Details of Richard III's reign


Details of the death of Edward IV

9th april 1483 - aged 39

thought to be either a chill from a fishing trip,stroke, illness from france or too good living

WILL- provisions made for Richard to act as regent but the will didnt survive - Edward V was 12 on his fathers death, had been raised in a Woodville court which were against Richard

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Richard's initial power

Pre 1471

  • Awarded earldom of PEmbroke after herbert was beheaded in the battle of edgecote,
  • constable of england
  • justicier of north and south wales
  • steward of wales

post 1471

  • awarded neville estates, when he married Anne Neville he received her inheritance as well
  • made lieutenant of the North, responisble for keeping order and dealing with the scottish threat
  • lands from lancaster
  • honour of richmond
  • seniority over henry percy
  • land in wales and east anglia
  • admiral of england
  • he was respected by Northern nobility, had successes in the wars against scotland in 1480-2
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divisions of court

Weakness of the woodvilles

  • considered greedy and self important by other nobel families, such as the duke of Buckingham who considered them upstarts
  • Lord Hastings disliked them as Elizabeth blamed him for Edwards womanising.  LOrd hastings had also lost his position of Chanellor and was perhaps concerned that he would lose his position as captain of calais --> he advocated for Richard's right to run as protector - however, councillors deceded Edward should begin his reign immediately, and scrap the protectorate, only a position in council to advise him
  • Richard disliked them as he disapproved of Edward's mariage, thinking one much more advantageous could have been had

Edwards attempts to heal the divisons

  •  tried to reconcile Lord Hasings and Thomas Grey (son of Elizabeth from her first marriage) - theyd been stealing each others mistresses and were rivals of land in the midlands

Woodville plot

  • word was sent to Ludlow about the death of Edwards IV asking that Earl RIvers (liz's brother) brought Edward to London, not telling Richards
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getting control of the princes

Getting the Princes:

  • met Earl Rivers and Edward V at Stony Stafford, Richard took possession
  • Edward tried to defend his uncle, Gloucester claimed to be rescuing Edward he understood that Edward was attached to the Woodville family and that it would be difficult to control him
  •  Edward and Richard arrived in London on the 4th May, claimed Edward's coronation would be prosponed until 22nd June
  • Elizabeth fled to Westminister Abbey with all her other children, including the marquess of Doset Thomas Grey, joined by brother Lionel Woodville, her brother, her other brother who was fighting french piracy on sea fled to brittany
  • 9th May, Edward V was sent to the tower of london for 'protection'
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ruthlessness, defeating the Woodvilles

  • Elizabeth fled to Westminister Abbey with all her other children, including the marquess of Doset Thomas Grey, joined by brother Lionel Woodville, her brother, her other brother Sir John who was fighting french piracy on sea fled to brittany
  • convinced Elizabeth that she should release the young richard as he would play an important part of Edward's corination - joined Edward in the tower with earl of warwick -Clarences son - however corination was later said to be cancelled


  • Earl Rivers, Richard Grey and Thomas Vaughan were treateed as traitors without trial
  • Hastings became suspicous of Richard's motives to take the crown as he placed his own men in positions of power, -->spoke about worries but a spy ratted him out
  • 13th June 1483 - Hastings accused of treason, excecuted w/out trial
  • 25th June 1483 - those found with Edward excecuted

Questioning legitimacy

  • allowed sermons which questioned Edward IV's legitimacy
  • forced his mother Cecily Neville to say Edward's father was from a French affair
  • Said Edward IV had been precontracted to marry Lady Eleanor, daughter of Shrewsbury, making his marriage to EW illegal, however she'd died in 1468 - marrigage legal


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Richard's foreign policy


  • supported anglo-phile Albany, attempts to overthrow James III
  • however he was forced later to make a 3 year truce with Scotland


  • Duke Francis of Brittany gave boats and supplies for invasion of England from Hnry Tudor
  • Richard III encouraged pircacy against them
  • Richard offered Henry's eardom of Richamond, forcing HEnry to leave for France
  • however when Henry arrived in 1485, he brought an army of Breton, French and Scottish soldiers
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Rebellions faced


  • Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.
  • rebellion october 1483
  • unclear motives, in a high position of power, had been rewarded well
  • richard crushed this rebellion, and then passed over 100 acts of attainder in 1484
  • relied on support, poor weather and unpopularity and timing meant he failed
  • Fear of Tudor invasion
  • for fear of southern invasion
  • placed Northern nobels in Southern positions  in attempt to keep control
  • Ratcliffe got some control in Devon, Somerset and Dorset

Household rebellion

  • Sir Thomas Bouchier and Willam Noreys
  • tried to rescue the princes from the tower (set beuildings alight to distract)
  • thought to be the reason Richard had them killed off
  • rebels began to support the claim of Henry Tudor, who promised to untite the two factions and marry Elizabeth of York
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Richard's kingship style

Law and order

  • had Edward Iv and LOrd hastings' former mistress publically excecuted for iniquity of her life 
  • travelled to areas where he had the most power, to show gratitude? - avoided areas where the woodvilles were most powerful
  • created early form of Legal aid which became the Tudor Court of Requests, for the poor
  • refused expensive gifts from towns
  • made forced loans illegal (benevolences)
  • Introduced the council fo the north
  • called on forced loans to avoid calling parliment to fight the scottish
  • used new men of Edmund Chadderton and Bishop Russel
  • January 1484 act of attainder against , Doset, JOhn Morton, Lionel Woodville, peter courtenay, as well as Margaret Beaufort - lands to husband, allowed to keep liberty
  • december 1484, proclaimation against Henry and his supporters
  • queen anne died march 1485, many believed Richard poisoned her so he could marry his niece Elizabeth (considered grotesque) - however he publically denied this as he suspected rebellion

Use of Patronage

  • rewarded Catesby and Howard, Howard the Duke of Norfolk and rewarded Lord Stanley for not joingign Buckingham's rebellion
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Arrival of Henry Tudor, Battle of Bosworth

Richard was in an exceptionally vulnerable position, as his wife and heir had both died.

Richard tried to capture Henry Tudor, and by 1484 september, it was almost agreed that in return for Henry, the Duke would have the earldom of richmond, however Henry heard of this and escaped, Charles VIII was delighted 

Pre - Battle

JAsper and Edmund tudor had been declared legitimate half brothers of the king in 1453, celebrations of the previous queen gave them a high status.

  • Duke of Brittany fgave him 15  ships to carry 5000 soldiers to england - autumn of 1483
  • met by people claiming to be sent by the Duke of Buckingham, but it was a trap so he set sail for Normandy, HEnry would not be able to return to England unless he proclaimed himself king
  • swore an oath that he would marry elizabeth of york, 
  • 4000 men on arriving
  • Henry's step father Lord Stanely was hesitant to help him as Richard was holding Stanley's son for good behaviour- had declared Sir William a traitor just as a warning to anyone wishing to disobey
  • earl of oxford supporting, gentlemen joined through their ties to the Stanley family or their sense of loyalty to edward IV, clarence or Buckingham
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richards power pt 2

threat of the woodvilles

  • june 1483, plot consiring against him
  • he turrned to Northumberland and Mayor of York for assiistance, upturning bad memories of Margret of Anjou's northern host, anti North sentiments
  • they attempted to speed up Edward V's corinations so that he could choose and rule with his own council, fillled with Woodvilleinfluence

Help given

  • Hastings, fearful of EEW's revenge 4 involving Edward in womanising
  • Buckingham, hated Woodvilles, forced to marry Katherine Woodville,  been sidelined by Edward IV, felt he should have had control of S.Wales
  • Richard Ratcliffe + Lord Lovell - friendship
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bosworth pt 2


  • 5000 of Henry's men vs 12000 of Richards
  • however Stanley's 3000 men waited it out to se who to support, saw Henry in trouble or heard of Richards order of the beheading of Stenleys's son led them to join Henry's side
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