|The Wars of the Roses, 1455 - 1487|
|Barnet and Tewkesbury (1469-1471)|
T he 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 gates.
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 cause.
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).
|Бой при Барнете, 14 апреля 1471 г.|
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.
|Бой при Тьюксбери, 4 мая 1471 г.|
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 Ireland.
|No. of contingent commanders||Men - at - arms||Archers||Average no. per commander:||Ratio of archers to men-at-arms|
|Bannerets||7||69||720||10||103||10 to 1|
|Knights||5||39||370||8||54||7 to 1|
|Esquires||28||107||910||4||32||8 to i|
|Gentlemen||2||2||7||1||3.5||3.5 to 1|
|Others||7||10||8о||1.5||11.5||8 to 1|
|'Gentlemen of the house of the lord king'||1||43||316||43||316||7.5 to 1|
|'Archers of the king's chambers'||184|
|Total of A:||50||270||2587|
|В:Peers – royal relations and holding household appointments||11||516||4080||47||371||8 to 1|
|С:Other officials||9||29||134||3||15||5 to 1|
|Total of А, В & С:||70||815||6801|
|D:Other peers||12||231||1619||16||135||9 to 1|
|E:Other – non-household:|
|Bannerets||5||32||272||6||54||8.5 to 1|
|Knights||13||52||449||4||35||9 to 1|
|Esquires||52||91||672||2||13.5||7 to 1|
|Gentlemen||6||5||32||1||5||5 to 1|
|Others:||32||40||268||1||8||8 to 1|
|Total of D & E:||120||451||2312|
|F:Scottish lords:||2||8||6o||4||30||7.5 to 1|
|Total of D, E & F:||122||463||3372|
|Total of all categories:||192||1278||10173|
|Total of commanders, men-at-arms, and archers||11451|
|Add technical personnel (transport, miners, craftsmen, etc.)||387|
|Plus non-combatants – secretaries, royal servants, councillors, etc possibly another 10% or 12%||1182|
The Earl of Oxford, who had escaped to France after Barnet, made a landing in Essex and another at St Michael's Mount, but failed to raise an army. He surrendered in February 1474.
In 1475 Edward raised an army and invaded France, but abandoned the expedition in return for a substantial cash payment. Peace and prosperity at last descended on the realm, the only cloud being Clarence who, dissatisfied with his position, quarreled with both Edward and Richard. In 1477 matters came to a head over some murders carried out on Clarence's orders, and a rising in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, led by a man claiming to be the Earl of Oxford – a rising almost certainly inspired by Clarence. Clarence was arrested and sent to the Tower, where he died some six months later.
|Text by Terence Wise from Men-at-Arms 145: Wars of the Roses
© Osprey Publishing