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THE WARS OF THE ROSES
A brief chronology of events
Insurrection broke out in this year in various parts of England, directed against the Duke of Suffolk and his supporters, governing the country under Henry VI. The king agreed to Suffolk's arrest on January 25th.
The duke was impeached by the Commons on February 7th, and committed to the Tower. He was later banished and murdered on his way to France. John Cade (calling himself Mortimer), raised an insurrection in Kent, in May, perhaps on behalf of the duke of York. Cade encamped on Blackheath inearly June, crossed London Bridge on July 3rd, plundered London but was later defeated and died resisting arrest on July 12th.
The Duke of Somerset, Governor of Normandy, was recalled to England and took direction of affairs on behalf of Henry VI.
The Duke of York took up arms, and demanded that Somerset should be brought to trial for his misdeeds. York was persuaded to lay down his arms, and was imprisoned. Shortly afterwards he was released sometime in the first half of March after swearing an oath of allegience to Henry in St Paul's. He remained in London until 24th of March and then rode west to Ludlow where he was on June 2nd. He visited Bewdley on July 28th enroute for Fotheringhay Castle Northamptonshire.
There is evidence of him being at Fotheringhay on August 11th and December 18th, so he was almost certainly there when his youngest son Richard of Gloucester, was born on 2nd October.
The king fell mentally ill and was totally incapacitated for government in November. The duke of York came forward again and was admitted into the king’s council. He obtained the arrest and impeachment of Somerset in November.
King Henry's heir Prince Edward was born on October 13th ( St Edward's Day).
Parliament met on 14 February. The king’s incapacity was agreed and the duke of York was appointed on 3 April ‘protector and defender of the kingdom’ during the minority of King Henry’s heir Prince Edward, who was created Prince of Wales on 15 March.
Somerset was deprived of his offices and accused of treason, but the charge was not pursued.
The king recovered his health and revoked the duke of York’s commission as Protector. Somerset was released from the Tower on 5 February. The Dukes of York and Somerset entered into bonds of 20,000 marks each (1 mark = 13s 4d = 67p = roughly one euro) to submit their disputes to arbitration on 4 March. Two days later, on the advise of the Duke of Somerset, the duke of York was deprived of the Captaincy of Calais and took up arms. The armies met at the first battle of St Albans on 22 May, Somerset was killed and the duke of York gained a complete victor
The captaincy of Calais was now given to the Earl of Warwick, nephew of the duke of York. The king fell ill for a second time, and the duke of York was again made Protector, on 19 November, to remain in office until dismissed by Parliament.
The king recovered and revoked the duke’s commission as Protector on 25 February. The duke and his chief supporters retired to their estates.
The queen and the Richard duke of York were formally reconciled on 25 March.
An attempt was made to assassinate the earl of Warwick in London on 9 November. He escaped to the north and arranged with his father, Richard earl of Salisbury, and the Duke of York for their mutual defence. He then retired to Calais.
The Earl of Salisbury marched to join the Duke of York. On his way he defeated and killed Lord Audley, a Lancastrian, at Blore Heath in Staffordshire on 23 September. The Earl of Warwick now also joined the Duke of York at Ludlow and the Lancastrians, commanded by the queen, advanced against them. When the armies met on 13 October at Ludford Bridge the queen offered a pardon, and the duke’s army deserted him.
The family of the Duke of York, his wife Cecily, his two youngest sons George and Richard and his daughter Margaret were all taken prisoner and sent to the safe keeping of Anne, Duchess of Buckingham, Cecily’s sister.
Edmund duke of Somerset made an attempt to take Calais from the Yorkists but failed. The earls of Warwick and Salisbury fled there and the Duke of York went to Ireland.
A parliament was held at Coventry on 20 November in which the Duke of York and his chief supporters were attainted.