194 The Wars of the Roses

The start of it all- Lancastrians, Yorkists - and Nevilles
The start of it all- Lancastrians, Yorkists – and Nevilles

When to declare the Wars of the Roses all finished and done? There are as many choices as there are for start dates.

1485 and the Battle of Bosworth has been a favourite. After all, with hindsight the dynasty will no longer change.

1541 is another option, seemingly very late, with the execution of Margaret de la Pole, and the shedding of the last credible Yorkist blood.

In this episode, I plump for 1487. For this was the last battle fought by a Yorkist claimant on English soil.

But it’s worth noting that nobody at the time knew if this was the end or not – and with Perkin Warbeck, and Edmund and Richard de la Pole still to come, the fear of a Yorkist revival and the strife of the Wars of the Roses would last to the death of Henry VIII at the very least.

We then spend some time thinking about the causes and impacts of the Wars. The recognition that the medieval system utterly depended on an effective monarch; the rise of populism and slightly surprising appeal of the magnates to the people; the impact on the prestige of the royal house and consequences for Henry VII.



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