Edward IV - First Reign 1461-70

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  • Created by: elyornais
  • Created on: 16-04-15 14:20



  • Took Edward over 3 years to eliminate Lancastrian enemies- they concentrated their power in Northumberland and sustained by French and Scottish help.
  • Invasion scares on the south coast and disturbances in several parts of the kingdom.
  • 1464- Henry VI and Margaret returned to England. They recieved support from Percy Earls of Northumberland.
  • Henry VI+ Margaret marched army made up of scottish and French mercenaries, Joined by troops raised by Duke of Somerset.
  • Edward IV sent a yorkist army lead by John Neville.
  • Lancastrians beaten at Hedgeley Moor April 1464.
  • Margaret and son escaped, Henry VI captured and imprisoned in 1465.
  • Edward married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464.
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External Threats and Problems

  • Edward successfully negotiated truces with James III of Scotland and Louis XI of France to deny Lancastrians any aid abroad.
  • Opened up negotiations with Duke of Burgundy for trading opportunities and secure an ally if the French went back on their truce.
  • Warwick tried to convince Edward to marry the French king's daughter to make the alliance last longer but Edward secretely married Elizabeth instead. - Alienated the French.
  • Failed to persuade the Hanseatic League to agree with his request for trading concessions.
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Internal Threats and problems

  • Adopted policy of conciliation- Lancastrians pardoned and encouraged to serve the Crown.
  • Henry VI imprisoned but well treated.
  • Tried to improve the efficiency and authority of the government, particulary in the farthest regions but his successes were few.
  • Law and order restored in some regions and government improved but still not very effective.
  • Crown's finances were recovering but national debt remained high.
  • Failure- Over-rewarding close family and a small circle of noble supporters.- Caused resentment amongst Lancastrians and some Yorkists.
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Edward IV and the Nobility

  • 2 principles: Pardon + reconciliation for Lancastrians. Employment, patronage and rewards for nobles of both factions.
  • Some Lancastrians reluctant to accept his offer.
  • Edward didn't have the financial or material resources available to reward them.- He miscalculated resources available to him.
  • Yorkist supporters were impatiently waiting for their rewards in land and office.
  • Demands made by his closest allies and family.
  • Edward exploited his defeated enemies to meet the demands of his Yorkist supporters and the enemies' families were affected by the confiscations and this created resentment.
  • 22 years of Edward's reign- He created or revived 37 noble titles, 22 were bestowed during his first reign.
  • Was meant to provide him with a wide circle of grateful supporters but title did not always bring with it any land.
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Rewarded Favourites


  • George created Duke of Clarence, Richard created Duke of Gloucester.- George had lands to the value of £3660 (£1.78 mil) and offices with combined annual salary of just over £650(£305,000).

The Nevilles:

  • William made Earl of Kent. John given Earldom of Northumberland. George appointed Archbishop of York.
  • Warwick- given the most land and money and much power in the north.


  • Elizabeth's father, Richard made Earl Rivers and Anthony created Lord Scales.

Favoured Individuals:

  • Hastings- Chamberlain of the Royal Household. Herbert- Earl of Pembroke and ruled Wales for King.
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  • A.J. Pollard: 'The mightiest of over-mighty subjects.
  • Career began in 1449 (aged 21), he succeed his wealthy earldom beacuse of his wife, Anne.
  • Offered support to Richard Duke of York in 1453 and was rewarded Captain of Calais.
  • Supported Edward after death of Richard DoY.- assisted organising his coronation.
  • Possessed vast estates across England and Wales, this made him powerful.
  • Held the title of four Earldoms bestowed on him by Edward IV.
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Warwick- Kingmaker or Kingserver?


  • Bishop of St Andrews: 'Warwick was governer of the realm of England beneath King Edward.'
  • 'They have but 2 rulers- M. de Warwick and another, whose name I have forgotton.' - governer of Abbeville reported this to the King of France - Warwick appeared powerful overseas as he conducted the king's foreign policy.
  • 'My lord Warwick...has made a new king of the son of the Duke of York.' - Papal Legate wrote this to the Duke of Milan, Italy.
  • Some modern historians say 'Warwick ruled while Edward reigned.'


  • 'The relationship between the two was more a partnership between mighty subject and insecure king, and it would be wrong to suppose that Warwick was the sole author of royal policy during these early years.'- A.J Pollard
  • 'The whole pattern of Edward'd activities in the years 1461-9 suggests that he was very much king in fact as well as his name.'- Charles Ross
  • 'An alliance of mutual interests which triumphed in 1461, not a puppet and puppeteer.'- David Cook
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The Alienation of Warwick

  • Warwick was unhappy with the position/power he'd been given, not grateful for the freedom he had in conducting national affairs.
  • His titles included: Captain of Calais, Constable of Dover Castle, he had Admiralship of England and Ireland, Wardenship of the eastern and western Marches on the Scottish border.
  • Warwick and William Herbert enemies as Warwick wanted control of Wales and the Marches, Herbert believed that his contribution to putting Edward on the throne was deserving of reward.
  • 1465- defeat of the lancastians in battle, exile of Lancastrian leaders and capture of Henry VI.
  • May 1464- Edward secretly married Elizabeth. -Warwick not consulted and left embarrassed as he had been working hard at an alliance with France- proposing a marriage between Edward IV and Louis XI's sister in law.
  • Warwick favoured alliance with France, Edward preferred Burgundy- Burgundy was England's ally in 100 years war- ended in 1453. Burgundy enemy of France and France feared Anglo-Burgundian alliance- didn't want England to renew war + take control of France.
  • France wanted to destroy Burgundy's trade, Edward wanted to exploit it, Burgundy's rulers, Phillip and Charles the Bold wanted independence from France.
  • 1467-Warwick withdrew from court. 1468- Edward arranged marriage of his sister Margaret to Duke Charles of Burgundy- ended hope of French alliance and made Louis XI a dangerous enemy. Woodville influence increased, Warwick's declined.
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The Alienation of Clarence

  • Opposed Edward's marriage and resented Woodville influence at court.
  • Irritation at Woodville's cornering the marriage market.- By beginning of 1467, queen's siblings had marriages with Duke of Buckingham+ heirs of earls of Arundel, Essex, Kent and Pembroke.
  • Thomas Grey married heiress of Duke of Exeter. Her 20yo brother married 65yo Duchess of Norfolk.- Woodville greed and ambition.
  • Clarence turned to Warwick- agreed to marry Warwick's oldest daughter Isobel but King wouldn't allow it- serious blow to Warwick and Clarence, they blamed Queen and her brother Anthony, Lord Scales, for influencing the King against it.
  • They plotted the destruction of the Woodvilles and downfall of Edward. - Warwick had a talent for propoganda and creating friendships so generally popular while the Woodvilles were not.
  • Warwick not as popular as he thought as majority of nobility did not support him.
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Political upheaval and instability

  • April 1469- 2 Warwick inspired rebellions led by Robin of Redesdale and Robin of Holderness in the north.
  • Also, economic crisis caused by bad harvests caused general discontent. Warwick hoped to keep Edward busy while he and Clarence went to Calais to plot his usurption.
  • Commanded troops and issued manifesto outlinining grievences + stating intentions to rid kingdom of  'evil councillors'. Clarence was married to Isobel.
  • This and their return to England in July 1469 alarmed Edward- he called on his supporters, Earls of Pembroke and Devon, to bring their forces to join his.
  • Pembroke's largely Welsh army heavily defeated at Edgecote, Pembroke captured and executed and Edward fled but was captured by Warwick.
  • Warwick failed to govern the Kingdom. The nobility did not support him against a Lancastrian rising in north-west.
  • He had to release Edward to help.
  • 1470- Warwick began new plot- encouraged rebellion under Sir Robert Welles, Lincolnshire.- Edward defeated Rebels, Welles captured and executed.
  • 1470- Battles of Losecoat and Nibley green- family feuds between members of the nobility broke out , taking advantage of the chaos.
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France and Burgundy

  • Warwick and Clarence fled to France. Louis XI wanted to use them as a diplomatic tool against Burgundy. Louis persuaded Warwick, Clarence and Margaret of Anjou to join forces.
  • Louis XI hoped to restore Henry VI to the throne. In return, Louis expected England to break treaty with Burgundy and help him in his conflict with Duke Charles.
  • Prince Edward would marry Anne Neville.
  • September 1470- Warwick returned. He recruited an army with French financial and military assistance.
  • He did this easily as Edward was in the north putting down a rebellion led by Warwick's brother in law.
  • Edward, Richard, Hastings and Earl Rivers were forced to flee and seek shelter in Burgundy. Charles the Bold intended  to use them against the french.
  • Henry VI was restored- brought England into conflict with Burgundy. Warwick and MoA supported Louis XI.
  • Warwick lost support of parliament- they had not been consulted about declaring war. The powerful merchant community feared damage to the wool industry.
  • Duke Charles gave Edward 50,000 crowns, helped him plan return to England and gave him Burgundian troops.
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Defection of Clarence and Murder of Henry VI.

  • Edward was joined by Clarence on his march to London in 1470. Clarence was forgiven.
  • Clarence was disappointed at Warwick's failure to consider his candidature for the crown.
  • He opposed the restoration of Henry and he got into conflict with Warwick.
  • Warwick was defeated and killed in the battle of Barnet(1471).
  • A number of Lancastrian magnates were killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471, including; Duke of Somerset and Prince Edward (MoA's son)
  • Margaret escaped but was captured a few days later.
  • Edward ordered the murder of Henry VI.
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Lancastrians and Jasper Tudor

  • Henry VI's half brother Jasper fled to France with his 14yo nephew, Henry, Earl of Richmond.
  • After death of his elder brother Edmund in 1456, Jasper was entrusted with the government of Wales.
  • He was never a major figure at court and never became a target for Yorkist enemies.
  • The Tudors were one of the few families who could lay claim to the throne. This elevated their status to serious political opponents.
  • Edward IV's triumph in 1471 made the future look bleak for the Tudors.
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