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Started by YorenInTheNorth on Aug 3, 2018 11:29:59 AM
The Wars of the Roses

Hypothesis: The White Rose won the War of the Roses at the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485).

YorenInTheNorth - 03 Aug 2018 11:30:04 (#1 of 47)


I think Richard III placed the surviving children of Edward IV in York while acting as if he had killed them. Henry Tudor could only legally take the throne if Richard had killed the Princes in the Tower (the popular theory) or declared them illegitimate (which he did before declaring himself King).

This was to draw the male Lords out into the open so they could be wiped out by his forces or each other.

I think Richard did die at the battle but Lord Lovell was tasked to protect the children of the White Rose.


Richard was already King in effect before he declared himself King. "King in the North"/Duke of York, protector of the realm until the Prince(s) came of age, effective head of government by royal and parliamentary assent.

In the battle Richard knew full well it was his end. He is informed he will be betrayed and offers battle anyway.


Bosworth was his plan from beginning to end and Lord Lovell was tasked to carry on the fight until the Reds and Whites merged.

The forces fighting for Richard that did not offer battle forces (I mean his own reserves, not the Stanley's) were tasked to preserve their power and fight for the Princes and Princesses of the House of York.

Bosworth was his plan from beginning to end and Lord Lovell and York were in effect tasked to carry on the fight until the various factions accepted sovereign rule by from or by a women of York.


Agaliarept - 03 Aug 2018 11:32:06 (#2 of 47)

I thought Danny DeVito was good in it.

gets all the coats.

RosyLovelady - 03 Aug 2018 11:34:31 (#3 of 47)

We did this in school when I was about 13, and again at university, and I still couldn't get enthusiastic about it. As a Lancastrian, though, I do feel I should try again and I will now lurk nicely on this thread.

Arjuna - 03 Aug 2018 11:36:17 (#4 of 47)


I think Richard III placed the surviving children of Edward IV in York while acting as if he had killed them

so how can this theory be proven or disproven? nobody knows what happened to them.

ChankNolen - 03 Aug 2018 11:38:53 (#5 of 47)

I've always struggled with this period, not least given an early exposure to the history plays. Bad history and worse drama.

I do thoroughly recommend Dan Jones' accessible account.

I have no views on the theory outlined in post one.

rgtstoppedcounting - 03 Aug 2018 11:54:55 (#6 of 47)

I recommend a game of Kingmaker.

Arjuna - 04 Aug 2018 13:06:12 (#7 of 47)

The background to the wars is interesting, the fourteenth century has been termed the era of Bastard Feudalism. The hierarchy of original feudal system had been perfected after the Norman conquest, tenants of manors had obligations of service to their lords who in turn had obligations to their King. Among these obligations were military service, at times of war the King called upon his nobles to provide him with knights and foot soldiers.

However during the long and protracted struggle, this relationship began to alter. It became possible for a vassal to offer up a cash payment instead of actual service to his lord who like wise could do so to the King. Both nobles and kings could then hire soldiers, which was probably a more efficient manner of fighting a war but it meant that wealthy Lords could increase their domestic power by hiring more men than were able to them under the previius arrangement.

The situation was further complicated by the Black Desth, the population of England fell by around a third thus there was a shortage of all kinds of labour and those hiring for cash had to pay a premium. It created an unstable environment that lead to the famed Peasant Revolt of 1381. Richard II managed to face down the peasant enemy but seven years later faced another rebellion by a group of nobles.

The forces of Lords Appellant defeated a royal army, took power but maintained Richard II as a figurehead. They called The Merciless Parliament, a term coined to describe the vengeance meted out to the King's former favourites, many being executed or exiled for treason. The following year, the King's uncle - John of Gaunt - returned from a military campaign overseas and aided Richard to regain power from the Lords Appellant. Richard made peace with France and turned on his domestic rivals and in turn many of them were executed or exiled.

Among the exiles were Henry Bollingbroke, the son of John of Gaunt. Initially his term of exile was only meant to last ten years but on the death of his father, it was extended to life as Richard seized his cousins vast lands.

In 1399, Bolingbroke led a group of exiles back to England ostentatiously to regain what was his but he ended up forcing Richard to abdicate and then starved him to death. Bolingbroke was crowned Henry IV. Much of his reign was spent dealing with other rebellious lords but his son Henry V continued the war with France winning a famous victory at Agincourt and conquering much of northern France. Charles VI of France effective sued for peace and at the Treaty of Troyes (1420) recognised Henry V as his regent and son-in-law after Henry's marriage to Charles's daughter, Catherine of Valois.

Henry had complete victory within his grasp but then died two years later leaving his nine month old son as the new King of England - Henry VI. The next month, Charles VI died leaving baby Henry as the King of two Kingdoms before his first birthday. Sadly that about as good as it got for Henry, French barons appointed a rival King and rebelled with the aided of Jeanne D'Arc.

Henry had been a sickly child who grew into a weak man. By the early 1450s, France was all but lost and his English Lords were questioning not only his ability to rule but also his right. His grandfather had after all been an usurper, rival claimants had existed through all three Henrys reigns but now one seemed determined to claim his birthright.

In 1450, Richard of York launched an unsuccessful rebellion only to face defeat and humiliation. He was forced into swearing an oath of an allegiance but a few short months later another opportunity arose after Henry VI suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown. Despite the opposition of Henry's Queen - Margaret of Anjou, Richard of York was appointed Protector of the Realm and proceeeded to purge Henry's favourites and appoint his own. Two years later, Henry recovered but Richard was unwilling to give up power - the rivals raised armies that met for the first time at the Battle of Saint Albans - The Wars of the Roses had begun.

Tadagee - 04 Aug 2018 14:51:58 (#8 of 47)

Or in essence Edward III couldn't keep his britches buttoned and it took over a century to sort out the ensuing palaver.

RosyLovelady - 04 Aug 2018 14:53:51 (#9 of 47)

That's families for you.

Tadagee - 04 Aug 2018 14:58:01 (#10 of 47)

Anyhoo, I've long thought Edward IV one of history's most fascinating figures.

Not born to be monarch. Managed to turn around a disastrous campaign resulting in the death of his father and brother aged 18 (IIRC) to defeat the Lancastrians and becomes King. Lost the throne after insisting on marrying a commoner, runs off to France, invades again, crowned again, eats and drinks himself to death.

Never a dull moment really.

6ft 4 too which in the 15th C was just silly.

Arjuna - 05 Aug 2018 16:39:05 (#11 of 47)

This dude was Edward's great great grandad

Lionel was born of a Flemish mother and was a grandson of William I, Count of Hainaut. He grew to be nearly seven feet in height and had an athletic build,

breakfast - 05 Aug 2018 17:20:13 (#12 of 47)

Nearly 7ft in height. Jeez, that's insanely tall for them days.

Is Edward 4 our tallest ever monarch?

breakfast - 05 Aug 2018 17:28:04 (#13 of 47)

Yes he is.

The tallest measured British monarch was Edward IV, whose skeleton measures 6'4½" (1.94 m). Records indicate that when fully clad in armour he would have been about 6'7"(2 metres), an exceptional height for any man in the 15th century.

Beat that, eldest offspring of Prince William.

breakfast - 05 Aug 2018 17:30:40 (#14 of 47)

Although what about the unmeasured British monarchs.

breakfast - 05 Aug 2018 17:38:43 (#15 of 47)

The oldest heir apparent to an heir apparent to an heir apparent was Edward VIII (aged 6 years 213 days at the death of Victoria). Prince George of Cambridge is currently 5 years, 14 days old and would surpass Edward VIII on 20 February 2020.

YorenInTheNorth - 10 Aug 2018 11:07:34 (#16 of 47)

I have always found the wars fascinating, initially as a boys own adventure but then for social-economic reasons and helping me appreciate Shakespeare (in the same way Marxism and Social Liberalism helped me appreciate Dickens).

I should say that my theory is based on an off hand remark made by someone and then watching the play.

In the play Richard blatantly tells the audience he is a cunning, murderous knave (vs the saintly Henry Tudor) but it struck me that, if I recall correctly, he doesn't actually murder the princes.

He does proceed to the wipe out all adults (red, white, turncoat) who are in his (and the princes) way. I don't think Richard intended to die but I think he was trying to hold the line until the heir came of age.

The play may be fiction but it does have a ring of truth of it if you imagine Richard was a loyal son of York.

Earworm - 10 Aug 2018 11:55:50 (#17 of 47)

"but I think he was trying to hold the line until the heir came of age."

So that's why he had Edward's children declared illegitimate and his own son (who died before the Battle of Bosworth) declared heir-apparent. I'm not sure your idea fits with history very well...

Earworm - 10 Aug 2018 12:02:24 (#18 of 47)

Why not repeat the claim (quite popular with some Richard 111 advocates) that Edward IV wasn't the actual son of the Duke of York at all, but of an archer called Braybourne (or something similar). After all Edward was very tall and fair-haired (Richard, Duke of York apparently was neither)

Arjuna - 10 Aug 2018 12:04:56 (#19 of 47)

Richard may not have been tall but he descended from Lionel of Antwerp.

Arjuna - 10 Aug 2018 12:11:58 (#20 of 47)

plus Edward hadn't come to the throne through a regular succession but through conquest.

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