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Курсовик The war of the Roses is a very important period for the British culture and history. Exposure of the dates and importance of some events for the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. Searching the peculiarities in the background of different things and events.
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FEDERAL AGENCY OF EDUCATION
NOVOROSSIYSK BRANCH OF STATE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION
OF HIGHER PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
“PYATIGORSK STATE LINGUISTIC UNIVERSITY”
The English Faculty
The Department of the English Language
Тheory and Teaching Methods of Foreign Languages and Culture
The War of the Roses: the Historical Facts of the Tudor Myth (Shakespeare's Histories)
The Course Paper in the History and Culture of Great Britain
Moshikova Ekaterina Yurievna
1. The Historical Facts of the Tudor Myth
2. Shakespeare's Histories
The antagonism between the two houses started with the overthrowing of King Richard II by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, in 1399. Being the issue of Edward III's third son John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke had a poor claim to the throne. According to precedent, the crown should have passed to the male descendants of Lionel of Antwerp, duke of Clarence (1338-1368), Edward III's second son, and in fact, Richard II had named Lionel's grandson, Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March as heir presumptive. However, Bolingbroke was crowned as Henry IV. He was tolerated as king since Richard II's government had been highly unpopular. Bolingbroke died in 1413. His son and successor, Henry V, was a great soldier, and his military success against France in the Hundred Years' War bolstered his enormous popularity, enabling him to strengthen the Lancastrian hold on the throne. Henry V's short reign saw one conspiracy against him, led by Richard, Earl of Cambridge, a son of Edmund of Langley, the fifth son of Edward III. Cambridge was executed in 1415 for treason at the start of the campaign leading up to the Battle of Agincourt. Cambridge's wife Anne Mortimer also had a claim to the throne, being the daughter of Roger Mortimer and thus a descendant of Lionel of Antwerp. Henry V died in 1422, and Richard, Duke of York, the son of Richard, Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer, would grow up to challenge his successor, the feeble King Henry VI, for the crown.
The choice of this theme for our course paper was mostly conditioned by the idea of learning history of Great Britain. The object matter of the paper is the compositions of W. Shakespeare meanwhile the subject of our investigation is the war of the roses which produced a great effect on the further history of the United Kingdom in general.
The object and purposes of the course paper may be formulated as follows:
- Analytical study of the material on the theme;
- Exposure of the dates and importance of some events for the Lancastrians and the Yorkists;
- Searching the peculiarities in the background of different things and events;
- Searching for the conditions which influenced this event;
- Defining of the consequences of the event.
To achieve the set aims we looked through a list of study books, various references, pieces of press and different sites in Internet. Our paper consist of the Introduction, 2 Chapters, Conclusion and the list of references.
1. The Historical Facts of the Tudor Myth
The Wars of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1487 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The name Wars of the Roses is based on the badges used by the two sides, the red rose for the Lancastrians and the white rose for the Yorkists. Major causes of the conflict include: 1) both houses were direct descendents of king Edward III; 2) the ruling Lancastrian king, Henry VI, surrounded himself with unpopular nobles; 3) the civil unrest of much of the population; 4) the availability of many powerful lords with their own private armies; and 5) the untimely episodes of mental illness by king Henry VI. Please see the origins page for more information on the start of the wars.
Henry VI was troubled all his life by recurring bouts of madness, during which the country was ruled by regents. The regents didn't do any better for England than Henry did, and the long Hundred Years War with France sputtered to an end with England losing all her possessions in France except for Calais. In England itself anarchy reigned. Nobles gathered their own private armies and fought for local supremacy.
The struggle to rule on behalf of an unfit king was one of the surface reasons for the outbreak of thirty years of warfare that we now call the Wars of the Roses, fought between the Houses of York (white rose) and Lancaster (red rose). In reality these squabbles were an indication of the lawlessness that ran rampant in the land. More squalid than romantic, the Wars of the Roses decimated both houses in an interminably long, bloody struggle for the throne. The rose symbols that we name the wars after were not in general use during the conflict. The House of Lancaster did not even adopt the red rose as its official symbol until the next century.
Henry VI was eventually forced to abdicate in 1461 and died ten years later in prison, possibly murdered. In his place ruled Edward IV of the house of York who managed to get his dubious claim to the throne legitimized by Parliament. Edward was the first king to address the House of Commons, but his reign is notable mostly for the continuing saga of the wars with the House of Lancaster and unsuccessful wars in France. When Edward died in 1483 his son, Edward V, aged twelve, followed him. In light of his youth Edward's uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, acted as regent.
Traditional history, written by later Tudor historians seeking to legitimize their masters' past, has painted Richard as the archetypal wicked uncle. The truth may not be so clear cut. Some things are known, or assumed, to be true. Edward and his younger brother were put in the Tower of London, ostensibly for their own protection. Richard had the "Princes in the Tower" declared illegitimate, which may possibly have been true. He then got himself declared king. He may have been in the right, and certainly England needed a strong and able king. But he was undone when the princes disappeared and were rumoured to have been murdered by his orders.
In the 17th century workmen repairing a stairwell at the Tower found the bones of two boys of about the right ages. Were these the Princes in the Tower, and were they killed by their wicked uncle? We will probably never know. The person with the most to gain by killing the princes was not Richard, however, but Henry, Earl of Richmond. Henry also claimed the throne, seeking "legitimacy" through descent from John of Gaunt and his mistress.
Henry defeated and killed Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485), claiming the crown which was found hanging upon a bush, and placing it upon his own head. Bosworth marked the end of the Wars of the Roses. There was no one else left to fight. It also marked the end of the feudal period of English history. With the death of Richard III the crown passed from the Plantagenet line to the new House of Tudor, and a new era of history began.
Kings were gaining the upper hand in the struggle with the barons. They encouraged the growth of towns and trade. They took more advisors and officials from the new merchant middle class.
This eroded the power of the land-based nobility. Further, kings established royal courts to replace local feudal courts and replaced feudal duties (which had been difficult to collect in any case) with direct taxation. They created national standing armies instead of relying on feudal obligations of service from vassals. Feudal kingdoms moved slowly towards becoming nations.
In the late 1400's the House of York fought the House of Lancaster for the English crown. Because Lancaster's heraldic badge was a red rose and York's was a white rose, the long conflict came to be known as the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1485).
The wars started when the nobles of York rose against Henry VI of Lancaster who was a feeble ruler. Edward IV, of York, replaced Henry as king. Later, Henry again became king, but lost his crown once more to Edward after the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. The Yorkists held power until Richard III lost his throne to the Lancastrian Henry Tudor. Henry Tudor married into the House of York. This personal union ended the conflict, and a new famous dynasty, the Tudors, emerged.
"And here I prophesy: this brawl today, Grown to this faction in the Temple garden, Shall send, between the Red Rose and the White, A thousand souls to death and deadly night." -- Warwick, Henry VI, Part One
The Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) is the name generally given to the intermittent civil war fought over the throne of England between adherents of the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Both houses were branches of the Plantagenet royal house, tracing their descent from King Edward III. The name Wars of the Roses was not used at the time, but has its origins in the badges chosen by the two royal houses, the Red Rose of Lancaster, whose retainers tended to favour red coats or red roses as their symbol, and the White Rose of York, whose men often sported white coats, or white rose insignia.
The Wars were fought largely by the landed aristocracy and armies of feudal retainers. The House of Lancaster found most of its support in the south and west of the country, while support for the House of York came mainly from the north and east. The Wars of the Roses, with their heavy casualties among the nobility, would usher in a period of great social upheaval in feudal England and ironically lead to the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty. The period would see the decline of English influence on the Continent, a weakening of the feudal power of the nobles and by default a strengthening of the merchant classes, and the growth of a strong, centralized monarchy under the Tudors. It arguably heralded the end of the medieval period in England and the movement towards the Renaissance.
The antagonism between the two houses started with the overthrowing of King Richard II by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, in 1399. Being the issue of Edward's III third sonJohn of Gaunt, Bolingbroke had a poor claim to the throne. According to precedent, the crown should have passed to the male descendants of Lionel of Antverp, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368), Edward's III second son, and in fact, Richard II had named Lionel's grandson, Roger Mortimer, 4th earl of March as heir presumptive. However, Bolingbroke was crowned as Henry IV. He was tolerated as king since Richard II's government had been highly unpopular. Bolingbroke died in 1413. His son and successor, Henry V, was a great soldier, and his military success against France in the Hundred Years' War bolstered his enormous popularity, enabling him to strengthen the Lancastrian hold on the throne. Henry V's short reign saw one conspiracy against him, led by Richaed, earl of Cambridge, a son of Edmund of Langley, the fifth son of Edward III. Cambridge was executed in 1415 for treason at the start of the campaign leading up to the Battle o9f Aglicourt. Cambridge's wife, Anne Mortimer, also had a claim to the throne, being the daughter of Roger Mortimer and thus a descendant of Lionel of Antwerp. Henry V died in 1422, and Ricard, Duke of York, the son of Richard, Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer, would grow up to challenge his successor, the feeble King Henry VI, for the crown.
The Lancastrian King Henry VI of England was surrounded by unpopular regents and advisors. The most notable of these were Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, who were blamed for mismanaging the government and poorly executing the continuing Hundred Years' War with France. Under Henry VI virtually all of the English holdings in France, including the lands won by Henry V, had been lost. Henry VI had begun to be seen as a weak, ineffectual king. In addition, he suffered from embarrassing episodes of mental illness. By the 1450s many considered Henry incapable of rule. The short line of Lancastrian kings had already been plagued by questions of legitimacy, and the House of York believed that they had a stronger claim to the throne. Growing civil discontent, the abundance of feuding nobles with private armies, and corruption in Henry's VI court together formed a political climate ripe for civil war.
When, in 1453, King Henry suffered the first of several bouts of mental illness, a Council of Regency was set up, headed in the role of Lord Protector by the powerful and popular Richard Plntagenet, Duke of York, and head of the House of York. Richard soon began to press his claim to the throne with ever-greater boldness, imprisoning Somerset, and backing his allies, Salisbury and Warwick, in a series of minor conflicts with powerful supporters of Henry, like the Dukes of Northumberland. Henry's recovery in 1455th warted Richard's ambitions, and the Duke of York was soon after driven from the royal court by Henry's queen, Margaret of Anjou. Since Henry was an ineffectual leader, the powerful and aggressive Queen Margaret emerged as the de facto leader of the Lancastrian faction. Queen Margaret built up an alliance against Richard and conspired with other nobles to reduce his influence. An increasingly thwarted Richard finally resorted to armed hostilities in 1455 at the First Battle of St. Aslbans.
Although armed clashes had broken out previously between supporters of King Henry and Richard, Duke of York, the principal period of armed conflict in the Wars of the Roses took place between 1455 and 1489.
Richard, Duke of York led a small force toward London and was met by Henry VI's forces at ST. Albans, north of London, on May 22,1455. The relatively small First Battle of St. Albans was the first open conflict of the civil war. Richard's aim was ostensibly to remove "poor advisors" from King Henry's side. The result was a defeat for the Lancastrians, who lost many of their leaders including Somerset. York and his allies regained their position of influence, and for a while both sides seemed shocked that an actual battle had been fought and did their best at reconciliation. When Henry suffered another bout of mental illness, York was again appointed Protector, and Margaret was charged with the king's care, having already been sidelined from decision-making on the Council.
After the First Battle of St Albans, the compromise of 1455 enjoyed some success, with York remaining the dominant voice on the Council even after Henry's recovery. The problems which had caused conflict soon re-emerged, particularly the issue of whether the Duke of York, or Henry and Margaret's infant son, Edward, would succeed to the throne. Queen Margaret refused to accept any solution that would disinherit her son, and it became clear that she would only tolerate the situation for as long as the Duke of York and his allies retained the military ascendancy. Henry went on royal progress in the Midlands in 1456, and Margaret did not allow him to return to London--the king and queen were popular in the Midlands but becoming ever more unpopular in London where merchants were angry at the decline in trade and widespread disorder. The king's court set up at Coventry. By then the new Duke of Somerset was emerging as a favourite of the royal court, filling his father's shoes. Margaret also persuaded Henry to dismiss the appointments York had made as Protector, while York himself was again made to return to his post in Ireland. Disorder in the capital and piracy on the south coast were growing, but the king and queen remained intent on protecting their own positions, with the queen introducing conscription for the first time in England. Meanwhile, York's ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (later dubbed "The Kingmaker"), was growing in popularity in London as the champion of the merchant classes.
Following the return of York from Ireland, hostilities resumed on September 23, 1459, at the Battle of Blore Heath in Staffordshire, when a large Lancastrian army failed to prevent a Yorkist force under Lord Salisbury from marching from Middleham Castle in Yorkshire and linking up with York at Ludlow Castle. After a Lancastrian victory at the Battle of Ludford Bridge, Edward the Earl of March (York's eldest son, later Edward IV of England), Salisbury, and Warwick fled to Calais. The Lancastrians were now back in total control, and Somerset was appointed Governor of Calais. His attempts to evict Warwick were easily repulsed, and the Yorkists even began to launch raids on the English coast from Calais in 1459-60, adding to the sense of chaos and disorder.
By 1460, Warwick and the others were ready to launch an invasion of England, and rapidly established themselves in Kent and London, where they enjoyed wide support. Backed by a papal emissary who had taken their side, they marched north. Henry led an army south to meet them while Margaret remained in the north with Prince Edward. The Battle of Northampton, on July 10, 1460, proved disastrous for the Lancastrians. The Yorkist army under Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, aided by treachery in the Lancastrian ranks, was able to capture King Henry and take him prisoner to London.
In the light of this military success, York now moved to press his own claim to the throne based on the illegitimacy of the Lancastrian line. Landing in north Wales, he and his wife Cecily entered London with all the ceremony usually reserved for a monarch. Parliament was assembled, and when York entered he made straight for the throne, which he may have been expecting the lords to encourage him to take for himself as they had Henry IV in 1399. Instead there was stunned silence. He announced his claim to the throne, but the Lords, even Warwick and Salisbury, were shocked by his presumption; there was no appetite among them at this stage to overthrow King Henry. Their ambition was still limited to the removal of his bad councillors.
The next day, York produced detailed genealogies to support his claim based on his descent from Lionel of Antwerp and was met with more understanding. Parliament agreed to consider the matter and finally accepted that York's claim was better; but, by a majority of five, they voted that Henry should remain as king. A compromise was struck in October 1460 with the Act of Accord, which recognised York as Henry's successor to the throne, disinheriting Henry's six year old son Prince Edward. York had to accept this compromise as the best on offer; it gave him much of what he desired, particularly since he was also made Protector of the Realm and was able to govern in Henry's name. Margaret was ordered out of London with Prince Edward. The Act of Accord proved unacceptable to the Lancastrians, who rallied to Margaret, forming a large army in the north.
The Duke of York left London later that year with Lord Salisbury to consolidate his position in the north against Queen Margaret's army, which was reported to be massing near the city of York. Richard took up a defensive position at Sandal Castle near Wakefield at Christmas 1460. Although Margaret's army outnumbered Richard's by more than two to one, on December 30 York ordered his forces to leave the castle and mount an attack. His army was dealt a devastating defeat at the Battle of Wakefield. Richard was slain during the battle, and Salisbury and Richard's 17 year old son, Edmund, Earl of rutland, were captured and beheaded. Margaret ordered the heads of all three placed on the gates of York.
The Act of Accord and the events of Wakefield left the 18 year old Edward, Earl of March, York's eldest son, as Duke of York and heir to the throne. Salisbury's death meanwhile left Warwick, his heir, as the biggest landowner in England. Margaret travelled north to Scotland to continue negotiations for Scottish assistance. Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scotland agreed to provide Margaret with an army on condition that England cede the town of Berwick to Scotland and her daughter be betrothed to Prince Edward. Margaret agreed, although she had no funds to pay her army with and could only promise unlimited booty from the riches of southern England, as long as no looting took place north of the river Trent. She took her army to Hull, recruiting more men as she went.
Edward of York, meanwhile, met Pembroke's army, which was arriving from Wales, and defeated them soundly at the battle of Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire. He inspired his men with a "vision" of three suns at dawn (a phenomenon known as "parhelion"), telling them that it was a portent of victory and represented the three surviving York sons--himself, George and Richard. This led to Edward's later adoption of the sign of the sunne in splendour as his personal emblem.
Margaret was by now moving south, wreaking havoc as she progressed, her army supporting itself by looting the properties it overran as it passed through the prosperous south of England. In London, Warwick used this as propaganda to reinforce Yorkist support throughout the south--the town of Coventry switching allegiance to the Yorkists. Warwick failed to start raising an army soon enough and, without Edward's army to reinforce him, was caught off-guard by the Lancastrians' early arrival at St Albans. At the Second Battle of St Albans the queen won the Lancastrians' most decisive victory yet, and as the Yorkist forces fled they left behind King Henry, who was found unharmed under a tree. Henry knighted thirty of the Lancastrian soldiers immediately after the battle. As the Lancastrian army advanced southwards, a wave of dread swept London, where rumours were rife about the savage Northerners intent on plundering the city. The people of London shut the city gates and refused to supply food to the queen's army, which was looting the surrounding counties of Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
Edward was meanwhile advancing towards London from the west where he had joined forces with Warwick. Coinciding with the northward retreat by the queen to Dunstable, this allowed Edward and Warwick to enter London with their army. They were welcomed with enthusiasm, money and supplies by the largely Yorkist-supporting city. Edward could no longer claim simply to be trying to wrest the king from his bad councillors. With his father and brother having been killed at Wakefield, this had become a battle for the crown itself. Edward now needed authority, and this seemed forthcoming when the Bishop of London asked the people of London their opinion and they replied with shouts of "King Edward". This was quickly confirmed by Parliament and Edward was unofficially crowned in a hastily arranged ceremony at Westminster Abbey amidst much jubilation. Edward and Warwick had thus captured London, although Edward vowed he would not have a formal coronation until Henry and Margaret were executed or exiled. He also announced that Henry had forfeited his right to the crown by allowing his queen to take up arms against his rightful heirs under the Act of Accord; though it was by now becoming widely argued that Edward's victory was simply a restoration of the rightful heir to the throne, which neither Henry nor his Lancastrian predecessors had been. It was this argument which Parliament had accepted the year before.
Edward and Warwick next marched north, gathering a large army as they went, and met an equally impressive Lancastrian army at Towton. The Battle of Towton, near York, was the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses thus far. Both sides had agreed beforehand that the issue was to be settled that day, with no quarter asked or given. An estimated 40-80,000 men took part with over 20,000 men being killed during (and after) the battle, an enormous number for the time and the greatest recorded single day's loss of life on English soil. The new king and his army won a decisive victory, and the Lancastrians were decimated, with most of their leaders slain. Henry and Margaret, who were waiting in York with their son Edward, fled north when they heard of the outcome. Many of the surviving Lancastrian nobles now switched allegiances to King Edward, and those who did not were driven back to the northern border areas and a few castles in Wales. Edward advanced to take York where he was confronted with the rotting heads of his father, brother and Salisbury, which were soon replaced with those of defeated Lancastrian lords like the notorious Lord Clifford of Skipton-Craven, who had ordered the execution of Edward's brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland, after the Battle of Wakefield.
Henry and Margaret fled to Scotland where they stayed with the royal court of James III, implementing their earlier promise to cede Berwick to Scotland and leading an invasion of Carlise later in the year. But lacking money, they were easily repulsed by Edward's men who were rooting out the remaining Lancastrian forces in the northern counties.
Edward IV's official coronation took place in June 1461 in London where he received a rapturous welcome from his supporters as the new king of England. Edward was able to rule in relative peace for ten years.
In the North, Edward could never really claim to have complete control until 1464, as apart from rebellions, several castles with their Lancastrian commanders held out for years. Dunstanburgh, Alnwick (the Percy family seat) and Bamburgh were some of the last to fall. Last to surrender was the mighty fortress of Harlech (Wales) in 1468 after a seven-year-long siege. The deposed King Henry was captured in 1465 and held prisoner at the Tower of London where, for the time being, he was reasonably well treated.
There were two further Lancastrian revolts in 1464. The first clash was at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor on April 25 and the second at the Battle of Haxham on May 15. Both revolts were put down by Warwick's brother, John Neville, 1st Maquess of Montagu.
The period 1467-70 saw a marked and rapid deterioration in the relationship between King Edward and his former mentor, the powerful Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick--"the Kingmaker". This had several causes, but stemmed originally from Edward's decision to marry Elizabeth Woodville in secret in 1464. Edward later announced the news of his marriage as fait accompli, to the considerable embarrassment of Warwick, who had been negotiating a match between Edward and a French bride, convinced as he was of the need for an alliance with France. This embarrassment turned to bitterness when the Woodvilles came to be favoured over the Nevilles at court. Other factors compounded Warwick's disillusionment: Edward's preference for an alliance with Burgundy (over France), and Edward's reluctance to allow his brothers George, Duke of Clarence, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to marry Warwick's daughters, Isabel Neville and Anne Neville, respectively. Furthermore, Edward's general popularity was also on the wane in this period with higher taxes and persistent disruptions of law and order.
By 1469 Warwick had formed an alliance with Edward's jealous and treacherous brother George. They raised an army which defeated the King at the Battle of Edgecote Moor, and held Edward at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire. Warwick had the queen's father, Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, executed. He forced Edward to summon a parliament at York at which it was planned that Edward would be declared illegitimate and the crown would thus pass to Clarence as Edward's heir apparent. However, the country was in turmoil, and Edward was able to call on the loyalty of his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and the majority of the nobles. Gloucester arrived at the head of a large force and liberated the king.
Warwick and Clarence were declared traitors and forced to flee to France, where in 1470 Louis XI of France was coming under pressure from the exiled Margaret of Anjou to help her invade England and regain her captive husband's throne. It was King Louis who suggested the idea of an alliance between Warwick and Margaret, a notion which neither of the old enemies would at first entertain but eventually came round to, real и т.д.................
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