Edward IV


Edward’s claim to the throne was tenuous. His grandfather, Richard of Conisburgh had been disowned by his own family, possibly because it was thought he was the illegitimate son of a relationship between his mother, Isabelle of Castile and John Holland, Duke of Exeter.  John Holland in turn was the son of Joan of Kent and quite possibly the illegitimate son of the Black Prince. By implication John Holland was full brother to the deposed and murdered King Richard II and Edward IV was the senior descendant of Edward III, but by a doubly illegitimate line.

Richard of Conisbugh’s mother, Isabelle had arranged that Richard II would pay an annual allowance to him but Henry IV  had discontinued the allowance.

Richard was plotting to have Henry V deposed in favour of Edmund de Mortimer, who was the rightful heir to the throne after the murder of Richard II. Mortimer himself betrayed the plot to Henry V  and  Conisburgh was executed.

Despite all this activity Conisburgh had limited claim to the throne particularly in view of his possible triple illigitimacy. Because of his marriage to Anne Mortimer, however, his son was the rightful heir to the throne .

Richard of York pursured his claim cautiously, perhaps too cautiously.

His technique seemed to be to gain conirol of government, firstly d=ring Henry Vi’s minority and then during his illnesses, without directly claiming the crown.

At Towton on March 29th, 1461 over 100,000 men fought all day in a blinding blizzard. The population of England in 1461 was under two million and so this one battle engaged 5% of the total population, or nearly 25% of men aged between 20 and 40.

Edward IV, at eighteen years of age, had declared himself King the previous day. Approximately 28,000 men died in this crucial test of wether he could fulfil his proclamation. Many believed that he was the rightful King of England and were prepared to die to make that come about, but nothing about the “Wars of the Roses” is absolutely certain!

The Wars of the Roses is also called the “Cousins War” because this conflict was between two factions of the rulers of the Plantagenet Empire. The Empire they were fighting over nominally included England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and most of what is today Northern and Western France.  For a short period the Plantagenets also claimed Castile, which in turn was the largest part of what is now Spain. The Wars covered the period 1399-1505 and distracted the Plantagenets from the routine governance of their Empire.  The wars were therefore a major contributor to the loss of Scotland and virtually all their European possessions. They had particularly unfortunate outcomes for the governance of Ireland.

The two sides in the conflict, chose roses as their symbols; the red rose for the house of Lancaster, the white rose for the house of York.


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The two sides in the conflict, chose roses as their symbols; the red rose for the house of Lancaster, the white rose for the house of York.

Lancastrian Witches

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