The significance of the Wars of the Barons


The Great council

  • In May, the King and Queen sent out letters summoning their military forces to Leiceser that month and a great council was summoned to meet at Coventry in June
  • Those who didnt attend were indicted. Unclear whether York and Warwick were not invited or just didnt attend
  • The Yorkists were aware that the Queen had made a call to arms and suspected that she was about to move against them
  • York made plans to hold a meeting of his own in Ludlow
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The Battle of Blore Heath

  • The first battle after 4 years of uneasy peace
  • Caused by the Yorkist suspision that the Queen was planning to attack them
  • Warwick narrowly escaped capture from Somerset in September 1549 on his way to Ludlow from Calais (different Somerset to before St Albans)
  • Salisbury (Warwick's father) intercepted Lord Audley's forces at Blore Heath in Staffordshire
  • Salisbury won killing Lord Audley
  • Yorkists sent a message to the king justifying their actons and listing their greivances, blaming 'evil advisors' for the battle
  • The court replied with pardons for those who submitted to the king with the exception of those involved in killing Lord Audley
  • Yorkists rejected this offer showing that they couldnt be trusted 
  • This meant that the conflict continued and a Lancastrian army went to Ludlow to confront the gathered Yorkists
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The Battle of Ludford Bridge

  • This was a skirmish that led to the flight and failure of the Yorkists
  • The Yorkists were outnumbered 3 to 1
  • The royal banners were visible meaning that the king was there so the Calais garrisson wouldnt take up arms against the King and chnaged sides
  • Yorkist leaders fled, York leaving his wife and 2 sons behind
  • York and second son fled to Ireland and Nevilles and York's eldest son Edward (later Edward IV) fled to Calais
  • Yorkist cause was in ruins and Maragret was triumphant giving her the condidence to destroy the Yorkists completely
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The parliament of devils

  • After the scattering of the Yorkists at Ludford Bridge, Margaret of Anjou was left in a position of strength
  • She attempted to build a broad based governement but wasn't prepared to include York or the Nevilles who she now wanted to destroy
  • The Lancastrians consolidated their victory over the Yorkists.
  • The nickname the 'parliament of devils' was given due to the viciousness and unfairness that the Yorkist leaders and heirs were treated by this parliament
  • 27 Yorkist leaders were attainted with treason and sentenced to death and the heirs were disinherited and bared form succeeding to their estates. The lands taken from the Yorkist leaders were given to the loyal followers of the King.
  • Many considered this a too harsh punishment which lost Henry and Margaret support whilst gaining sympathy for the Yorkists. After the destruction of the Yorkist cause, the 'parliament of devils' build it up again, and when Warwrick, Salisbury and March landed in Kent in June 1460, many of the men in Kent, noblemen included, rose to support them and on the 2nd July, London opened it's gates to them.
  • The attainder left the Yorkists with nothing to lose which may have been the point where York saw that the only way to recover their position was to take the corwn as being Protector was no longer enough as it wasnt a permanent position.
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The Yorkist Invasion and the Battle of Northampton

  • Warwick and Edward, Earl of March, landed in Sandwich, Kent, having used a fleet of ships he had confiscated from Somerset to stage it.
  • They marched to London, gathering support on their way. 
  • London opened its gates to Warwick and Edward and they headed north to confront Henry's army in Northampton
  • An attempt at negotiation was rejected by Buckingham, who was acting as the King's representative
  • The Yorkists won the ensuing battle because:

Heavy rain so Lancastrians guns failed to fire

Lord Grey of Ruthin defected to the Yorkist cause at the last minuet. He formed the frontline of the Lancastrian deences, so his loss left the Lancastrians vulnerable and gave the Yorkists easy access to the King. Warwick knew of the defection beforehand so ordered his men not to attack anoyone wearning Grey's livery

  • Yorkists victorious, gained possession of Henry so Warwick took over running the government on Henry's behalf, replacing the 'evil advisors' with Yorkist men.
  • Key nobles died like Buckingham (Humphrey Stafford) , Shrewsbury (John Talbot) , Egremont (Thomas Percy) 
  • Margaret and Prince Edward escaped to Wales
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York claims the throne and the Act of Accord

  • York returned to the battle on the 8th September and marched under the royal banner with a sword upright before him as if he were King.
  • He placed his hand on the throne as a sign of possession, expecting applause from the gathered lords which he didnt get. The Archbishop of Canterbury asked if he was there to see the King
  • York stormed out realising that he hadnt gotten the support he wanted but he refused to back down and formally claimed the throne 6 days later at a meeting of the lords in parliament and the Act of Accord was agreed.
  • This meant that Henry's heirs were disinherited and York would become King after Henry VI's death. York was 10 years older than Henry so this was unlikely, but he clearly still had some loyalty to Henry and the concept of rule by divine right as he agreed to wait to take the throne until after Henry's death
  • Angry over the Act and the disinheritance of her son, Margaret of Anjou raised an army north and the Act had garunteed the conntiuation of conflict
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The battle of Wakefield and the death of York

  • Margaret gained sympathy and support as a result of the Act of Accord and she was joined by Somerset and Devon in the North. 
  • Attempts by the Yorkist controlled government to deal with this military threat was ignored by those who controlled the north, Northumberland and Clifford. Infact, Northumberland and Clifford began attacking York and Neville propeties here so York, Salisubry and Rutland headed north to deal witht the problems there
  • They spend Christmas at Sandal Castle where they were ambushed by a Lancastrian force, led by Northumberland, Somerset and Clifford. All three Yorkist men were killed and the sons of the men who died at St Albans had gotten their revenge.
  • York's head was displayed on the gate of York with a paper crown on his head along with the head of Salisbury
  • Edward, Earl of March now became the new Duke of York and was determined to avenge his fathers death and pursue his cause
  • Margaret then moved South with her army, heading for London to confront the Yorkists. Her army gained a reputation for looting but it is unclear how true this was. This reputation led to London refusing to to open its gates to her army after the 2nd Battle of St Albans forcing her to turn north, and allowing Edward to take London where he was declared King. This was a huge tactical error from Margaret
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The battle of Mortimers cross and the 2nd Battle o

  • Earl of Wiltshire's forces vs Edward's forces in the Welsh Marches. The first victory for Edward in his own right, no kingmaker involved.
  • Warwick's army vs Margaret's army at St Albans. Failure for Warwick and the Lancastrian army regain control over Henry VI so was able to rejoin Margaret and his son
  • Following the knews of the defeat at St Albans, knowing that Margaret had turned north, Edward went to London and was preclaimed King
  • On 3rd March, a council of nobles agreed that Edwrad should be King. 
  • Edward had taken advantage of the unpopularity of the Queen, the lack of good governement under Henry VI, the groundwork of his father, the Act of Acord, and his ability on the battlefield to fulfill his dream of a Duke of York on the throne of England
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