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The War Of The Roses In England

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1108 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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The War of the Roses was a series of conflicts fought between the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The conflict was fought between 1455- 1485. The conflict was ended with the rise of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, a member of the House of Lancaster and his marriage to Elizabeth of York, the daughter of the Edward IV, the last English king of the House of York. The result of was the creation of the House of Tudor that ruled England for around 117 years. In order to fully cover and understand the War of the Roses, each phase of the conflict shall be cover by the reign of each monarch starting with the origins of the war with the crowning of Henry Bolingbroke who shall become Henry IV to the creation of the House of Tudor with Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond.

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The House of Lancaster gained power with the crowning of Henry Bolingbroke. Henry Bolingbroke was crowned as Henry IV. Henry Bolingbroke originally was just a noble in exile by King Richard II. Henry returned with the mission of reclaiming his title, power and rights as the Duke of Lancaster. However, Henry instead turned to outright rebellion against the crown. Henry gather support from other nobles who had become dissatisfied with the reign of King Richard II. In 1399, Henry succeeded in deposing King Richard II. Henry Bolingbroke would then afterwards be crowned as Henry IV. Henry’s reign was pretty successful and also was his son’s, Henry V. Henry IV died in 1413. Henry V was one of England’s greatest warrior’s kings. However, his son was not. Henry V would leave his infant son, crowned Henry VI when he died in 1422. Henry VI was just nine months when he ascended to the throne. His regent originally was his uncle John, Duke of Bedford. John, however would die when Henry was just 13 in the year 1435. It is at this year that some sources start the War of the Roses. Henry VI did try to surround himself with good advisors. However they didn’t prove to be as good as what he thought. Many nobles started to put the blame in England’s decline at this time. A major problem Henry VI had to deal with was that he lost all the French holdings that his father had taken. Not only that but also in losing in nearly all the holdings that England had in France. It is during this time that Joan of Arc makes her arrival in the Hundred Year’s War.

One of Henry VI’s advisors was name Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester. Humphrey was actually the fourth and youngest son of Henry IV. He was thus his uncle and primary advisor to the king and when Henry V died, he was named Lord Protector by Henry’s will. He was known to be extremely popular with the people. He had enemies however. The person however that got Humphrey on Henry VI’s “bad side.” was William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk. William was also a trusted advisor to Henry VI. William however, had a distrust and hatred of Humphrey. He used his influence as advisor to the king to get Humphrey arrested on the crime of treason. Humphrey would die however, before he could ever get a trial. Most likely by a stroke. William, however would also meet his end. As previously mentioned the Hundred Year’s War was going badly for England. Bad enough that he was arrested, stripped of all titles and powers and exiled for five years in France. He would meet his end however on his way to exile.

Throughout all of these events, Henry VI was started to be seen as a weak king. Not only that but also, it seemed as if Henry was slipping more into madness. By the year

1450, he was thought to be unable to truly handle all the duties as the king of England. It is during this time period that we see the Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet appear. Richard originally didn’t want the throne. However Richard did want reform in the policies of the crown. Richard however was imprisoned for around two years. He eventually was released after swearing that he would not again take up arms against the crown. However this would be only the first incident in which a noble would rebel against royal authority. Henry VI’s reign was full of corruption and of nobles having their own private armies. These nobles really didn’t respect the authority of the crown. The main divisions in this time period was that of the Yorks and Lancastrians. It is seen that Henry VI granted titles and estates more towards the Lancastrians. The result of this was the power of the Yorks slipping away.

In 1453, Henry VI slipped into madness, this time though it wasn’t a brief period. It was determined that a Council of Regency was set up. Richard was appointed as Lord Protector. In 1455, Henry regained his senses. Henry VI was convinced by his close advisors to kick Richard out of court. Lead by Margarent of Anjou, the queen and wife of Henry VI. She would become the leaders of the Lancasters and lead the charge against Richard and the House of York. In the same year of 1455, Richard determinded that in order to survive against Margarent, he would have to fight. So he took up arms against the Lancasters.

Once the Richard, Duke of York won the battle, the king was found setting in his tent abandoned by everyone. When found, the king was discovered to have had enter another mental episode. As a result of this Richard was once again appointed as Lord Protector of England. In February of 1456, Henry VI recovered from his mental illness finally. Whenever Henry came back to his senses, Richard was relieved of his office of Lord Protector, however that was only just the beginning. Margarent was once again up to her scheming ways. She ended up convincing Henry to undo all appointments that Richard had made as Lord Protector, she also convince the king to send Richard back to Ireland as was part of his responsibility as lieutenant of Ireland. However this ended up being the final straw for Richard. When Richard returned from Ireland without permission, he was determined to make things right and go for the crown.

On September 23rd, 1459, the Battle of Blore Heath took place in Staffordshire. A Lancasterian


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Haigh, Philip A. (1995). The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses.

Pollard, A.J. (1988). The Wars of the Roses.

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Wagner, John A. (2001). Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses.

” War of the Roses,” Accessed on November 8th 2010 www.war-of-the-roses.com


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