The Wars of the Roses (2022)

Edward III (1312-1377; reigned 1327-1377). Brought wealth to England with the victories of the Hundred Years' War. Towards the end of his life became senile.

Edward the Black Prince (1330-1376). Predeceased his father.

Richard II (1367-1400; reigned 1377-1399). Son of Black Prince, weak ruler.

Henry IV, House of Lancaster (1367-1413; reigned 1399-1413). Son of John of Gaunt (1340-1399, third son of Edward III, rich and powerful as his father became incapacitated.

Henry Percy, "Hotspur" (1364-1403), son of Sir Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. He supported Henry IV, and with his father defeated the Scots in 1402. A quarrel with the King arose, and in rebellion, marching to join the Welsh Prince Owen Glendower, he was intercepted and killed at Shrewsbury.

Henry V (1387-1422; reigned 1413-1422).

Henry VI (1422-1471; reigned 1429/1431 (Paris)-1461; 1470-1471). Bouts of insanity after 1453. In 1445, he married Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482).

The Trouble Begins

(1454) Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York (1411-1460; ruled 1454-1455 and 1455-1456), is appointed regent during Henry VI's insanity.
Married to: Cecily Neville (1424)
Children: Edward IV, Richard III, George, Duke of Clarence (1449-1478)

The father of two kings (Edward IV and Richard III), Richard, Duke of York, spent the later part of his life attempting to acquire the throne for his family. He served for Henry VI as both Lieutenant of France and Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1450 he returned to England to oppose the Duke of Somerset, one of Henry's closest advisors, for his ruinous policies which led to the loss of almost of all the French possessions. Over the next five years he clashed with the royal establishment over this and other issues. Finally, in 1455 fighting erupted at the battle of First St. Albans where Richard defeated the Lancastrian forces. During Henry's fits of mental illness, Richard served as Protector. However, he died in 1460 at the battle of Wakefield.

(1455) Henry VI recovers his sanity. He fears Richard of York has grown too powerful, and he puts the Duke of Somerset in Richard of York's government position, and he excludes Richard from the Royal Council--at once limiting Richard's political power, but also alienating him from the king.

(1455) The First Battle of St. Albans: This is the opening battle in the Wars of the Roses. Richard of York leads a force of about 3,000 on a march toward London. Henry VI moves from London to intercept the Yorkist army. Henry halts his march in the town of Saint Albans (about 20 miles northwest of London) and waits. Richard attacks and defeats Henry inflicting about 300 casualties. The Queen and her young son Edward flee into exile. The Yorkist faction also kills the Lancastrian ally Somerset, the primary supporter of Henry VI.

(1459) Battle of Ludford: After the losing the battle of Blore Heath, the Yorkist faction regroups at Ludford bridge at the town of Ludlow and starts to advance towards Worcester. They quickly fall back when they encounter a larger enemy force led by Henry VI. The Lancastrians take a position opposite the Yorkists across the Teme river. That night, a significant number of the Yorkist army deserts, leading to a full scale retreat the next morning. The catalyst of the defections is Andrew Trollope, captain of the Calais troops. Trollope switches sides after accepting the king's pardon. After the engagement, Richard returns to Ireland and the Earl of Salisbury flees back to Calais in France.

(Early 1460) Battle of Northampton: In June 1460, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, his father (Earl of Salisbury), and Edward, Earl of March (the future Edward IV) sail from Calais and land at Sandwich on their way to London. After waiting a few weeks to establish a siege force around a small Lancastrian army defending the Tower of London, Warwick marches north to attack the Lancastrian army that marches south from Coventry. The Lancastrian army learns of the Yorkist plans. They stop at the town of Northampton to build a defensive position. When Warwick arrives, he spends hours trying to contact the King and negotiate a settlement. Finally, around 2:00 p.m., the Yorkist force attacks. During the middle of the battle, Lord Grey, who commands a wing of the King's army, switches sides to the Yorkist cause. This is the deciding action; the Yorkist sweep away the Lancastrians. The king is now under Yorkist control, and in November he agrees that the York dynasty constitute the rightful heirs to the crown. Many think this capitulation would end the civil wars; however, the queen is busily assembling an army in Wales to continue the struggle.

The Earl of Warwick (known as Warwick the Kingmaker) captures London and turns it over to the Yorkist faction.

Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471)
Referred to as "The Kingmaker", Richard Neville attempted to wield power through the weaknesses of both Yorkists and Lancastrians kings. He and his father (earl of Salisbury) partnered with the Duke of York in his attempt to claim the crown. After helping Edward IV to gain the crown, he turned against Edward and joined forces with Edward's brother George, Duke of Clarence, in 1469. When that gambit failed he switched sides and allied with Margaret of Anjou to put Henry VI back on the throne. Richard was killed at the battle of Barnet (1471) by the forces of Edward IV.
Children: Ann Neville (wife of Richard III), Isabel Neville

(Early 1460) Battle of Wakefield: Richard, Duke of York, travels north with Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, to meet the threat of a large Lancastrian force assembling near the city of York. Upon reaching the area, Richard takes up a defensive position at Sandal Castle. For some unknown reason, Richard leaves his stronghold and directly attacks the Lancastrian force even though it is twice the size of his army. While Richard holds out for some time, he is eventually overwhelmed and his forces take a beating. Duke Richard dies during the battle. The Earl of Salisbury along with York's son are captured and executed, marking the beginning of a less chivalrous form of warfare that lasted until the end of the wars.

(1461) Battle of Mortimor's Cross: When Edward, Earl of March, hears of the disaster at Wakefield he decides to move east to link-up with Warwick in London. During his movement, he learns of a Lancastrian force located in central Wales. Edward decides to change direction and engage the enemy. His army of mostly Welshmen routes the Lancastrian army of mercenaries from France and Ireland and Wales. After the battle, Edward continues his march eastward to join Warwick near London; within two months he would be crowned king.

(1461) Second Battle of St. Albans: On February 17, 1461, Warrick "the Kingmaker" positions his army at St. Albans. Here he waits for Edward's army, victorious at Mortimer's Cross, to join him. Before the Yorkists can unite, the Lancastrians attack. Warrick flees and leaves his hostage, King Henry VI, under a tree.

(1461) Battle of Ferrybridge and Towton: March 29, 1461, the day after the battle of Ferrybridge, the Yorkist forces attack the Lancastrians in a driving snowstorm up a sloping hill at Towton. Using the snow and the wind direction as an aid, the Yorkist archers are able to shoot farther than their adversaries. The Lancastrians believe their best strategy is to charge like the knights of old. After many hours of intense fighting, the Yorkist line shows signs of strain. Fortunately, the Duke of Norfolk, John Mowbray, arrives with reinforcements and the Yorkist army defeats the Lancastrians. King Henry VI, the Queen, and their son flee to Scotland for nine years. Edward IV, Richard's son, marches into the city of York. On June 28, he is formally crowned king at Westminster. Edward IV rules England to 1483.

(1464) To offset the political power of the unhappy Lancastrians, Edward IV marries Elizabeth Woodville, whose wealth and family connections make a new powerful alliance--however, his connection to the Woodvilles, perceived as base, greedy, and too ambitious for their station, also upsets some of his other allies.

(1464) Battle of Hedgeley Moor (April 25, 1464) On his way to the border of Scotland to meet a group of envoys to discuss peace, John Neville (Lord Montague), brother of Warwick, clashes with a Lancastrian force of similar size. During the battle, the Lancastrian wings commanded by Lords Hungerford and Roos flee, leaving Sir Ralph Percy with the only holding force. Percy's troops are crushed miserably. Montague continues north and the Duke of Somerset leads the remaining Lancastrian army south to Hexham.

(1464) Battle of Hexham: On May 15, after completing his mission at the border of Scotland, Lord Montague marches south and engages the Lancastrian forces at Hexham. His army rapidly charges downhill and crushes the Lancastrian forces. The Lancastrian leaders are executed, ending most of the Lancastrian resistance.

(1465) Edward IV imprisons Henry VI.

(1466) The Earl of Warwick begins to quarrel with Edward IV. Warwick feels the king is in his debt, especially since Warwick was pivotal in helping him to the throne. He basically wants a puppet king under his own control. When King Edward refuses to obey, Warwick forms a traitorous alliance with Louis XI of France.

(1470) Warwick switches his alliance again. He allies himself with the Lancastrian faction and wages war against the Yorkist faction. He defeats Edward IV, and he restores Henry VI to the throne. Edward IV retreats and begins rallying troops.

(1471) Battle of Barnet. Edward IV defeats and kills Warwick. Henry VI dies, probably murdered.

(1483) Death of Edward IV. The child-king, Edward V, is deposed by his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard becomes King Richard III, rules until 1485. Edward V and his brother disappear after being held in the Tower of London.

(1485) Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor (soon to be King Henry VII), Earl of Richmond, lands in Wales on August 7, 1485 to challenge Richard III for the crown. Richard moves to meet Henry's army south of the village of Market Bosworth. After the armies engage, Lord Thomas Stanley and his brother Sir William switch sides and fight for Henry. Henry defeats the Yorkist forces, Richard is killed, and Henry ushers in the rule of the house of Tudor effectively ending the Wars of the Roses.

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