Wars of the Roses

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Wars of the Roses were a series of battles in 15th century England in which the houses of York and Lancaster vied for posession of the throne. The wars were so called because both houses used a rose in their arms: a red rose for the house of Lancaster, and a white rose for the house of York. The term 'Wars of the Roses' was not coined until the 19th century.

There is also a medieval urban legend (stemming from Shakespeare's work) that the other noble houses declared their allegiance by picking roses in the garden of the Temple in London. It is unlikely but vaguely possible, given English eccentricity.

The First Battle of St. Albans

On 22nd of May 1455, Richard, the Duke of York claimed that the Lancastrian King Henry VI had no right to the throne, as his grandfather Henry IV had seized the crown by force in 1399. Followers of the Duke succeeded in deposing Henry and installing Edward IV for a time but Henry regained the throne and held it until 1471.

The Battle of Tewkesbury

On the 4th of May 1471, Edward succeeded in regaining the throne, and the Yorkists held power through the reign of Richard III.

The Battle of Bosworth Field

On the 22nd of August 1485, Henry VII took the throne from the Yorkists, claiming descent from two junior houses of Lancaster. He effectively ended the conflict by marrying into the house of York, thus uniting the two factions. This was the beginning of the powerful Tudor dynasty.

Other Battles

  • Battle of Blore Heath: 23rd September, 1459
  • Battle of Ludford Bridge: 12th October, 1459
  • Battle of Northampton: 10th July, 1460
  • Battle of Wakefield: 30th December, 1460
  • Battle of Mortimer's Cross: 2nd February, 1461
  • Second Battle of St Albans: 22nd February, 1461
  • Battle of Ferrybridge: 28th March, 1461
  • Battle of Towton: 29th March, 1461
  • Battle of Hedgeley Moor: 25th April, 1464
  • Battle of Hexham: 15th May, 1464
  • Battle of Edgecote Moor: 26th July, 1469
  • Battle of Lose-coat Field: 12th March, 1470
  • Battle of Barnet: 14th April, 1471
  • Battle of Stoke Field: 16th June, 1487