The War Of The Roses

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Margaret waited nine days at St. Albans while negotiating the surrender of London, only 20 miles away. London, panic-stricken by the behavior of the queen's army, which looted St. Albans after the battle, refused to open its gates to the queen and her king. The borderers began to desert in droves; and with Edward and Warwick united and advancing rapidly from the west, Margaret finally abandoned her attempt on the capital and withdrew to York with the king. Twelve days after second St. Albans the united forces of Edward and Warwick entered London: on 4 March Edward was proclaimed king by the Yorkist peers and by the merchants and commons of London.

Edward set off in pursuit of Margaret and Henry on 19 March, but his advance guard was defeated by a Lancastrian delaying force at Ferrybridge on the River Aire on the 27th. At dawn on the 28th the Yorkists forced their way over the bridge and all that day fought to push back the Lancastrian rearguard towards Towton, reaching the village of Saxton by nightfall. The next morning the queen's army, commanded by Somerset, was seen drawn up less than a mile away (see map).

At 9am on 29 March 1461, with heavy snow falling, the two armies advanced towards each other. When they were about 300 yards apart the Yorkists halted to discharge one volley of heavy armour-piercing arrows which, aided by a following wind, hit the Lancastrian line and caused some casualties. The Yorkist archers then fell back a short distance. The Lancastrians responded with several volleys, using the lighter flight arrows not normally used at all except short range. Impeded by the wind, these arrows fell short by some 50 yards, but the Lancastrians continued to discharge their arrows until their quivers were empty. The Yorkist archers then advanced again and poured a barrage of arrows into the Lancastrian ranks. Unable to respond, the Lancastrians moved forward to contact as quickly as possible.

The battle raged all day, but at about 3pm Lord Dacres, one of the senior Lancastrian commanders, was killed, and at the same time the Duke of Norfolk's force of several thousand men arrived to reinforce the Yorkist right flank. The Lancastrians began to ease off, the slackening of pressure increased to a withdrawal, and suddenly their whole line collapsed. About 12,000 Yorkists were killed or died of wounds and exposure, while some 20,000 Lancastrians were killed, making Towton the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. It was also the most decisive battle of the wars, in the very heart of Lancastrian country, and firmly established Edward IV on the throne. The queen, Henry, and their son Prince Edward fled to Scotland.

The first years of Edward's reign were pro-occupied with stamping out all remaining Lancastrian opposition. Pembroke and Exeter remained at large in Wales, but the Earl of Oxford was executed in 1462 for an attempted landing on the cast coast. The bulk of the surviving Lancastrians retired to the Scots border with Margaret and Henry, seeking support from Scotland and holding the powerful border castles.

In April 1464 a Yorkist force under Lord Montagu, Warwick's younger brother and Edward's lieutenant in the north, clashed with a Lancastrian force under the Duke of Somerset at Hedgeley Moor. The two Lancastrian wings, commanded by Lords Hungerford and Roos, promptly fled, but the men under Sir Ralph Percy stood fast and were annihilated. Montagu was unable to pursue, as he was escorting a Scottish delegation to York to discuss a peace. Somerset led his forces to Hexham and made camp two miles south of that town. As soon as Montagu had carried out his mission, he moved southwards to confront the Lancastrians again.

Early on the morning of 15 May 1464 Montagu attacked the Lancastrian camp, smashing through Somerset's center with a rapid downhill charge. Once again the two wings broke and fled. Somerset was captured and executed, along with Hungerford and Roos, among others. These executions almost completed the extinction of the old Lancastrian faction, and virtually ended Lancastrian resistance; and even the queen gave up, and fled to Anjou.


Barnet and Tewkesbury.

The great northern strongholds of the Lancastrians – Ainwick, Norham, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh fell soon after the battle of Hexham, and within a year Henry VI, who had been hiding in a monastery, was betrayed and placed in the Tower. Apart from Harlech Castle and Berwick-on-Tweed, Edward was now truly king of all England.

In November 1464 Edward secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, without the consent and against the wishes of Warwick (who was engaged at the time in trying to arrange a French marriage for the king). Warwick, trying to assume dictatorial powers over the new king, fell from favor, and Elizabeth's numerous relatives rose swiftly in rank and office as Edward formed his own Yorkist party: his father-in-law became Earl Rivers, his brother-in-law Lord Scales, Elizabeth's son by her first marriage became Earl of Dorset, while old supporters were also advanced – William Herbert was made Earl of Pembroke, Humphrey Stafford Earl of Devon, and the Percies were recruited in alignment against the Nevilles by restoring to them the earldom of Northumberland. In 1467 Edward openly broke with Warwick by repudiating a treaty with France and an alliance with Burgundy which Warwick had just negotiated. Enraged and humiliated, Warwick enlisted the aid of Edward's brother, George of Clarence, and from the security of Calais declared against Edward because of his oppressions.

Реферат опубликован: 16/05/2009