Posts Tagged ‘Wars of the Roses’


The Battle of Towton – in your living room.

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

To commemorate the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 a fascinating new DVD is available.   It is based on a BBC documentary, but includes so much more which due to time constraints had to be cut out of the documentary.  This is not to be missed.

On a cold and snowy day in 1461 Henry VI’s Lancastrians and Edward IV’s Yorkists met on a field near Towton in Yorkshire. It has been estimated that 100 000 men fought at the 12 hour battle. At the end of the day approx. 28 000 men were dead, an equivalent of 1% of the English population at the time, Britain’s bloodiest battle.

During building work in 1996 the workmen found a mass burial pit from the battle.  This was excavated and analysed by archaeologists of the University of Bradford.  The results from this investigation have helped tremendously in our knowledge of the fighting in the period of the Wars of the Roses, as anyone who has read the book Blood Red Roses will know. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blood and Roses – The Wars of the Roses, c.1450 – 1485

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

This is the title of a ‘Special Interest Weekend to re-evaluate an historically neglected but pivotal English conflict’ which will be held from 24 to 27 March 2011 at Christ Church in Oxford in association with Holts Battlefield Tours and The Richard III Society.  To a Ricardian the description of a “neglected” conflict is hardly appropriate, as it is essential to our period of interest.

Special Interest Weekends are offered every spring by Christ Church, offering sound scholarship by distinguished speakers to their visitors.  Participants will stay on campus and enjoy college life.  The social highlight of the weekend will be the Gala Banquet on Saturday night.

This weekend promises to take the participant through one of the most complex narratives of English History and to explore the debates surrounding the parts played, not just by the king but by the aristocracy.  The talks include:

•    The Origins of the Wars of the Roses
•    The Role of Margaret of Anjou
•    Edward IV and the Establishment of the House of York
•    Richard III:  Reputation and Reality
•    The Army of Richard III
•    Alice Duchess of Suffolk and the Wars of the Roses – this will take place at Ewelme Church, where she is buried
•    The Battle of Bosworth – Dr Glenn Foard, who led the team that discovered the real battle site, will talk about their research.

What a pity that we are so far away, the weekend does promise to be fascinating!  It would be good if we could find out whether the talks might be published in book format after the weekend.  This would allow people, who live too far away and haven’t got the means to just pop over to Oxford for weekend, can enjoy some of it.

For a copy of the programme and a booking form click here.

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550th Anniversary of the Battle of Northampton

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

We may be 550 years late for the Battle of Northampton, fought on 10 July 1460 between the Yorkist forces commanded by the Earl of Warwick and Henry VI’s Lancastrian forces, but this coming weekend there will be lots of action for latecomers like us (and more peaceful, too).  A wide variety of Battle related activities will take place at at the original battle site at Delapré Abbey,  including a re-enactment of part of the Battle.  Other attractions are: Jousting on horseback with full armour, gunpowder and large canon demonstrations, the display of a soldiers’ encampment and music from the period of the Battle.  And if all this makes you hungry and thirsty there will also be food stalls offering medieval fare.

This fun weekend will be followed by a conference on the Battle of Northampton on the anniversary itself (10 July) at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, organised by The Battlefields Trust.  The programme promises to be fascinating with talks on “The Wars of the Roses and the Northampton Campaign”, “Developments in Warfare During the 15th Century”, “The Battle of Northampton”, “Where Is the Battlefield?” and “Finding Medieval Battlefields”.

You can find more information on the weekend at Delapré Abbey here and about the conference at Northampton Museum here.

IllustrationWar of the Roses © Andrew Jamieson,

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Launch of The Battle of Wakefield

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Helen Cox, author of The Battle of Wakefield Revisited, let us know that her book has been launched successfully.  Approx. 30 people attended the official moment, among them Peter Hammond, the Chairman of the Richard III Society; Sue Galloway, the Lord Mayor of York; Richard Watson, the Sheriff of York; Terry Suthers, the Chairman of the York Archaeological Trust and Mark Taylor, the Chairman of the Towton Battlefield Society as well as some more friends from the Towton Battlefield Society.

Obviously this was a very exciting occasion for Helen, as this is her first book that she has written on her own and the result of years of research.  Helen says that she is especially happy that it means she can “take a public stand in support of Richard, Duke of York, who usually gets such a rough ride from historians”.  The site for this rehabilitation was particularly appropriate as this was where the Battle of Wakefield effectively ended with the heads of Richard of York and his son Edmund and the Earl of Salisbury displayed on the York city walls after the battle.

For the launch Helen came kitted out with the full re-enactors necessities like a basket of crocks and 15th century goodies, swords, helmets, padded jacks, bows and arrows and sundry bits of costume as well as obviously cartons of books.

To find out more about the book have a look at the flyer Helen provided to us (here).  You can order the book from YPD Books.  I ordered it yesterday for £12.00 + £9.95 for shipping to Australia, which altogether came to approx. Aus$ 40.00.  And don’t forget to visit Helen’s website as well.

We would also like to thank Helen for providing  the photographs of this exciting occasion to us.

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St Albans – Hertfordshire

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Ricardian Places

St Albans - Hertfordshire

St Albans – Hertfordshire

When considering which could be my next Ricardian Place in Hertfordshire, the recent 555th anniversary of the First Battle of St Albans (22 May 1455) offered the obvious answer.  During our life in England St Albans was a popular haunt for us, for shopping, eating out or just soaking up the atmosphere.  I also happened to have a number of private students there – hello to Tony and Jacky, should you read this.

There have been settlements in the St Albans area for a long time.  The first that we know of was by the Celtic Catuvellauni tribe, who called it ‘Verlamion’.  During the Roman period it became ‘Verulanium’, the second largest town in England after Londinium, situated on Watling Street heading north.[1]  Most of the remains of the Roman town are today covered by Verulanium Park, but some parts have been excavated and can be visited.  For instance the Hypocaust (including an in situ mosaic); the Roman Theatre of Verulamium; and the remains of the Roman city walls and London gate.[2] Read the rest of this entry »

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The Road to Fotheringhay 21st – 29th July 2010

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

This year marks the 550th anniversary of the death of Richard Duke of York and his son Edmund Earl of Rutland at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460.  Though they were initially buried at Pontefract, their bodies were later exhumed and brought in with great ceremony to Fotheringhay.

Chief mourner at this procession was the Duke’s youngest son Richard Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III).   He rode at the head of his father’s effigy, followed by the lords of the land, including the Earl of Northumberland, Lord Stanley and Lord Welles. They were to stay with the body throughout, attend all the services and masses en route, and have the privilege of standing and kneeling within the barriers of the hearse.  The courtege was also accompanied by officers at arms, the kings of arms and many poor men on foot.   The procession travelled along the Great North Road (now A1) and rested overnight at Doncaster, Blyth, Tuxford le Clay, Newark, Grantham, Stamford and finally at Fotheringhay.  At night sixty men with torches kept guard around the hearse.

This year Wakefield Historical Society will retrace that journey on the anniversary dates of 21st-29th July.   Each day will include visits to places of interest and a chance to walk some stretches of the original route. Each evening will include a performance of a medieval Vespers of the Dead, in the church where the body rested if possible, as well as a talk by an invited lecturer.

You can find out more on the fascinating webpage of the Wakefield Historical Society.  You can order the book by Anne F Sutton & Livia Visser-Fuchs The Reburial of Richard Duke of York, 21-29 July 1476, which is mentioned on the webpage, from the Richard III Society (go to ‘Publications’, then ‘Books, Monographs and Booklets’, then ‘Books by the Richard III Society’).

The above illustration is a drawing of Fotheringhay Church c. 1850.

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Was the Battle of Barnet also in the wrong spot?

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

The recent discovery of the actual site of the Battle of Bosworth made headlines around the world.  It now seems that we might also have to rethink the location of the Battle of Barnet.

The Battle of Barnet was fought on Easter Sunday, 14 April 1471, between Edward IV, who had returned from exile in Burgundy, and the Yorkists on the one side, and the Earl of Warwick and the Lancastrians on the other.  This was the first battle in which the then 18 year-old Richard, Duke of Gloucester, fought and some think that he commanded the vanguard.  Visibility was greatly reduced due to a thick mist.  This mist seems to have lasted until the present, because the exact location of the site is still being disputed.  The reason is that so far no archaeological evidence has been found, possibly because researchers were looking at the wrong spot and had concentrated on the registered site in Hadley Green. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who would like to play Richard III?

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

NewsI recently read about a board game called Richard III:  Wars of the Roses, which sounded intriguing.  Two players are fighting out the Wars of the Roses between York and Lancaster.  Will Henry VI and his Queen Margaret keep the throne or will the Duke of York recover it for the Plantagenets.  Other characters include Edward IV, Richard III, Henry Tudor, and Warwick, the notorious “Kingmaker”.  The object of play is to eliminate all five enemy heirs and/or win control of the powerful nobles of England. The Lancastrians start the game holding the throne, and the Yorkists are ready to take them on.  Kingship can be won or lost several times during the game.  Will Richard III emerge triumphant, or will he perish in battle as he did historically?

I read several reviews of this game which all seemed to be very favourable.  I know what I want for my next birthday!

You can find more information here or read a review.

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