History of The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses were a series of battles between the houses of Lancaster (the red rose) and York (the white rose) in the fifteenth century. The battles were ultimately about which family had more right, or more might, to wear the crown of England.

The purpose of this site is to provide as much information as possible about these wars in particular and the fifteenth century in general. To this end you can find on this site information about the people involved in the wars, descriptions of the battles and an outline of the history of the wars. You will also find other general information on the century, including music and a timeline of events of the fifteenth century.

The origins of the conflict can be found in the family of Edward III (1327-77). Edward had five sons who lived to adulthood. They were, in order of birth, Edward Prince of Wales (known to later generations as the « Black Prince »), Lionel of Antwerp (Duke of Clarence), John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster), Edmund of Langley (Duke of York) and Thomas of Woodstock (Duke of Gloucester). Edward married his sons into the some of the most powerful and wealthy families in England, thus creating a group of wealthy nobles closely related to the king.

The Black Prince pre-deceased his father, so that when Edward died in 1377, the kingdom was left to his grandson, the 10 year old Richard II. The kingdom was governed by a council until the king reached the age of sixteen, when Richard began his personal rule. Unfortunately, he proved to be a weak and ineffectual ruler who promoted and protected « favourites » while bearing grudges and bringing down vengeance upon people he disliked.

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