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Wars of the Roses

York tried to claim the throne but settled for the right to succeed upon the death of Henry. Gathering forces in northern England, the Lancastrians surprised and killed York at Wakefield in December and then marched south toward London, defeating Warwick on the way at the Second Battle of St. Albans February 17, There, in the bloodiest battle of the war, the Yorkists won a complete victory.

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Henry, Margaret, and their son fled to Scotland. The first phase of the fighting was over, except for the reduction of a few pockets of Lancastrian resistance. The next round of the wars arose out of disputes within the Yorkist ranks. Warwick, the statesman of the group, was the true architect of the Yorkist triumph.

Until he was the real ruler of the kingdom. He ruthlessly put down the survivors of the Lancastrians who, under the influence of Margaret and with French help, kept the war going in the north and in Wales. The wholesale executions that followed the battle of Hexham May practically destroyed what was left of the Lancastrian party, and the work seemed complete when, a year later, Henry VI was captured and put in the Tower of London.

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Warwick made an equally vigorous effort to put the government of the realm in better shape, to restore public order, to improve the administration of justice , and, by confiscations and economies, to make the crown solvent. At the same time, both Warwick and his master were caught in the diplomatic schemes of the astute Louis XI , who had succeeded Charles VII as the king of France in He was still preoccupied with the power of Burgundy , and the English were to be the pawns in the game he intended to play for the humbling of Charles the Bold.

The Woodvilles, a family with strong Lancastrian connections, never achieved real political influence, but they climbed into positions of trust near the king, thus estranging Warwick still further. The open breach between the king and the earl came in Warwick then began to organize opposition to the king. He was behind the armed protest of the gentry and commons of Yorkshire that was called the rising of Robin of Redesdale April Edward fled to the Netherlands with his followers. There was thus little real opposition to Edward, who, having secured Burgundian aid, returned from Flushing to land at Ravenspur March in a manner reminiscent of Henry IV.

His forces met those of Warwick on April 14 in the Battle of Barnet , in which Edward outmaneuvered Warwick, regained the loyalty of the duke of Clarence, and decisively defeated Warwick, who was slain in the battle. On the same day, Margaret and her son, who had hitherto refused to return from France, landed at Weymouth.


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Hearing the news of Barnet, she marched west, trying to reach the safety of Wales, but Edward won the race to the Severn. In the Battle of Tewkesbury May 4 Margaret was captured, her forces destroyed, and her son killed. With the help of the French and of Yorkist defectors, Henry defeated and killed Richard at Bosworth Field on August 22, , bringing the wars to a close.

Wars of the Roses

Henry defeated a Yorkist rising supporting the pretender Lambert Simnel on June 16, , a date which some historians prefer over the traditional for the termination of the wars. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Aug 3, See Article History. Read More on This Topic. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Richard remained loyal and was appointed by Edward as his figurehead in Wales, the real ruling being undertaken by others.

When the Lancastrian cause crashed to disaster at the Battle of Tewkesbury May , Jasper took the boy out of the country and sought refuge in the duchy of Brittany. On the night of October 12, many Yorks defected and their leaders fled; Richard himself fled back to Ireland. The Yorks easily won the battle and captured King Henry as Margaret fled once again. Their agreement was passed by the British Parliament and called the Act of Accord.


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  • The ambitious Queen Margaret, however, would have none of this compromise, and raised another army to rise against the Yorks. The armies clashed at Wakefield Green near Sandal Castle. He was killed; his severed head was put on display wearing a paper crown. He also took over where Richard left off against the Lancastrians.

    Weeks later, they were crushed by the Lancastrians at the Second Battle of St. In March of , Edward confronted the Lancastrian army in a snowstorm in the middle of a field near Towton, North Yorkshire. With the help of her compatriots in France, she ousted Edward and restored her husband to the throne in October On May 21, , deposed King Henry VI died, supposedly of sadness, although some historians believe Edward had him murdered. Queen Margaret was eventually released and made her way back to Anjou in France, where she died in To eliminate any threats to his throne, Richard III had his young nephews held in the Tower of London , supposedly for their protection.

    When both boys—now famous as the Princes in the Tower—vanished and Richard was accused of ordering them murdered, the king quickly lost favor with his people. He met Richard on the battlefield at Bosworth on August 22, After fighting valiantly, Richard III was killed. After his official coronation, Henry married Elizabeth of York to reconcile the long-feuding Lancaster and York houses. This union ended the Wars of the Roses and gave rise to the Tudor Dynasty.

    Proclamation of Grievances, War of the Roses, Military History Encyclopedia on the Web. The Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses Wars of the Roses. We strive for accuracy and fairness.

    Wars of the Roses

    But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Albans, 20 miles northwest of London. Many Lancastrian nobles perished, including Edmund Beaufort, the duke of Somerset, and the king was forced to submit to the The Yorks and Lancasters were descended from the same family.

    The Yorks were descended from the female relatives