Nursery Rhymes

Wars of the Roses

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Wars of the Roses
The Middle Ages encompass one of the most exciting periods in English History. One of the most important historical events of the Medieval era is the Wars of the Roses. What were the key dates of this famous historical event? What were the names of the Medieval people who were involved in this historical occasion? Interesting facts and information about the Wars of the Roses are detailed below.

What were the Wars of the Roses?
The Wars of the Roses were intermittent civil wars fought by members of the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Both houses were branches of the Plantagenet royal house, tracing their descent from King Edward III.

What was the cause of the Wars of the Roses?
The rivalry between the house of York and the House of Lancaster started when King Richard II was overthrown by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, in 1399. But the Wars of the Roses actually began on May 22, 1455 with First Battle of St Albans when Richard, Duke of York and his ally, Richard, Earl of Warwick defeated the Lancastrians under Edmund Beaufort who was killed. York captured Henry VI.

Why were they called the Wars of the Roses?
The White Rose was the symbol of Yorkist supporters who opposed the rival House of Lancaster, whose symbol was the Red Rose of Lancaster. The opposition of the two parties, symbolised by the red and white roses gave the wars their name - the Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses ended with King Henry VII who started the Tudor dynasty and symbolically united the White and Red Roses to create the Tudor Rose.

Wars of the Roses - The House of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
Henry IV ("Bolingbroke," son of the Duke of Lancaster), 1399-1413.
Henry V (son of Henry IV), 1413-1422.
Henry VI (son of Henry V, deposed), 1422-1471.

Wars of the Roses - The House of Lancaster
House of York:
Edward IV (son of duke of York), 1461-1483.
Edward V (son of Edward IV), 1483.
Richard III ("Crookback," brother of Edward IV) 1483-1485

Important Facts about the Wars of the Roses
Interesting information and important facts:

  • Key Dates relating to the event: The Wars of the Roses raged from 1455 - 1485
  • Key People relating to the event: the Kings of England who were from the House of York and the House of Lancaster
  • The Lancastrians were:
    • Henry IV ("Bolingbroke," son of the Duke of Lancaster), 1399-1413
    • Henry V (son of Henry IV), 1413-1422
    • Henry VI (son of Henry V, deposed), 1422-1471
  • The Yorkists were:
    • Edward IV (son of duke of York), 1461-1483
    • Edward V (son of Edward IV), 1483
    • Richard III ("Crookback," brother of Edward IV) 1483-1485

Battles fought during the Wars of the Roses
The battles which were fought during the Wars of the Roses were:

1455: The First Battle of St Albans
1460: Battle of Northampton
1460: The Battle of Wakefield
1471: Battle of Barnet
1471: Battle of Tewkesbury
1485: Battle of Bosworth Field

Middle Ages History

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