Edward IV's reign


Edward establishing self as king

reluctancy to be CROWNED

  • despite being proclaimed king on the 4th of March - accepting he septre but not the crown
  • wanted to have defeated Henry VI and Edward, so he could be presented as the bringer of peace to England

how did Edward's reputation  differ from Henry's

  • he was able to borrow money, though the crown was in mass debt at this time, Edward didnt have the reputation of not paying his loans back
  • he had been successful at the battle of Mortimers cross
  • London lent him £4,500 in july 1460, a further 4,000
  • he was able to borrow from merchants and the monsasteries

Edward tried to weaken the lancastrians by

  • saying that any Lancastrians which submitted to him within 10 days would be pardoned, with the exception of those with an income of above 100 marks- this would weaken their ability to raise an army against him
  • placed rebellious heads on spikes for many months
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Battle of Ferrybridge and Towton

28th + 29th March - total forces thought to be around 100,000 men

Yorkist forces:

  • Kent
  • East Anglia
  • the welsh marches
  • contiginate from Burgundy, from dauphin Louis XI of france
  • Lord Fauconburg (warwick's uncle) - infantry from Kent and Welsh marches men
  • suffolk

lancastrian forces

  • somerset 
  • exceter
  • northumberland
  • wiltshire
  • devon
  • lord rivers + son anthony woodvuille
  • sir andrew trollope - from calais
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Aftermath of the Battle of Towton

persuit of the battle

  • Lancastrians had torn down the bridge of Tadcaster
  • many lancastrians drowned or were killed here BRDGE OF BODIES
  • 28,000 men dead from ferrybridge, towton and 2nd st albans
  • Northumberland and sir andrew trollope killed in battle
  • Devon captured an excecuted, head replaced the victims of the battle of wakefield
  • Wiltshire captured, excecuted at Newcastle
  • somerset and exceter escaped--> with henry vi, moa and edward fled to scotland (jasper tudor soon joined them)

Reputation of Edward

  • Henry had refused to take part in the battle as it was Palm Sunday- somerset was forced to command his army
  • in contrast Edward was the picture of  strong kng, on the battle field and keeping his men united

Events following

  • Edward crowned king of England and France 28th June
  • MOA and Edward escaped to Scotland, they had the support of Scotland and France
  • Edward would stiill have issues with promblem areas like the North east of england and Wales, heirs of those killed will want revenge
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Lancastrian Opposition

determination of Margaret, who with Edward and the king had fled to Scotland where they had James III's support

  • strong lancastian families wanting revenge, Percys, Cliffords, Somerset ad Exceter
  • Foreign support from Scotland and France
  • Henry had the strongest claim to the throne
  • Jasper Tudor, Exceter and Sir John Fortescue went into exile with the queen


  • unpopular queen
  • mentally ill and weak king
  • underage heir
  • cut off from powerbase
  • defeat at towton- York appeared secure

Battle of Hedgeley Moor, April and Hexham, May -1464

  • John Neville inflicted defeats on the Lancastrians both times
  • MOA and Edward escaped to France; Henry seeked refuge in N. West England
  • He was then captured at lancashire, june 1465- imprisoned in the tower
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Relations with Foreign powers- Scotland and France


  • Louis XI dauphin of France
  • worked with his uncle the duke of Burgundy to send an army in support of the Yorkist case, in order to antagonise his father Charles VII
  • Against his father as when he married Charlotte of Savoy he went against his fathers wishes- technically treason
  • Charles VII raided the channel islands in 1461 with Scotland, however they withdrew after his death in july 1461
  • Louis XI was convinced to remove support of Edward from his Pro-Burgundian policies, and as MOA promised Calais in return for help
  • 1463, turce with France on the condition that they stopped supporting the lancastrains


  • one half of the auld alliance, however the king was a minor, rival factions were fighting eachother. 
  • supported the anti stuarts - James Douglas
  • James III's mother paid for Marager to leave Scotland in 1462, but in 1463 they brought a combined army with MOA over the boarder, however they fled when faced with Montagu and Warwicks army -scottish border raided
  • before Edward's corrination she ordered Berwick-on-tweed to be handed over to Scotland, historically a significant city

HOwever, october 1463- Edward created truce with Scotland + France

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Building his powerbase, tackling lancastrian suppo

Punishment - leniency - success

  • only 14 of the nobles which fought against hiim at the battle of towton, however the heirs of these families were not disinherited
  • Edward also allowed the estates of those of underage heirs to remain in the families control ie. buckingham and Shrewsbury
  • no major lancastrian uprising

feburary 1462 - Oxford excecuted with son Aubrey for treason against the king - later excecuted

  • Percy- castle seized by Warwick, returned to Percy on the promise he'd end lancastriaan support- handed it over to MOA, second time he fought in Hedgely mo, dying there
  • Somerset fled in 1461 and waas attainted, appeared that he may have changed sides as Warwick captured him in 1462, Edward pardoned him and gave him back his estates, and they helped to capture Ainwick Castle, but then switched sides as he met Henry VI in 1463 novemeber and used Bamburgh castle to attack Yorkists, Killed at Hexham, 1464
  • failed to bring sir ralph percy under his control
  • Yorkist amry of William Herbert and Walter Devereeux vs the Tudors, caputured Pembroke castlefrom him in October 1461, however Harlech castle remained a lancastrian stronghold until 1468
  • Hedgeley Moor 25.4.1464, Hexham 15.5.1464, both led by Lord MOntague, Somerset captured and excecuted the day after Hexham with others
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Edward's domestic policy - law and order

issues: under Henry VI nobels took problems into their own hands, not having faith in the king to be impartial or effective, needed to show impartiality and ability to defend the rhelm and offer justice


  • Toured the north and the mdlands, both lancastrian strongholds, in a bid to diffuse tensions and win loyalty
  • took particular interest in the course of justice himself
  • with regards to RETAINING he created restrictions on liveries. By 1468 most forms of retaining were illegal, however he made a point not to strictly enforce this. retaining waas permitted with a royal licence, and so he remained in control of his subjects armies


  • disorder nearing end of reign due to poor harvest and Warwick's interferance
  • as he unnecessarily taxed the people in 1468
  • Battle of Nibley Green- dispute between Talbot and BErkey families, private war shows lack of faith in the king (fought over inheritance claims) 
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Edward's domestic policy - patronage


  • to reconsile with the Lancastrians, reward/favour loyal subjects which allowed him to get the throne, especially lesser nobels - in doing so creating a new yorkist nobility, owing their positions to him personally


  • Lord Fauconburg  warwicks uncle--> Earl of Kent
  • John Neville (warwick's brother) ---> Lord Montagu, earl of northumberland, old percy title
  • george neville - local bishop of exceter ---> chancellor
  • Warwick received confiscated Percy estates, entrusted with defending the north, took 3 years to bring it under control. appointed chamberlain of england, admiral of england, warden of the cinque ports and dover castle for life, remained captain of calais. steward of the cuhy of lancaster, warden of west and east northern marches - sole military authority below the king, inherited all mothers lands when she died in 1462
  • Humphrey Stafford ---> Baron
  • Sir John Wedlock -->baron
  • William Herbert ---> Earl of Pembroke
  • thomas Bouchier, archbishop of canterbury ---> earl of essex
  • george duke of clarence --> former lancastrian lands +tudors wales estate
  • william hastings --> lord hastings, chamberlain of household 
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Edward's marriage

Possible foreign matches

  • 1461- Phillip of Burgundy offered neice as a wife, however he was still cautious due to Edward's instability on the throne
  • 1464- Henry of Castille offered sister Isabelle
  • Warwick had been organising a match for him with a French Princess - Bona of Savoy, Louis sister in law

Elizabeth Woodville

  • rising member of the minor nobility, family typically lancastrian not politically beneficial at all
  • married in 1464, crowned 26.5.1465
  • made the marriage market full of Woodvilles, as she had many siblings - allowed Edward to make advantageous marriages to previous marriages
  • As the daughter of lancastiran supporter, he possibily wanted to show his even handedness with regards to the lancastian opposition, family not great enough to gain anything by betraying him
  • possibly painted the picture of young and in love to avoid marriage to Bona of Savoy, to avoid upsetting the Burgundians + the LOndon merchants
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Edward's financial policy


  • revenues had fallen from £90,000 under Henry IV to £24,000 under Henry VI
  • crown was insolvent, lacking credit, wages and debts remained unpaid


  • Merchants: they were prepared to lend to edward, as he had a positive track record
  • Taxes: 1462- against scotland. 1468- against france. used some money to pay debts, irritated tax payers, especially since there was no real war
  • Customs Duties: collected monopolies, then granting them to his subjects, improved sitiuation through truces with foreign powers--> cloth imports doubled . however there was still significatn trade slumps throughout Europe
  • Land Experiment: as income from bonds wasnt high enough, in 1461 Edward created an administration to visit crown estates and see all revenues were going to the crown, they collected or raised rents
  • chamber system of finance: replacing the inefficeint Exchquer system, instead all money handling happened within the royal household, preventing leakage, this meant money was obtained and then spent on debts quickly, directly under the king and his trussted men
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Breakdown of relations with Warwick


  • Marriage: Warwick had been organising Edward's match to a Bona of Savoy, he wasnt told that Edward Planned to marry Elizabeth; to take a bride which Warwick orchestrated would prove Edward was to some extent a puppet king Due to the Woodville's sudden rise in status, Warwick would have to compete with Elizabeth's seven sisters in order to find matches for his two daughters; Edward rejected Warwick's proposal that Edward's brother clarence to marry his daughter Isabel 1467
  • Warwick's declining influence: the queen's father  became Lord Treasurer, replacing Warwick's uncle Lord mountjoy.; Warwick wanted contol of South Wales, however Edward gave justiction to William Herbert, one of Edward's new men which had risen from County Squire to a marriage to the queens sister in 10 years (however Warwick killed him in the battle of Edgecote 1469); Lord Hastings was made the Chamberlain; Warwick felt he was being pushed out of his position of Chief Advisor; brother George had been kicked out of position of Archbishop of York, Earl Rivers was now the treasurer and constable of England - giving him more power over royal finance and military might, Nevilles no longer the primary posisiton of power; Warwicks nephew betrothed to Anne holland, the heiress to the Duke of Exceter - but Edward married her to his step son Thomas Grey. also horrified that KAtherine nevill, his uncle around 60 was married to 20 yr old John Woodville, considered to be in bad taste
  • Edward's determination to rule not as a puppet king: Warwick wanted a higher position, however the king was making independant decisons on account of marraige and patronage
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Foreign Policy with Burgundy and France 1467+


  • Burgundy and France wanted Edward's support against each other,
  • Warwick wanted to ally with France as it was more powerful
  • but Edward prefered Burgundy as it was a counterweight to the Auld Alliance, and he wanted to protect the Antwerp cloth trade, not to mention many englishmen still hated France


  • treaties of friendship with Brittany, Denmark, castile, aragon and armagnac - anti french
  • November 1467- Commercial treaty with Burgundy, MAraget to marry the duke charles the bold - turning down at least 4 proposals from LOuis Xi
  • 1468 - Marriage treaty
  • Also made an alliance with Brittany, as they feared France's expansionist aims


  • Louis XI funded Jasper tudor's attack in West Wales 1468, landed at harlech castle, raided norht wales, captured Denbigh caste, proclaimed Henry Vi to be the tru king, beaten back by Lord Herbert who captured harlech castle - rewarded with Pembroke title
  • Louis also planned to unite MOA and Warwick
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Events leading to Edward losing the crown

Warwick's betrayal:

  • by january 1468 - he refused to attend kings council if Earl rviers, Lord herbert or Lord scales were present
  • Whilst an uprising took place in the North, Wawick took himself and Clarence to Calais
  • Warwick's involvement with the orchestration of the second robin risings - to cause as much problems for the king as possible, as the King called them to assistance with squashing the uprising, Warwick, clarence, John Neville and isabel were all on their way to Calais
  • 11th July 1469- Clarence married Isabel, a treasonous act
  • Warwick issued a manifesto attacking the 'evil advisors' of the king, upon returning to England, warned that the fate of previous kings like Henry vi, Edward II etc could happen to him
  • robin risings continued, led by Sir JOhn COnyers, Sir Henry Neville and Henry Fitzhugh - marching towards the midlands.
  • Warwick and clarence returned on the 16th of July, on their way to meet the robin rebels, Edward and army waiting for PEmbroke's reinforcements at nottingham
  • 26th July. PEmbroke and Devon's men attacked when resting in Oxforshire. - got seperated from the archers and badly beaten . 4000 men killed at Edgecote, however, Sir JOhn NEville and younger John COyers were also killed
  • Warwick captured pembroke and brother- illegal trial to beheaded
  • When news of disasterous defeat reached Edward - many men fled. Edward was captured by George NEville, held at Olney in Buckinghamshire before being held at Warwick castle, Warwicks men then captured and murdered, Earl Rivers, Sir JOhn Woodville and the earl of Devon


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MOA and Warwicks meeting

Since being exiled, she had asked for assistance from allies in France as well as rulers of Scotalnd and Portugal

met at Angers 1470 , Warwick knelt for 15 mins to beg Maragret for forgiveness, as he'd accused Edward of being illegitimate

They agreed Prince Edward would marry youngest daughter Anne Neviille

Henry VI to be king, Edward as regent, Clarence to be king if both died without complications - Clarence ANGRY

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fb and towton pt 2

Battle of Ferrybridge

  • Suffolk and Lord Fitzwalter asked to rebuild Aire bridge - Clifford and men went to ambush - Fitzwalter dead
  • Edward sent Lord Fauconburg to cross at ferrybridge and they ambushed Clifford's retreating forces
  • Lord Clifford killed - took off helmet to drink a glass of wine - legend
  • Warwick injured - arrow tot he lleg
  • Lancaastrians forced into retreat

Battle fo Towton

  • Lancastrians at the top of the hill, the snow blinded them from  seeing Edwards men
  • ONly edward was at the battlefield, Henry VI and Margaret were waiting at York
  • Edward ordered one shot of arrows, then a short retreat
  • Lancastrians shot back blindly, using all of their arrows
  • Norfolks army arrived unnoticed --> lancastrians fled
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break with warwick pt 2

Edward's foreign policy decisons: 1466 spring Edward made him workoout a treaty with Burgundy, despite preference for France, Edward chose an alliance with Burgundy in 1467, but Warwick prefered an alliance with France,  in 1468 he married his sister margaret to Charles of Burgundy, angering Louis Xi, and so he decided to bring MOA and Warwick together, came with Margaret to marry Charles the bold.

  • Credible alternatives: Edward's brother Clarence, Henry VI - he would be easy to influence as a puppet king
  • by january 1468 - he refused to attend kings council if Earl rviers, Lord herbert or Lord scales were present
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edward losisng the crown pt 2

Warwick moved the king to Middleham castle

  • however Warwick was now unable to control the unrest caused by the people which saw the king as wrongfully imprisoned
  • London was in open robbery, burgundian officials who were in the city managed to keep it under control, Duke of NOrfork laid siege to Caiser catle, owned by the Paston family. Richard duke of gloucester took up arms against LOrd stanley,
  • in August two memebers of the nevilles raised the banner of Henry VI in the north
  • Edward was set free in October, in london with loyal lords such as Gloucester, Hastings, Suffolk - easily crushed the northern rebellion
  • Tried to tackle the Nevilles power as although John NEville had stayed loyal to him, he released Henry Percy from tyhe tower to retake his classic post as Northumberland, but made him Marquess MOntague, taking lands in Devon, young son made DUke of bedford and betroyed to Elizabeth of York the daughter of the king
  • LInconshire rising in march 1470, royal army turned north as Warwick and Clarence also decided to join the rebels
  • battle of losecote field- all of which was destabilising Edward's power and postition of King
  • Warwick and Clarence fled but were refused entry at Calais, then went on to Normandy where they met with Louis XI Warwick made a deal and switched sides to the Lancastrians- Marquess Montagu soon followed, along with Lord Stanelya dn earl of Shrewsbury
  •  Edward then fled to Burgundyoctober 1470, didnt even take Elizabeth who had to take sanctuary in Westminster Abbey with the 3 daughters, gave birth to Edward here november 2nd


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Discontent in England:

  • Jasper Tudors invasion
  • nobel conspiracy of JOhn de vere - earl of oxford, Coutenay and HUngerford heirs- latter 2 both excecuted in early 1469
  • bad harvests- poor economic state
  • war tax against France 1468- not used
  • resentment of Burgundian commercial treaty- favoured Burgundy
  • Warwick and Clarence stirring, popular riots in Yorkshire, leader the 'robin of redesdale' 'robin mend-all' - robin hood, ideal of wronged man imposing justice on corrupt officials. At first Warwicks's brother Northumberland - known as the crowns most reliable of the north, took down the rebellion, however, when unrest spread 2 months later, Neville family sponsered it. Robin of Redesdale - Warwikc's steward at middleham castle Sir John Conyers of Hornby
  • Tax on arable farmers in Yorkshire, LAncashire, Westmorland anf Cumberland

"robin risings"- Yorkshire 1469 , first two put down by Montagu, but Redesdale left untouched - Edward returned the earldom of Northumberland back to the Percy's - causing Montagu to switch sides

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