard III. She held the latter title for less than two years, from 26 June 1483 until her death in March 1485...

. Furthermore, Edward's general popularity was on the wane in this period with higher taxes and persistent disruptions of law and order.
By 1469, Warwick had formed an alliance with Edward's jealous and treacherous brother George, who married Isabel Neville in defiance of Edward's wishes in Calais. They raised an army which defeated the king's forces at the Battle of Edgecote Moor
Battle of Edgecote Moor
The Battle of Edgecote Moor took place 6 miles northeast of Banbury , England on 26 July 1469 during the Wars of the Roses. The site of the battle was actually Danes Moor in Northamptonshire, at a crossing of a tributary of the River Cherwell. The battle pitted the forces of Richard Neville, 16th...

. Edward was captured at Olney, Buckinghamshire, and imprisoned at Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle
Middleham Castle in Wensleydale, in the county of North Yorkshire, was built by Robert Fitzrandolph, 3rd Lord of Middleham and Spennithorne, commencing in 1190. It was built near the site of an earlier motte and bailey castle...

 in Yorkshire. (Warwick briefly had two Kings of England in his custody.) Warwick had the queen's father, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers
Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers
Richard Woodville , 1st Earl Rivers, KG was an English nobleman, best remembered as the father of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV....

, and her brother John
John Woodville
Sir John Woodville was the second son, and fourth child, of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg....

 executed. However, he made no immediate move to have Edward declared illegitimate and place George on the throne. The country was in turmoil, with nobles once again settling scores with private armies (in episodes such as the Battle of Nibley Green
Battle of Nibley Green
The Battle of Nibley Green was fought on March 20, 1469 , between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley...

), and Lancastrians being encouraged to rebel. Few of the nobles were prepared to support Warwick's seizure of power. Edward was escorted to London by Warwick's brother George, the Archbishop of York
Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England as well as the Isle of Man...

, where he and Warwick were reconciled, to outward appearances.

When further rebellions broke out in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, Edward easily suppressed them at the Battle of Losecoat Field. From the testimony of the captured leaders, he declared that Warwick and George had instigated them. They were declared traitors and forced to flee to France, where Margaret of Anjou was already in exile. Louis XI of France
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

, who wished to forestall a hostile alliance between Edward and Edward's brother-in-law Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

, suggested the idea of an alliance between Warwick and Margaret. Neither of those two formerly mortal enemies entertained the notion first, but eventually they were brought round to realise the potential benefits. However, both were undoubtedly hoping for different outcomes: Warwick for a puppet king in the form of Henry or his young son; Margaret to be able to reclaim her family's realm. In any case, a marriage was arranged between Warwick's daughter Anne and Margaret's son Edward, and Warwick invaded England in the autumn of 1470.
Edward IV had already marched north to suppress another uprising in Yorkshire. Warwick, with help from a fleet under his nephew, the Bastard of Fauconberg
Bastard of Fauconberg
Thomas Neville or Thomas, Viscount Fauconberg was a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the Roses.The illegitimate son of Sir William Neville of Fauconberg, Earl of Kent, Thomas Neville was more often referred to as The Bastard of Fauconberg , Lord Fauconberg or just Thomas the Bastard...

, landed at Dartmouth and rapidly secured support from the southern counties and ports. He occupied London in October, and paraded Henry VI through the streets of London as the restored king. Warwick's brother John Neville, who had recently received the empty title Marquess of Montagu and who led large armies in the Scottish marches, changed loyalties to support his brother. Edward was unprepared for this event and had to order his army to scatter. He and Gloucester fled from Doncaster to the coast, and thence to Holland and exile in Burgundy. They were proclaimed traitors, and many exiled Lancastrians returned to reclaim their estates.

Warwick's success was short-lived, however. He overreached himself with his plan to invade Burgundy in alliance with the King of France, tempted by King Louis' promise of territory in the Netherlands as a reward. This led Edward's brother-in-law, Charles of Burgundy, to provide funds and troops to Edward to enable him to launch an invasion of England in 1471. Edward landed with a small force at Ravenspur on the Yorkshire coast. Initially claiming to support Henry and to be seeking only to have his title of Duke of York restored, he soon gained the city of York and rallied several supporters. His brother Clarence turned traitor again, abandoning Warwick. Having outmanoeuvred Warwick and Montagu, Edward captured London. His army then met Warwick's at the Battle of Barnet
Battle of Barnet
The Battle of Barnet was a decisive engagement in the Wars of the Roses, a dynastic conflict of 15th-century England. The military action, along with the subsequent Battle of Tewkesbury, secured the throne for Edward IV...

. The battle was fought in thick fog, and some of Warwick's men attacked each other by mistake. It was believed by all that they had been betrayed, and Warwick's army fled. Warwick was cut down trying to reach his horse. Montagu also was killed in the battle.

Margaret and her son Edward had landed in the West Country
West Country
The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of...

 only a few days before the Battle of Barnet. Rather than return to France, Margaret sought to join the Lancastrian supporters in Wales and marched to cross the Severn
River Severn
The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain, at about , but the second longest on the British Isles, behind the River Shannon. It rises at an altitude of on Plynlimon, Ceredigion near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales...

 but was thwarted when the city of Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 refused her passage across the river. Her army, commanded by the fourth successive Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, 6th Earl of Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, 3rd Earl of Dorset was an English nobleman and military commander during the Wars of the Roses....

, was brought to battle and destroyed at the Battle of Tewkesbury
Battle of Tewkesbury
The Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses. The forces loyal to the House of Lancaster were completely defeated by those of the rival House of York under their monarch, King Edward IV...

. Prince Edward, the Lancastrian heir to the throne, was killed. With no heirs to succeed him, Henry VI was murdered shortly afterwards, on 14 May 1471, to strengthen the Yorkist hold on the throne.

Richard III

The restoration of Edward IV in 1471 is sometimes seen as marking the end of the Wars of the Roses proper. Peace was restored for the remainder of Edward's reign. His youngest brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

, and Edward's lifelong companion and supporter, William Hastings
William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings
William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings KG was an English nobleman. A follower of the House of York, he became a close friend and the most important courtier of King Edward IV, whom he served as Lord Chamberlain...

, were generously rewarded for their loyalty, becoming effectively governors of the north and midlands respectively. George of Clarence became increasingly estranged from Edward, and was executed in 1478 for association with convicted traitors.

When Edward died suddenly in 1483, political and dynastic turmoil erupted again. Many of the nobles still resented the influence of the queen's Woodville relatives (her brother, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers
Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers
Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers was an English nobleman, courtier, and writer.He was the eldest son of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. Like his father, he was originally a Lancastrian, fighting on that side at the Battle of Towton, but later became a Yorkist...

 and her son by her first marriage, Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset
Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset
Thomas Grey, 7th Baron Ferrers of Groby, 1st Earl of Huntingdon and 1st Marquess of Dorset, KG , was an English nobleman, courtier and a man of mediocre abilities pushed into prominence by his mother Elizabeth Woodville's second marriage to the king, Edward IV.-Family:Thomas was born about 1455,...

), and regarded them as power-hungry upstarts and parvenus. At the time of Edward's premature death, his heir, Edward V
Edward V of England
Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

, was only 12 years old and had been brought up under the stewardship of Earl Rivers in Ludlow
Ludlow
Ludlow is a market town in Shropshire, England close to the Welsh border and in the Welsh Marches. It lies within a bend of the River Teme, on its eastern bank, forming an area of and centred on a small hill. Atop this hill is the site of Ludlow Castle and the market place...

.

On his deathbed, Edward had named his surviving brother Richard of Gloucester as Protector of England. Richard had been in the north when Edward died. Hastings, who also held the office of Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

, sent word to him to bring a strong force to London to counter any force the Woodvilles might muster. The Duke of Buckingham
Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, KG played a major role in Richard III of England's rise and fall. He is also one of the primary suspects in the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower...

 also declared his support for Richard.

Richard and Buckingham overtook Earl Rivers, who was escorting the young Edward V to London, at Stony Stratford
Stony Stratford
Stony Stratford is a constituent town of Milton Keynes and is a civil parish with a town council within the Borough of Milton Keynes. It is in the north west corner of Milton Keynes, bordering Northamptonshire and separated from it by the River Great Ouse...

 in Buckinghamshire on 28 April. Although they dined with him amicably, they took him prisoner the next day, and declared to Edward that they had done so to forestall a conspiracy by the Woodvilles against his life. Rivers and his nephew Richard Grey
Richard Grey
Sir Richard Grey was an English knight and the half-brother of King Edward V of England.Grey was the younger son of Sir John Grey of Groby and Elizabeth Woodville, later Queen Consort of King Edward IV...

 were sent to Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle is a castle in the town of Pontefract, in the City of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. It was the site of the demise of Richard II of England, and later the place of a series of famous sieges during the English Civil War-History:...

 in Yorkshire and executed there at the end of June.

Edward entered London in the custody of Richard on 4 May, and was lodged in the Tower of London. Elizabeth Woodville had already gone hastily into sanctuary at Westminster with her remaining children, although preparations were being made for Edward V to be crowned on 22 June, at which point Richard's authority as Protector would end. On 13 June, Richard held a full meeting of the Council, at which he accused Hastings and others of conspiracy against him. Hastings was executed without trial later in the day.

Thomas Bourchier
Thomas Bourchier
Thomas Bourchier was an English archbishop, Lord Chancellor and cardinal.-Life:Bourchier was a younger son of William Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu , and through his mother, Anne of Gloucester, a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, was a grandson of King Edward III of England. One of his brothers was...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, then persuaded Elizabeth Woodville to allow her younger son, the 9-year-old Richard, Duke of York, to join Edward in the Tower. Having secured the boys, Richard then alleged that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville had been illegal and that the two boys were therefore illegitimate. Parliament agreed, and enacted the Titulus Regius
Titulus Regius
Titulus Regius is a statute of the Parliament of England, issued in 1484, by which the title of King of England was given to Richard III of England....

, which officially named Gloucester as King Richard III
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

. The two imprisoned boys, known as the "Princes in the Tower
Princes in the Tower
The Princes in the Tower is a term which refers to Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville alive at the time of their father's death...

", disappeared and were possibly murdered; by whom and under whose orders remains controversial. There was never a trial or judicial inquest on the matter.

Having been crowned in a lavish ceremony on 6 July, Richard then proceeded on a tour of the Midlands and the north of England, dispensing generous bounties and charters and naming his own son as the Prince of Wales.

Buckingham's revolt

Opposition to Richard's rule had already begun in the south when, on 18 October, the Duke of Buckingham (who had been instrumental in placing Richard on the throne and who himself had a distant claim to the crown), led a revolt aimed at installing the Lancastrian Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

. It has been argued that by supporting Tudor rather than either Edward V or his younger brother, Buckingham was aware that both were already dead.

The Lancastrian claim to the throne had descended to Henry Tudor on the death of Henry VI and his son in 1471. Henry's father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond
Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond
Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond , also known as Edmund of Hadham , was the father of King Henry VII of England and a member of the Tudor family of Penmynydd, North Wales.-Birth and early life:...

, had been a half-brother of Henry VI, but Henry's claim to royalty was through his mother, Margaret Beaufort. She was descended from John Beaufort
John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset
John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, later only 1st Earl of Somerset, KG was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford, later his wife...

, who was a son of John of Gaunt and thus a grandson of Edward III. John Beaufort had been illegitimate at birth, though later legitimised by the marriage of his parents. It had supposedly been a condition of the legitimation that the Beaufort descendants forfeited their rights to the crown. Henry had spent much of his childhood under siege in Harlech Castle or in exile in Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. After 1471, Edward IV had preferred to belittle Henry's pretensions to the crown, and made only sporadic attempts to secure him. However his mother, Margaret Beaufort, had been twice remarried, first to Buckingham's uncle, and then to Thomas, Lord Stanley
Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby
Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, KG was titular King of Mann, an English nobleman and stepfather to King Henry VII of England...

, one of Edward's principal officers, and continually promoted her son's rights.

Buckingham's rebellion failed. Some of his supporters in the south rose up prematurely, thus allowing Richard's Lieutenant in the South, the Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, KG, Earl Marshal was an English nobleman, soldier, and the first Howard Duke of Norfolk...

, to prevent many rebels from joining forces. Buckingham himself raised a force at Brecon
Brecon
Brecon is a long-established market town and community in southern Powys, Mid Wales, with a population of 7,901. It was the county town of the historic county of Brecknockshire; although its role as such was eclipsed with the formation of Powys, it remains an important local centre...

 in mid-Wales. He was prevented from crossing the River Severn
River Severn
The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain, at about , but the second longest on the British Isles, behind the River Shannon. It rises at an altitude of on Plynlimon, Ceredigion near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales...

 to join other rebels in the south of England by storms and floods, which also prevented Henry Tudor landing in the West Country. Buckingham's starving forces deserted and he was betrayed and executed.

The failure of Buckingham's revolt was clearly not the end of the plots against Richard, who could never again feel secure, and who also suffered the loss of his wife and eleven-year-old son, putting the future of the Yorkist dynasty in doubt.

Henry Tudor

Many of Buckingham's defeated supporters and other disaffected nobles fled to join Henry Tudor in exile. Richard made an attempt to bribe the Duke of Brittany's Minister to betray Henry, but Henry was warned and escaped to France, where he was again given sanctuary and aid.

Confident that many magnates and even many of Richard's officers would join him, Henry set sail from Harfleur
Harfleur
-Population:-Places of interest:* The church of St-Martin, dating from the fourteenth century.* The seventeenth century Hôtel de Ville .* Medieval ramparts * The fifteenth century museums of fishing and of archaeology and history....

 on 1 August 1485 with a force of exiles and French mercenaries. With fair winds, he landed in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

 six days later. The officers Richard had appointed in Wales either joined Henry or stood aside. Henry gathered supporters on his march through Wales and the Welsh Marches, and defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field
Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians...

. Richard was slain during the battle, supposedly by the Welsh man-at-arms Rhys ap Thomas
Rhys ap Thomas
Rhys ap Thomas was a Welsh soldier and landholder who rose to prominence during the Wars of the Roses, and was instrumental in the victory of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He remained a faithful supporter of Henry and was rewarded with lands and offices in South Wales...

 with a blow to the head from his poleaxe. (Rhys was knighted three days later by Henry VII.)

Henry, having been acclaimed King Henry VII, then strengthened his position by marrying Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York was Queen consort of England as spouse of King Henry VII from 1486 until 1503, and mother of King Henry VIII of England....

, daughter of Edward IV and the best surviving Yorkist claimant. He thus reunited the two royal houses, merging the rival symbols of the red and white roses into the new emblem of the red and white Tudor Rose
Tudor rose
The Tudor Rose is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the Tudor dynasty.-Origins:...

. Henry shored up his position by executing all other possible claimants whenever any excuse was offered, a policy his son Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 continued.

Many historians consider the accession of Henry VII to mark the end of the Wars of the Roses. Others argue that they continued to the end of the fifteenth century, as there were several plots to overthrow Henry and restore Yorkist claimants. Only two years after the Battle of Bosworth, Yorkists rebelled, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, who had been named by Richard III as his heir but had been reconciled with Henry after Bosworth. The conspirators produced a pretender to the throne, a boy named Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel
Lambert Simnel was a pretender to the throne of England. His claim to be the Earl of Warwick in 1487 threatened the newly established reign of King Henry VII .-Early life:...

, who bore a close physical resemblance to the young Edward, Earl of Warwick (son of Clarence), the best surviving male claimant of the House of York. This plan was on very shaky ground, because the young earl was still alive and in King Henry's custody and was paraded through London to expose the impersonation. At the Battle of Stoke, Henry defeated Lincoln's army. Simnel was pardoned for his part in the rebellion and was sent to work in the royal kitchens.

Henry's throne was again challenged in 1491 with the appearance of the pretender Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck
Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England. By claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV, one of the Princes in the Tower, Warbeck was a significant threat to the newly established Tudor Dynasty,...

, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York (the younger of the two Princes in the Tower). Warbeck made repeated attempts to incite revolts, with support at various times from the court of Burgundy and James IV of Scotland
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

. He was captured after the failed Second Cornish Uprising of 1497
Second Cornish Uprising of 1497
The Second Cornish Uprising is the name given to the Cornish uprising of September 1497 when the pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck landed at Whitesand Bay, near Land's End, on 7 September with just 120 men in two ships...

, and executed in 1499 after attempting to escape imprisonment.

During the reign of Henry VII's son Henry VIII, the possibility of Yorkist challenges to the throne remained until as late as 1525, in the persons of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham
Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham
Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, KG was an English nobleman. He was the son of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the former Lady Catherine Woodville, daughter of the 1st Earl Rivers and sister-in-law of King Edward IV.-Early life:Stafford was born at Brecknock Castle in Wales...

, Edmund de la Pole, 3rd Duke of Suffolk
Edmund de la Pole, 3rd Duke of Suffolk
Edmund de la Pole, 3rd Duke of Suffolk, 6th Earl of Suffolk , Duke of Suffolk, was a son of John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk and his wife Elizabeth of York.-Family:...

 and his brother Richard de la Pole
Richard de la Pole
Richard de la Pole was a pretender to the English crown. Commonly nicknamed White Rose, he was the last member of the House of York to actively and openly seek the crown of England...

, all of whom had blood ties to the Yorkist dynasty but were excluded by the pro-Woodville Tudor settlement. To an extent, England's break with Rome
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

 was prompted by Henry's fears of a disputed succession should he leave only a female heir to the throne, or an infant who would be as vulnerable as Henry VI had been to antagonistic or rapacious regents.

Aftermath and effects

Historians still debate the true extent of the conflict's impact on medieval English life, and some revisionists, such as the Oxford historian K.B. McFarlane, suggest that the conflicts during this period have been radically overstated, and that there were, in fact, no Wars of the Roses at all.

With their heavy casualties among the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, the wars are thought to have continued the changes in feudal English society caused by the effects of the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

, including a weakening of the feudal power
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 of the nobles and a corresponding strengthening of the merchant classes, and the growth of a strong, centralised monarchy under the Tudors. It heralded the end of the medieval period in England and the movement towards the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

.

On the other hand, it has also been suggested that the traumatic impact of the wars was exaggerated by Henry VII to magnify his achievement in quelling them and bringing peace. Certainly, the effect of the wars on the merchant and labouring classes was far less than in the long drawn-out wars of siege and pillage in France and elsewhere in Europe, which were carried out by mercenaries who profited from the prolonging of the war. Although there were some lengthy sieges, such as at Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle, located in Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales, is a concentric castle, constructed atop a cliff close to the Irish Sea. Architecturally, it is particularly notable for its massive gatehouse....

 and Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle is an imposing castle located on the coast at Bamburgh in Northumberland, England. It is a Grade I listed building.-History:...

, these were in comparatively remote and sparsely inhabited regions. In the populated areas, both factions had much to lose by the ruin of the country and sought quick resolution of the conflict by pitched battle.

The kings of France and Scotland as well as the dukes of Burgundy played the two factions off against each other, pledging military and financial aid and offering asylum to defeated nobles and pretenders, to prevent a strong and unified England from making war on them. The post-war period was also the death knell for the large standing baronial armies, which had helped fuel the conflict. Henry VII, wary of any further fighting, kept the barons on a very tight leash, removing their right to raise, arm, and supply armies of retainers so that they could not make war on each other or the king. As a result the military power of individual barons declined, and the Tudor court became a place where baronial squabbles were decided with the influence of the monarch.

Few noble houses were actually exterminated during the wars. For example, in the period from 1425 to 1449, before the outbreak of the war, there were as many extinctions of noble lines (25) as occurred during the period of fighting (24) from 1450 to 1474. However, the most openly ambitious nobles died, and by the later period of the wars, fewer nobles were prepared to risk their lives and titles in an uncertain struggle.

In literature

Chronicles written during the Wars of the Roses include:
  • Benet's Chronicle
  • Gregory's Chronicle (1189–1469)
  • Short English Chronicle (before 1465)
  • Hardyng's Chronicle: first version for Henry VI (1457)
  • Hardyng's Chronicle: second version for Richard, duke of York and Edward IV (1460 and c. 1464)
  • Hardyng's Chronicle: second "Yorkist" version revised for Lancastrians during Henry VI's Readeption (see Peverley's article).
  • Capgrave (1464)
  • Commynes (1464–98)
  • Chronicle of the Lincolnshire Rebellion (1470)
  • Historie of the arrival of Edward IV in England (1471)
  • Waurin (before 1471)
  • An English Chronicle: AKA Davies' Chronicle (1461)
  • Brief Latin Chronicle (1422–71)
  • Fabyan (before 1485)
  • Rous (1480/86)
  • Croyland Chronicle (1149–1486)
  • Warkworth's Chronicle (1500?)

Key figures

  • Kings of England
    • Henry VI
      Henry VI of England
      Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

       (Lancastrian)
    • Edward IV
      Edward IV of England
      Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

       (Yorkist)
    • Edward V
      Edward V of England
      Edward V was King of England from 9 April 1483 until his deposition two months later. His reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who succeeded him as Richard III...

       (Yorkist)
    • Richard III
      Richard III of England
      Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

       (Yorkist)
    • Henry VII
      Henry VII of England
      Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

       (Tudor of Lancastrian ancestry, married the Yorkist heiress)
  • Prominent antagonists 1455–87
    • Yorkist
      House of York
      The House of York was a branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet, three members of which became English kings in the late 15th century. The House of York was descended in the paternal line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III, but also represented...

      • Elizabeth Woodville
        Elizabeth Woodville
        Elizabeth Woodville was Queen consort of England as the spouse of King Edward IV from 1464 until his death in 1483. Elizabeth was a key figure in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Her first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby was killed at the Second Battle of St Albans...

         Queen consort of Edward IV
      • George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
        George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence
        George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick, KG was the third son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of kings Edward IV and Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the...

      • Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
        Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York
        Richard Plantagenêt, 3rd Duke of York, 6th Earl of March, 4th Earl of Cambridge, and 7th Earl of Ulster, conventionally called Richard of York was a leading English magnate, great-grandson of King Edward III...

      • Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
        Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
        Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

         ('The Kingmaker')
      • Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury
        Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury
        Richard Neville, jure uxoris 5th Earl of Salisbury and 7th and 4th Baron Montacute, KG, PC was a Yorkist leader during the early parts of the Wars of the Roses.-Background:...

      • John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu
        John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu
        John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu KG was a Yorkist leader in the Wars of the Roses, best-known for eliminating Lancastrian resistance in the north of England during the early part of the reign of Edward IV of England....

      • William Neville, 1st Earl of Kent
        William Neville, 1st Earl of Kent
        William Neville, 1st Earl of Kent KG and jure uxoris 6th Baron Fauconberg, was an English nobleman and soldier.-Early life:...

      • Bastard of Fauconberg
        Bastard of Fauconberg
        Thomas Neville or Thomas, Viscount Fauconberg was a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the Roses.The illegitimate son of Sir William Neville of Fauconberg, Earl of Kent, Thomas Neville was more often referred to as The Bastard of Fauconberg , Lord Fauconberg or just Thomas the Bastard...

      • William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke
    • Lancastrian
      House of Lancaster
      The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

      • Margaret of Anjou
        Margaret of Anjou
        Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England. As such, she was Queen consort of England from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471; and Queen consort of France from 1445 to 1453...

         Queen consort of Henry VI
      • Sir Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland
        Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland
        Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland was an English nobleman and military commander in the lead up to the Wars of the Roses. He was the son of Henry "Hotspur" Percy, and the grandson of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland...

      • Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland
        Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland
        Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland was the son of Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland and Lady Eleanor Neville, daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife Joan Beaufort.-Family:...

      • Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
        Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
        Richard Neville KG, jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick and suo jure 6th Earl of Salisbury and 8th and 5th Baron Montacute , known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander...

         ('The Kingmaker')
      • Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset
        Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset
        Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, KG , sometimes styled 1st Duke of Somerset, was an English nobleman and an important figure in the Wars of the Roses and in the Hundred Years' War...

      • Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset
        Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset
        Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset was an important Lancastrian military commander during the English Wars of the Roses. He is sometimes numbered the 2nd Duke of Somerset, since the title was re-created for his father after his uncle died...

      • Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset
        Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset
        Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, 6th Earl of Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, 3rd Earl of Dorset was an English nobleman and military commander during the Wars of the Roses....

      • John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
        John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford
        John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, also 9th Lord of Skipton was a Lancastrian military leader during the Wars of the Roses...


Family tree

The above-listed individuals with well-defined sides are coloured with red borders for Lancastrians and blue for Yorkists (The Kingmaker changed sides, so he is represented with a purple border)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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