The Course of the Wars

  • A. J. Pollard
Part of the British History in Perspective book series (BHP)


In 1450 England’s king was Henry VI, a young man in his late twenties.1 He was the son of the famous warrior Henry V, a father he had not known for he came to the throne when he was nine months old. He had no memory of being other than king. He had been cossetted and nurtured to step into his father’s martial shoes. He had inherited two kingdoms, being crowned King of England in 1429 and King of France in 1431. From the age of 16 in 1437, he had begun to play an active part in the affairs of the kingdom. By 1439 his minority was at an end. It had been a surprisingly harmonious minority. Rifts, conflicts and factional rivalry had, of course, occurred, but the leading councillors and nobles, inspired by their dedication to the memory of Henry V whom they had served, had been as one in their determination to hand on to his young heir his inheritance in both kingdoms.


Factional Rivalry Chief Minister Henry Versus West Country Blood Feud 
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  1. 1.
    Unless_otherwise_noted, reference for this narrative should be made to the major political studies of the later fifteenth century. The reign of Henry VI is comprehensively detailed in R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI (London: Ernest Benn, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. M. A. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), pp. 64–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. C. L. Scofield, The Life and Reign of Edward IV, 2 vols (London: Longman, 1923)Google Scholar
  4. C. Ross, Edward IV (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974Google Scholar
  5. C. Ross, Richard III (London: Eyre Methuen, 1981Google Scholar
  6. A. J. Pollard, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower (Stroud: Sutton, 1991)Google Scholar
  7. J. Gillingham (ed.), Richard III: A Medieval Kingship (London: Collins and Brown, 1993).Google Scholar
  8. S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII (London: Eyre Methuen, 1972).Google Scholar
  9. 2.
    This point is stressed in A. J. Pollard, ‘The Last of the Lancastrians’, Parliamentary History, 2(1983), p. 204.Google Scholar
  10. 4.
    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: Alan Sutton, 1979), pp. 30–1Google Scholar
  11. 6.
    A. J. Pollard, ‘Lord FitzHugh’s Rising in 1470’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 52(1979), pp. 170–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 7.
    R. A. Griffiths and R. S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1985), p. 85.Google Scholar
  13. 8.
    For the suggestion that Somerset’s loyalty to Henry VI was the key to his behaviour, see M. A. Hicks, ‘Edward IV and Lancastrian Loyalism in the North’, Northern History, 20(1984), pp. 23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© A. J. Pollard 2001

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  • A. J. Pollard

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