War and Roses 1470: The Kingmaker
History of Major Events, 1450-1470
Jack Cade’s Rebellion: A former soldier and outlaw John “Jack” Cade leads a popular rebellion (5,000) from Kent against King Henry VI’s council in the spring and summer months of 1450. Marching from Blackheath he defeated a royalist army (3,500) commanded by Humphrey Stafford the Lord of Grafton who was slain in the Battle of Sevenoaks. Entering London to a heroes welcome, Cade’s rebels nearly sacked the city until they received pardons and were allowed to leave unmolested. Cade opened most of the prisons in the city and his army now stood at 7,000 strong.
Siege of Queenborough’s castle: Jack Cade’s rebel army marched back to Kent and besieged Queenborough’s castle which ultimately failed. The number of Cade’s followers eventually dissipated to only 1,000 untrained and lightly armed men of foot, most of whom deserted a month later when a Lancastrian royal van of knights (500) led by Sir Philip Wentworth, the Knight of Nettlestead and the King’s Sergeant rode out against them. Cade was wounded and later died of injuries sustained in a skirmish at Heathfield, Sussex.
Richard of Gloucester is born to Richard the Duke of York & his wife Lady Cecily Neville.
Edward of Westminster, the Prince of Wales, is born to King Henry VI and Marguerite of Anjou.
The Hundred Years’ Wars, 1337-1453 ends: England’s long running war for control over the French throne ends in July with their defeat at the Battle of Castillon. Sir John Talbot the Earl of Shrewsbury is killed in the battle and France is lost. Only Calais remains English.
July, King Henry VI slips into a fit a near catatonic madness which lasts for more than a year. Richard the Duke of York is named his Regent and the Protector of the Realm in his absence. The Duke of York effectively becomes the uncrowned King of England.
Skirmish at Heworth Moor August, Sir Thomas Percy the Baron Egremont and his Percy retinue (350) attempted to waylay and kill the armed Neville knights and squires escorting a wedding cortege (200) led by Sir Thomas Neville of Raby castle as they traveled back to the Midlands via Northumberland. Over 100 were killed or wounded in the undecided skirmish.
The Duke of York is dismissed as Lord Protector and Regent by King Henry VI who resumes his rule as King of England.
Battle of St. Albans: May, The Duke of York and Richard the Earl of Warwick (3,000) defeated the Lancastrian host (2,000) of King Henry VI, Edmund the Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy the Earl of Northumberland, and Thomas Clifford Baron of Clifford & Lord of Skipton castle, all of whom are killed in the skirmish in the city streets of St. Albans. King Henry VI was slighted wounded by an arrow early in the melee and was captured at the end of the battle by the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick who he immediately pardoned before being taken away to London, a captive of the Duke of York. 150 Yorkists and 550 Lancastrians were slain in the first battle of the War of the Roses.
King Henry VI formally names Richard the Duke of York and his descendants his rightful heirs agreeing by legal writ to a personal promise he made to the Duke of York following his defeat and capture at the Battle of St. Alban’s-thereby disinheriting his young son Edward the Prince of Wales and his heirs.
January, Henry Tudor is born to the deceased Edmund Tudor the Earl of Richmond and his wife, thirteen year old Lady Margaret Beaufort.
Sack of Sandwich: May, A Franco-Lancastrian army (4,000) led by Sir Peter Brassey burns Sandwich in southern England on the instigation of Queen Marguerite of Anjou. 400 townspeople were slain including the town’s mayor, John Drury.
Battle of Blore Heath: September, Richard Neville the Earl of Salisbury’s Yorkist army (7,500), defeats the Lancastrian host (10,000) of the Baron Audley and Sir John Sutton the Baron Dudley. Baron Audley is killed in the melee and Baron Dudley was captured by the Bastard of Salisbury. 3,900 Lancastrians men-at-arms perished at Blore Heath whilst the Yorkists lost 1,200 killed or wounded in the fighting.
Battle of Ludford Bridge October, a Lancastrian army (5,000) led by Queen Margaret of Anjou and commanded by the Duke of Buckingham defeats the Yorkist host led by the Duke of York (4,500). York was betrayed by an old comrade, Sir Andrew Trollope, the night before the battle, the turncoat defecting with 500 men-at-arms over to the Lancastrian side. This single action doomed the Yorkists who fled or put a most feeble resistance and surrendered. Most of the Yorkist nobles including the Duke of York and his eldest son Edward fled to exile to the Pale of Ireland or to Calais in Northern France. 400 Yorks and 150 Lancastrians were slain in the rout of the remaining Yorkist army at Ludford Bridge in the northern Welsh Marches.
Battle of Northampton: July, the Earl of Warwick and his uncle William Neville (7,500) are denied an audience with King Henry IV and attack his royalist camp defended by the Lancastrian army (5,500) of the Duke of Buckingham, John Talbot the Earl of Shrewsbury, Edmund the Baron Grey of Ruthin, and Sir Thomas Percy the Baron Egremont. Lord Grey betrays the Lancastrians allowing Warwick’s battalion to take the camp in a flanking maneuver. 2500 Lancastrians are killed in the fight including the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Baron Egremont to only 400 Yorkist casualties. King Henry VI is captured after the Lancastrian defeat.
Siege of Roxburgh Castle: August, a Scottish host (5,000) led by the King of Scots, James II, besieges and captures Roxburgh castle in the Scottish border regions. King James is killed during the siege however after a cannon exploded severing his leg. The demoralized Scots withdrew back in Scotland three months later and Roxburgh was eventually retaken by the English.
Richard the Duke of York returns to England from exile in Dublin, Ireland
Battle of Wakefield: December, the Yorkists (10,000) are defeated by the Lancastrians (20,000) outside Sandal Castle in Yorkshire led by the Duke of Somerset, Sir Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, Sir Henry Percy the Duke of Northumberland, and Lord Clifford of Skipton. 5,000 Yorkist men-at-arms perish or are killed to 3,500 Lancastrian casualties. Richard the Duke of York is killed in the fighting. Richard Neville the Earl of Salisbury was also slain in the melee as well. The Duke of York’s second eldest son, Edmund the Earl of the Rutland was executed by Lord Clifford following the battle. Salisbury and the Duke of York’s heads were later displayed atop Micklegate the gateway to the city of York. The Duke of York’s head was adorned with a paper crown to mock his pretenses of being king.
Battle of Mortimer’s Cross: March, Edward the Earl of March leads the Yorkists (10,000) in a victory over the Lancastrian army (10,000) of Sir Owen Tudor, his son the Earl of Pembroke, Sir Jasper Tudor, and Sir James Butler, Earl of Ormond & Earl of Wiltshire. 6,500 Lancastrians were killed or wounded in the battle to 2,000 Yorkist casualties. The Earl of March won a great victory with three Suns shining in the morning sky, and captured King Henry VI as a result of his victory. Edward created a new livery badge which he calls the Sun in Splendor, following the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross.
Second Battle of St. Albans: March, A Lancastrian army (20,000) led by Queen Margaret, Henry the Duke of Somerset, and Baron Welles, defeat a Yorkist host (15,000) led by the Earl of Warwick and his brother John Neville the Earl of Montagu. The Earl of Warwick escaped the battle but his brother Sir John was wounded and captured by Sir William Beaumont. Due to the Earl of Warwick’s hasty flight; his camp left behind King Henry IV who was later rescued by an unknown Lancastrian knight. 3,500 Lancastrians and 4,100 Yorkists were slain or wounded in the battle fought outside the town of St. Alban’s.
Battle of Ferrybridge March, fought the night before the great bloodbath in the snow and wind near Towton in Yorkshire. A Earl of Warwick’s Yorkist van (5,000) loses over 1,500 men fighting Baron Clifford’s Lancastrians (3,000) who lost 2,000 men-at-arms. Baron Clifford of Skipton was killed in the final moments of the battle by the knights of the Baron Fauconberg in a massacre of most of his retinue. The Earl of Warwick was wounded in the melee as well and his half-brother the Bastard of Salisbury slain by Baron Clifford before his own death.
Battle of Towton: March, a Yorkist army (25,000) led by King Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick defeated the Lancastrian army (30,000) commanded by the Duke of Somerset, Earl of Northumberland, and Sir Andrew Trollope. 22,500 men are sent to their graves in the fighting and immediate aftermath of slaughter and reprisals which intensifies from mid morning until dusk. Fought in a snowstorm, the final rout and slaughter of the last Lancastrians in arms during the battle took place in what was later called the Bloody Meadow in which 5000 Lancastrian men-at-arms lost their lives fleeing vengeful Yorkist knights. Edward of Rouen the Duke of York and Earl of March is confirmed as King of England.
May, King Henry VI, Queen Marguerite, and Edward the Prince of Wales flee to exile in Scotland.
King Edward IV’s royal host (10,000) marches on Scotland but he catches sick and the army marches home after 2 months of campaigning.
Battle of Piltown: June, Thomas FitzGerald the Earl of Desmond’s Yorkist army (1200) defeated the Lancastrian army (1000) of Sir John Butler the Earl of Ormond, his families great rival outside Leinster in southern Ireland. The Desmonds lost 250 men whilst the Butlers lost 450. The Lancastrian army of the Earl of Ormond was broken and then driven from the field towards Waterford, the site of their landing just a month before. Clan Desmond later sacked and plundered Kilkenny in retaliation for the Earl of Ormond’s invasion.
King Henry VI, Queen Marguerite, and a Scottish-Lancastrian army (5,000) attempted to take Norham castle but fail after a two month long siege. They raid and plunder for one additional month before withdrawing back over the border. Sir Robert Ogle the Baron of Ogle castle fights Scottish raiders on numerous occasions outside Newcastle during the same period.
King Edward IV sent a Northern army (10,000) over the Cheviot Hills into Scotland led by John Scrope Lord of Bolton castle, Sir Walter Devereux of Chartley castle, and the disinherited Scottish lord, James “The Black” Douglas. The Yorkist army marched as far as Perth where they met and were defeated in battle by George the Lord Douglas & Earl of Angus. After their defeat Edward’s marched south where they besieged Caerlaverock castle but failed to take it after two months, withdrawing back into Northumberland before December.
King Edward IV makes peace with the Kingdom of Scotland.
Battle of Hedgley Moor: May, John Neville the Earl of Montagu commands (5,500) Yorkists in a victory over a Northern Lancastrian army (5,000) led by the Duke of Somerset and Sir Ralph Percy. When their allies Lord Roos and Sir John Shelton fled the field the Duke of Somerset fled as well soon after with his army leaving Sir Ralph’s battle to stand alone and die under Montagu’s fiery Yorkist charge. 1500 Lancastrians lost their lives including Sir Ralph to only 100 Yorkist casualties.
King Edward IV marries Lady Elizabeth Woodville, formerly Lady Grey, in secret south of London.
Battle of Hexham: May, the Earl Montagu’s Yorkist vanguard (6,000) defeat the Lancastrian host (5,500) of the Duke of Somerset who is found after fleeing the battlefield hiding in a nearby barn and then executed immediately after. 450 Yorkist and 2000 Lancastrians were slain in the fighting. The Lancastrians Northern uprising comes to a conclusion following the Battle of Hexham in May 1464.
Siege of Bamburgh Castle: The Earl of Neville’s Yorkist army (5,000) utilizing nine bombard cannons and two trebuchets takes Bamburgh castle from a Lancastrian garrison (1200) led by Sir Ralph Grey of Chillingham after a nine month siege. Sir Ralph was wounded in the siege and later executed in Northumberland by the Yorkist ascendancy.
Welsh Rebellion: June-November, Sir David Tudor, Lord of Gower, the youngest son of Sir Owen Tudor leads a rebellion in Eastern Wales against Yorkist rule. A royal army (1500) led by Baron Hastings defeats the rebellion after the two month siege of Raglan castle.
Lady Elizabeth Woodville is crowned Queen of England next to King Edward IV, who knights nearly 50 nobles and men-at-arms at the coronation ceremony.
July, Edward the Prince of Wales and Edmund Beaufort the Duke of Somerset (750) raid King’s Lynn in Norfolk southern England defended by Yorkists (250). 150 Yorkists and 150 Lancastrians were killed in the fighting.
The Earl of Pembroke marches on Harlech castle besieging the last Lancastrian stronghold in Wales. After three months the seven year siege ends but Sir Jasper Tudor the Duke of Bedford and his brother Sir David Tudor the Duke of Gower escape Yorkist justice for exile in northern France.
Rebellion of Robin of Redesdale: May-July, the mysterious rebel leader,, leads a revolt against King Edward.
Battle of Edgecote Moor: July, The Earl of Warwick and George the Duke of Clarence lead a Lancastrian rebellion against King Edward. The Lancastrians (5,000) aided by George’s Calais garrison soldiers defeat the Earl of Pembroke’s and King Edward’s Yorkist army (3,000), killing 1200 Yorkists whilst losing 500 of their own men in the melee. Edward is taken into Warwick’s custody and the Earl of Pembroke was executed along with his brother and most of his household.