Just picked this up for 3 quid. Is this decent or a piece of shit?
Also, what the fuck happened in the War of the Roses?
England had low stability and the king had no heir
so lots of rebel units started appearing all over the country and would take over all the land until the king gives into their demands
The over-mighty subject
the need to reward vassals with land grants, resulting in the crown alienating more lands, resulting in a weaker more impoverished crown, while great vassals increased their power and influence
Possible names could include the Lancastrian-Yorkist war and the first English civil war, with the Royalists vs Parliamentarians war being named the second English civil war.
I'm just speculating though
Well, you could say the Angevin empire occupied too much ground in France for those to be considered "English" civil wars, and the Norman elite all spoke French, French was the language of the court, etc.
Wars of the Roses was a much more exclusively English affair
Two cadet houses fought over a vacant spot on the English throne, the rest of Western Europe funded the shit out of both factions and send mercenaries to keep England tied up in a civil war.
If the intention was to weaken England why were there no attempts made on their continental holdings?
Warwick took 2,000 men with him from Calais to the Battle of Northampton, I doubt it could levy much of a garrison.
Did you get this from The Work?
Basically, England lost the Hundred Years War so badly, we immediately started fighting each other over who to blame.
The king, Henry VI from his father Henry V, the great war hero. Unfortunately Henry VI wasnt his father He was too peaceful and gentle and prone to listening to his advisors and sychophants who wanted to inflluence him for their own profit rather than winning the actual war.
One of the nobles who had been fighting to hold onto the last bits of English territory in France, Richard, Duke of York, basically told the advisors to GTFO. Which they obviously refused. Which led to the two sides openly fighting each other.
York had a claim to the throne from a differet branch of the royal family and after a number of victories, called in his claim. He basically marched on London, wearing the royal coat of arms rather than his own and basically demanded the crown. Henry VI the absolute mad man actually did it. With the deal being that Henry would be king until he died, then the crown would pass onto York and his heirs from then on.
However, Henry had a son of his own who would no longer be king. And a mother who was very, VERY unhappy about it. Queen Margaret gathered her own army and besieged York at his castle at Wakefield where he was killed along with his son. Their heads were cut off and put on spikes overlooking the city of York.
HOWEVE THE SECOND, York had another son. Three of them infact, Edward, George and Richard. Edward the eldest, had been gathering another army on the Welsh border and upon hearing of his fathers death, immediately marched into London and fully declared himself King Edward IV.
Leaving London with hs friend and advisor the Earl of Warwick, he heads north and meets Queen Margarets army at Towton, between Leeds and York. The battle lasts most of the day in a swirling snow storm and would be the bloodiest ever fought on English soil, with 10,000+ casualities.
Calais is a really really strong and well defended city.
On top of that it was an enclave surrounded by Burgundian lands.
and a 1580 map of calais showing the medieval defenses
The queens army gets the living shit kicked out of it. Litterally mounds of bodies and the nearby river running red with gore and choked with corpses. The army routs as far as the city of York itself where there is fighting in the streets before they ultimately surrender.
King Henry's family flees. The king to Scotland and the Queen and Prince to France.
There are a few more battles as Edward consolodates his grip on the country. At one point (not entirey sure of the details, I'm more familiar with the later parts) King Henry is captured and is locked safely away in the Tower. Peace more or less returns to England.
Except Edward does something very very stupid. He had sent his friend Warwick out to look for a foreign princess to marry. Warwick works for months until he finall finds someone suitable for his best pal. He confidently announces in the middle of the court that he has been successful. Only there is an awkward silence.
See, Edward is already married. And has been for months. He got married in secret after meeting and instantly falling in love/lust with a minor noblewoman called Elizabeth Woodville. And noone bothered to tell Warwick.
Warwick is not to happy for being taken for a fool but he gets on with it. Until the king starts heaping favours and rewards onto his wifes family. Rewards and favours that Warwick should get.
There had been rumours that Edward was not actually Yorks son. That his brother George was the true heir. So Warwick and George get together and overthrow Edward. Fortunately he manages to escape but not before several members of his wifes family are killed.
Again not to sure of the details here, but basically at some point George switches sides AGAIN back to his brother and Warwick frees Henry from the tower, but uses him as a puppet. Warwick invites Queen Margaret and the Prince back from exile. At the same time, Edward is gathering a new army from his supporters in England and allies on the continent.
Lot's of people think it's a purely civil war thing but then forget to realize pretenders invaded England like 5 or 6 times from outside of England, something not possible without continental support. Of course these supporters also switched allegiance with the two English Factions a couple of times making an incredible complicated civil war even more complicated.
This is another rather interesting battle quite a few people miss when reading about the War of the Roses. It was actually fought after Bosworth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stoke_Field
This time the Pretenders showed up with a ton of Irish Kerns and Dutch Landsknecht pikemen.
Basically England got rekt in the 100 years war and plunged itself into a pretender uprising between two cadet branches of the house of Plantagenet - Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose).
It was a tug of war between the two houses with each of them grabbing the throne and varying points. Then Henry VII of the new house of Tudor who was descended from both houses showed up and rekt them both.
If Britain wasn't an island it would lose independence many times in the past because of all the shitty mess happening there.
They still managed to get conquered by inland invaders several times. And even willingly once.
For the glory of their empire.
Why bother conquering the steppes or the sahara? If it would be easy no European empire would pass up the chance to add another random island to their blob.
Edward and Co. land in York and head south, gathering men and meeting up with Georgieboy on the way.
Warwick rides out with his own army and they meet at Barnet, outside London. This battle is an utter clusterfuck, its early in the morning, theres alot of mist and its hard to see. One flank of Edwards army breaks and runs with part of Warwicks army giving chase. By the time they get back the battle has turned slightly and they are shot by their own men who think its a flank attack.
The battle is lost and Warwick killed. Edward is recrowned king and Henry is sent back to the tower.
A few days later Margaret lands on the south coast and is immediately greeted to the news that Warwick is dead and Edward is coming to stop her. She heads north, gathering her own army on the way and attempts to get to Wales where she has support. Bristol slams their gates in her face so she has to head further north to Tewkesbury, where Edward and his army finally catch up with them.
This is another battle where the queens army gets wrecked. Things are so bad one of her commanders kills his colleague on the spot for massive incompetance. Most of them are killed but some flee to a nearby abbey where they are supposed to be safe. Edward however, just has the door broken down and the hiding nobles beheaded in the street outside. Either amongst them, or killed in battle is King Henry's son. Queen Margaret is captured and Edward returns to London (which has been under siege by Kentish rebels while he's been gone but thats a whole other mess to deal with).
At this point King Henry "dies of sadness" upon hearing his son has been killed. Yes. Honestly.
>Also, what the fuck happened in the War of the Roses?
Some Welsh git took the throne of England, after two branches of the house of Plantagenet couldn't stop fighting over it, so they gave it to a Welsh guy with no blood claim to the throne, all he had was his granny was the former French Queen consort of the King, who eventually got knocked up by a Welsh peasant after her husband died.
Then one of his ancestors couldn't churn out any kids so they gave the throne to some Scottish gits, who got overthrown in a civil war, restored following a civil war, and then overthrown by a Dutch git married to one of the Scottish gits
And that is basically it. George tries to do more political backstabbing and is executed for his troubles. The kings other brother, Richard, who had proven to be a competent commander at both Barnet and Tewkesbury is made warden of the North, effectively controlling half the country. Edward decides to invade France and is bribed into going home. He also decides to invade Scotland (well, he gets Richard to do it for him anyway), with Berwick upon Tweed being captured and remaining in English hands to this day. On the whole though, Edward is quite content to get old and fat until he eventually eats and drinks himself to death in 1483.
Again this is where it all gets political and backstabby. The throne should now go to Edwards son, also called Edward. He, along with his uncles on his mothers side, immediately set off to London for the coronation. But who do they meet on the road? Why their other uncle Richard of course. He's there to make sure they safely get to London. Along with quite a few armed men.
At this point, Richard finds proof that Edward was ALREADY married when he had his secret wedding to Elizabeth Woodville, therefore making his marriage to her illegitmate, along with all of their children. The young Edward, who has been kept in the tower "for safety purposes" is never seen or heard from again. Most people say he was murdered, but there is no real proof either way. He,along with his brother, just vanish.
Richard, who is now the only one left, has himself crowned king and with a few executions, solidly places himself on the throne.
All is well.
Except there's this bloke. Some minor Welsh noble. He kinda has a very tenuous claim to the throne. He's been in exile for years though so there is nothing that could possibly go wrong...
Except it's even harder because France has invaded Croatia.
However trying to invade Ireland wasn't just hard for the geopolitical fact that England owned it. It had the same logistical problems as invading England, only you would have to do it twice. Not only does it have the same natural defenses as England, but it's fortified even further still by the fact that there's a bigger island in the way.
It would be like trying to invade Russia through Siberia and over the Urals, as if invading it through the west wasn't hard enough.
The Welsh bloke, Henry Tudor, with the backing of the French king, lands in Wales and starts gathering up an army of his own. He claims to be the Welsh version of King Arthur and waves a red dragon flag at them which is apparently enough to get them on side. He very slowly makes his way through Wales, before heading into England.
Richard, who had been in the north of England, races south, sending letters to all his supporters telling them to bring a shitload of troops because he's going o destroy the last potential rival.
There is one small problem though. One of the people he is relying on is Thomas, Lord Stanley. Stanley has been a loyal supporter of Richard's family throughout the wars. However he was married to Henry Tudors mother. And he firmly knew which way his loyalties lay.
The two armies met at Market Bosworth, near to Leicester. The battle was joined with heavy fighting, when an opportunity presented itself. King Richard could see Henry Tudor, riding to one side of the battlefield. This was his chance.
Gathering his knights and bodyguards, Richard personnally led a cavalry charge (unique in the entire wars of the roses), in which he personnally killed Tudor's standard bearer and unhorsed his bodyguard. He would have been within striking distance of Tudor himself, when Stanley unleashed his men. Directly into the back of Richards men. Richard is unhorsed and continues to fight on foot. One of his knights offers him another horse to escape, but he tells him he will not retreat and will "Die a king of England, or win". At this point, Richard is hacked down and killed by Stanleys men.
Supposedly, Richards crown was found in a thorn bush and presented to Tudor, who was crowned on the battlefield.
Tudor has Edward IV's marriage re-legitimised and marries his daughter, princess Elizabeth, uniting the two rival families together. That is basically that. The Plantagenets are wiped out and the Tudor age begins.
I've heard that at the time they were called the Cousins War, and I heard this long before the romance novel series of the same name came out, but its impossible to verify online now.
I think the Paston Letters refer to them as "troubles". Dont quote me, but I also think Hollinshead calls them the Wars of Lancaster and York. His chronicles is where Shakespeare got most of his Histories from.
My personal favourite is the French version, the Wars of the Two Roses.
Apparently there are records of the Mercers company in London tearing up the white roses in their garden and replacing them with red ones, as show of loyalty to Lancaster, so there may be something to the name after all.
Your summaries are fantastic.
However on Stanley, who seems like an amazing statesman, my wikipedia research suggested that at Bosworth he was undecided on who to support until mid battle.
I've also read it was him who crowned Henry Tudor.
Forgot to mention also,
King Henry is mentally ill through most of this. He basically has what would be termed a mental breakdown after hearing that the last few bits of France have been lost and doesnt move or speak to anyone for a year. There's conflicting reports of the level of his insanity, supposedly he spent one battle under a tree, singing, while another account of the same battle says he was just there and sort of depressed.
King Richard III, as the recent discovery of his body have shown, WASNT a hunchback, but did have a severe spinal condition called Scholiosis. In his case it started in adolence and was getting worse throughout his life. Interestingly, one of the symptons is a tightening of muscles in the arms. When he was seizing the throne, one of the things he accused Elizabeth Woodville of was being a witch and casting a spell on him that withered his arm.
Why thank you good sir.
It is MASSIVELY more complex than that, with people swapping sides left right and centre. What I've put down is a major simplification, but it is 1am, on a weekday.
Stanley is an interested character. If you go to Bosworth on the battlefield walk, there's portraits and flags of all the major combatants. Richard IIIs portrait is pristine. Tudor's is a bit weatherbeaten. Stanley's has deep scratches across his face when someones taken a knife to it.
Opinion on the man is deeply divided to this day.
Another funny thing about Richard III is that he nearly won the battle of Bosworth. His charge succeeded in coming within inches of Henry Tudor and Richard III is said to have personally killed Henry's Standard bearer, had his lance found it's way a meter or two to the side history might have looked very different.
Why is this funny you ask? English spent most of the past century fighting on foot with massed archers instead of doing stuff like cavalry charges.
Indeed. Bosworth is unique in the Wars of the Roses as far as I am aware, in that it features a cavalry charge. The English didnt fight that way.
I actually asked a certain, popular armour historian about this at a talk he gave. His answer was that noone knows why. But it was probably planned in advance, because you cant just DO a cavalry charge, given the number of people and horses you need to get into the right possition, moving at the right time, so he didnt just see Tudor and shout "There he is! Get him!" and they all went off.
We speculated that maybe he wanted to sweep down the battlefield and personally smash the rebels like the fist of God, proving that he was the king and was secure on his throne.
Here's a short video summarizing the major events of the wars using Game of Thrones characters for reference:
If you can excuse that, and the mispronunciation of "Warwick", it's actually a decent introduction to the subject.
I'd wager he wanted to bring down Henry Tudor for multiple reasons, one is that the enemy army would presumable rout now that they lost their cause and of course it meant killing one of the last guys with a significant claim to the throne.
Facing the army and slogging it out could result in Richard's defeat since he head to deal with a lot of continental mercenaries that also outnumbered him and even if he won Henry could escape.
I've read it, it was fairly interesting. It doesn't cover an era of English history that I'm super familiar with, so I can't be completely sure about the veracity of the various conclusions or opinions put forward within the book. I mean, I imagine the author draws some conclusions...can't recall a lot of it. Maybe that's a bad sign. But I do remember finding it readable, though perhaps dry through sections. I also remember being surprised at how there were such long periods of relative peace.
The discussion of the two major factions involved is fairly dramatic and makes for interesting reading. If I remember correctly I did have some difficulty following events and who was who at some points, but that tends to happen to me when I'm reading about a subject that I'm not familiar with.
Reasonably good overall I'd say. I kinda want to read it again actually, it's been sitting in my library drawing my eye. Some of the personalities from the period were intriguing, like the Black Prince and Richard III. Hope you enjoy.
If you go by bodycount, the least number of people had to die for him to be king. Edward climbed to the throne over litterally mountains worth of human corpses but noone is bothered by that. Richard was making some interesting policies but died before most could be put into practice.
They hated each others guts. Don't think anyone knows why. They were the two most prominent northern families, both trying to improve their station further with no other rivals but each other and a king too weak to stop them.
Mostly it consisted of their retains going out and attacking retainers from the other side or burning down property belonging to the rivals. There may have been large skirmishes outside York at Heworth and Stamford, but there's no detailed records of them happening other than people suing other people for their involvement.
There were similar local rivalries in other parts of the country too.