A True History of These Isles Volume II Chapter 17- The Wars (Roses of,) Actually Start

Between 1450 and 1460 turbulences reached new heights or depths depending on if you were on the wrong end of the sword. These are the essential episodes.

Henry’s Health- Richard in Ascendancy

Because Henry was incapacitated a new council was formed. Suffolk had been one of those put in and out of the tower and Henry had been obliged to banish him in 1450, some folk thought this a feeble idea and executed him at sea which Henry couldn’t do much about. Thus,Somerset by himself tried to stop Richard being on the council, but failed and ended up in the Tower, Cardinal Kemp died in 1454 which no one would have worried about (apart from popes, bishops etc) had he not been Chancellor, a person who was so important kings had to listen to (or execute) them, only kings could appoint one and Henry was not able to. So, since Somerset was in the Tower Richard was made Lord Protector, but wasn’t allowed to sit on the throne.

Queen Margaret Takes Centre Stage

Margaret was intelligent, quick-witted, determined and independent; qualities in women only appreciated in places like France, Italy and Spain (and Sometimes Scotland). Richard being very English thought she should just be quiet and give birth to heirs, Margaret being Margaret thought Richard should do as he was told. They didn’t get on and this was one of the major causes of Roses, The Wars of; Richard suspecting that Margaret was actually being the king (de facto, ad hoc, etc).

Henry’s Health Improves- That of England’s Doesn’t   

In 1455 Henry recovered found he was a father, said everything that Richard had done was wrong and Somerset should not be in The Tower. In this, he was supported by his wife Margaret (Queen and, Of Anjou)

At this stage it was obvious war would happen and everyone chose up sides. To make it easier, if people supported Richard, Duke of York, they were Yorkists; if people felt a king was always right and as Henry VI was of the house of Lancaster (Henry IV, of Parts I & II), they were Lancastrians. Yorkists went about telling people they should not be queasy about rebelling, because Henry IV (both parts) had tipped Richard (the II, not York, Duke of) off of the throne, and hadn’t been a proper king. (but that wasn’t Henry V’s fault-beyond reproach etc). No one actually picked flowers waved them at each other, this would have been thought frivolous.

The Wars of, Start

Not caring to be placed in a tower of any sort Richard assembled a much bigger army with a few more nobles, including the up and coming Warwick who had supported Henry VI but not Somerset, Warwick was also named Richard this appears to have no effect one way or the other. There were also Nevilles on one side and Percys on the other and was probably the reason for there being fighting.  Both sides met at St Alban’s on the 22nd May 1455 for the first official battle. Somerset was killed, neither Richard was, it was a famous Yorkist Victory, after which both Richards and other nobles rushed to Henry (the VI)’s tent and pledge loyalty to him and tell him he had been rescued. Henry being confused by so many Richards he believed them. And York, Duke of was back in charge.

Margaret Strikes Back

However, Margaret was having none of this and she convinced Henry VI to act normally. In 1456 York was told he was in wrong again and could not rule as the king and queen had found a new Somerset (Duke of), who importantly was also a Henry, which balanced thing up. York (the Duke) was packed off to Ireland and the Nevilles and Percys were told if they must fight they were only allowed to due this in the Far North, where only the Scots would be inconvenienced.

In 1458 Henry (King & VI) had an idea inspired by a Bouchier (Bishop-Arch, Canterbury, of). They both thought it would be a good idea if both sides walked along arm in arm, pretending they were all friends led by the king to St. Paul’s Cathedral. This would be a ‘love day’, preceeding by 310 years events in San Francisco (which to be fair had not yet been invented). As those taking part were mostly ruthless, conniving, battle-hardened men whose capacity to bear grudges was legendary this was not a success unless you count the fact that none of the participants killed each other on that day.

Warwick & York Assemble- It Doesn’t Work

Because the French had had success as pirates along the English south coast Warwick thought he would try his hand at this, but new at the game kept attacking Spanish and Hanseatic League (Germans, mostly) ships and was commanded to explain himself to Henry (VI, not Somerset, although it might as well have been). Instead, he opted to meet up with York and his eldest son Edward (note that name for future ref). The Yorkist army was bigger than the Lancastrian when they bumped into each other at Ludford Bridge, Ludow on the 12th October 1459 and should have won, but embarrassingly for Warwick a number of his men led by Andrew Trollope (Sir) who was secretly loyal to Henry (VI) deserted. Thus Warwick (Richard) with The Yorks were obliged to flee to Wales and then to Ireland although Warwick ended up in the West Country, due to the wind.

York & Warwick Assemble-This Time It Works

Although it seemed England was now back in the Lancastrian hands Henry started acting oddly again while letting his supporters get rich and corrupt in the usual way. This made the Common People angry (again).

Regrettably, for French people living in and around Calais, this was still in English hands and both Yorkist and Lancastrians would hold it, besiege it or flee there, sometimes all three at once. In 1460 the port was held by Warwick who practiced more piracy and arranged with Richard (the York one) to land in England again at Kent with his son George who was entitled to be Salisbury, Earl of, whether Lancastrians liked it or not.

The Yorkists then marched north (to York probably), Henry VI was sort of leading a Lancastrian army, and they bumped into each other on 10th July 1460 around Northampton. It rained and made the Lancastrian cannons soggy, thus the Yorkists charged victoriously. Although several loyal nobles nobly died defending him Henry was captured again! At this juncture, once again Richard, Warwick etc swore loyalty etc unto Henry. Although thinking there might be a troubling pattern developing here Richard began to consult family trees to see if he might be able to be king; this caused concern in some Yorkist ranks as they liked having an unworldly, vague sort of monarch as long as they controlled him.

Margaret Is Not Finished Yet

This, of course, did not suit Margaret (of Anjou, Queen, sometimes King, England of), who with son Edward (not the Richard of York’s one; her own) travelled north to Scotland. At this time Scotland was being run by Queen Mary (once of, of Guelders-in the area of Netherlands-Germany-fought over a lot). Her husband James II having been blown up by one of his own cannons and her son James III being too young. If there was one thing Richard and the Yorkists did not need was two intelligent, independent, determined, able Queenish sort of women getting together. Margaret asked for an army, Mary said she could have one if she, Mary could have Berwick, Margaret didn’t feel any particular attraction for the place and agreed. Margaret’s mistake was a failure to realise that England and Scotland had been scrapping over that area for centuries and just giving it away to the Scots angered many English folk, even if they lived in the South and didn’t know where Berwick was.

A Yorkist Tragedy. Margaret as Henry V (the unromantic side of his character)

Thinking he could settle the business Richard (still of York and thinking about being a Richard III) marched north. This time the armies actually met at Wakefield on 30th December 1460. Because of treachery and the Lancastrians having Trollope (see above Ludford Bridge etc.), Richard rode in the wrong direction and he and many Yorkists were slaughtered, including his son Edmund and several nobles.

Margaret then marched south telling her scots and very northern soldiers they could plunder as much as they pleased when they reached the south, they decided anything south of Wakefield was fayre game and much harm was done to the Lancastrian cause….

Meanwhile Richard’s Son- Edward had survived and was in London scaring people about Margaret’s army, which to be fair didn’t take much doing.

The results will be looked at in the next chapter…

A True History of The Isles Volume II Chapter 16- War of the Roses- 1421 to 1453 An Era of Councils (and a sort of king)

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12 thoughts on “A True History of These Isles Volume II Chapter 17- The Wars (Roses of,) Actually Start”

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this dip into your take on history … looks like I’ve a lot of Vol II chapters to catch up on! And I’m reading Vol I too which is on my Kindle … and the next PorterGirl novel from Lucy coming up soon too … and bugger I’ve got my own book to finish writing as well … got a feeling this year is going to pass very quickly! Regards. Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Eric.
      Thanks for ‘Kindling’Vol I and glad to read your enjoying this trip through history.
      As I never tire of saying, ‘1066 and All That’ is the inspiration and my main source of an overview of History. Although I must tip my hat to the style of Jerome K Jerome.
      I can understand how you feel, what with writing and reading, where does the time go?
      What project are you working on?
      All the best
      Roger

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Roger,
        I’ve been writing ‘message’ stories, of internet liaisons, the first of which I’m aiming to self-publish in March; at first sight it comes over as a relatively light-weight romance but for those who like a bit of depth there is more going on underneath. I also blog short lines and poems which can often have more than one meaning; it’s not intentional just turns out to be the way I write; and how others read them. I’m going to publish a collection of these this year too. Thanks for asking.
        Best regards
        Eric

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello Eric.
        They both sound interesting.
        One of the wonderful facets of writing is where you’ve found there have been unintended results. Our minds are busy and creative in direction we didn’t expect!
        All the best with your collection, I’ll keep a look out for it.
        Best regards
        Roger

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm, and here I was, smug and content thinking I had all of that history securely tucked away, safe and unmoving in my brain’s cavernous libraries. Wrong. I hadn’t met Roger yet. My secure world was about to be blown to bits and a whole new, totally impossible but absolutely true new history “of these isles” was about to emerge and destroy my “peace in those times” fake peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peace? I think there might have been a remote part of ….no…sorry there wasn’t there either.
      This sort of business had been going on all over Europe for centuries; hence George R R Martin’s inspiration for his Game of Thrones series.
      Although the in these ‘Isles’ we did take it to new depths with kings losing thrones all over the place, and then finding them.
      It’s gets even more frenetic in the next chapter 😀

      Like

      1. So we know that history repeats itself – because no one learns from it – and we see these “frenetic” change of command everywhere, the big bullies overthrowing the smaller ones and then “we” get all excited when we come across a “Brexit” or some such overthrow. But like you say, that sort of business has been going on all over Europe for centuries. We of the benighted Renaissance-cum-industrial age-cum technological age, confused by the attempt by the ruling elites to introduce a new way to conquer that didn’t involve pikes and long bows or cannons called democracies, using polling booths instead of muster stations, throwing in a bit of fake education for the plebes to confuse them even more, somehow came to believe that we could achieve “peace in our times” – another historical phrase that has shown its worth. We came to believe that we could organize in larger and larger groups, thus eliminating local violent competition. We arrive at this by practising a type of mental gymnastics that would set a chimpanzee laughing his head off on top of his banyan tree. Somehow we were convinced we could accomplish this without going through the necessary and quite controversial, if not contortionist, exercise of changing our very nature. We left for our grand vacation after packing up the car, forgetting the kids and the camper trailer. “Wow” said the man to the little wife, “It’s so quiet and I can’t believe how much power the car has.” And they just kept on going, never looking back to see if maybe all was not as it should be in the back seat and beyond the trailer hitch.
        Point? Nothing of what you write about has changed, and I find it rather hilarious myself that so few get it. Whatever the reason, and whenever, a larger group swallows up or forces another into its sphere of influence, never, I mean not ever, has it resulted in something better for mankind or the planet. The EU was just another sort of Anschluss. The US have been attempting to do this to Central and South America since their inception forcing most of those nations into a grossly imbalanced economic “union”. Manifest Destiny or the Divine Right of Kings and all that. I don’t know anything about Game of Thrones but I can see, by the title, that it is an on-going game. So there you go, you made me think… again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This what the big powers or the transitory confederations do and have been doing since …. well ‘Big Ugh’ really.
        Whereas History has many salutary lessons people are wont to select bits that suit them and make that The Official Version of their ‘Nation’s history- nationalism being particularly murky and selective, empire are almost honest in comparison ‘
        ‘Hey you guys! We’re bigger than you. Join us or else’
        ‘Oh OK,’
        ‘There that wasn’t so hard was it? Now you can help us out massacring some others we really don’t like,’
        And so it goes on.
        Hence my lack of respect in my accounts.

        Liked by 1 person

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