History of England, Part I For the use of Middle Forms of Schools

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER III: Henry VI of Windsor 1422-1461 and 1471

1. As soon as might be, Parliament was called to settle the ruling of the kingdom while the king was yet a child. John, Duke of Bedford, 's eldest brother, was named Protector of the Realm and Church, and Chief Counsellor, and when he was out of England, his brother, Humfrey, was to take his place. A privy council of the Dukes of and , with five bishops, five earls, and five barons, were to help and advise the Protector. The Duke of and his brother the Bishop of Winchester had the care of the baby king. The war was pushed on in France, for when died within a few days of , the Armagnacs had set up the dauphin, , as their king at Poictiers. [1]  Bedford, a shrewd and hard-working ruler, persuaded John VI., Duke of Brittany, to come with him to Arras and make friends with Philip of Burgundy, who gave each of the dukes one of his sisters in marriage, and promised hearty aid against . In July the English and Burgundians under Salisbury beat the French and Scots at Crevant, through the cowardice of the French leaders. But 's generals overcame the Burgundians at la Buissiere, and the English at la Gravelle, which mightily encouraged his partisans. Moreover, he sent for troops from Italy, and got 5000 men from Scotland, for which he gave the Earl of Douglas, their captain, his own dukedom of Touraine. To stop more help from Scotland to their foes, the English council thought it best to send King James home again, upon his marrying Joan Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and making peace for some years with England. As soon as James reached Scotland he had the Scottish regent and his two sons slain as traitors, and busied himself eagerly with making good law and good peace for his people, for he had learned much of law, statecraft, and government at the English court. But ere long Bedford got rid of the Scots in France by a victory at Verneuil, Aug. 16, . The Scots and French, eager to attack, fell on disorderly and were beaten, and their leader Douglas, who had mocked Bedford as

" Duke John with the leaden sword,"

was slain, with nearly all his Scots and great part of the French.

2. And now Salisbury and Bedford would have discomfited the French wholly by Burgundy's help, had it not been for the folly of . For first he married Jacqueline, the Duchess of Holland, and went over sea with her to win back her heritage from the Duke of Burgundy, who laid claims to it. He spent much money to little end, and was soon forced to come home again, leaving his wife and her money in Mons; and the townsfolk gave her up to Burgundy, who sent her prisoner to Ghent, whence she escaped to Holland. sent Lord Fitzwalter to help her, but he was driven to sea again at Brewers' Haven by the Burgundians, and after that he was glad to let the matter drop. Pope Martin judged the marriage to be void, and so Jacqueline made terms with Burgundy and married again, and took to wife Elinor of Cobham, one of Jacqueline's ladies. But Humfrey's action had so angered the Duke of Burgundy that he challenged him to a duel, and was hardly withheld from joining the French, though Bedford gave him two rich earldoms in north France to appease him. [2]  And now that was back in England, he fell out with his uncle, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of , who had been the friend of , and was the best statesman in the council. Humfrey was handsome and fair-spoken, and the Londoners liked him; so when he forbade the mayor to let the bishop pass through the city to the Tower the gates were shut.

"And between 9 and 10 of the clock there came certain men of the bishop's and drew the chains out of the staples at the bridge-end on the Southwark side, both knights and squires, with a great company of archers, and they embattled themselves and guarded windows and peep-holes as though it had been in a land of war. And when the people of the city heard thereof, they made haste to the bridgegates to keep the city and save it against the king's enemies, and all the shops in London were shut within an hour. And then came my lord of


and the Prince of Portugal (the king's cousin, now visiting England) and parleyed between the duke and the bishop, riding eight times between them that day. And in the end, by good persuasion of the mayor and aldermen, all the people were pacified and sent home again, and none harm done throughout all the city."

But the bishop wrote at once to beg Bedford to come home,

" for if ye tarry long, we shall put this land in jeopardy with a field [to the hazard of a battle]. Such a


brother ye have here: God make him a good man !"

Bedford hurried to England, and a parliament was called at Leicester, 25th March ,

"when it was cried through the town that all men should leave their weapon, that is, their guns and bucklers, bows and arrows, in their inns; and the people took great bats [cudgels] in their hands, and so they went. The next day they were charged that they should leave their bats at their inns, and then they took great staves in their bosoms and sleeves; and so they went to the Parliament of Bats."

charged his uncle with trying to kill him, and with plotting against , , and But Beaufort swore that he had never wronged either of the kings, or purposed any evil against his nephew. So, by persuasion of Bedford and the Lords, they shook hands. Bedford and his brother also swore that they would be counselled and ruled in their office of regent and protector by the Lords in parliament or in council, for had boasted that he would rule as he liked as soon as his brother had left.

3. [3]  In Beaufort and Bedford left England together for Rouen, where Beaufort was to receive the cardinal's hat Pope Martin had sent him, and where he was also made legate and captain of a crusade which was on foot against the Bohemians. For they followed the teachings of and Hus his disciple, and had taken up arms against the bishops and nobles who would have forced them to obey the Church. And at this time it seemed to Beaufort that he could do more good by busying himself with the good of the Church than with the English government. Bedford found matters going well for him in France. He soon forced the Duke of Brittany to leave the dauphin and hold to his oath at Troyes, and bit by bit, so good was his rule, that the French chose rather to make terms with him for the sake of being able to till the ground and trade in peace. For he put down the brigands that roamed about disguised as English soldiers, robbing and murdering the people; he struck good money, lightened the taxes, fostered the trades and crafts of the towns, and made many good laws to secure the health and safety of the king's French lieges [subjects]. But Bedford's council in France wished to bring the war to a speedy end by taking Orleans, the strongest city the Armagnacs held, and then crossing the Loire to hunt the dauphin out of the land. Thomas Montague, Earl of Salisbury and Perche, therefore attacked


Orleans, stormed the Tournelles, a fort which stood at the end of the bridge before the city, and beset the whole place with batteries and works, for it was too well garrisoned to be stormed. But on the 27th October , as the earl stood at a window of the Tournelles looking over the city, he was struck down and wounded to death by the splinter of a cannon ball that struck the window; and this was held to be a great loss to the English. But the regent sent the Earl of Suffolk to go on with the siege, and he closed all the approaches to Orleans by land or water with thirteen strong forts, so that the city was hard put to it. On February 12, , as Sir John Fastolf was bringing a long train of wagons laden with flour and herrings for the besiegers' food, he was attacked at Rouvray by the Earl of Clermont and Sir John Stewart; but he drew up his wagons in a ring and set his archers to guard the entries, and they drove off the French, who tried to break in, till they withdrew hopeless of success. And Fastolf got all his wagons safely into the English camp. The citizens were now nearly in despair; they could get no supplies, and their stores were running low. They therefore offered to give up their town to Burgundy to hold as long as their own duke was a prisoner in England. But Bedford (much to Burgundy's displeasure) refused to let go a prize which English blood had bought, and waited till the city should be starved into surrender. The dauphin saw no means of relieving it, and had almost made up his mind to leave France altogether for a time, when help came from a quarter whence no man had expected it.

4. [4] 

" In the year


there was a young girl living in a village called Domp-remy, the daughter of James Darc and Isobel his wife-a mere country maid, that was wont sometimes to keep the cattle, and, when she was not herding them, would be sewing or spinning. She was seventeen or eighteen years old, well limbed and strong. And one day, without taking leave of her father or mother (not that she did not hold them in honour and respect, but because she did not tell them lest they might hinder her intent), this maid went to Vaucouleurs to my lord Robert of Baudricourt, a knight of the dauphin's, and said to him,

'My lord captain, know that, for some time back, at divers times God hath made known to me and commanded me to go to the gentle dauphin, who should be and is the true King of France, that he may give me men-at-arms, whereby I may [1429-1430] raise the siege of Orleans, take him to be anointed at Rheims, win back Paris, and drive the English from the realm.'

But my lord Robert took these things to be dreams. Nevertheless, at last he hearkened to her words, furnished her with a man's gown and hood, skirt, hose, and riding-boots with spurs, and gave her in charge of two gentlemen who took her to the dauphin. To him she gave her message, and at first he would not believe her; but in the end, by the advice of his council and of the clergy, he agreed to send her with a train of provisions that he hoped to be able to get secretly into Orleans. She was therefore given armour like a knight's, and she sent for a certain sword that was laid up in a church hard by, and had a white banner made, upon which was the image of the Lord and two angels, and so set forth with a small company."

And as she lay at Blois, on her way towards Orleans, she wrote a letter which she sent to the English captains that were keeping the siege before Orleans, saying-

"King of England, do right to the King of Heaven, respecting the blood-royal of France. Give back to the Maid the keys of all the towns which you have broken into. The Maid is come by God's order to call back the blood-royal of France, and she is all ready to make peace if you will do right. King of England, if you do not this thing, I am captain of war, and from every place in which I shall reach your folk in France, if they will not obey, I shall make them go forth whether they will or no; and if they will obey me I will take them to mercy [give them quarter]. And all of you, archers, noble and gentle companions in arms that are before Orleans,-begone into your own land for God's sake, and if ye do not so, beware of the Maid, and bethink you of your hurt. Neither believe within you that ye can withhold France from the King of Heaven, the Son of the blessed Mary, for King


shall have it, the true heir, to whom God hath given it, and he shall enter into Paris with a fair company. And if ye put no faith in the tidings of God and the Maid, wheresoever we shall find you we shall fall upon you with blows; and we shall see who hath the better right, God or you."

But the English laughed at her threats, and swore to burn her as a witch if they could catch her. Yet they did not try to stop the army that was with her from coming into the town; and when the townsfolk heard that she was nigh, they begged her to come in, and when she was come in, welcomed her with great joy.

" And before she came two hundred English would drive five hundred Frenchmen before them in a bicker, but after her coming two hundred Frenchmen would drive four hundred English before them; and the courage of the Frenchmen increased mightily."

So that, being strengthened by fresh troops and fresh stores,


on the 3d and 4th of May, for the English were no longer able to blockade the city, they began to assault the English works, and on the 4th and 6th took two of the English forts under 's leadership. On the 7th, against the French captain's counsel, the Maid attacked the big Bulwark and the Round Towers. They fought all day, and was wounded through the shoulder by a cross -bow bolt. When evening came the captain wanted to withdraw for the night, but bade them fall to again, and called for her horse and mounted it, and went aside to a quiet place and prayed, and was soon back again. Then she alighted and took her standard and went forward, saying to a gentleman by her side, And soon he cried, And then she said to her men, And the French pressed on, fired the Towers, and stormed the Bulwark; and there were drowned in the ditch, trying to escape, the captain, Glasdale, and two English lords with most of their men. And that night the English raised the siege of Orleans and departed to Maine, leaving their big guns and much victual behind them. And the news disheartened the English, who thought that must really be a witch; but it put fresh hopes into the Frenchmen, who believed that she was sent from God to free France. Without delay rode to Tours, and begged the dauphin to make ready to be crowned at Rheims, where it had been the wont of French kings to be hallowed. And by her bravery the way thither was soon cleared. Jargeau fell in a week, when Suffolk and his brother were made prisoners. Meun was taken next, Lord Talbot and Sir John Fastolf retreating before her. And in June the dauphin reached Rheims (Troyes yielding to him on the way thither), and was crowned there, to the joy of all the French. And now persuaded the king to march upon Paris, promising him success. On the way thither Bedford met them, but he did not offer battle, because he was hurrying to Normandy to drive out the Constable of France, who had attacked it while he was away. So the way lay open, town after town welcomed ; but he was half-hearted, and when the first attack on Paris failed he withdrew like a coward to Bourges in spite of all 's prayers. Then she hung up her arms in the Church of S. Denis, and begged leave to go home to her father and mother and keep their sheep and cattle, and do as she was wont to do aforetime.


But would not let her go, and gave her a pension, and made herself and her kinsmen nobles. And in spite of her wishes she was sent to raise the siege of Compiegne, but there she was wounded and taken, through the flight of her followers, by a Burgundian knight. The English bought her from their allies, and had her tried by the Bishop of Beauvais for witchcraft. She was found guilty, forced to sign a paper confessing her guilt, made to swear that she would never again wear men's clothes, and condemned to prison for her life. But her jailers tricked her into breaking her vow, and on May 30, , she was led out to the market-place of Rouen to be burned alive as an obstinate misbeliever. In her last words out of the fire she testified to the truth of her visions, declaring that God had sent her. And upon the English that stood by great fear fell. they said, It was, indeed, the example of that overthrew the English rule, for all over France people now looked forward to the sure defeat of their conquerors, and plots and risings in Normandy and north France seconded the raids and attacks of 's captains.

5. [5]  The English were not idle, however. Beaufort, who nad now come home from an unsuccessful campaign in Bohemia, generously lent the regent the money and troops which he had raised for a second crusade there. The young king, having been crowned at Westminster, was taken over to France, to be hallowed there also, and as Rheims was in 's hand, his coronation took place with great state in Paris. Burgundy was kept from joining the French by the gift of the regency of France, Bedford contenting himself with the regency of Normandy. The French were beaten in repeated skirmishes, and the plots in Normandy speedily put down. But all was in vain; slowly, bit by bit, France was slipping from the regent's hands. In the death of the

" good Duchess Anne,"

Burgundy's sister, and Bedford's speedy remarriage to the Earl of S. Paul's sister Jacquette, brought on an open quarrel between the dukes at S. Omer. In Bedford went home to England, where his help was needed. The people were not pleased with the government. A Lollard leader, named Jack Sharp, had tried to rouse the country folks against the bishops and beneficed clergy, but had been put down and executed by . Money was needed to carry on


the war, and , accusing Beaufort's friends of mismanagement, turned them out of office, and put in a new treasurer. He also charged the cardinal with unlawfully accepting the hat and retaining the see of . But the Parliament, pleased with Beaufort's generous loans of money to the king, declared him to have acted lawfully. Bedford set the two again at peace, gave up great part of his salary, and got grants to pay off the royal debts. So well did he rule as Chief Counsellor of the Realm (for the name of Regent was dropped in ), that the Parliament, dreading the enmity between Humfrey and his uncle, besought him to abide in England. However, on attacking his conduct of the war abroad, he decided to leave once more. In he met Burgundy at Paris, and agreed to send Beaufort to a congress at Arras, which Pope Gregory IV. had brought about with a view of putting an end to the war between England and France. The only result was that Burgundy was sent over by his French brothers-in-law, Bourbon and the Constable of France, to make peace with King . Overwork, disappointment at the overthrow of all his plans, and despair at the future, had broken Bedford's health, and, after a short illness, he died at Rouen, before the congress ended. With him the English chance of completely winning the French kingdom was altogether lost.

6. [6]  The English were angry at Philip's desertion, and taunted him as a traitor and forsworn, and when he laid siege to Calais, Edmund Beaufort, Earl of Mortain, beat him off with ease. was made Earl of Flanders and Captain of Calais, and the war was pushed on briskly for a time. But as one regent after another, the Duke of , the Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Somerset, found it hard to hold their own against the French, the cardinal and the Beauforts made a truce with Burgundy in , and began to think of making terms with . On the other hand, threw the whole blame of their ill success upon their bad management. And when Orleans was set free in as a first step to bring about a peace, he wrote a bitter protest, accusing the cardinal of using his power for his own selfish ends, of taking lands and money from the king by fraud, and of risking the loss of France by letting Orleans out of prison. The council answered that the king had let his prisoner free because he wished him to procure a treaty, and save both lands from


bloodshed and taxation, and because it was unjust to deny a prisoner ransom for ever. Next year was attacked in the person of his wife Elinor, who was accused of practising witchcraft against the king's life, tried, and condemned to prison for life, while two of her fellow-plotters were put to death. But the people were sorry for her, and watched her with tears and pity as she walked in her penance, black-clad and barefoot, through the London streets, before she was sent to her prison.

Meanwhile the ministry were trying to bring about a peace by way of a marriage between the young king and a French princess. wished that should marry the Earl of Armagnac's daughter, and so strengthen himself in Guienne. But Suffolk and Orleans met at Tours in , and arranged for a truce between the two kingdoms, and for the marriage of to a favourite cousin of -Margaret, daughter to Regnier, the Earl of Provence, Duke of Anjou and Maine, and King (in title only) of Naples and Jerusalem. Suffolk was so eager for peace that he not only agreed for the lady to come to her husband portionless, but promised that Anjou and Maine should be given up to Regnier. Some said he was tricked into this promise by the French having seized Margaret before she could reach England, but more thought that Suffolk was acting treacherously toward the king, from hopes of future aid from France to further his own crafty schemes. On April 22, , the marriage took place, and now Suffolk and Beaufort, by the young queen's favour, ruled as they liked. The queen was jealous of , because he had opposed her marriage, and because he was the next heir to the crown if her husband died childless. And Suffolk was about to marry the little Lady Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, to his own son, so that it was thought he would try to make him the next king, rather than let rule, if anything should happen to King . , on his side, never ceased to oppose the plans of Beaufort and Suffolk, and bitter hate was kept up between his party and the government. In February a Parliament was called at Bury, to find money for the king to visit France and make a settled peace. But as rode thither he found all the roads guarded as though he were an enemy. And when he reached his lodgings he was arrested, and kept in close custody till, on the morning of February 23, he was found dead in his bed, murdered, as most men believed, by the


order of Suffolk, who declared that he had been plotting to make himself king. A few weeks after his turbulent nephew's sudden end, the cardinal Henry died, full of years, at . And in him the king lost his last honest friend. For proud, impatient, and fond of power as he was, the cardinal had never spared his time or money in his kinsman's service, and had always advised him to the best of his knowledge. Yet his government had not brought peace, and worse was to follow.

7. [7] 's gentle mind, weak health, and retired habits unfitted and indisposed him to govern by himself, and his power was intrusted to the hands of Suffolk, Somerset, and the queen, who were all three headstrong, selfish, and unpopular. Their blunders and bad luck soon roused against them a strong party, headed by the Lords of and Salisbury, and upheld by all who suffered by the faults or misfortunes of the ministers. Plague and bad weather and famine wrought some misery at this time, and this was heightened by the weak rule which suffered wrongs and crimes to go unpunished and unatoned. Risings in arms, under Bluebeard and other popular leaders, were indeed put down harshly, but nothing was done to amend matters, or carry the law out fairly against all evil-doers. Traders and merchants grumbled at the piracy which was suffered unchecked to waste the English coast and sweep the Channel. The over-kindness of the king and the greed of the courtiers soon led to new debts, and wasted money now sorely needed for the war. For Suffolk, trusting in the boasted skill of Somerset, the Lieutenant of France, had suffered the truce to be broken, hoping, perhaps, that a victory might bring him nearer to a final peace with . But the French veterans and their powerful cannon took town after town, in spite of Somerset's struggles. In Rouen surrendered; in the next spring Bayeux, Cæn, Falaise fell one by one, and on 12th August Cherbourg yielded, and the mainland of Normandy was once more a French duchy.

In the Parliament of Suffolk was impeached by the Commons for high treason in betraying the king's interests to the French king, for plotting to make his own son, John de la Pole, king, and for misusing his power as minister to injure the guiltless. The duke protested his innocence, but offered to submit to the king's will. set aside the charges, but to please the Commons and save his favourite's life, banished him from England for five years. But his enemies were


determined that the hated as he was called by the people, should not go free. His friend, the Bishop of Chichester, had been murdered by the sailors at Portsmouth in January; and now, as the duke sailed into France one Thursday in May, there met him a ship called the Nicholas of the Tower, the master of which bade him come on board, and when he came hailed him as traitor. He asked the name of the ship, and when he remembered that it had been told him that he would be safe if only he could escape the Tower, his heart failed him.

"And so he lay in the Nicholas till Saturday next following, when, in the sight of all his men, he was drawn out of the great ship into the boat, and there was an axe and a stock. And one of the lowest in the ship, an Irishman, bade him lay down his head and he should be fairly dealt with and die by a sword, and took a rusty sword and smote off his head within half a dozen strokes, and took away his gown of russet and his doublet of velvet mailed [studded], and laid his body on the sands of


and his head on a pole by it."

Thus began sorrow upon sorrow and death for death.

8. [8]  And after that the commons arose in , , and , and chose them a captain-one Cade, a soldier, a handsome and gifted man, who called himself John Mortimer, the Duke of 's cousin.

"The which captain compelled all the gentles [gentry] to arise with them: and at the end of the Parliament they came with a great might and a strong host to Blackheath beside Greenwich, to the number of 46,000 men; and there they made a field [camp], diked and staked about as it were in land of war, save only that they kept no order among them for as good was Jack Robin as John-at-noke, for all were as high as pigs' feet."

They complained (1) that


had threatened to lay waste


in revenge for the death of Suffolk,

'that was as false as Vortigern;"

(2) that the taxation was too heavy; (3) that the king's servants had governed ill, and that

"the law serveth of nought else but for to do wrong;"

(4) that France was lost by their treachery, and (5) that the counties were grievously oppressed by unjust tolls and fees. They asked (1) that these abuses in the counties should be righted ; (2) that the king should take back the royal estates he had granted to unworthy persons without good cause; (3) that the friends of Suffolk should be banished from England and be called to answer for the deaths of Gloucester, Beaufort, and the Earl of Warwick (who had died suddenly when Lieutenant in France,


, of overwork), and also for the loss of France; (4) that the Duke of


should be called to power, and (5) that Duke Humfrey should be acknowledged to have died guiltless.

marched upon Blackheath with 20,000 men, when


Cade fell back to Sevenoaks, but there he defeated the royal force sent against him, and , finding his soldiers would not oppose the commons, withdrew to Kenilworth. On July 3 Cade entered London with all his people,

"and there had it cried in the king's name and his that no man should rob nor take no man's goods but if he paid for it. And he came riding through the city in great pride, and smote his sword upon London stone. And he had Lord Say the treasurer, and his son-in-law the Sheriff of


, tried before the mayor and aldermen, and then took them and beheaded them in the streets, and set Lord Say's head on a spear and bare it about the city. And afterward the captain rifled the houses of two citizens he thought traitors; and for this the hearts of the citizens fell from him, and every thrifty man was afraid to be served in like wise; for there was many a man in London that awaited and would fain [gladly] have seen a common robbery."

And the aldermen sent to Lord Scales, the keeper of the Tower, and prayed him to help them drive out the captain and his host. So the soldiers seized London Bridge by night and held it against the commons, who lay at Southwark. When they had fought all night, the chancellor, Cardinal Kemp, and the Bishop of , crossed the river and met Cade in Southwark church, where they gave him pardons for himself and his army. Most of the ish men at once made off home with their booty. Cade, having in vain tried to rally them together at Rochester, fled to , where he was followed by Iden, the new Sheriff of , and taken and slain in a garden at Heyfield. Many of his followers were also slain, and their heads set with his on London Bridge.

9. [9]  The Dukes of and Somerset now hurried to England. The king at once made the latter Constable, though his defeat and loss of Normandy had got him into such dislike that he was nearly murdered by the mob, while who had ruled Ireland wisely and well, was charged with high treason. However, when Parliament met, Thomas Yonge, member for , proposed that should be declared heir to the crown, for which speech he was put in jail. That same winter the selfish laziness of Somerset led to the loss of Guienne, and Bordeaux and Bayonne fell in the summer of . Even Calais, the last English town in France, was in peril, when, in , , declaring his loyalty to the king, raised forces in the west, and marched to London to overthrow Somerset,


whom he charged with all the crimes of Suffolk and the loss of Normandy to boot. But partly by promises, partly by treachery, was persuaded to disband his men and promise to seek remedy by lawful means in the future. Still Somerset, who had urged the king to force to confess his treason by imprisoning and torturing him, remained minister. However, John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford, was sent with an army to win back Gascony, for the townsfolk of Bordeaux had begged to rescue them from French misrule. In a few weeks the veteran won back the Bordelais and the borders of Perigueux. Next spring the French besieged his garrison in Chatillon, and cast up a great trenched camp there lined with cannon. Talbot attacked them unawares and broke into their works, when the Earl of Penthievre brought up fresh troops, and the deadly fire of the cannon stayed the English advance. Talbot was killed, and his son fell fighting to the last over his father's body, while the rest of their little army was forced to flight or taken. Chatillon fell, and, after seven weeks' siege, Bordeaux yielded a second time to . All 's foreign heritage was lost, save Calais and the Channel Islands.

10. [10]  On the news of Talbot's first successes levied a great army by forced loans, and made ready to go oversea himself at its head. But suddenly he fell ill (like his grandfather King ), so that he lost all knowledge and remembrance, and could neither walk nor raise his head, nor easily move from his seat. On October 13 a son was born to him, to the joy of the court party. But when council met, though the queen claimed the regency, Somerset was arrested and made Protector and defender of the realm till the king should be well again or the prince of age. At Christmas, however, came to himself,

"and on the 30th January the queen went to him and brought my lord prince with her. And


asked what the prince's name was, and the queen told him Edward, and then he held up his hands and thanked God therefor. And he said he never knew till that time, nor wist not what was said to him, nor wist not where he had been while he had been sick till now; and she told him that the cardinal [Kemp] was dead, and he said one of the wisest lords in this land was dead; and he said he himself was in charity with all the world, and so he would all the lords were."

Somerset was now set free, and soldiers called


out to ensure the king's safety. , and his old friends the Nevilles and Bourchiers, also gathered troops and marched to S. Albans, where both hosts met, 22d May . asked to speak with the king, and begged that Somerset and his friends should be given up. But answered that he would live and die that day in their quarrel. The royalists held the town and had barricaded the streets, but Warwick broke through the gardens behind the houses with his archers, and in half an hour Somerset, Northumberland, and Clifford were slain, and their followers in flight, leaving the king in the hands of . Thus endedthe first battle of the , which were so called because the partisans of the House of Lancaster took a red rose as their badge, while the followers of the House of wore a white rose for their token. Parliament met soon after in London; the duke and his friends, Salisbury and his son, Richard Earl of Warwick, were pronounced by the king good and faithful subjects, and the blame of the mal-journey [bad day's work] at S. Albans laid upon Somerset. In November again went mad, and was a second time named Protector, till the king's recovery in February relieved him of his office. The queen was now the acknowledged head of the court party-a woman of all manly qualities, sparing no pains to get and hold power, but knowing and caring little about the wishes and feelings of the English people, with whom she was never a favourite. She was in secret league with the kings of Scotland and France against . The king, on the other hand, laboured earnestly for quiet, and when the French (under Margaret's friend, Peter of Breze) attacked the English coast and seized Sandwich, such hatred was roused against the court party, that the queen was driven to an outward show of peace. On the 25th March , the leaders of both sides went to S. Paul's, Margaret and the Duke of walking hand in hand behind the king, and the rest following two and two, and there they swore to live in love, to the great joy of the Londoners. Warwick was made Captain of Calais, and he soon showed the French privateers that they could not range unchecked in English waters; but the favour the people showed him awoke rage and fear in the courtiers, and they seem to have plotted to murder him and . All this time the country was left to misrule ; there was neither good police nor good justice, but continual trespasses, extortions, riots, and breaches of law, for the court party


could not govern well and would not permit to do so. In September , Salisbury raised 5000 men in the west and marched toward Ludlow, to join on a visit to the king at Coleshill. But the queen sent Lord Audley and a body of soldiers to arrest him. At Bloreheath they met, September 23, , and Salisbury, refusing to obey the warrant, defeated and slew Audley, and reached Ludlow safely, where Warwick joined them with his trained troops from Calais. , who was at Worcester with 60,000 men, bade them lay down their arms within six days and he would forgive them; but they refused, declaring they could not trust his evil counsellors. At Ludford, where the Yorkists entrenched themselves, there was a skirmish, but Sir Andrew Trollop and the Calais men would not fight against the king's standard, and went over to ; whereon the duke's army melted away in fear, no man trusting his neighbour. , thus forsaken, went off to Ireland, where he had many fast friends, while Salisbury and Warwick made for Calais. now called a parliament at Coventry, in which the court party took care that the Lower House should be filled with their followers, and brought in and carried a bill of attainder, judging and his two elder sons (the Earls of March and Rutland), with Salisbury, his wife, and son, Lord Bourchier and his kinsmen, and others to death as traitors, for breaking repeated oaths of peace, and for withstanding the king in arms again and again. However, though Margaret sent to rouse the Irish, French, and Scots against them, and his friends met at Dublin to settle how to defeat their foes, and Warwick foiled all attacks on Calais, taking his assailants' ships.

11. [11]  On the 26th June , Salisbury, Warwick, and March, with the Bishop of Terni (whom Pope Pius II. had named legate to King ) landed at , where they were joined by Archbishop Bourchier and the ish men.

In their proclamation to the Commons, they say they are come to speak with the king and free him from the Earls of Wiltshire and Shrewsbury, Lord Beaumont and other evil counsellors, who have hurt the Church, wrested the law, wasted the royal revenue, raised heavy taxes for their own use, obliging the king to live by purveyance; who have betrayed Anjou, Maine, and Normandy, stirred up the Irish and French against the realm, murdered and tried to murder and Warwick, procured bills to be passed against the king's lawful subjects, told the king that


his will is above the law, and brought about the woe of the kingdom,

" whereof they be the causes, and not the king, which is himself as noble, as virtuous, as righteous, and blessed of disposition as any earthly prince."

The Londoners welcomed the earls gladly; so leaving Salisbury governor there to watch Lord Scales (who held the Tower for the king), they marched on with 60,000 men to Northampton. Here and his council had entrenched themselves in force. After trying in vain three times to see the king, Warwick set up the royal standard, and with the legate's blessing led the attack, ordering his soldiers to spare the king and the commons, but cut down the gentry. The rain damped the king's powder, Lord Grey of Ruthyn went over with his men to Warwick, and in a few minutes Buckingham, Shrewsbury, Beaumont, Egremont, and some 300 knights were slain, the queen and little prince in flight, and the king a captive. The earls received with great respect, and brought him to London with them. Warwick's brother, George Neville, Bishop of , was made chancellor, and a parliament was called. Here appeared (the acts of Coventry being repealed), and laid claim to the throne as heir of , through Lionel of Clarence. A compromise was devised by the chancellor, which the Lords agreed to lay before the king, who, by their advice, and to spare further bloodshed, accepted it.

" The king was to keep the crowns and his estates and dignity royal during his life, and the duke and his heirs to succeed him in the same;"

the princedom of Wales and earldom of Chester were given to the duke with an income of 10,000 marks, and it was to be high treason to kill him.

12. [12]  Meanwhile the queen and her son, who, after many adventures both by sea and land, had reached Scotland, appeared at with a large force of borderers eager for booty, and of north-country levies, who hated the Protector. With her were Somerset and Devon, and the northern barons , Clifford, and Dacres. , with Rutland and Salisbury, hastened to Sandal Castle with a small company to watch his foes, and to wait till March could bring up the western levies, and Warwick the Londoners and ish men. After a skirmish at Worksop, was lured into fighting at Wakefield, December 29, I460, and there defeated and slain. His son, Rutland, was seized and butchered by Clifford, and Salisbury beheaded next day at Pontefract. By the queen's order,


the duke's head, wearing a paper crown, was set up at . So perished the wisest statesman left in England.

March, warned of this defeat, now started eastward to join Warwick at London; and (who had married 's widow, Katherine), with his son Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of Wiltshire, attacked him on his way at Mortimer's Cross, February 3, . But he turned upon them fiercely, and routed them, and taking prisoner, slew him in revenge for his father, and laid his head on the highest step of the market cross at Haverfordwest. Meanwhile Margaret, with her victorious army, had marched towards London, till, on February 17th, she found her way barred by Warwick, who held S. Albans against her. After one repulse, for the Yorkists were strongly posted, the queen's troops drove Warwick's men through the town and cleared the road. But the Yorkists withdrew unpursued under cover of night, and with Warwick at their head turned west to meet the Earl of March. By this victory Margaret rescued her husband, who was left behind by Warwick in his retreat. sent to London for supplies, and the mayor ordered that certain carts laden with victual should be sent to them to S. Albans. " But when the carts came to Cripplegate, the commons of the city that kept the gate took the victual from the carts, and would not suffer it to pass. Then were certain aldermen and commoners appointed to go to Barnet to speak with the queen's council, to entreat that the northern men should be sent home to their country. For the city of London did dread sore to be robbed and spoiled if they had come." But while they treated, news came that the Earls of March and Warwick had met at Chipping Norton, and were on their way to London. So the king and queen turned north lest they should be surrounded by their foes. The Londoners were glad to be saved from Margaret's border freebooters, and welcomed the young Earl of March as the

"White Rose of Rouen,"


"He that could London forsake,

We will no more to us take."

And on the 4th March , by the advice of the Lords of his party and the choice of the Commons, was proclaimed king, and took the crown and sceptre of the Confessor at Westminster Abbey, to the joy of all that hoped for better government.


[1] Bedford's success in France, 1422-1424.

[2] Gloucester's quarrel, with Burgundy and the Cardinal 1424-1427.

[3] Bedford's wise rule in Franceand the dauphin's despair, 1427, 1429.

[4] Joan Darc saves France from the English, 1429.

[] [1431-1440.]

[5] Bedford's difficulties at home and abroad till his death, 1429-1435.

[6] The Cardinal brings about peace and the King's marriage against Gloucester's wish, 1435-1447.

[] [1441-1450.]

[7] Suffolk's bad rule and fall, 1443-1450.

[] [1450-1452.]

[8] The Commons rise under Cade against the bad ministry, 1450.

[9] The loss of France, 1450-1453.

[] [1453-1458]

[10] Beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Yorkin arms against Somerset, 1453-1459.

[] [1459-1460.]

[11] York made heir to the Crown, 1460.

[12] York slain, and his son Edward IV. made king in Henry's stead, 1461.

[] [1461.

  • In-text illustrations for this text are cataloged in MS004/002.001#DO01.
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