Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England, existing from the early 13th century until 1707, when it merged with the Parliament of Scotland to become the Parliament of Great Britain after the political union of England and Scotland created the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced what, in centuries, became referred to as a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws. In 1215, the tenants-in-chief secured Magna Carta from King John, which established that the king may not levy or collect any taxes, save with the consent of his royal council, which developed into a parliament. Over the centuries, the English Parliament progressively limited the power of the English monarchy which arguably culminated in the English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649. After the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, the subsequent Glorious Revolution of 1688, the supremacy of Parliament was a settled principle and all future English and British sovereigns were restricted to the role of constitutional monarchs with limited executive authority.
The Act of Union 1707 merged the English Parliament with the Parliament of Scotland to form the Parliament of Great Britain. When the Parliament of Ireland was abolished in 1801, its former members were merged into what was now called the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Under a monarchical system of government, monarchs must consult and seek a measure of acceptance for their policies if they are to enjoy the broad cooperation of their subjects. Early kings of England had no standing army or police, so depended on the support of powerful subjects; the monarchy had agents in every part of the country. However, under the feudal system that evolved in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the laws of the Crown could not have been upheld without the support of the nobility and the clergy; the former had economic and military power bases of their own through major ownership of land and the feudal obligations of their tenants. The Church was a law unto itself in this period as it had its own system of religious law courts.
In order to seek consultation and consent from the nobility and the senior clergy on major decisions, post-Norman Conquest English monarchs called Great Councils. A typical Great Council would consist of archbishops, abbots and earls, the pillars of the feudal system; when this system of consultation and consent broke down, it became impossible for government to function effectively. The most prominent instances of this before the reign of Henry III are the disagreements between Thomas Becket and Henry II and between King John and the barons. Becket, who served as Archbishop of Canterbury between 1162 and 1170, was murdered after a long running dispute with Henry II over the jurisdiction of the Church. John, king from 1199 to 1216, aroused such hostility from many leading noblemen that they forced him to agree to Magna Carta in 1215. John's refusal to adhere to this charter led to civil war; the Great Council evolved into the Parliament of England. The term came into use during the early 13th century, when it shifted from the more general meaning of "an occasion for speaking."
It first appears in official documents in the 1230s. As a result of the work by historians G. O. Sayles and H. G. Richardson, it is believed that the early parliaments had a judicial as well as a legislative function. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the kings called Knights of the Shire to meet when the monarch saw it as necessary. A notable example of this was in 1254 when sheriffs of counties were instructed to send Knights of the Shire to parliament to advise the king on finance. Parliaments were summoned when the king needed to raise money through taxes. After Magna Carta, this became a convention; this was due in no small part to the fact that King John died in 1216 and was succeeded by his young son Henry III. Leading peers and clergy governed on Henry's behalf until he came of age, giving them a taste for power that they would prove unwilling to relinquish. Among other things, they made sure. Once the reign of John ended and Henry III took full control of the government, leading peers became concerned with his style of government his unwillingness to consult them on decisions he took, his seeming patronisation of his foreign relatives over his native subjects.
Henry's support of a disastrous papal invasion of Sicily was the last straw. In 1258, seven leading barons forced Henry to swear to uphold the Provisions of Oxford, the following year, by the Provisions of Westminster; this abolished the absolutist Anglo-Norman monarchy, giving power to a council of fifteen barons, providing for a thrice-yearly meeting of parliament to monitor their performance. Parliament assembled six times between June 1258 and April 1262, most notably at Oxford in 1258; the French-born nobleman Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, emerged as the leader of this characteristically English rebellion. In the years that followed, those supporting Montfort and those supporting the king grew more hostile to each other. Henry obtained a papal bull in 1263 exempting him from his oath and both sides began to raise armies. At the Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264, Henry was taken prisoner by Montfort's army. However, many of the peers who had supported Montfort began to suspect that he ha
Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England, traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch the English monarch. The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in England and was established by royal charter in 1337; the present duke is the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. His wife, Camilla, is the current Duchess; some folkloric histories of the British Isles, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, claim that the first leader of Cornwall was Corineus, a Trojan warrior and ally of Brutus of Troy, the original settler of the British Isles. From this earliest period through the Arthurian period, the legendary Dukes of Cornwall were semi-autonomous if not independent from the High-King or ruler of Britain, while serving as his closest ally and, at times, as his protector. According to legend, Duke of Cornwall under King Uther Pendragon, rebelled against the latter's rule when the king became obsessed with Gorlois' wife Igraine.
Uther killed Gorlois and took Igraine: the result of their union was the future King Arthur. The historical record suggests that, following the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, Cornwall formed part of the separate Kingdom of Dumnonia, which included Devon, although there is evidence that it may have had its own rulers at times; the southwest of Britain was incorporated into the emerging Kingdom of England, after the Norman Conquest in 1066 the new rulers of England appointed their own men as Earl of Cornwall, the first of whom was in fact a Breton of'Cornwall' in Brittany. Edward, the Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III, was made the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337, after Edward III had lost the title of Duke of Normandy. After Edward predeceased the King, the duchy was recreated for his son, the future Richard II. Under a charter of 1421, the duchy passes to the sovereign's eldest son. Cornwall was the first dukedom; the dukedom of Cornwall can only be held by the oldest living son of the monarch, heir apparent.
In the event of a Duke of Cornwall's death, the title merges in the Crown if he left surviving descendants. The monarch's grandson if he is the heir apparent, does not succeed to the dukedom. No female may be Duke of Cornwall if she is heir presumptive or heir apparent to the throne. However, if a Duke of Cornwall should die without descendants and has no sister older than his next brother, his next brother obtains the duchy, this brother being both oldest living son and heir apparent, it is possible for an individual to be Prince of Wales and heir apparent without being Duke of Cornwall. The title "Prince of Wales" is the traditional title of the heir apparent to the throne, granted at the discretion of the Sovereign, is not restricted to the eldest son. For example, King George II's heir apparent, the future George III, was Prince of Wales, but not Duke of Cornwall, because he was the King's grandson rather than the King's son; when the Sovereign has no legitimate son, the estates of the Duchy of Cornwall revert to the Crown until a legitimate son is born to the Sovereign or until the accession of a new Sovereign who has a son.
James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II, was born Duke of Cornwall in 1688. Although his father lost the throne, James Francis Edward was not deprived of his own honours. On a Jacobite perspective, on his father's death in 1701 the duchy of Cornwall was merged in the Crown. On a Hanoverian perspective, it was as a result of his claiming his father's lost thrones that James was attainted for treason on 2 March 1702, his titles were thus forfeited under English law; the current Duke of Cornwall is Charles, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch. Charles was proclaimed Duke of Cornwall at Launceston Castle in 1973; as part of his feudal dues there was a pair of white gloves, gilt spurs and greyhounds, a pound of pepper and cumin, a bow, one hundred silver shillings, wood for his fires, a salmon spear. The Duke's second wife, whom he married on 9 April 2005 at the Guildhall in Windsor, is the current Duchess of Cornwall, she is Princess of Wales but does not use that title.
The Duchy includes over 570 square kilometres of land. The Duke has some rights over the territory of Cornwall, the county, for this and other reasons there is debate as to the constitutional status of Cornwall; the High Sheriff of Cornwall is appointed by the Duke, not the monarch, in contrast to the other counties of England and Wales. The Duke has the right to the estates of all those who die without named heirs in the whole of Cornwall. In 2013, the Duchy had a revenue surplus of £19 million, a sum, exempt from income tax, though the Prince of Wales chose to pay the tax voluntarily; until 2011, if there was no Duke of Cornwall at any time the income of the Duchy went to the Crown. Since the passing into law of the Sovereign Grant Act 2011, revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall pass to the heir to the throne, regardless of whether that heir is the Duke of Cornwall. In the event that the heir is a minor, 10% of the revenues pass to the heir, with the balance passing to the Crown; the Arms of the Duke of Cornwall are sable, fifteen bezants, that is, a black field bearing fifteen golden discs.
The arms are now used as a badge by the Prince of Wales, they appear below the shield in his coat of arms, along with his other badges. The arms were ado
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor. Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses, he was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the civil war, his supportive stance of the British Isles' wool industry and his standoff with the Low Countries had long-lasting benefits to all of the British economy. However, the capriciousness and lack of due process that indebted many would tarnish his legacy and were soon ended upon Henry VII's death, after a commission revealed widespread abuses. According to the contemporary historian Polydore Vergil, simple "greed" underscored the means by which royal control was over-asserted in Henry's final years.
Henry can be credited with a number of administrative and diplomatic initiatives. He paid close attention to detail, instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues and after a reign of nearly 24 years, he was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII; the new taxes were unpopular and two days after his coronation, Henry VIII arrested his father's two most unpopular ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were charged with high treason and were executed in 1510. Henry VII was born at Pembroke Castle on 28 January 1457 to Countess of Richmond, his father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, died three months before his birth. Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle of Anglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V, he rose to become one of the "Squires to the Body to the King" after military service at the Battle of Agincourt. Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII.
Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, "formally declared legitimate by Parliament". Henry's main claim to the English throne derived from his mother through the House of Beaufort. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III, his third wife Katherine Swynford. Katherine was Gaunt's mistress for about 25 years, thus Henry's claim was somewhat tenuous: it was from a woman, by illegitimate descent. In theory, the Portuguese and Castilian royal families had a better claim as descendants of Catherine of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt and his second wife Constance of Castile. Gaunt's nephew Richard II legitimised Gaunt's children by Katherine Swynford by Letters Patent in 1397. In 1407, Henry IV, Gaunt's son by his first wife, issued new Letters Patent confirming the legitimacy of his half-siblings, but declaring them ineligible for the throne. Henry IV's action was of doubtful legality, as the Beauforts were legitimised by an Act of Parliament, but it further weakened Henry's claim.
Nonetheless, by 1483 Henry was the senior male Lancastrian claimant remaining, after the deaths in battle or by murder or execution of Henry VI, his son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the other Beaufort line of descent through Lady Margaret's uncle, the 2nd Duke of Somerset. Henry made some political capital out of his Welsh ancestry, for example in attracting military support and safeguarding his army's passage through Wales on its way to the Battle of Bosworth, he came from an old, established Anglesey family that claimed descent from Cadwaladr, on occasion Henry displayed the red dragon of Cadwaladr. He took it, as well as the standard of St George, on his procession through London after the victory at Bosworth. A contemporary writer and Henry's biographer, Bernard André made much of Henry's Welsh descent. In reality, his hereditary connections to Welsh aristocracy were not strong, he was descended by the paternal line, through several generations, from Ednyfed Fychan, the seneschal of Gwynedd and through this seneschal's wife from Rhys ap Tewdwr, the King of Deheubarth in South Wales.
His more immediate ancestor, Tudur ap Goronwy, had aristocratic land rights, but his sons, who were first cousins to Owain Glyndŵr, sided with Owain in his revolt. One son was executed and the family land was forfeited. Another son, Henry's great-grandfather, became a butler to the Bishop of Bangor. Owen Tudor, the son of the butler, like the children of other rebels, was provided for by Henry V, a circumstance that precipitated his access to Queen Catherine of Valois. Notwithstanding this lineage, to the bards of Wales, Henry was a candidate for Y Mab Darogan – "The Son of Prophecy" who would free the Welsh from oppression. In 1456, Henry's father Edmund Tudor was captured while fighting for Henry VI in South Wales against the Yorkists, he died in three months before Henry was born. Henry's uncle Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke and Edmund's younger brother, undertook to protect the young widow, 13 years old when she gave birth to Henry; when Edward IV became King in 1461, Jasper Tudor went into exile abroad.
Pembroke Castle, the Earldom of Pembroke, were granted to the Yorkist William Herbert, who assumed the guardianship of Margaret Beaufort and the young Henry. Henry lived in the Herbert household
Battle of Towton
The Battle of Towton was fought on 29 March 1461 during the English Wars of the Roses, near the village of Towton in Yorkshire. A culminating battle in the dynastic struggles between the houses of Lancaster and York for control of the English throne, the engagement ended in an overwhelming victory for the Yorkists, it brought about a change of monarchs in England, with the victor, the Yorkist Edward IV having displaced the Lancastrian Henry VI as king, thus driving the head of the Lancastrians and his key supporters out of the country. It is described as "probably the largest and bloodiest battle fought on English soil", according to historical sources the longest. According to chroniclers, more than 50,000 Yorkist and Lancastrian soldiers fought for hours amidst a snowstorm on that day, Palm Sunday. A newsletter circulated a week. Contemporary accounts described Henry VI as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, such as the Wars of the Roses, he had periods of insanity while his inherent benevolence required his wife, Margaret of Anjou, to assume control of his kingdom, which contributed to his own downfall.
His ineffectual rule had encouraged the nobles' schemes to establish control over him, the situation deteriorated into a civil war between the supporters of Margaret and those of Richard, Duke of York. After the Yorkists captured Henry in 1460, the English parliament passed an Act of Accord to let York and his line succeed Henry as king. Margaret refused to accept the dispossession of her son's right to the throne and, along with fellow Lancastrian malcontents, raised an army. Richard of York was killed at the Battle of Wakefield and his titles, including the claim to the throne, passed to his eldest son Edward. Nobles who were hesitant to support Richard's claim to the throne considered the Lancastrians to have reneged on the Act – a legal agreement – and Edward found enough backing to denounce Henry and declare himself king; the Battle of Towton was to affirm the victor's right to rule over England through force of arms. On reaching the battlefield, the Yorkists found themselves outnumbered.
Part of their force under the Duke of Norfolk had yet to arrive. The Yorkist leader Lord Fauconberg turned the tables by ordering his archers to take advantage of the strong wind to outrange their enemies; the one-sided missile exchange, with Lancastrian arrows falling short of the Yorkist ranks, provoked the Lancastrians into abandoning their defensive positions. The ensuing hand-to-hand combat lasted hours; the arrival of Norfolk's men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing. Several who were taken as prisoners were executed; the power of the House of Lancaster was reduced after this battle. Henry fled the country, many of his most powerful followers were dead or in exile after the engagement, letting Edward rule England uninterrupted for nine years, before a brief restoration of Henry to the throne. Generations remembered the battle as depicted in William Shakespeare's dramatic adaptation of Henry's life—Henry VI, Part 3, Act 2, Scene 5.
In 1929, the Towton Cross was erected on the battlefield to commemorate the event. Various archaeological remains and mass graves related to the battle were found in the area centuries after the engagement. In 1461, England was in the sixth year of the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster over the English throne; the Lancastrians backed the reigning King of England, Henry VI, an indecisive man who had bouts of madness. The leader of the Yorkists was Richard, Duke of York, who resented the dominance of a small number of aristocrats favoured by the king, principally his close relatives, the Beaufort family. Fuelled by rivalries between influential supporters of both factions, York's attempts to displace Henry's favourites from power led to war. After capturing Henry at the Battle of Northampton in 1460, the duke, of royal blood, issued his claim to the throne. York's closest supporters among the nobility were reluctant to usurp the dynasty; the Queen of England, Margaret of Anjou, refused to accept an arrangement that deprived her son—Edward of Westminster—of his birthright.
She had fled to Scotland after the Yorkist victory at Northampton. Her Lancastrian supporters mustered in the north of England, preparing for her arrival. York marched with his army to meet this threat but he was lured into a trap at the Battle of Wakefield and killed; the duke and his second son Edmund, Earl of Rutland were decapitated by the Lancastrians and their heads were impaled on spikes atop the Micklegate Bar, a gatehouse of the city of York. The leadership of the House of York passed onto Edward; the victors of Wakefield were joined by Margaret's army and they marched south, plundering settlements in their wake. They liberated Henry after defeating the Yorkist army of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, in the Second Battle of St Albans and continued pillaging on their way to London; the city of London refused to open its gates to Margaret for fear of being looted. The Lancastrian army had no adequate means to replenish them; when Margaret learned that Richard of Yo
High treason in the United Kingdom
Under the law of the United Kingdom, high treason is the crime of disloyalty to the Crown. Offences constituting high treason include plotting the murder of the sovereign. Several other crimes have been categorised as high treason, including counterfeiting money and being a Catholic priest. High treason was distinguished from petty treason, a treason committed against a subject of the sovereign, the scope of, limited by statute to the murder of a legal superior. Petty treason comprised the murder of a master by his servant, of a husband by his wife, or of a bishop. Petty treason ceased to be a distinct offence from murder in 1828, high treason is today referred to as treason. Considered to be the most serious of offences, high treason was met with extraordinary punishment, because it threatened the safety of the state. Hanging and quartering was the usual punishment until the 19th century; the last treason trial was that of William Joyce, "Lord Haw-Haw", executed by hanging in 1946. Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 became law, the maximum sentence for treason in the UK has been life imprisonment.
High treason today consists of: Treason Act 1351: compassing the death of the sovereign, or of the sovereign's wife or eldest child and heir violating the sovereign's wife, or the sovereign's eldest unmarried daughter, or the sovereign's eldest son's wife levying war against the sovereign in the realm adhering to the sovereign's enemies, giving them aid and comfort, in the realm or elsewhere killing the King's Chancellor, Treasurer or Justices Treason Act 1702 and Treason Act 1703: attempting to hinder the succession to the throne under the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 Treason Act 1708: killing the Lords of Session or Lords of Justiciary in Scotland counterfeiting the Great Seal of ScotlandSee the English History section below for detail about the offences created by the 1351 Act. In addition to the crime of treason, the Treason Felony Act 1848 created a new offence known as treason felony, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment instead of death. Under the traditional categorisation of offences into treason and misdemeanours, treason felony was another form of felony.
Several categories of treason, introduced by the Sedition Act 1661 were reduced to felonies. While the common law offences of misprision and compounding were abolished in respect of felonies by the Criminal Law Act 1967, which abolished the distinction between misdemeanour and felony, misprision of treason and compounding treason are still offences under the common law. According to the law in force, it is treason felony to "compass, invent, devise, or intend": to deprive the sovereign of the Crown, to levy war against the sovereign "in order by force or constraint to compel her to change her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon or in order to intimidate or overawe both Houses or either House of Parliament", or to "move or stir" any foreigner to invade the United Kingdom or any other country belonging to the sovereign. In addition to the Acts of 1351, 1703, 1848, two additional Acts passed by the old Parliament of Ireland apply to Northern Ireland alone; the following is treason: Treason Act 1537: attempting bodily harm to the king, queen, or their heirs apparent attempting to deprive them of their title publishing that the sovereign is a heretic, infidel or usurper of the Crown rebelliously withholding from the sovereign his fortresses, artillery etc.
Crown of Ireland Act 1542: doing anything to endanger the sovereign's person doing anything which might disturb or interrupt the sovereign's possession of the Crown In England, there was no clear common law definition of treason. Thus, the process became open to abuse, decisions were arbitrary. For instance, during the reign of Edward III, a knight was convicted of treason because he assaulted one of the king's subjects and held him for a ransom of £90, it was only in 1351. Under the Treason Act 1351, or "Statute of Treasons", which distinguished between high and petty treason, several distinct offences constitute high treason. First, it was high treason to "compass or imagine the death of our Lord the King, of our Lady his Queen, or of their eldest son and heir." The terms "compass or imagine" indicate the premeditation of a murder. However it has been held to include rebelling against or trying to overthrow the monarch, as experience has shown that this involves the monarch's death; the terms of this provisi
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was the name of two cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet. The first house was created when Henry III of England created the Earldom of Lancaster—from which the house was named—for his second son Edmund Crouchback in 1267. Edmund had been created Earl of Leicester in 1265 and was granted the lands and privileges of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, after de Montfort's death and attainder at the end of the Second Barons' War; when Edmund's son Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, inherited his father-in-law's estates and title of Earl of Lincoln he became at a stroke the most powerful nobleman in England, with lands throughout the kingdom and the ability to raise vast private armies to wield power at national and local levels. This brought him—and Henry, his younger brother—into conflict with their cousin Edward II of England, leading to Thomas's execution. Henry inherited Thomas's titles and he and his son, called Henry, gave loyal service to Edward's son—Edward III of England.
The second house of Lancaster was descended from John of Gaunt, who married the heiress of the first house. Edward III married all his sons to wealthy English heiresses rather than following his predecessors' practice of finding continental political marriages for royal princes. Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster, had no male heir so Edward married his son John to Henry's heiress daughter and John's third cousin Blanche of Lancaster; this gave John the vast wealth of the House of Lancaster. Their son Henry usurped the throne in 1399. There was an intermittent dynastic struggle between the descendants of Edward III. In these wars, the term Lancastrian became a reference to members of the family and their supporters; the family provided England with three kings: Henry IV, who ruled from 1399 to 1413, Henry V, Henry VI. The House became extinct in the male line upon the murder in the Tower of London of Henry VI, following the battlefield execution of his son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, by supporters of the House of York in 1471.
Lancastrian cognatic descent—from John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster's daughter Phillipa—continued in the royal houses of Spain and Portugal while the Lancastrian political cause was maintained by Henry Tudor—a unknown scion of the Beauforts—eventually leading to the establishment of the House of Tudor. The Lancastrians left a legacy through the patronage of the arts—most notably in founding Eton College and King's College, Cambridge—but to historians' chagrin their propaganda, that of their Tudor successors, means that it is Shakespeare's fictionalized history plays rather than medievalist scholarly research that has the greater influence on modern perceptions of the dynasty. After the supporters of Henry III of England suppressed opposition from the English nobility in the Second Barons' War, Henry granted to his second son Edmund Crouchback the titles and possessions forfeited by attainder of the barons' leader, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, including the Earldom of Leicester, on 26 October 1265.
Grants included the first Earldom of Lancaster on 30 June 1267 and that of Earl Ferrers in 1301. Edmund was Count of Champagne and Brie from 1276 by right of his wife. Henry IV of England would use his descent from Edmund to legitimise his claim to the throne making the spurious claim that Edmund was the elder son of Henry but had been passed over as king because of his deformity. Edmund's second marriage to Blanche of Artois, the widow of the King of Navarre, placed him at the centre of the European aristocracy. Blanche's daughter Joan I of Navarre was queen regnant of Navarre and through her marriage to Philip IV of France was queen consort of France. Edmund's son Thomas became the most powerful nobleman in England, gaining the Earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury through marriage to the heiress of Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, his income was £11,000 per annum—double that of the next wealthiest earl. Thomas and his younger brother Henry served in the coronation of their cousin King Edward II of England on 25 February 1308.
After supporting Edward, Thomas became one of the Lords Ordainers, who demanded the banishment of Piers Gaveston and the governance of the realm by a baronial council. After Gaveston was captured, Thomas took the lead in his trial and execution at Warwick in 1312. Edward's authority was weakened by poor governance and defeat by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn; this allowed Thomas to restrain Edward's power by republishing the Ordinances of 1311. Following this achievement Thomas took little part in the governance of the realm and instead retreated to Pontefract Castle; this allowed Edward to regroup and re-arm, leading to a fragile peace in August 1318 with the Treaty of Leake. In 1321 Edward's rule again collapsed into civil war. Thomas raised a northern army but was defeated and captured at the Battle of Boroughbridge in March 1322, he was sentenced to be hanged and quartered but because he was Edward's cousin he was given a quicker death by beheading. Henry joined the revolt of Edward's wife Isabella of France and Mortimer in 1326, pursuing and capturing Edward at Neath in South Wales.
Following Edward's deposition at the Parliament of Kenilworth in 1326 and reputed murder at Berkeley Castle, Thomas's conviction was posthumously reversed and Henry regained possession of the Earldoms of Lancaster, Derby and Lincoln, forfeit for Thomas's treason. His restored prestige led to him knighting the young King Edward III of England before his coronation. Mortimer lost support over the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton that form
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, associated with a red rose, the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. The wars eliminated the male lines of both families; the conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, but there was related fighting before and after this period between the parties. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years' War, unfolding the structural problems of feudalism, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of King Henry VI which revived interest in Richard of York's claim to the throne. Historians disagree on. With the Duke of York's death in 1460, the claim transferred to Edward. After a series of Yorkist victories from January–February 1461, Edward claimed the throne on March 4, 1461, the last serious Lancastrian resistance ended at decisive Battle of Towton.
Edward was thus unopposed as the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. Resistance smoldered in the North until 1464, but the early part of his reign remained peaceful. A new phase of the wars broke out in 1469 after The Earl of Warwick, the most powerful noble in the country, withdrew his support for Edward and threw it behind the Lancastrian cause. Fortunes changed many times as the Yorkist and Lancastrian forces exchanged victories throughout 1469–1470; when Edward fled to Flanders in 1470, Henry VI was re-installed as king on 3 October 1470, but his resumption of rule was short lived, he was deposed again following the defeat of his forces at the Battle of Tewkesbury, on 21 May 1471, Edward entered London unopposed, resumed the throne, had Henry killed that same day. With all significant Lancastrian leaders now banished or killed, Edward ruled unopposed until his sudden death in 1483, his son reigned for 78 days as Edward V, but was deposed by his uncle, who became Richard III. The ascension of Richard III occurred under a cloud of controversy, shortly after assuming the throne, the wars sparked anew with Buckingham's rebellion, as many die-hard Yorkists abandoned Richard to join Lancastrians.
While the rebellions lacked much central coordination, in the chaos the exiled Henry Tudor, son of Henry VI's half-brother Edmund Earl of Richmond, the leader of the Lancastrian cause, returned to the country from exile in Brittany at the head of an army of combined Breton and English forces. Richard avoided direct conflict with Henry until the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. After Richard III was killed and his forces defeated at Bosworth Field, Henry assumed the throne as Henry VII and married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter and heir of Edward IV, thereby uniting the two claims; the House of Tudor ruled the Kingdom of England until 1603, with the death of Elizabeth I, granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Shortly after Henry took the throne, the Earl of Lincoln, a Yorkist sympathizer, put forward Lambert Simnel as an imposter Richard of York, younger brother of Edward V. Lincoln's forces were defeated, he was killed at the Battle of Stoke Field on 16 June 1487, bringing a close to the Wars of the Roses.
The name "Wars of the Roses" refers to the heraldic badges associated with two rival branches of the same royal house, the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. Wars of the Roses came into common use in the 19th century after the publication in 1829 of Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott. Scott based the name on a scene in William Shakespeare's play Henry VI, Part 1, set in the gardens of the Temple Church, where a number of noblemen and a lawyer pick red or white roses to show their loyalty to the Lancastrian or Yorkist faction respectively, it is suggested by literary critics that Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has strong allegorical references to the conflict with York represented by the White Queen and Lancaster represented by the Red Queen. The Yorkist faction used the symbol of the white rose from early in the conflict, but the Lancastrian red rose was introduced only after the victory of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, when it was combined with the Yorkist white rose to form the Tudor rose, which symbolised the union of the two houses.
Owing to nobles holding multiple titles, more than one badge was used: Edward IV, for example, used both his sun in splendour as Earl of March, but his father's falcon and fetterlock as Duke of York. Badges were not always distinct. Most, but not all, of the participants in the wars wore livery badges associated with their immediate lords or patrons under the prevailing system of bastard feudalism. Another example: Henry Tudor's forces at Bosworth fought under the banner of a red dragon while the Yorkist army used Richard III's personal device of a white boar. Although the names of the rival houses derive from the cities of York and Lancaster, the corresponding duchy and dukedom had little to do with these cities; the lands and offices attached to the Duchy of Lancaster were in Gloucestershire, North Wales, in Yorkshire, while the estates and castles of the Duke of York were spread throughout England and Wales, many in the We