This is my retelling of that story of the English, in a regular, chronological podcast, from the cataclysmic end of Roman Britain, all the way through to the present day. I’m a bloke in a shed, so this is not a dry retelling of events; I make sure this is good, properly prepared history, but I fill it with my love and enthusiasm for history, and some of the things that make me laugh.
First of all,m if you don't know the History of Byzantium, and would like to, hop along to Robin Pierson's website. It's a great series.
Secondly, I'm starting up a series of Wars of the Roses pages, just to help you all navigate through the mess of families that hop in and out of each others' beds. Look at the Left Hand Nav bar; or to read about a few of the major families in 1450, follow this link to Major Families...
Richard Duke of York, 1411-1460
Son of the disgraced Richard Earl of Cambridge, despite his long minority Richard was born to the fortunes of York and Mortimer, and descended from The Duke of Clarence, Edward III's son. There was no sign before 1450 that Richard was anything other than a loyal servant of the king - serving in France as Lieutenant General. Then he was ousted, and replaced by Edmund Beaufort. Historians disagree about how Richard took this - but being appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland may very well not have been the reward it sounds like - in Ireland he was safely far away from the king. Richard was alienated by a feeling that he was denied his birthright - being in the closest counsels of the king.
His return in 1450 was dramatic - he came without permission. Beaufort was now effectively the chief Minister of the king and Queen, and all 3 appeared to panic trying to prevent York's return.
By 1451, civil war was not inevitable; but a pattern of antipathy between Beaufort, Queen Margaret and York was becoming established, and York 's ambitions being thwarted.
Margaret of Anjou, 1430-1482
What to make of Margaret? It's always worth bearing in mind that women like Margaret who stepped outside the mould will be unfairly judged by contemporary chroniclers. From the start of her relationship with Henry, it seems both got on well - spending more time together than was expected of a king and queen at the time. She was reasonably traditional in her role, supporting her husband; though she spent freely; and appears frequently in the minutes of the King's council as grants were made 'by the queen's counsel'; so it appears she became more involved, and the political situation sharpened, and her husband's lack of capability .became more evident.,
After 8 years of marriage, by 1452 the couple still showed no signs of producing a child.
Livery Badges, Bastard feudalism and the Wars of the Roses
The prevailing theory about why the Wars of the Roses happened was, at one point very much about 'bastard feudalism'and the 'overmighty subjects'. The story goes that by the 15th century, the relationship between a lord and his retinue had changed - no longer based on an honest knight and his patch of land, but no a money fee, based on an 'indenture' or contract. And that as a result, lords traipsed around the countryside with massive retinues of followers. Which is true - they did. A magnate gave out robes of particular colours, and livery badges by which they might be known; and there were a lot of them; and the 15th century was a violent time. The general feeling is that this wasn't the fault of bastard feudalism; in earlier centuries, a magnates affinity was just as important. The reasons for the war had more to do with Henry VIth's failure to control his magnates.
But back to livery badges; below is one example, one of Henry VIth's badges. I've had a rootle around and tried to find the ones I could - guided, obviously, by that authoritative historical resource, the game Kingmaker...so you can find them all by clicking on this link to my page 'Livery Badges'.