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the differences among the leading families, and the consequent misrule.


The Yorkists next directed their intrigues against the Duke of Somerset, who had held the command in Normandy when the English were compelled to evacuate. In 1453, the king's mental malady having increased, the Duke of York was named Protector during his illness, and Somerset was confined in the Tower. recovery of the king in 1455, put an end to the protectorship, and restored Somerset to the royal councils. The Duke of York, however, now thought himself strong enough to take open measures with a view to the crown, and while making the most solemu vows of loyalty and fidelity, he quickly assembled his partisans in great force, and the first of the long list of battles fought during the civil wars between the houses of York (the white rose) and Lancaster (the red rose)1 took place at St. Albans (1455). The Yorkists were victorious. The Lancastrians lost the Duke of Somerset, the Earl Northumberland, and Lord Clifford. Henry himself fell into the hands of his enemies. A solemn reconciliation between the Yorkists and Lancastrians took place at St. Paul's (1458), through the mediation of the king, whose conduct was that of a man entirely indifferent to the results. This hollow reconciliation was followed in 1459 by the second battle fought at Bloreheath, and gained by the Yorkists under the Earl of Salisbury. The third battle at Northampton (1460) was also gained by the Yorkists, commanded by the Earl of Warwick; after which Margaret of Anjou, Henry's queen, and her young son, fled to Scotland, and the Duke of York openly asserted his title to the throne. A compromise was then agreed to, by which Henry was to occupy the throne during his life, and Richard and his heirs to succeed him.

But Margaret of Anjou resolved to maintain her son's right, and in 1460 the fourth battle was fought at Wakefield, and gained by Margaret. In this action the Duke of York was killed. Margaret tarnished her glory by the cruel severity of the executions which followed. The Earl of Salisbury had been made prisoner,

1 So called from the emblems they assumed.



The Earl of

and she ordered him to be immediately beheaded. Rutland, second son of the Duke of York, was killed after the battle, in cold blood, by Lord Clifford. Edward, eldest son of the Duke of York, hastened to revenge his father and brother's death, and encountered Margaret's army, commanded by Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, at Mortimer's Cross. This was the fifth battle, and was gained by the Yorkists. By way of reprisal, Sir Owen Tudor, whom the widow of Henry v. had married, was beheaded after the battle. The tide of success now turned, and in the sixth battle, which was fought (1461) at St. Albans, Margaret and the Lancastrians were successful over the Yorkists, who were commanded by the Earl of Warwick (called the king-maker). The king was now in the hands of his own party. After the battle, Sir Thomas Kyriel, a man who had distinguished himself in the French wars, was executed; but Margaret reaped little advantage from the victory. The Londoners favoured Edward of York, who, assembling his army and the people at St. John's Fields, set forth his title, and put the question, whom would they have for king, Edward of York, or Henry of Lancaster? The people, of course, pronounced in his favour, and their vote was ratified next day by the bishops and nobles; and the Duke of York was accordingly proclaimed king under the title of Edward Iv. (1461).


In the course of this century, the humbler ranks among the peasantry had made such progress in the acquisition of property, and in the consequent importance that flowed from this, that they began to take part in the election of the knights of the shires. The number of electors indeed had so greatly increased that a law was passed limiting the right of election to those who drew a clear rent of forty shillings per annum from freehold property. As the value of money was much greater than it is now, this amount of annual rental could be possessed only by men of some importance. We find that at this time men able to spend £12 per annum were regarded as persons of considerable station; but perhaps a more

accurate notion of the value of money may be gained from the fact that the salaries of the Justices of England, in 1440, amounted to only £73, 6s. 8d. The feudal system (to which the wars of the Roses gave the last blow) and serfdom were rapidly disappearing before the causes to which we referred in a previous chapter : the tenants now held leases and paid a fixed rent, instead of being bound by feudal service; and employed servants paid partly in money, partly in food and lodging, instead of the serf with the collar round his neck. Clothing was so dear, that we find hose and gowns bequeathed in wills to descendants. Communication between the different parts of the kingdom was so difficult, that few ever left their native parishes. The merchant who travelled

from fair to fair, and the religious pilgrim, were the only bearers of news. The battle of Towton, in Yorkshire, was not known to the Londoners till six days after Edward's victory. Letters were rare, and had to be sent by occasional carriers or special messengers, the probabilities being against their reaching their destinations. Among the laity the power of reading and writing was confined to a few. During the following reign printing was introduced by Caxton (1473), and through this noble invention Bibles were spread, knowledge encouraged, and the way paved for the Reformation, the seed of which had been sown by Wycliffe.

Cotemporary Sovereigns and Events.-France: Charles VI. Charles VII. Scotland: James I. II. III. Constantinople taken by Mahomet 11. (1453.) John Huss, Jerome of Prague, and Savonarola of Italy, began their labours as Reformers. The two former were burnt in 1415, the last-named in 1498.

Questions.-1. Write an account of Joan of Arc, her successes, reverses, and death. 2. What led to the union of the two factions in France? 3. What two battles put an end to the English supremacy in that country? 4. Give the genealogies of the Houses of York and Lancaster; and name the great battles fought by the two parties, the dates, and on which side victory declared itself on each occasion. 5. Give an account of the state of the nation at this time, politically and socially.

A.D. 1461.]



2. Edward IV.

A.D. 1461-1483.


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appalling number of 36,000. After the battle, Henry and Margaret, accompanied by the Duke of Somerset, who had commanded the Lancastrians at Towton, fled into Scotland. As the Scotch king was a minor, and the country divided by factions, Margaret saw no hope of obtaining succour from that quarter, and sailed to France, where Louis XI. was then reigning. But as that king's energies were fully employed in overthrowing the feudal system, and establishing the unity of the French kingdom and monarchy, he declined taking any part in English affairs. He, however, consented to allow the Seneschal Brièze, with 2000 men, to follow Margaret's fortunes.

In 1464, the Lancastrians suffered a double defeat at Hedgeley Moor and Hexham (8th battle), the Yorkists being commanded by Neville lord Montague, brother of the Earl of Warwick. After the battle the Duke of Somerset and other Lancastrian noblemen were tried by martial law and executed. Margaret escaped with

1 Compare p. 63.

her son to her father's court in Lorraine, and Henry, after twelve months' wanderings and concealment, was betrayed to the Yorkists and thrown into the Tower.

Edward (now apparently securely established on the throne) imprudently gave offence to his partisans by his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Lord Grey, and daughter of Jacqueline duchess of Bedford, by her second husband Sir Richard Woodville, and by the marked predilection he showed towards her family, bestowing on them the highest honours, and marrying them into the noblest and wealthiest families of the kingdom. The marriage of Edward's sister Margaret with Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy in 1468, increased the discontent of the Earl of Warwick's faction, who inclined to an alliance with the French court rather than with the Burgundian. The king's brother, George duke of Clarence, married Isabella Neville, the eldest daughter of the Earl of Warwick, and shared the discontent and jealousy of his father-inlaw towards the rival family of Woodville, now dominant at court. About this time agrarian disturbances occurred in Yorkshire, which were at first successfully opposed by Neville lord Montague, who caused the leader of the rioters to be executed. But Henry Neville Lord Latimer, and Sir John Conyers, thinking this a favourable opportunity for embarrassing the Yorkists, and showing their dislike of Edward's conduct, placed themselves at the head of the insurgents. Edward despatched Herbert earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Devonshire to encounter them. This led to the battle of Banbury (9th battle, 1469), in which the Yorkists were defeated. Pembroke was seized, and as he had formerly caused Sir Henry Neville to be executed without trial, a like fate was inflicted on him. After this battle the father of Edward's queen—who had been created Earl of Rivers-and his son were executed. Warwick being called to the scene of action, soon persuaded the insurgents, who were the mere tools of discontented nobles, to return to their homes, and kept Edward for some time in the castle of Middleham.

At this time, when fortune seemed again about to favour the Lancastrian party, there was much ambiguity in Warwick's

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