Рефераты. The war of the roses

received details of Warwick's deployment from Lovelace, who had commanded

the Yorkist artillery at Wakefield but who had been spared by the

Lancastrians. Margaret allowed the borderers to continue ravaging the

countryside due south from Hitchin to divert Warwick's attention, and took

the rest other army on a hard march south and west past Luton to Dunstable,

intending to follow this with another march against St. Albans from the

west, so turning Warwick's defensive line.

The queen's army arrived at Dunstable late on the 16th, took the

Yorkists detachment there by surprise, and killed or captured every man.

After a brief halt the Lancastrians set out on a 12-mile night march to St.

Albans, arriving on the south bank of the River Ver before dawn. After a

short pause to rest and organize an attack, at about 6am on 17 February

1461 the 'vaward battle' crossed the river and entered the town. The

Yorkists were again taken by surprise but, as the Lancastrians rushed up

George Street towards the heart of the town, they were halted by a strong

detachment of archers left in St. Albans by Warwick, and eventually were

driven back to St Michael's church.

Shortly afterwards scouts reported an unguarded entrance through the

defenses via Folly and Catherine Lanes, and at about loam the town fell to

the Lancastrians. The king was found in a house in the town.

Warwick's defense line had been rendered useless and he was now faced

with the task of re-aligning his army in the presence of the enemy. His

'rearward battle', stationed by Beech Bottom Ditch, was wheeled to face

south, and Warwick then rode off to bring up the 'main' and 'vaward


The Lancastrian army now attacked the Yorkist 'rearward battle' which,

after a long and brave struggle, finally broke and fled towards the rest of

the army. Warwick was already on his way to reinforce them with the 'main

battle', but this now broke up as the fugitives streamed past, joining in

the general flight. Warwick rode off to bring up his 'vaward battle', but

on reaching it he found that Lovelace's detachment had deserted to the

enemy and the remainder was badly shaken. Somehow Warwick managed to form a

new line and held off further Lancastrian attacks until dark, when he

managed to extricate about 4,000 of his men and march westwards to join


Margaret waited nine days at St. Albans while negotiating the surrender

of London, only 20 miles away. London, panic-stricken by the behavior of

the queen's army, which looted St. Albans after the battle, refused to open

its gates to the queen and her king. The borderers began to desert in

droves; and with Edward and Warwick united and advancing rapidly from the

west, Margaret finally abandoned her attempt on the capital and withdrew to

York with the king. Twelve days after second St. Albans the united forces

of Edward and Warwick entered London: on 4 March Edward was proclaimed king

by the Yorkist peers and by the merchants and commons of London.

Edward set off in pursuit of Margaret and Henry on 19 March, but his

advance guard was defeated by a Lancastrian delaying force at Ferrybridge

on the River Aire on the 27th. At dawn on the 28th the Yorkists forced

their way over the bridge and all that day fought to push back the

Lancastrian rearguard towards Towton, reaching the village of Saxton by

nightfall. The next morning the queen's army, commanded by Somerset, was

seen drawn up less than a mile away (see map).

At 9am on 29 March 1461, with heavy snow falling, the two armies

advanced towards each other. When they were about 300 yards apart the

Yorkists halted to discharge one volley of heavy armour-piercing arrows

which, aided by a following wind, hit the Lancastrian line and caused some

casualties. The Yorkist archers then fell back a short distance. The

Lancastrians responded with several volleys, using the lighter flight

arrows not normally used at all except short range. Impeded by the wind,

these arrows fell short by some 50 yards, but the Lancastrians continued to

discharge their arrows until their quivers were empty. The Yorkist archers

then advanced again and poured a barrage of arrows into the Lancastrian

ranks. Unable to respond, the Lancastrians moved forward to contact as

quickly as possible.

The battle raged all day, but at about 3pm Lord Dacres, one of the

senior Lancastrian commanders, was killed, and at the same time the Duke of

Norfolk's force of several thousand men arrived to reinforce the Yorkist

right flank. The Lancastrians began to ease off, the slackening of pressure

increased to a withdrawal, and suddenly their whole line collapsed. About

12,000 Yorkists were killed or died of wounds and exposure, while some

20,000 Lancastrians were killed, making Towton the bloodiest battle ever

fought on English soil. It was also the most decisive battle of the wars,

in the very heart of Lancastrian country, and firmly established Edward IV

on the throne. The queen, Henry, and their son Prince Edward fled to


The first years of Edward's reign were pro-occupied with stamping out

all remaining Lancastrian opposition. Pembroke and Exeter remained at large

in Wales, but the Earl of Oxford was executed in 1462 for an attempted

landing on the cast coast. The bulk of the surviving Lancastrians retired

to the Scots border with Margaret and Henry, seeking support from Scotland

and holding the powerful border castles.

In April 1464 a Yorkist force under Lord Montagu, Warwick's younger

brother and Edward's lieutenant in the north, clashed with a Lancastrian

force under the Duke of Somerset at Hedgeley Moor. The two Lancastrian

wings, commanded by Lords Hungerford and Roos, promptly fled, but the men

under Sir Ralph Percy stood fast and were annihilated. Montagu was unable

to pursue, as he was escorting a Scottish delegation to York to discuss a

peace. Somerset led his forces to Hexham and made camp two miles south of

that town. As soon as Montagu had carried out his mission, he moved

southwards to confront the Lancastrians again.

Early on the morning of 15 May 1464 Montagu attacked the Lancastrian

camp, smashing through Somerset's center with a rapid downhill charge. Once

again the two wings broke and fled. Somerset was captured and executed,

along with Hungerford and Roos, among others. These executions almost

completed the extinction of the old Lancastrian faction, and virtually

ended Lancastrian resistance; and even the queen gave up, and fled to



Barnet and Tewkesbury.

The great northern strongholds of the Lancastrians – Ainwick, Norham,

Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh fell soon after the battle of Hexham, and within

a year Henry VI, who had been hiding in a monastery, was betrayed and

placed in the Tower. Apart from Harlech Castle and Berwick-on-Tweed, Edward

was now truly king of all England.

In November 1464 Edward secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, without

the consent and against the wishes of Warwick (who was engaged at the time

in trying to arrange a French marriage for the king). Warwick, trying to

assume dictatorial powers over the new king, fell from favor, and

Elizabeth's numerous relatives rose swiftly in rank and office as Edward

formed his own Yorkist party: his father-in-law became Earl Rivers, his

brother-in-law Lord Scales, Elizabeth's son by her first marriage became

Earl of Dorset, while old supporters were also advanced – William Herbert

was made Earl of Pembroke, Humphrey Stafford Earl of Devon, and the Percies

were recruited in alignment against the Nevilles by restoring to them the

earldom of Northumberland. In 1467 Edward openly broke with Warwick by

repudiating a treaty with France and an alliance with Burgundy which

Warwick had just negotiated. Enraged and humiliated, Warwick enlisted the

aid of Edward's brother, George of Clarence, and from the security of

Calais declared against Edward because of his oppressions.

At about this time Warwick engineered a Neville rising in the north,

which began with the so-called rebellion of Robin of Redesdale. When the

rising was well under way Warwick landed in Kent with a force from Calais

but, before he could reach the scene of operations, the royal army was

defeated at Edgecotc in Northamptonshire (6 July 1469). Edward was captured

and handed over to Warwick, who executed many of Edward's leading

supporters, including Queen Elizabeth's father, her brother John, and the

newly created Earls of Pembroke and Devon.

Edward was confined for some weeks in Middleham Castle, but was released

when he agreed to accept new ministers nominated by Warwick. But at the

first opportunity Edward took his revenge. In March 1470 a Lancastrian

uprising occurred in Lincolnshire. Edward gathered a force to suppress the

rising, carefully calling to his standard all those peers with grudges

against Warwick or who were not tied to him by family alliances. Edward

defeated the rebels at the battle of Lose-Coat Field and the rebels'

leader, Sir Robert Welles, confessed the rising was part of a plot by

Warwick to make Clarence king. Unable to oppose Edward's army, Warwick and

Clarence fled to France, where they allied themselves with Margaret and the

Lancastrian cause.

In September Warwick arranged a rising in Yorkshire and, as soon as

Edward moved north, landed with Clarence and a small force at Dartmouth.

Devon rose to support them, Kent followed suit, and London opened its


Edward, returning south in a hurry, found himself caught between

Warwick's growing army in the south and the rising in the north. His army

began to melt away, and Edward was forced to take ship at Lynn and flee to

the Netherlands.

Henry VI was released and restored to the throne, but Margaret did not

trust her old enemy Warwick, and refused to leave France: Prince Edward

remained with her.

Meanwhile, Clarence began to seek reconciliation with Edward; and on 15

March 1471, with a body of some 1,500 German and Flemish mercenaries lent

to him by the Duke of Burgundy, Edward landed at Ravenspur in the Humber

estuary. Marching swiftly southwards, Edward evaded an army under the Duke

of Northumberland and reached Nottingham, where he learned that Warwick was

gathering an army at Coventry. The Earl of Oxford was at Newark with

another army, but Edward managed to slip between them, gathering adherents

to his cause all the way to the capital. The most important of these was

Clarence, who joined him with a force originally raised for the Lancastrian


Edward reached London on 11 April, closely followed by the now united

armies of Oxford, Northumberland and Warwick, and on 14 April 1471 was

fought the battle of Barnet (see map).

The battle began at dawn in a heavy fog, with the right wing of each

army overlapping the left wing of the other. Both the Yorkist and

Lancastrian left wings were defeated. Consequently both armies swung to a

new position, almost at right angles to their original lines, and in the

fog the Lancastrian right under Oxford blundered into the rear of his own

center, causing some casualties. Cries of treason rang out, and many of

Oxford's men now quit the field, followed by some of those from Somerset's

'main battle'. At this moment Edward charged between Somerset and Warwick

with about a 100 horsemen of his reserve. Warwick's men slowly gave way,

eventually breaking and fleeing, and a general Lancastrian rout then

ensued. Warwick, on foot, was cut down and killed. With him died his

brother Montagu.

On the same day Queen Margaret and Prince Edward landed at Weymouth.

Learning of the battle, the queen marched through the West Country,

collecting men and heading for the Lancastrian strongholds in Wales.

Edward, keeping his army intact, marched from London to prevent this new

Lancastrian force from reaching Wales.

Gloucester, with its crucial first bridge over the Severn, closed its

gates to the queen at Edward's request, and Margaret had no option but to

bypass the city and move further up river to Tewkesbury. Here Edward caught

up with her on 3 May after a series of forced marches.

The next day – 4 May 1471 – the outnumbered Lancastrians took up a

strong position on a slope between two brooks (see map). The Yorkists

deployed some 400 yards away, with their left flank under Richard of

Gloucester apparently 'in the air'. Somerset took his personal command away

to the right to attack Richard in the flank, giving Lord Wenlock orders to

advance as soon as he saw Somerset attacking, thus pinning Richard in

position. In the event Wenlock failed to advance;

Richard turned to face Somerset, who was now faced by the entire Yorkist

left; and at the same time some 200 spearmen, placed on the extreme flank

by Edward to guard against such a move, advanced to attack Somerset in the

flank. Somerset's force gave ground, then broke and fled. Somerset escaped

to confront Wenlock, and in a rage slew him with his battleaxe. The 'main

battle' now began to give ground, and when Edward's center began a general

advance the Lancastrian army broke and ran.

Most of the Lancastrian nobles were captured and slaughtered, among them

Prince Edward and Edmund, Duke of Somerset, the last male Beaufort. Queen

Margaret was captured and placed in the Tower, where she remained for five

years until ransomed by her father. Henry VI was murdered in the Tower

shortly after the battle.

Edward proclaimed his seven-month-old son Edward Prince of Wales and

sent Hastings with a strong force to take possession of Calais. Richard of

Gloucester was rewarded with Warwick's lands and offices, while Clarence

received the lands of Courtenay in the West Country and the Lieutenancy of



Bosworth, Stoke, Blackheath and Exeter

Edward IV died in April 1483 when his son and heir, Edward V, was only

twelve. Inevitably rival factions immediately emerged – the boy king and

the court controlled by the queen mother and her relations, and Edward's

favorites Lord Hastings and Thomas Lord Stanley, opposed by Richard, Duke

of Gloucester, now the most powerful man in the kingdom, whom Edward IV had

intended should be regent.

Richard acted swiftly. Moving south, he joined forces with Henry

Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and seized Edward V en route to London in the

care of Lord Rivers, the queen mother's brother. Her son, Dorset, at once

fled the country, while the queen mother sought sanctuary in Westminster

Abbey. Within a month of Edward IV's death, Richard was Protector of the


In June Hastings was suddenly arrested and executed. Two weeks later

Richard informed Parliament that Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville

was invalid due to an earlier marriage, and therefore Edward V was a

bastard – which left Richard the rightful successor. Richard became Richard

III, Lord Rivers was executed, and Edward V and his younger brother

Richard, Duke of York, were placed in the Tower.

That autumn there was a revolt in the West Country, led by Buckingham,

apparently in conspiracy with the exiled Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond and

now head of the House of Lancaster. (Henry could claim the throne, in right

of his mother, Margaret Beaufort, as surviving male representative of the

House of Lancaster, the Beauforts being descended from John of Gaunt.)

Buckingham was supported by the Woodvillcs and Courtenays. Richard quickly

and efficiently crushed the revolt, and Buckingham was executed. Henry

Tudor withdrew to France, but in 1485, with about 3,000 French mercenaries,

he landed in Pembrokeshire, where his uncle Jasper was earl. He marched

quickly through Wales and the Marches, picking up considerable support on

the way, and confronted Richard in battle for the throne at Bosworth in

Leicestershire on 22 August 1485.

The two main forces drew up facing each other but both Henry Tudor and

Richard III looked anxiously for support from the forces of the two

brothers Stanley: those of Sir Willaim Stanley were visible to the north-

west of the battlefield, and those of Lord Stanley to the southeast.

The battle commenced without the Stanleys, the opposing forces both

making a bid for Ambien Hill. Richard's troops reached the ridge first, and

his 'vaward battle' deployed on it in a defensive position. The 'main

battle' followed, while the 'rearward battle' was ordered to take position

on the left of this line as soon as possible, and to face due south.

Henry advanced to engage in an archery duel at long range, and Richard

looked in vain for his 'rearward battle': the Earl of Northumberland had

decided to avoid action until the Stanleys showed their hands.

As the archers began to run out of arrows, the two armies advanced to

melee, and only now did the Stanleys move – to attack both flanks of

Richard's line, while Northumberland remained immobile. Richard mounted,

collected his bodyguard around him, and rode into the center of the enemy,

intent on killing Henry Tudor or dying like a king. Unhorsed in the marsh,

Richard was soon overwhelmed by superior numbers and killed. The battle

ceased when his death became known, and his army melted away with little or

no pursuit. Lord Stanley took the circlet indicating Richard's rank from

the dead king's helmet and, placing it on Henry Tudor's head, proclaimed

him King Henry VII.

In the early years of his reign Henry VII was in continual danger, and

it is erroneous to regard Bosworth as the end of the Wars of the Roses. The

first of the king's troubles was a rising in 1486 in the North Riding of

Yorkshire, where Richard III had been very popular. It was led by Lord

Lovel, Richard's chamberlain and admiral, but the rebels dispersed when

Henry marched against them with a large force. Lovel fled to Flanders.

In May 1487 Lovel landed in Ireland with some 2,000 Swiss and 1,500

German mercenaries, supplied by Margaret of Burgundy and commanded by the

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