• Time for Roses (And for a long Game of Thrones)

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Tudor_Rose.svg/2000px-Tudor_Rose.svg.pngWe are Thursday 12th  February 2015 and it is almost time for an other Valentine's Day. Soon, the street will be full of couples and roses to offer. And, as you may know (or maybe not), Roses are the symbol of England. (Yes, I am really proud of this little transition).


    So, today, you'll have a little story about those Roses. (Little... Just kidding. Take a drink and get ready for a long journey ;) )


    First of all, we speak of the Tudor Rose (that you can also find under the name of Union Rose). As I say before, it is the floral emblem for England. His story is related to the Tudor dynasty.


    Summary of the events:

    Between 1455 and 1487, took place the War of the Roses. This war was for the the throne of England and two houses have fought against each other : the House of Lancaster (The Red Rose) and the House of York (The White Rose). Henry Tudor ended the war and became Henry VII. He decided to create the Tudor Rose : a Red Rose with a white hear. This new emblem became the emblem of England.

    Oh: And know that this war has inspired Georges R. R. Martin for Game Of Thrones !


    The War of the Roses:

    The White Rose of the House of York                                                                                  The Red Rose of the House of Lancaster


    When Henry V died in 1422, his heir was the baby Henry VI (1 or 2 years old only). Wishing to take advantage of this, the Lancastrian claim to the throne descended from John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.  Henry VI's right to the crown was challenged by Richard, Duke of York.


    Beginning of the War:

    We have to wait until the 22 May 1455 for the beginning of this war. Richard of York led a small force toward London. In the North of London, took place the "First Battle of Saint Albans". It was a Lancastrian defeat. Several prominent Lancastrian leaders, including Somerset and Northumberland, were killed. After the battle, Henry was found hiding in a local tanner's shop. York and his allies regained their position of influence. York was again appointed Protector, and Margaret was shunted aside, charged with the king's care.

    For a while, both sides seemed shocked that an actual battle had been fought and did their best to reconcile their differences, but the problems that caused conflict soon re-emerged, particularly the issue of whether Richard of York, or Henry and Margaret's son Edward, would succeed to the throne.

    In February 1456, Henry relieved York of his office of Protector. In the autumn 1456, Henry went in the Midlands, where the king and queen were popular. The king's court was set up at Coventry. Margaret convinced Henry to revoke the appointments York had made as Protector, while York was made to return to his post as lieutenant in Ireland.

    The Queen introduced the first conscription in England to fight the issues that appeared in the country : A fight between the Nevilles and Percys and piracy by French fleets. Meanwhile, Warwick (renamed "The Kingmaker"), an ally of York, was becoming popular in London as the champion of the merchants for having fought piracy.

    In the spring of 1458, Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to arrange a reconciliation. He negotiated complex settlements to resolve the issues that had persisted since the Battle of Saint Albans. Then, on 25 March 1458, the King led a "love day" procession to St. Paul's Cathedral, with Lancastrian and Yorkist nobles following him, hand in hand.


    Reconciliation didn't last:

    The next outbreak of fighting was prompted by Warwick's high-handed actions as Captain of Calais. He led his ships in attacks on neutral Hanseatic League and Spanish ships in the Channel on flimsy grounds of sovereignty. He was summoned to London to face enquiries, but he claimed that attempts had been made on his life, and returned to Calais. York, Salisbury and Warwick were summoned to a royal council at Coventry, but they refused, fearing arrest.

    York summoned the Nevilles to join him at his stronghold at Ludlow Castle in the Welsh Marches. On September 1459, took place the Battle of Blore Heath in Staffordshire. The army of York confronted the much larger Lancastrian force at the Battle of Ludford Bridge. Warwick's contingent defected to the Lancastrians, and the Yorkist leaders fled. York returned to Ireland while his son Edward, Earl of March, Salisbury and Warwick fled to Calais.

    York and his supporters were called traitors. Somerset was appointed Governor of Calais but his attempts to evict Warwick were easily repulsed. Warwick and his supporters even began to launch raids on the English coast from Calais. Warwick travelled to Ireland to concert plans with York, evading the royal ships commanded by the Duke of Exeter.

    In late June 1460, Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of March crossed the Channel, established themselves in Kent and London and marched north. King Henry led an army south to meet them while Margaret remained in the north with Prince Edward. At the Battle of Northampton on 10 July, the Yorkist army defeated the Lancastrians. King Henry was again found by the Yorkists in a tent, abandoned. With the king in their possession, the Yorkists returned to London.

    Richard of York moved to claim his throne, talking about the illegitimacy of the Lancastrian line. He and his wife Cecily entered London with all the ceremony reserved for a monarch. Parliament was assembled, and when York went to the throne, the Lords didn't acclaim. York announced his claim to the throne, but the Lords had no desire to overthrow King Henry.

    The next day, York produced detailed genealogies to support his claim. Parliament agreed to consider the matter and accepted that York's claim was better. But they voted that Henry VI should remain as king. A compromise was struck in October 1460 with the Act of Accord, which recognised York as Henry's successor, disinheriting Henry's six-year-old son, Edward. York accepted this compromise as the best offer. It gave him much of what he wanted, particularly since he was also made Protector of the Realm and was able to govern in Henry's name.


    War continued and...:

    Queen Margaret and her son had fled to north Wales and travelled by sea to Scotland to negotiate for Scottish assistance.Mary of Gueldres, Queen Consort to James II of Scotland, agreed to give Margaret an army on condition that she cede the town of Berwick to Scotland and Mary's daughter be betrothed to Prince Edward. Margaret agreed, although she had no funds to pay her army and could only promise booty from the riches of southern England, as long as no looting took place north of the River Trent.

    The Duke of York left London later that year with the Earl of Salisbury to consolidate his position in the north against the Lancastrians. He took up a defensive position at Sandal Castle near Wakefield over Christmas 1460. On 30 December, his forces left the castle and attacked the Lancastrians in the open, although outnumbered. The ensuing Battle of Wakefield was a complete Lancastrian victory. Richard of York was slain in the battle, and Salisbury and York's second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were captured and executed. Margaret ordered the heads of all three placed on the gates of York.


    Edward and the Throne:

    Edward, Earl of March, was now Duke of York and claimed his right to the throne. With an army from the pro-Yorkist Marches, he defeated Jasper Tudor's Lancastrian Army at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire.

    Margaret's army was moving south. In London, Warwick used this as propaganda to reinforce Yorkist support throughout the south. Warwick's army established fortified positions north of the town of St Albans to block the main road from the north but was outmanoeuvred by Margaret's army, which swerved to the west and then attacked Warwick's positions from behind. At the Second Battle of Saint Albans, the Lancastrians won and found King Henry, left behind by the Yorkist forces.

    Henry knighted thirty Lancastrian soldiers after the battle. Queen Margaret instructed her son Edward of Westminster to determine the manner of execution of the Yorkist knights who had been charged with keeping Henry safe and had stayed at his side throughout the battle.

    As the Lancastrian army advanced southwards, a wave of dread swept London, where rumours were rife about savage northerners intent on plundering the city. The people of London shut the city gates and refused to supply food to the queen's army, which was looting the surrounding counties of Hertfordshire and Middlesex.


    Yorkist triumph:

    Edward of March joined Warwick's surviving forces and advanced towards London from the west. Meanwhile, the Queen retreated northwards to Dunstable. So, Edward and Warwick were able to enter London with their army. They found considerable support there. Thomas Kempe, the Bishop of London, asked the people of London their opinion and they replied with shouts of "King Edward". The request approved by Parliament, Edward was unofficially crowned at Westminster Abbey. Edward vowed that he would not have a formal coronation until Henry VI and his wife were removed from the scene. Parliament accepted that Edward's victory was a restoration of the rightful heir to the throne.

    Edward and Warwick marched north, gathering a large army, and met an equally impressive Lancastrian army at Towton. The Battle of Towton, near York, was the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses. Both sides agreed beforehand that the issue would be settled that day. An estimated 40,000 - 80,000 men took part, with over 20,000 men being killed during (and after) the battle, an enormous number for the time and the greatest recorded single day's loss of life on English soil. Edward and his army won a decisive victory, and the Lancastrians were routed, with most of their leaders slain. Henry, Margaret and their son Edward fled north. Many of the surviving Lancastrian nobles switched allegiance to King Edward. Edward advanced to take York where he replaced the rotting heads of his father, his brother, and Salisbury with those of defeated Lancastrian lords such as the notorious John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford of Skipton-Craven.


    The New King Edward IV:

    Edward IV's official coronation took place in June 1461 in London where he received a rapturous welcome from his supporters.

    Staying in Scotland, Henry VI and Margaret were in the court of James III and followed through on their promise to cede Berwick. Later in the year, they mounted an attack on Carlisle but, lacking money, they were easily repulsed by Edward's men who were rooting out the remaining Lancastrian forces in the northern counties. Several castles under Lancastrian commanders held out for years.

    There were Lancastrian revolts in the north of England in 1464. Several Lancastrian nobles led the rebellion. The revolt was put down by Warwick's brother, John Neville. A small Lancastrian army was destroyed at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor on 25 April, but because Neville was escorting Scottish commissioners for a treaty to York, he could not immediately follow up this victory. Then on 15 May, he routed Somerset's army at the Battle of Hexham. Somerset was captured and executed.

    The ex-King Henry was again captured at Clitheroe in Lancashire in 1465. He was held prisoner at the Tower of London where he was reasonably well treated. About the same time, once England under Edward IV and Scotland had come to terms, Margaret and her son were forced to leave Scotland and sail to France, where they maintained an impoverished court in exile for several years. The last remaining Lancastrian stronghold was Harlech Castle in Wales, which surrendered in 1468 after a seven-year-long siege.


    A rebellion again:

    "The Kingmaker" had become the greatest landowner in England. He was convinced of the need for an alliance with France and had been negotiating a match between Edward and a French bride. However, Edward had married Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a Lancastrian knight, in secret in 1464. He announced the news of his marriage to Warwick's considerable embarrassment. This embarrassment turned to bitterness when the Woodvilles came to be favoured over the Nevilles at court. Many of Queen Elizabeth's relatives were married into noble families and others were granted peerages or royal offices.
    By 1469, Warwick had formed an alliance with Edward's brother Clarence, married to Isabel Neville. Their army defeated the king's forces at the Battle of Edgecote Moor. Edward was captured at Olney and imprisoned at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire. Warwick had the queen's father, Richard Woodville, and her brother executed. However, he made no immediate move to have Edward declared illegitimate and place Clarence on the throne. Few of the nobles were prepared to support Warwick's seizure of power. Edward was escorted to London by Warwick's brother George, the Archbishop of York, where he and Warwick were reconciled, to outward appearances.

    When further rebellions broke out in Lincolnshire, Edward easily suppressed them at the Battle of Losecoat Field. He declared that Warwick and Clarence had instigated them. They were declared traitors and forced to flee to France. Louis XI, who wished to forestall a hostile alliance between Edward and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, suggested the idea of an alliance between Warwick and Margaret. Neither of those two formerly mortal enemies entertained the notion at first, but eventually they were brought round to realise the potential benefits. Warwick invaded England in the autumn of 1470.

    Edward IV had already marched north to suppress an uprising in Yorkshire. Warwick, with help from his nephew, the Bastard of Fauconberg, landed at Dartmouth and secured support from the southern counties and ports. He occupied London in October, and paraded Henry VI through the streets of London as the restored king. Warwick's brother John Neville suddenly defected to Warwick. Edward was unprepared for this event and had to order his army to scatter. He and Gloucester fled from Doncaster to the coast, and thence to Holland and exile in Burgundy. They were proclaimed traitors, and many exiled Lancastrians returned to reclaim their estates.

    Warwick's success was short-lived. He overreached himself with his plan to invade Burgundy in alliance with the King of France, tempted by King Louis' promise of territory in the Netherlands as a reward. This led Edward's brother-in-law, Charles of Burgundy, to provide funds and troops to Edward to enable him to launch an invasion of England in 1471. Edward landed with a small force at Ravenspur on the Yorkshire coast. Initially claiming to support Henry and to be seeking only to have his title of Duke of York restored, he soon gained the city of York and rallied several supporters. His brother Clarence turned traitor again, abandoning Warwick. Edward captured London. His army then met Warwick's at the Battle of Barnet. The battle was fought in thick fog, and some of Warwick's men attacked each other by mistake. It was believed by all that they had been betrayed, and Warwick's army fled. Warwick was cut down trying to reach his horse. Montagu also was killed in the battle.

    Margaret and her son Edward had landed in the West Country only a few days before the Battle of Barnet. Rather than return to France, Margaret sought to join the Lancastrian supporters in Wales and marched to cross the Severn but was thwarted when the city of Gloucester refused her passage across the river. Her army, commanded by the fourth successive Duke of Somerset, was brought to battle and destroyed at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Prince Edward, the Lancastrian heir to the throne, was killed. With no heirs to succeed him, Henry VI was murdered shortly afterwards, on 21 May 1471, to strengthen the Yorkist hold on the throne.


    (Still Not Over) Richard III:

    Edward IV is back on the Throne in 1471 and we could think that this will be the end of the Wars of the Roses. But, when Edward died suddenly in 1483, political and dynastic turmoil erupted again. At the time of Edward's premature death, his heir, Edward V, was only 12 years old and had been brought up under the stewardship of Earl Rivers at Ludlow Castle.

    On his deathbed, Edward had named his surviving brother Richard of Gloucester as Protector of England. Richard had been in the north when Edward died. The Duke of Buckingham declared his support for Richard. Richard and Buckingham overtook Earl Rivers, who was escorting the young Edward V to London, at Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire on 28 April. They took him prisoner and declared to Edward that they had done so to forestall a conspiracy by the Woodvilles against his life. Rivers and his nephew Richard Grey were sent to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire and executed there at the end of June.

    Edward entered London in the custody of Richard on 4 May, and was lodged in the Tower of London. Elizabeth Woodville had already gone hastily into sanctuary at Westminster with her remaining children, although preparations were being made for Edward V to be crowned on 22 June, at which point Richard's authority as Protector would end. On 13 June, Richard held a full meeting of the Council, at which he accused Hastings and others of conspiracy against him. Hastings was executed without trial later in the day.

    Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, persuaded Elizabeth Woodville to allow her son Richard, Duke of York, to join Edward in the Tower. Having secured the boys, Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells alleged that Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville had been illegal and that the two boys were therefore illegitimate. Parliament agreed, and enacted the Titulus Regius, which officially named Gloucester as King Richard III. The two imprisoned boys, known as the "Princes in the Tower", disappeared and were possibly murdered.

    Having been crowned in a lavish ceremony on 6 July, Richard then proceeded on a tour of the Midlands and the north of England, dispensing generous bounties and charters and naming his own son as the Prince of Wales.


    Revolution is on his way again:

    Opposition to Richard's rule had begun in the south on 18 October when the Duke of Buckingham led a revolt aimed at installing the Lancastrian Henry Tudor. The Lancastrian claim to the throne had descended to Henry Tudor on the death of Henry VI and his son in 1471.
    Henry's father, Edmund Tudor had been a half-brother of Henry VI, but Henry's claim to royalty was through his mother, Margaret Beaufort. She was descended from John Beaufort, who was a son of John of Gaunt and thus a grandson of Edward III. John Beaufort had been illegitimate at birth, though later legitimised by the marriage of his parents. It had supposedly been a condition of the legitimation that the Beaufort descendants forfeited their rights to the crown. Henry had spent much of his childhood under siege in Harlech Castle or in exile in Brittany. After 1471, Edward IV had preferred to belittle Henry's pretensions to the crown, and made only sporadic attempts to secure him. However his mother, Margaret Beaufort, had been twice remarried, first to Buckingham's uncle, and then to Thomas, Lord Stanley, one of Edward's principal officers, and continually promoted her son's rights.

    Buckingham's rebellion failed. Some of his supporters in the south rose up prematurely, thus allowing Richard's Lieutenant in the South, the Duke of Norfolk, to prevent many rebels from joining forces. Buckingham himself raised a force at Brecon in mid-Wales. He was prevented from crossing the River Severn to join other rebels in the south of England by storms and floods, which also prevented Henry Tudor landing in the West Country. Buckingham's starving forces deserted and he was betrayed and executed.

    The failure of Buckingham's revolt was clearly not the end of the plots against Richard, who could never again feel secure, and who also suffered the loss of his wife and eleven-year-old son, putting the future of the Yorkist dynasty in doubt.


    Finally, the End of The War with Henry VII:


    Many of Buckingham's defeated supporters and other disaffected nobles fled to join Henry Tudor in exile. Richard made an attempt to bribe the Duke of Brittany's chief MinisterPierre Landais to betray Henry, but Henry was warned and escaped to France, where he was again given sanctuary and aid.

    Confident that many magnates and even many of Richard's officers would join him, Henry set sail from Harfleur on 1 August 1485 with a force of exiles and French mercenaries. With fair winds, he landed in Pembrokeshire six days later. The officers Richard had appointed in Wales either joined Henry or stood aside. Henry gathered supporters on his march through Wales and the Welsh Marches, and defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard was slain during the battle, supposedly by the major Welsh landowner Rhys ap Thomas with a blow to the head from his poleaxe. (Rhys was knighted three days later by Henry VII.)

    Henry, acclaimed as King Henry VII, strengthened his position by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. He thus reunited the two royal houses, merging the rival symbols of the red and white roses into the new emblem of the red and white Tudor Rose.

    The accession to the Throne of Henry VII is considered as the end of the War of Roses. (Afther that, there was still some people to contest his authority and to challenge him but nothing that could lead to another War like this one).

    A little reminder:

    Time for Roses
    On this family tree, you can find the 'complicated family' from York's and Lancaster's Houses.
    Kings of England:
    • Henry VI (Lancastrian)
    • Edward IV (Yorkist)
    • Edward V (Yorkist)
    • Richard III (Yorkist)
    • Henry VII (Tudor of Lancastrian ancestry, married the Yorkist heiress)


    Yes, quite a long story for a little emblem like this Rose. (So, can you see some points/plots of Game of Thrones in this long war ?)


    So, that's it for this week. I hope you enjoy this story :) Well, then, as usual, a little picture taken by me, yesterday morning. A little walk very early (before 7AM, I guess) in the Greenwich Park. Beautiful place and very relaxing in the morning :) 

    Time for Roses



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