Post-classical history






Calendar of Close Rolls


Calendar of Patent Rolls

CSP Milan

Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in the Archives and Collections of Milan 1385–1618

CSP Spain

Calendar of State Papers, Spain

CSP Venice

Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice


English Historical Documents


English Historical Review


Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII (online edition)


Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council


Parliament Rolls of Medieval England (online edition)


1 The French ambassador to England, Charles de Marillac, thought Margaret ‘above eighty years old’; Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador, reckoned her ‘nearly ninety’. L&P XVI 868; CSP Spain, 1538–42, 166

2 For this and below see H. Pierce, The Life, Career and Political Significance of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473–1541 (University of Wales, Bangor, 1996), chapter 8 passim

3 CSP Spain, 1538–42, 166

4 D. Seward, The Last White Rose: Dynasty, Rebellion and Treason – The Secret Wars against the Tudors (London, 2010), 291

5 CSP Venice, V (1534–54) 104–6

6 Ibid., 108

7 M. Callcott, Little Arthur’s History of England (London, 1835), 112. For further historical uses and development of the phrase, see OED ‘Rose’, 6a. Eng. Hist.

8 W. A. Rebhorn (ed. and trans.), The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio ( London/New York, 2013), 351 n. 3

9 See for example BL Arundel 66 f. 1v; BL Egerton 1147 f. 71; BL Royal 16 f. 173v

10 Notably the D’Arcy family. See H. Gough and J. Parker, A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry (London, 1894), 500–1

11 Robbins, R. H. (ed.), Historical Poems of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (New York, 1959), 215–18

12 B. Williams, Chronique de la traison et mort de Richart Deux roy Dengleterre (London, 1846), 151; see below, n. 24 to chapter 18

13 H. Riley (ed.), Ingulph’s Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland with the Continuations of Peter of Blois and Anonymous Writers (London, 1908) (hereafter Croyland Continuations), 506

14 A good example is BL 16 F II, especially f. 137: this book, commissioned under Edward IV, was unfinished on the king’s death and completed under Henry VII, whose artists liberally plastered it with red roses and other Lancastrian-Tudor insignia.

I Beginnings


1 T. Johnes (ed.), The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet, I 439

2 T. Rymer, Foedera, conventiones, literae, et cujuscunque generis acta publica, inter reges Angliae, et alios quosuis imperatores, reges, … ab anno 1101, ad nostra usque tempora, habita aut tractata; … In lucem missa de mandato Reginae (London, 1735), IX 907

3 Charles’s murdered friend was the constable of France, Olivier de Clisson.

4 For a comprehensive discussion of Charles’s illness, see R. C. Gibbons, The Active Queenship of Isabeau of Bavaria, 1392–1417: Voluptuary, Virago or Villainess (University of Reading, 1997), 27–40

5 Henrici Quinti Angliae Regis Gratia, quoted in EHD IV 211–18

6 Ibid.

7 For a succinct account of Henry’s conquests following Agincourt, see J. Barker, Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417–1450 (London, 2009), 1–45

8 In return for this Queen Isabeau in particular has never been popularly rehabilitated in French history. She is regularly slandered as the greatest whore and traitor of her age, whose numerous sexual misdeeds included an affair with Duke Philip and the bastard birth of the dauphin. For a sensitive rehabilitation see T. Adams, The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria (Baltimore, 2010) and Gibbons, Active Queenship and ‘Isabeau of Bavaria’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6 (1996)

9 Speed quoted in A. Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, from the Norman Conquest: With Anecdotes of their Courts (12 vols, London, 1840–8), III 97

10 Ibid., III 98

11 J. Shirley (trans. and ed.), A Parisian Journal 1405–1449 (Oxford, 1968), 151

12 Rymer, Foedera, IX 920

13 J. Watts, Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship (Cambridge, 1996), 113

14 Ibid., 439

15 Gower, quoted in G. L. Harriss, Shaping the Nation: England 1360–1461 (Oxford, 2005), 588

16 Ibid., 588–94

17 The ‘Agincourt Carol’ is printed in EHD IV 214–15

18 Quoted in Strickland, Queens of England, III 101

19 D. Preest (trans.), and J. G. Clark (intro.), The Chronica Majora of Thomas Walsingham (1376–1422) (Woodbridge, 2005), 438

20 C. L. Kingsford, Chronicles of London (Oxford, 1905), 162–5

21 Strecche in EHD IV 229

22 Shirley (ed.), Parisian Journal, 356 n. 1

23 B. Wolffe, Henry VI (2nd edn, London, 2001), 28

24 For a discussion of all the royal minorities of medieval England, see C. Beem (ed.), The Royal Minorities of Medieval and Early Modern England (New York, 2008), passim

25 Ecclesiastes 10:16


1 R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI (Stroud, 1981), 51–7; Wolffe, Henry VI, 29–38

2 For more on the history of the residence, see R. Brook, The Story of Eltham Palace (London, 1960), passim

3 H. M. Colvin, History of the King’s Works (London, 1963), II 934–5

4 For the best explanation of the conceptual framework and reality of government in the early fifteenth century, see Watts, Henry VI, 13–101

5 The regency of France was in fact first bequeathed by Henry’s will to Philip the Good of Burgundy, with a stipulation that if he declined the task then rule should fall to Bedford; on Charles VI’s death this is precisely what happened.

6 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 279–80

7 Ibid., 281

8 CCR Henry VI 1422–9, 46

9 CCR Henry VI 1422–9, 54

10 POPC III 233

11 POPC III 86–7

12 PROME 1428

13 J. Gairdner (ed.), The Historical Collections of a Citizen of London in the Fifteenth Century (‘Gregory’s Chronicle’) (1876), 159. For a detailed summary of the Gloucester–Beaufort dispute, see Griffiths, Henry VI, 73–81; G. L. Harriss, Cardinal Beaufort: A Study of Lancastrian Ascendancy and Decline (Oxford, 1988), 134–49; and L. Rhymer, ‘Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, and the City of London’ in L. Clark (ed.), The Fifteenth Century 8, 47–58

14 Ibid.

15 Pedro, duke of Coimbra was the second son of Philippa of Lancaster and her husband John I. His maternal grandfather was John of Gaunt and he was, therefore, a first cousin, once removed, of Henry VI. He was famous for his extensive travels about Europe, and would return to England later in the 1420s for Henry VI’s coronation.

16 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 84


1 The best analysis of the battle of Verneuil is M. K. Jones, ‘The Battle of Verneuil (17 August 1424): Towards a History of Courage’ in War in History 9 (2002), which this account follows.

2 Shirley (ed.), Parisian Journal, 198; Jones, ‘Battle of Verneuil’, 398

3 ‘Book of Noblesse’, quoted in ibid., 407. ‘Worship’ was a medieval concept perhaps best translated as ‘honourable respect and gentility’.

4 Shirley (ed.), Parisian Journal, 200

5 BL Add. MS 18850 f. 256v

6 Jean de Wavrin, quoted in J. Stratford, The Bedford Inventories: The Worldly Goods of John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France (1389–1435) (London, 1993), 108 n. 15

7 Barker, Conquest, 74. The French text of Bedford’s 1423 ordinances may be found transcribed as an appendix to B. J. H. Rowe, ‘Discipline in the Norman Garrisons under Bedford, 1422–35’ in EHR 46 (1931) 200–6

8 Barker, Conquest, 67–9

9 B. J. H. Rowe, ‘King Henry VI’s Claim to France in Picture and Poem’ in The Library s4, 13 (1932), 82

10 BL MS Royal 15 E VI, reprinted in part in S. McKendrick, J. Lowden and K. Doyle, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London, 2011), 379 and available in full online at

11 Although Bedford did not realise it, this propaganda strategy would be the model – or at least the archetype – for rival kings on both sides of the Channel for the century that followed. See pp. 224–5.

12 Rowe, ‘King Henry VI’s Claim’, 78

13 F. W. D. Brie, The Brut: or, The Chronicles of England (London, 1908), II 454. For the siege of Orléans and the role of Joan of Arc in its relief, see Barker, Conquest, 95–124.

14 For the latest biography of Joan, see Helen Castor’s forthcoming Joan of Arc (London, 2014), which the account here follows in several places.

15 POPC III 340

16 See n. 15 to chapter 2. For details here included of the ceremony see Brut, II 454; Gregory’s Chronicle, 161–77; the traditional order of service for English coronations in the fifteenth century, known as the Forma et Modus, is printed and translated in L. G. Wickham Legg (ed.), English Coronation Records (London, 1901), 172–90

17 Gregory’s Chronicle

18 Brut, II 460

19 Shirley (ed.), Parisian Journal, 271

20 Ibid., 272. Parisian snobbery about the culinary efforts of other races seems to be a timeless trait.

21 H. N. MacCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate (Oxford, 1961–2), II 630–1; J. G. Nichols, Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London (Camden Society, v53, 1852), 16


1 F. Palgrave, Antient Kalendars and Inventories of the Treasury of His Majesty’s Exchequer (London, 1836), II 172–5

2 POPC V 46–7

3 For the lives of Owen Tudor’s ancestors, see R. A. Griffiths and R. S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (Gloucester, 1985), 5–24, and R. L. Thomas, The Political Career, Estates and ‘Connection’ of Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke and Duke of Bedford (d.1495) (PhD thesis, University of Wales, Swansea, 1971), chapter 1, 1–29

4 Letter of Catherine de Valois quoted in DNB, ‘Catherine de Valois’

5 J. A. Giles (ed.), Incerti scriptoris chronicon Angliae de regnis trium regum Lancastriensium Henrici IV, Henrici V et Henrici VI (London 1848), 17

6 Catherine’s own family history told her this: her eldest sister Isabella had been the child bride of another king of England, Richard II, and following Richard’s deposition and death she had returned to France to marry Charles duke of Orléans.

7 PROME February 1426, item 34

8 Sir John Wynn of Gwydir, quoted in Thomas, Jasper Tudor, 13

9 PROME September 1402, items 88–102

10 Harriss, Cardinal Beaufort, 178–9 n. 34, has speculated that Edmund Tudor may indeed have been the son of Catherine and Edmund Beaufort, in which case the later house of Tudor would have had Beaufort roots on both sides. It seems more probable to me that if Edmund Beaufort had any relationship to Edmund Tudor then it was that of godfather, rather than biological father.

11 See Thomas, Jasper Tudor, 19–20

12 National Archives SC 8/124/6186

13 Excavations in the cemetery on the site at Bermondsey Abbey found a high incidence of bodily trauma, particularly of healed fractures among those buried there. Report by the Centre for Bioarchaeology,

14 Brut, II 470–1

15 The account of Owen Tudor’s arrest as given to the privy council, quoted here, is in POPC V 46–50

16 Ibid., 49–50. The article accompanying the council minute detailing Owen’s arrest appears to be preparatory notes for a speech to the king himself, explaining what Owen had done, and rehearsing all the reasons why Henry ought to be outraged by his stepfather’s ‘malicious purpos and ymaginacion’.

17 See M. Bassett, ‘Newgate Prison in the Middle Ages’ in Speculum 18 (1943), passim

18 Robin Ddu quoted and translated in H. Evans, Wales and the Wars of the Roses (Cambridge, 1915), 70 n. 3

19 Priests were necessary to celebrate mass – then as now a rite which women were forbidden to perform. The most complete guide to medieval life at Barking Abbey can be found in T. Barnes, A Nun’s Life: Barking Abbey in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods (MA thesis, Portland State University, 2004).

20 Rymer, Foedera, X 828

21 Thomas, Jasper Tudor, 26; Rymer, Foedera, X 828

II What is a King?

1 Brut, II 516


1 For the idea that England’s medieval population had begun to conceive of the historical coherence of the ‘Hundred Years War’ by the early fifteenth century, see W. M. Ormrod, ‘The Domestic Response to the Hundred Years War’ in A. Curry and M. Hughes (eds), Arms, Armies and Fortifications in the Hundred Years War (Woodbridge, 1994), 83–5

2 C. D. Taylor, ‘Henry V, Flower of Chivalry’ in G. Dodd (ed.), Henry V: New Interpretations (York, 2013), 218. The Nine Worthies were Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon, hero of the First Crusade.

3 Vita Henrici Quinti, translated in J. Matusiak, Henry V (London, 2013), 3–4

4 For dating and provenance of the famous ‘Windsor’ portrait of Henry VI, see notes at

5 See Griffiths, Henry VI, 241

6 POPC IV 134

7 M. James (ed.), Henry VI: A Reprint of John Blacman’s Memoir, with Translation and Notes (Cambridge, 1919) (hereafter ‘Blacman’)

8 Ibid., 36–8

9 Harriss, Cardinal Beaufort, 251

10 Now catalogued in Stratford, The Bedford Inventories

11 Brut, II 573

12 Wolffe, Henry VI, 87–92; Watts, Henry VI, 128–34

13 POPC V 88–9

14 John de Wavrin (ed.), and W. Hardy (trans.), A Collection of the Chronicles and Ancient Histories of Great Britain, Now Called England (London, 1864–87), III 178

15 Ibid.; Barker, Conquest, 121–2

16 H. Castor, The King, the Crown and the Duchy of Lancaster: Public Authority and Private Power 1399–1461 (Oxford, 2000), 82–93

17 J. Gairdner (ed.), The Paston Letters (new edn, 6 vols, London, 1904), IV 75


1 The fullest modern account of Margaret’s coronation procession is in G. Kipling, ‘The London Pageants for Margaret of Anjou’ in Medieval English Theatre 4 (1982); a more widely available summary is in H. Maurer, Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2003), 17–22

2 Gregory’s Chronicle, 154

3 Brut, II 486

4 See above, p. 39

5 Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, 41

6 Ibid., 21

7 MacCracken, Minor Poems of John Lydgate, II 844–7

8 J. Rosenthal, ‘The Estates and Finances of Richard Duke of York (1411–1460)’ in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 2 (1965), 118

9 For a full list of York’s manors, see ibid., appendix I 194–6

10 Commission transcribed from the original document in Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, in P. Johnson, Duke Richard of York 1411–1460 (Oxford, 1988), 226

11 T. Pugh, ‘Richard Plantagenet (1411–60), Duke of York, as the King’s Lieutenant in France and Ireland’ in J. G. Rowe (ed.), Aspects of Late Medieval Government and Society: Essays Presented to J. R. Lander (Toronto, 1986), 122

12 C. Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England c. 1437–1509 (Cambridge, 1997), 98–103, offers a succinct articulation of arguments against York as an isolated and ambitious rival for the crown during the 1440s. See also Watts, Henry VI, 237– 8, especially nn. 137–40. A more ‘dynastic’ reading of the decade can be found in R. A. Griffiths, ‘The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI’ in C. Ross (ed.), Patronage, Pedigree and Power in Later Medieval England (Gloucester, 1979), passim but especially 23–5.

13 All this closely follows Griffiths, ibid., 20–1

14 Blacman, 29–30. Obviously, Blacman had an interest in talking up the king’s piety and chastity; nevertheless, his portrayal of a squeamish king who would swoon at the sight of naked flesh is both internally consistent and at one with our broader understanding of Henry VI’s character.

15 Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, 41

16 The jewel was a gift when Margaret was finally pregnant in 1453. J. Stevenson (ed.), Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the Reign of Henry the Sixth (1861–4), II ii 208

17 Margaret’s role in the cession of Maine is discussed in Maurer, Margaret of Anjou, 25–38; also see B. M. Cron, ‘The Duke of Suffolk, the Angevin Marriage, and the Ceding of Maine, 1445’ in Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994), 77–99

18 Brut, II 511

19 J. David (ed.), An English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI (Camden Society v44, 1838), 116

20 Ibid., 62

21 Ibid.

22 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 157


1 C. A. F. Meekings, ‘Thomas Kerver’s Case, 1444’, in EHR 90 (1975), 330–46, from which the following narrative is taken.

2 Brut, II 485

3 Quoted in Griffiths, Henry VI, 256

4 Indictment from King’s Bench, reprinted in EHD IV 264

5 PROME February 1449, item 22

6 ‘Between 1437 and 1450 throughout the shires of England the personal influence of the king in the field of justice, law and order was at best a negative one.’ Wolffe, Henry VI, 116–17

7 See M. H. Keen and M. J. Daniel, ‘English Diplomacy and the Sack of Fougères in 1449’ in History 59, 375–91

8 Griffiths, Henry VI, 521; Harriss, Shaping the Nation, 584; Barker, Conquest, 404

9 A simple cash conversion of £372,000 at 1450 prices would give us a rough figure of £202,000,000 in 2005 prices. But this does not quite do justice to the monstrous scale of Henry VI’s indebtedness, which according to the parliamentary figures was nearly 3,400% of his annual income and spiralling every year, regardless of the costs of war with France.

10 We would now call this the ‘structural deficit’. PROME November 1449, item 53

11 A crude modern conversion of Richard’s debts owed by the Crown would be £10 million. Again, this does no justice to the scale of the financial obligation.

12 In 1345 Edward III owed Italian merchants and bankers alone the equivalent of £400,000 – perhaps £262,000,000 in 2005 prices. Cf. E. Russell, ‘The Societies of the Bardi and the Peruzzi and Their Dealings with Edward III’ in G. Unwin (ed.), Finance and Trade under Edward III (Manchester, 1918), 93–135

13 ‘A Warning to King Henry’ in T. Wright, Political Poems and Songs Relating to English History (1859–61), II 229–31

14 PROME November 1449, item 15

15 Watts, Henry VI, 244–5

16 PROME November 1449, appendix 1

17 Ibid., item 49

18 Ibid., items 50–2

19 Frammesley was executed after a trial before the court of King’s Bench. R. Virgoe, ‘The Death of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk’ in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 47 (1965), 491 n. 3

20 Paston Letters, II 146–7; Brut, II 516; Virgoe, ‘Death of William de la Pole’, 494, 501

21 M. Bohna, ‘Armed Force and Civic Legitimacy in Jack Cade’s Revolt, 1450’ in EHR 118 (2003), 573–4. For the course of Cade’s rebellion and discussions of its causes, see also Griffiths, Henry VI, 610–65, and I. Harvey, Jack Cade’s Rebellion of 1450 (Oxford, 1991).

22 Magdalen College, Oxford, Charter Misc. 306, reprinted in Robbins (ed.), Historical Poems, 63, and with slight variation in C. L. Kingsford, Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford, 1913), 359

23 Stow published this in his Annals: it is partly reproduced and summarised in S. B. Chrimes and A. L. Brown, Select Documents of English Constitutional History 1307–1485 (London, 1961), 290–1

24 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 162


1 Bill of the duke of York, reprinted in R. A. Griffiths, ‘Duke Richard of York’s Intentions in 1450 and the Origins of the Wars of the Roses’ in Journal of Medieval History 1 (1975). ‘Worschip’, i.e. worship, may be loosely likened to the modern concept of ‘respect’ – which was due to a man of great birth and status.

2 Griffiths believes, in ibid. and ‘Richard Duke of York and the Royal Household in Wales in 1449–50’ in Welsh History Review 8 ( 1976–7), that York did in fact disembark at Beaumaris. Cf. Johnson, Duke Richard of York, 78: ‘It is doubtful whether York managed a landing.’ York’s own bill to Henry VI states that his ‘proposid’ arrival was ‘stoppid and forebarred’. This – and the fact that York included this complaint in his bill at all – implies strongly that the attempt to prevent his initial landing at Beaumaris was successful.

3 ‘John Piggot’s Memoranda’ in Kingsford, English Historical Literature, 372

4 HMC Eighth Report, 266–7, reprinted in modern English in EHD 4, 265–7

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., 371

7 Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, 102

8 For an argument in favour of York’s dynastic motivation see Griffiths, ‘The Sense of Dynasty in the Reign of Henry VI’. But York’s dynastic arguments in the context of the 1460s were made out of desperation (see pp. 182–3), in circumstances far removed from those of September 1450.

9 York’s first petition to Henry VI, printed in Griffiths, ‘Duke Richard of York’s Intentions’, 300

10 See Johnson, Duke Richard of York, 84–5

11 Ibid., 301–4

12 For a sympathetic view of Somerset’s conduct in France, see M. K. Jones, ‘York, Somerset and the Wars of the Roses’ in EHR 104 (1989)

13 PROME November 1450, item 1

14 ‘Bale’s Chronicle’ in R. Flenley (ed.), Six Town Chronicles of England (Oxford, 1911), 137

15 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 162

16 York had attempted, without royal licence, to settle the Courtenay–Bonville dispute himself earlier in September 1451. For a full account of the dispute, see M. Cherry, ‘The Struggle for Power in Mid-Fifteenth-Century Devonshire’ in R. A. Griffiths (ed.), Patronage, the Crown and the Provinces in Later Medieval England (New Jersey, 1981).

17 ‘Colleges: St Martin le Grand’ in W. Page (ed.), A History of the County of London (London, 1909), I 555–66

18 A. Kempe, Historical Notices of St Martin-le-Grand (London, 1825), 141

19 Paston Letters, I 97–8

20 Ibid., 103–8

21 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 163. Several more chronicles carry similar versions of this story. For a persuasive argument against believing this popular vignette, see Johnson, Duke Richard of York, 112.

22 Ibid., 101


1 ‘Bale’s Chronicle’ in Flenley (ed.), Six Town Chronicles, 140; Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 163. In modern terms Henry’s illness might be characterised as a severe, catatonic episode of either depression or schizophrenia, but medical diagnosis is impossible and essentially futile at such a distance. For a recent discussion of Henry’s illness with reference to modern diagnostics, see N. Bark, ‘Did Schizophrenia Change the Course of English History?’ in Medical Hypotheses 59 (2002), 416–21, although note that the author’s interpretation of the historical course of Henry’s reign prior to 1453 differs sharply from that presented here. For Henry’s illness in context of his times and his family history, see B. Clarke, Mental Disorder in Earlier Britain (Cardiff, 1975), passim but especially 176–206.

2 ‘Bale’s Chronicle’, 140

3 The other godparents were Cardinal Archbishop Kemp of Canterbury and Anne duchess of Buckingham.

4 POPC VI 163–4

5 Council minutes transcribed in R. A. Griffiths, ‘The King’s Council and York’s First Protectorate’, EHR 94 (1984)

6 Newsletter of John Stodeley in Paston Letters, I 295

7 For a full discussion see H. Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth (London, 2010), 339–43

8 PROME March 1453, item 32

9 Watts, Henry VI, 310 n. 220

10 Stodeley in Paston Letters, I 299

11 Paston Letters, III 13

12 PROME July 1455, item 18

13 Watts gives the Leicester meeting the pleasing title of a ‘pseudo-parliament’: Watts, Henry VI, 314

14 C. J. Armstrong, ‘Politics and the Battle of St Albans 1455’ in Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 33 (1960), 13–14. This remains the authoritative account of the first battle of St Albans, and much of the account here follows its arguments.

15 Letter to the townsmen of Coventry, quoted in ibid., 12

16 Paston Letters, III 25

17 For Clifford’s conduct, ibid. and M. Kekewich et al. (eds), The Politics of Fifteenth-Century England – John Vale’s Book (Stroud, 1996), 192

18 Paston Letters, III 27

19 Blacman, 40

20 MS Gough London in Flenley (ed.), Six Town Chronicles, 158

21 ‘Bale’s Chronicle’ in ibid., 142

22 Gregory’s Chronicle, 198

23 CSP Milan, I 16–17

III The Hollow Crown

1 CSP Milan I, 1471 item 227


1 Victoria County History, ‘Warwickshire’, VIII 418–27

2 Pius II, quoted in P. Lee, ‘Reflections of Power: Margaret of Anjou and the Dark Side of Queenship’ in Renaissance Quarterly 39 (1986), 197

3 M. Harris (ed. and trans.), The Coventry Leet Book, or Mayor’s Register (New York, 1971), I–II 287–92

4 Robbins (ed.), Historical Poems, 190

5 The correspondent was John Bocking; Paston Letters, III 75

6 Brut, II 526; Davies, English Chronicle, 79

7 Brut, II 525

8 Ibid.

9 MS Gough London in Flenley (ed.), Six Town Chronicles, 160; Paston Letters, III 130

10 Davies, English Chronicle, 80

11 English Heritage Battlefield Report: Blore Heath (English Heritage, 1995), 8–9

12 Griffiths, Henry VI, 821

13 The letter is preserved in Davies, English Chronicle, 81–3

14 Ibid., 83

15 Brut, II 527

16 Gregory’s Chronicle, 206

17 Davies, English Chronicle, 83, also records that the duchess of Yorke ‘unmanly and cruelly was entreted and spoyled’. It has been suggested – most recently in P. Langley and M. Jones, The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III (London, 2013), 73, 235 – that this reference indicates Duchess Cecily was raped at Ludlow in full sight of her children: this is a rather sensational interpretation of the evidence.


1 Davies, English Chronicle, 83. On Warwick and Calais see S. Rose, Calais: An English Town in France 1347–1558 (Woodbridge, 2008), 81–3, also Richmond, ‘The Earl of Warwick’s Domination of the Channel’, passim

2 PROME November 1459, items 7–25

3 G. Harriss and M. Harriss (eds), John Benet’s Chronicle for the Years 1400 to 1462 (Camden Miscellany 44, 1972), 224

4 Davies, English Chronicle, 86–90

5 Ibid., 97

6 CPR Henry VI 1452–61, 542

7 H. Stanford London, Royal Beasts (East Knoyle, 1956), 22–3. It is also important to note that the falcon and fetterlock had explicitly ‘Lancastrian’ connections. The diametric, ‘Tudor’ view of the whole fifteenth century as a feud between rival houses is not sufficient to explain Richard duke of York’s motives at this stage.

8 Gregory’s Chronicle, 208

9 Official papers and letters were usually dated from the accession of whichever king was reigning. To renounce this practice implicitly rejected the authority of the sovereign.

10 Letter to John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, transcribed in Johnson, Duke Richard of York, 213–14

11 Ibid.

12 PROME October 1460, item 11. This is the first recorded use in the fifteenth century of the dynastic sobriquet ‘Plantagenet’, used thereafter and now to describe all the royal descendants of Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’, count of Anjou, duke of Normandy and father of Henry II of England.

13 A successful precedent from the earliest Plantagenet history was the treaty of Wallingford of 1153, sealed between King Stephen and the future Henry II, by which Stephen’s son Eustace was disinherited in Henry’s favour: this ended the civil war known as the Anarchy.

14 CSP Milan I, item 27

15 Brut, II 530

16 Gregory’s Chronicle, 209

17 Letter reprinted in Kekewich et al., John Vale’s Book, 142–3

18 Brut, II 530

19 E. Hall, Hall’s Chronicle containing the History of England during the Reign of Henry the Fourth and the Succeeding Monarchs to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth (London, 1809), 250

20 This, at any rate, is the story that Edward Hall would record many years later – his version of events is typically colourful, but the source was Aspall himself. Hall, Chronicle, 250–1

21 CSP Venice I, item 92

12 : HAVOC

1 Paston Letters, III 250

2 This is now called a parhelion or ‘sun dog’, and is caused by the reflection of sunlight through ice crystals in the atmosphere. Hall, Chronicle, 251, gives the earliest link between this and Edward’s badge of the golden sun. But this may be a mistake: Stanford London, Royal Beasts, 30–1, argues that the ‘sun shining’ had been a royal symbol since at least the days of Richard II.

3 Gregory’s Chronicle, 211

4 Ibid. The possible and quite plausible identification of the woman as Owen Tudor’s mistress and David Tudor’s mother is made in L. De Lisle, Tudor: The Family Story (London, 2013), 25

5 The letter was sent on 11 January, on which day Warwick also dictated a letter to the warlike Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan. CSP Milan I, item 55

6 Ibid. item 63

7 Ibid., item 54

8 H. Riley (ed.), Registrum Abbatiae Johannis Whethamstede (London, 1872), 390–5

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Brut, II 531

12 The dating of March’s entry into London to 26 February 1461 and a discussion of the symbolism of his inauguration and coronation can be found in C. Armstrong, ‘The Inauguration Ceremonies of the Yorkist Kings and Their Title to the Throne’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 30 (1948), 55 n. 2 and passim

13 Gregory’s Chronicle, 213

14 Kingsford, Chronicles of London, 173

15 MS Gough London in Flenley (ed.), Six Town Chronicles, 162

16 CCR 1461–8, 54–5

17 T. Stapleton (ed.), Plumpton Correspondence (London, 1834), 1

18 CCR 1461–8, 54–5

19 Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York, M 775 f. 122v, quoted at length in A. Boardman, The Medieval Soldier in the Wars of the Roses (Stroud, 1998), 126–7

20 Hall, Chronicle, 255. For once the notoriously inflated assessments of army sizes have the semblance of authenticity.

21 For this suggestion, G. Goodwin, Fatal Colours: Towton 1461 – England’s Most Brutal Battle (London, 2011), 157

22 Ibid., 165–6

23 CSP Milan I, item 78; CSP Venice I, item 371


1 C. Armstrong (ed. and trans.), The Usurpation of Richard III: Dominicus Mancinus ad Angelum de occupatione regni Anglie per Ricardum tercium libellus (2nd edn, 1969) (hereafter ‘Mancini’), 65

2 Mancini, 67; Croyland Continuations, 150–1

3 J. Halliwell (ed.), A Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of the Reign of King Edward the Fourth: by John Warkworth (London, 1889) (hereafter ‘Warkworth’), 5

4 Reading Abbey had other royal connections, too: among the hundreds of relics kept by the abbey’s brothers was a portion of the arm-bone of St Edward the Martyr, the Saxon king who had been murdered at Corfe Castle in 978, while Henry II’s eldest but short-lived son William lay buried within the abbey. Victoria County History, ‘Berkshire’, II 62–73

5 Gregory’s Chronicle, p. 226

6 Wavrin, Chronicles and Ancient Histories of Great Britain, III 184

7 This description is based on the most contemporary of those portraits that survive, held at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Windsor. Clearly, as in all royal portraiture of the period, there is an element of idealism and fancy to these images, but perhaps less than there is in the manuscript illustrations of Elizabeth, which depict a blonde, pious generic queen in the guise of the Virgin Mary. For a guide to extant portraits, see D. MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville (1437–1492): Her Life and Times (London, 1938), appendix 1, 172–4

8 Paston Letters, III 204–5

9 Warkworth, 3

10 See, for example, Mancini, 63

11 CSP Milan I, item 137

12 The only vaguely contemporary royal match to resemble that of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was that between Edward ‘the Black Prince’ and his notorious, much-wedded cousin Joan of Kent, which took place in 1361, when Edward was heir to the crown (and referred to informally as ‘Edward IV’). Even in this case, however, Joan’s royal stock was impeccable: her grandfathers were Edward I of England and Philip III of France.

13 J. Gairdner (ed.), Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (London, 1861), I 32

14 Croyland Continuations, 115

15 Letter from Lord Wenlock dated 3 October 1464: see J. Lander, ‘Marriage and Politics: The Nevilles and the Wydevilles’ in Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 36 (1963) 133 n. 2(a) and C. Scofield, The Life and Reign of Edward IV (London, 1923), I 354 n. 3; CSP Milan I, items 137–8

16 A good historical comparison is Henry VIII’s second marriage, to Anne Boleyn – a match of shattering political significance brought about principally because of Henry’s romantic attachment and frustration. Edward IV was not, even at twenty-two, as selfish and self-centred an individual as Henry VIII, but he was certainly capable of viewing policy decisions through the lens of his own personal desires.

17 Gregory’s Chronicle, 219

18 Paston Letters, III 292

19 Ibid.

20 Amusing but fanciful sixteenth-century accounts of the royal courtship in Fabyan, More, Hall and others have found their way readily into modern histories, particularly MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville, 34–40, which on this matter reads more like fiction than history.

21 Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, 170

22 MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville, 46

23 Ibid., 48–51

24 Scofield, Edward IV, 380–4

25 Warkworth, 5


1 Philadelphia Free Library MS Lewis E 201– this can be viewed in high resolution online via On the golden sun and its links to Richard II, see above, n. 11 to chapter 10. Other similar genealogies, although less spectacular, include BL Harley Roll C.9 Membrane 19; BL Harley 7353; BL Lansdowne 456.

2 Elizabeth de Burgh’s marriage to Lionel of Antwerp in 1352 had originally brought the honour of Ulster into the Plantagenet line. See A. Weir, Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen (London, 2013), 14

3 M. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford, 1998), 254

4 C. Ross, Edward IV (new edn, London and New Haven, 1997), appendix III, 437–8

5 Gregory’s Chronicle, 237

6 Scofield, Edward IV, 414–20

7 Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker, 267

8 S. Bentley (ed.), Excerpta Historica: or, Illustrations of English History (1831), 227–8

9 Warkworth, 4

10 Stevenson (ed.), Letters and Papers, II, part 2, 783

11 Gregory’s Chronicle, 237

12 Ibid.

13 Warkworth, 5

14 PROME June 1467, item 15

15 Croyland Continuations, 132–3

16 Mancini, 63

17 Roughly £2,250,000

18 ‘False, fleeting, perjured Clarence’, as Shakespeare would later have it (Richard III, I iv 52)

19 For this and a general discussion of the 1469 rebellions, including problems of evidence, see K. Dockray, ‘The Yorkshire Rebellions of 1469’, in The Ricardian 82 (1983), passim

20 Warkworth, 6; Croyland Continuations, 445

21 Paston Letters, V 35

22 The letter and manifesto are printed in the notes to Warkworth, 46–9

23 Croyland Continuations, 446

24 Warkworth, 7

25 Ibid.


1 Paston Letters, V 45–6

2 Croyland Continuations, 438

3 ‘Chronicle of the Rebellion in Lincolnshire, 1470’, 18, in K. Dockray (ed.), Three Chronicles of the Reign of Edward IV (Gloucester, 1988)

4 Ibid., 10

5 CSP Milan I, 1467, item 146

6 Paston Letters, V 83

7 Warkworth, 11

8 Croyland Continuations, 462

9 Ibid.

10 Blacman, 41

11 CSP Milan I, 1471, item 210

12 ‘The Arrival of King Edward IV’, 4, in Dockray (ed.), Three Chronicles of the Reign of Edward IV. Bolingbroke, of course, claimed to be returning from exile in France in 1399 to claim his usurped right to the duchy of Lancaster.

13 Ibid., 7

14 Ibid., 10

15 Cited in Ross, Edward IV, 166

16 A. Scobie (ed.), The Memoirs of Philip de Commines, Lord of Argenton (London, 1877) (hereafter ‘Commines’), 200

17 A. Thomas and I. Thornley (eds), The Great Chronicle of London (London, 1938), 215

18 Ibid.

19 Letter from Margaret of York, printed in Wavrin, Chronicles and Ancient Histories of Great Britain, III 211

20 J. Bruce (ed.), Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England and the Finall Recouerye of His Kingdomes from Henry VI (London, 1838), 17

21 Ibid.

22 Croyland Continuations, 464

23 Bruce, Arrivall of Edward IV, 19–20

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Commines, 201

27 Scofield, Edward IV, I 579–60

28 Bruce, Arrivall of Edward IV, 20

29 Von Wesel’s letter of 17 April 1471, translated and reprinted most recently in H. Kleineke (ed. and trans.), ‘Gerhard von Wesel’s Newsletter from England, 17 April 1471’ in The Ricardian 16 (2006)

30 Ibid., 10

31 Ibid. The Neville brothers were granted a decent burial by Edward: their bodies were removed to Bisham Abbey to be laid to rest near their father, the earl of Salisbury.

32 Letter to John Daunt, quoted in P. Hammond, The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury (1993), 81

33 Croyland Continuations, 465

34 CSP Milan I, 1471, item 216

35 Bruce, Arrival of Edward IV, 28

36 Ibid.

37 Croyland Continuations, 466

38 Bruce, Arrivall of Edward IV, 28–30, for all that follows, unless indicated

39 Warkworth, 18

40 Croyland Continuations, 466

41 Ibid., 467

42 Blacman, 44

43 Bruce, Arrivall of Edward IV, 38

44 Warkworth, 21

45 W. St John Hope, ‘The Discovery of the Remains of King Henry VI in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle’ in Archaeologia (1911), 541

46 CSP Milan I, 1471, item 220

47 Ibid., 39

48 Croyland Continuations, 467

IV The Rise of the Tudors


1 Robbins (ed.), Historical Poems, 148

2 H. Ellis (ed.), Three Books of Polydore Vergil’s English History (London, 1844), 154–5

3 Griffiths and Thomas, Making of the Tudor Dynasty, 86–7. Bad weather marred the Tudors’ crossing of the Channel.

4 Foedera, XI 714, quoted in M. Hicks, Edward V: The Prince in the Tower (Stroud, 2003), 57–8

5 Paston Letters, IV 298

6 The Black Book, or Liber Niger Domus Regis Edw. IV, is printed in A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Household etc. (London, 1790), 15–86

7 See D. Starkey, ‘Henry VI’s Old Blue Gown: The English Court under the Lancastrians and the Yorkists’ in The Court Historian, 1999, passim but especially 20–4

8 The weak and sickly Herbert earl of Pembroke was deprived of his title in 1479, when it was given to Prince Edward, and Herbert was forced to accept a demotion to the earldom of Huntingdon.

9 Had Warwick died a natural death, his brother Montague would have inherited the Neville patrimony; the daughters would have received the rest. Since Montague also died in battle against the king, and was posthumously convicted of treason, the entire Warwick inheritance came into royal hands.

10 Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, 187

11 Ibid., 193–4

12 R. Buckley et al., ‘The King in the Car Park: New Light on the Death and Burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars Church, Leicester in 1485’ in Antiquity 87 (2013), 536

13 Poppelau, quoted in Mancini, 136–7

14 Colvin, History of the King’s Works, I 499–500

15 Or, in the more famous, more modern rendering given by the King James Bible, ‘The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.’ Psalm 23:1. For a detailed excerpt of Rotherham’s speech to parliament, PROME January 1478, items 1–3

16 Romans 13:4

17 In order to force Clarence to relinquish lands for redistribution to, among others, Gloucester, Edward had been forced to issue a general act of resumption in the parliament of 1473, excluding Clarence from a long list of persons exempted. For full details of the Clarence–Gloucester land feud, see Hicks, False, Fleeting, Perjur’d Clarence: George Duke of Clarence 1449–78 (Gloucester, 1992), 111–27

18 The details of the Twynho case are contained in the petition by her ‘cousin’ (probably her brother-in-law) Roger Twynho, who applied for and received a royal pardon on her behalf in 1478. One John Thursby was also hanged at the same proceedings on the equally specious charge of having murdered Clarence’s son Richard. PROME January 1478, item 17; Hicks, False, Fleeting, Perjur’d Clarence, 137–9

19 Croyland Continuations, 478

20 Ibid.

21 PROME January 1478, appendix 1

22 For a discussion of the malmsey wine story, see Hicks, False, Fleeting, Perjur’d Clarence, 200–4

23 Romans 13:2


1 Commines, I 397

2 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 164

3 Griffiths and Thomas, Making of the Tudor Dynasty, 88–90

4 Commines, I 251

5 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 164–5

6 Ibid., 135; J. Lewis (ed.), Life of Dr John Fisher (London, 1855), II 269

7 M. Jones and M. Underwood, The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (Cambridge, 1993), 58–9; MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville, 108

8 Jones and Underwood, King’s Mother, 61, quoting Westminster Abbey Muniments doc. 32378

9 Croyland Continuations, 483

10 Commines, I 264

11 Vergil’s pen-portrait was consistent with every other in also praising the king’s ‘wit’, ‘high courage’ and ‘retentive memory’, his diligence, his tendency to be ‘earnest and horrible to the enemy [ but] bountiful to his friends and acquaintance’ and his fortune in war. Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 172

12 Mancini, 66–7

13 Thomas Basin, quoted in Scofield, Edward IV, 365

14 R. Gottfried, ‘Epidemic Disease in Fifteenth-Century England’ in Journal of Economic History 36 (1976), 267–8, notes cases of influenza in the fifteenth century, ‘although it was not particularly virulent until 1485’.

15 Mancini, 70–1

16 W. Crotch, The Prologues and Epilogues of William Caxton (London, 1928), 39

17 BL MS Sloane 3479, f. 53v

18 Ibid., 69

19 Croyland Continuations, 485

20 Mancini, 74–5

21 Gairdner (ed.), Letters and Papers, I 4

22 Croyland Continuations, 487

23 Mancini, 82–3

24 Croyland Continuations, 487, although the author writes with hindsight and may well be influenced here by his knowledge of subsequent events

25 Great Chronicle, 230

26 Croyland Continuations, 488

27 C. Carpenter (ed.), Kingsford’s Stonor Letters and Papers 1290–1483 (Cambridge, 1996), 416

28 Croyland Continuations, 489

29 Mancini, 90–1

30 For a level-headed discussion of the arguments over Edward V’s (and Edward IV’s) supposed illegitimacy, see Hicks, Edward V, 163–6

31 Mancini, 96–7

32 Croyland Continuations, 489

33 Noted by Mancini 104–5: the English were well known for their fondness for cryptic prophecies of this sort.

34 A. Sutton and P. Hammond, The Coronation of Richard III: The Extant Documents (Gloucester, 1983), 77–9, 294–5

35 Great Chronicle, 233


1 The Great Chronicle of London, 234, reports sightings of the boys during the mayoralty of Sir Edmund Shaa, which ran from Michaelmas 1482 to Michaelmas 1483, although the chronicler misdates this by a year, and subsequently garbles the sequence of events between the disappearance of the princes, the death of Queen Anne, Buckingham’s rebellion and Richard’s apparent plan to marry Elizabeth of York.

2 Horrox and Hammond (eds), BL Harleian MSS 433, III 2

3 Ibid., 234

4 Mancini, 92–3

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 The Great Chronicle dates public rumours of their disappearance to ‘after Easter’, a date we can deduce to be 18 April 1484. But see n. 3 to chapter 18 for concerns over the chronicler’s dating of events during this period.

8 The remains found during that excavation are now kept at Westminster Abbey. They were tested, very inadequately, in 1933 in an attempt to determine cause of death. For a discussion, see P. Hammond and W. White, ‘The Sons of Edward IV: A Re-examination of the Evidence on Their Deaths and on the Bones in Westminster Abbey’ in Hammond (ed.), Richard III: Loyalty, Lordship and Law(London, 1986), 104–47. Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey oppose further tests being carried out on the remains. A recent e-petition to HM Government requesting DNA analysis on the remains accrued only 408 signatures (

9 For the welter of grants to Buckingham, which effectively gave him power over the whole of Wales and the western marches, see Horrox and Hammond (eds), Harleian MS 433, II 3–4

10 As set forth in Titulus Regius, PROME January 1484, item 5

11 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 200 (‘circumspection and celerity’) and 226–7. The analysis of Richard’s skeleton and teeth performed in Leicester in 2012–13 confirmed his spinal deformation and worn molars.

12 Croyland Continuations, 490

13 Commines, II 64

14 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 197

15 As described in the act of attainder passed posthumously against Buckingham, PROME January 1484, item 3

16 E.g. Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 192–3

17 Or to borrow the delicious phrase of Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, 212, ‘he was a worthless man, and probably few lamented his passing’.

18 Griffiths and Thomas, Making of the Tudor Dynasty, 102–5; Jones and Underwood, King’s Mother, 62–3

19 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 199

20 Ibid.

21 A. Raine (ed.), York Civic Records (Wakefield, 1939), I 83

22 L. Gill, Richard III and Buckingham’s Rebellion (Stroud, 1999), 68

23 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 202

24 PROME January 1484, item 5

25 Croyland Continuations, 496

26 Text printed in P. Hammond and A. Sutton, Richard III: The Road to Bosworth Field (London, 1985), 151

27 See ibid., 151–2

28 PROME January 1484, item 21

29 PROME January 1484, item 27

30 R. Horrox, Richard III: A Study of Service (Cambridge, 1989), 325–6

31 A few entries from Prince Edward’s accounts are printed in Hammond and Sutton, Richard III, 174–5

32 Ibid., 497. A tomb at the church of St Helen and the Holy Cross in Sheriff Hutton may be that of Edward, although another tradition holds that he was buried at his birthplace in Middleham.

33 Edward of Middleham was Richard’s only legitimate son. He had two, and possibly three illegitimate children: Sir John of Pontefract, captain of Calais; Katherine Plantagenet, who married William Herbert in 1484, but died a few years later; and, possibly, a boy called Richard Plantagenet, who was born around 1469 and died in December 1550, having lived his life anonymously as a London bricklayer. The eighteenth-century antiquarian Francis Peck recorded a family legend he had heard about Richard Plantagenet: before his death he supposedly claimed to have been an observer at Bosworth and to have been presented there to his father the king on the night before the battle. The story is unproveable, but a tomb to Richard Plantagenet lies in the ruined church of St Mary’s in Eastwell, Kent.

34 Horrox and Hammond (eds), Harleian MSS 433, III 124–5

35 Ibid., III 190

36 Croyland Continuations, 499. There is evidence, albeit difficult and inconclusive evidence, to suggest that Elizabeth was aware of Richard’s intentions and may even have been considering them favourably. This has most recently been discussed by Weir, Elizabeth of York, 130– 8, who concludes after some consideration that ‘there is no evidence as to [Elizabeth’s] true feelings for Richard III’.

37 Paston Letters, VI 81–4

38 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 204

39 Commines, II 64

40 Great Chronicle, 237


1 These three standards were presented later in the year at St Paul’s – we assume here that they had been associated with Henry’s campaign from his arrival in England.

2 Henry’s letters are quoted and discussed in Griffiths and Thomas, Making of the Tudor Dynasty, 159–65

3 Croyland Continuations, 502

4 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 221. Vergil uses this to suggest the king’s conscience ‘guilty of heinous offences’; but Croyland Continuations, 503, agrees, suggesting that the king woke and ‘declared that during the night he had seen dreadful visions, and had imagined himself surrounded by a multitude of demons’. Neither source could be described as sympathetic to Richard – nevertheless, both were by assiduous and well-informed writers.

5 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 225

6 Ibid., 223

7 Ibid., 224

8 Ibid.

9 As revealed in analysis of Richard III’s skeleton carried out by the University of Leicester in 2012–13, nicely summarised by Dr Jo Appleby at

10 Ellis (ed.), Polydore Vergil, 224

11 Croyland Continuations, 505

12 Great Chronicle, 238

13 Ibid., 239

14 The accounts for Henry’s coronation are in Wickham Legg, English Coronation Records, 198–218

15 Ibid. and S. Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry and Early Tudor Policy (Oxford, 1969), 11

16 When the first Lancastrian king, Henry IV (then merely Henry Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford), had sallied forth for his duel with Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk at Coventry in September 1398 his pavilion ‘was covered with red roses’: Williams, Chronique de la traison et mort, 153; the royal treasure subsequently taken over by Henry IV contained numerous items decorated with roses of different hues: Palgrave, Antient Kalendars, III 313–58. ‘Rhos cochion mewn rhwysg uchel’: quoted and translated in Evans, Wales and the Wars of the Roses, 6

17 PROME November 1485, part I, item 9

18 Gairdner (ed.), Letters and Papers, 421

19 B. André, The Life of Henry VII, trans. D. Hobbins (New York, 2011), 34

20 Ibid., 35

21 Raine (ed.), York Civic Records, I 156–9

22 An interesting point of comparison is the birth of Edward II at Caernarfon Castle in 1284 – another focal point of Arthuriana.

23 The deeds of these kings were not just entertainment: often they were intended for political education, too. In 1457 the scholar James Hardyng had produced a monumental History, which expounded on the deeds of the kings, beginning in the days of Brutus. Hardyng had presented his work to Henry VI, who appeared to take no notice of the moral that was intended.

24 André, Life of Henry VII, 38


1 Simnel’s origins are discussed at length in M. Bennett, Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke (Gloucester, 1987), 42–55

2 D. Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485–1537 (London, 1950), 13

3 André, Life of Henry VII, 47 (‘Admirably skilled …’)

4 Ibid., 46

5 Ibid.

6 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 63

7 PROME November 1485, part I, item 8

8 As, indeed, it still is.

9 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 56–7

10 André, Life of Henry VII, 60

11 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 67

12 Ibid., 75

13 André, Life of Henry VII, 66

14 Warbeck’s Scottish expenses are printed in Gairdner (ed.), Letters and Papers, II 326–35

15 André, Life of Henry VII, 68

16 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 67


1 Licentiate Alcaraz, quoted in G. Tremlett, Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen (London, 2010), 69

2 G. Kipling (ed.), The Receyt of the Ladie Kateryne (Oxford, 1990), 39

3 J. Guy, The Children of Henry VIII (Oxford, 2013), 4; D. Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (London, 2004), 76–7

4 A third son, Prince Edmund, had been born in 1499, but died in 1500.

5 Thomas, Jasper Tudor, 19–20

6 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 123

7 Seward, Last White Rose, 138

8 PROME January 1504, item 21

9 Philip claimed the crown in right of his wife; Joanna’s mother, Queen Isabella of Castile, had died in November 1504. Isabella’s other daughter, of course, was Katherine of Aragon.

10 Great Chronicle, 330

11 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 135

12 In Flanders the treaty was known as the Malus Intercursus – the Evil Treaty – because it was so skewed towards English interests.

13 Kingsford (ed.), The First English Life of Henry V (Oxford, 1911), 4

14 See for example BL Royal 8 G. vii; BL Royal 11 E. xi; BL Add MS 88929

15 The battle of Flodden was won on Catherine’s watch, on 9 September 1513.

16 Hay (ed.), The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, 203

17 L&P IV nos 1123 and 1131

18 This conversation is reported by R. Macquereau, Histoire générale de l’Europe (Louvain, 1765), and repeated in Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, 136. It is unsourced and may be apocryphal. The first mention of de la Pole’s death in the official record is to be found in L&P IV no. 1131: a letter of a clerk to Wolsey dated 28 February 1525. Yet Macquereau’s anecdote captures very well the relief that Henry surely felt at the termination of the de la Pole line.


1 J. Osborn (ed.), The Quenes Maiesties Passage through the Citie of London to Westminster the Day before her Coronacion (New Haven, 1960), 31–3

2 See, for example, the large Tudor rose in the stained-glass window at Great Malvern Priory, which sits to the left of the arms of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, or Katherine of Aragon’s window in the Quire at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

3 Hall, ‘Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies’. As if the point were not sufficiently made, in his introduction addressed to the young King Edward VI, Hall pointed out that ‘I haue compiled and gathered (and not made) out of diurse writers, as well forayne as Englishe, this simple treatise whiche I haue named the vnion of the noble houses of Lancaster and Yorke, conioyned together by the godly marriage of your moste noble graundfather [i.e. Henry VII], and your verteous grandmother [i.e. Elizabeth of York]. For as king henry the fourthe was the beginning and rote of the great discord and deusion: so was the godly matrimony, the final ende of all discencions, titles and debates.’ Hall, Chronicle, vii

4 Stow’s 1550 edition of Chaucer, Trinity College, Cambridge, STC 5075, 5076

5 1 Henry VI, II iv 27–73

6 Arranged according to historical chronology, the full list of plays is Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, and Henry V (known as the ‘second tetralogy’ with regard to the time of its composition); followed by Henry VI Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and Richard III (the ‘first tetralogy’).

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