Council of Florence
The Seventeenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church was convoked as the Council of Basel by Pope Martin V shortly before his death in February 1431 and took place in the context of the Hussite wars in Bohemia and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. At stake was the greater conflict between the Conciliar movement and the principle of papal supremacy; the Council entered a second phase after Emperor Sigismund's death in 1437. Pope Eugene IV convoked a rival Council of Ferrara on 8 January 1438 and succeeded in drawing the Byzantine ambassadors to Italy; the Council of Basel first suspended him, declared him a heretic, in November 1439 elected an antipope, Felix V. The rival Council of Florence concluded in 1445 after negotiating unions with the various eastern churches; this bridging of the Great Schism was a political coup for the papacy. In 1447, Sigismund's successor Frederick III commanded the city of Basel to expel the Council of Basel; the initial location at Basel reflected the desire among parties seeking reform to meet outside the territories of the Papacy, the Holy Roman Empire or the kings of Aragon and France, whose influences the council hoped to avoid.
Ambrogio Traversari attended the Council of Basel as legate of Pope Eugene IV. Under pressure for ecclesiastical reform, Pope Martin V sanctioned a decree of the Council of Constance obliging the papacy to summon general councils periodically. At the expiration of the first term fixed by this decree, Pope Martin V complied by calling a council at Pavia. Due to an epidemic the location transferred at once to Siena and disbanded, in circumstances still imperfectly known, just as it had begun to discuss the subject of reform; the next council fell due at the expiration of seven years in 1431. Martin himself, died before the opening of the synod; the Council was seated on 14 December 1431, at a period when the conciliar movement was strong and the authority of the papacy weak. The Council at Basel opened with only a few bishops and abbots attending, but it grew and to make its numbers greater gave the lower orders a majority over the bishops, it adopted an anti-papal attitude, proclaimed the superiority of the Council over the Pope and prescribed an oath to be taken by every Pope on his election.
On 18 December Martin's successor, Pope Eugene IV, tried to dissolve it and open a new council on Italian soil at Bologna, but he was overruled. Sigismund, King of Hungary and titular King of Bohemia, had been defeated at the Battle of Domažlice in the fifth crusade against the Hussites in August 1431. Under his sponsorship, the Council negotiated a peace with Calixtine faction of the Hussites in January 1433. Pope Eugene acknowledged the council in May and crowned Sigismund Holy Roman Emperor on 31 May 1433; the divided Hussites were defeated in May 1434. In June 1434, the pope began a ten-year exile in Florence; when the Council was moved from Basel to Ferrara in 1438, some remained at Basel, claiming to be the Council. They elected Duke of Savoy, as Antipope. Driven out of Basel in 1448, they moved to Lausanne, where Felix V, the pope they had elected and the only claimant to the papal throne who took the oath that they had prescribed, resigned; the next year, they decreed the closure of what.
The new council was transferred to Florence in 1439 because of the danger of plague at Ferrara and because Florence had agreed, against future payment, to finance the Council. The Council had meanwhile negotiated reunification with several Eastern Churches, reaching agreements on such matters as the Western insertion of the phrase "Filioque" to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the definition and number of the sacraments, the doctrine of Purgatory. Another key issue was papal primacy, which involved the universal and supreme jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church, including the national Churches of the East and nonreligious matters such as the promise of military assistance against the Ottomans; the final decree of union was a signed document called the Laetentur Caeli, "Let the Heavens Rejoice". Some bishops feeling political pressure from the Byzantine Emperor, accepted the decrees of the Council and reluctantly signed. Others did so by sincere conviction, such as Isidore of Kiev, who subsequently suffered for it.
Only one Eastern Bishop, Mark of Ephesus, refused to accept the union and became the leader of opposition back in Byzantium. The Russians, upon learning of the union, angrily rejected it and ousted any prelate, remotely sympathetic to it, declaring the Russian Orthodox Church as autocephalus. Despite the religious union, Western military assistance to Byzantium was insufficient, the fall of Constantinople occurred in May 1453; the Council declared the Basel group heretics and excommunicated them, the superiority of the Pope over the Councils was affirmed in the bull Etsi non dubitemus of 20 April 1441. The democratic character of the assembly at Basel was a result of both its composition and its organization. Doctors of theology and representatives of chapters and clerks of inferior orders outnumbered the prelates in it, the influence of the superior clergy had less weight because instead of being separated into "nations", as at Constance, the fathers div
Catherine of Valois
Catherine of Valois was the queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. A daughter of Charles VI of France, she married Henry V of England, gave birth to his heir Henry VI of England, her liaison with Owen Tudor proved the springboard of that family's fortunes leading to their grandson's elevation as Henry VII of England. Catherine's older sister Isabella was queen of England from 1396 until 1399, as the child bride of Richard II. Catherine of Valois was the youngest daughter of King Charles VI of France and his wife Isabeau of Bavaria, she was born at the Hôtel Saint-Pol on 27 October 1401. Early on, there had been a discussion of marrying her to the prince of Wales, son of Henry IV of England, but the king died before negotiations could begin. In 1414, the prince, now Henry V, re-opened discussion of the match, along with a large dowry and acknowledgement of his right to the throne of France. While some authors have maintained that Catherine was neglected as a child by her mother, a more modern examination of the evidence suggests otherwise.
According to the financial accounts of her mother, toys befitting a French princess were purchased, religious texts were provided, Catherine was sent to the convent in Poissy to receive a religious education. Henry V went to war with France, after the great English victory at Agincourt, plans for the marriage continued. Catherine was said to be attractive and when Henry met her at Meulan, he became enamoured. In May 1420, a peace agreement was made between England and France, the Treaty of Troyes, Charles acknowledged Henry of England as his heir. Catherine and Henry were married at the Parish Church of St John or at Troyes Cathedral on 2 June 1420. Catherine went to England with her new husband and was crowned queen in Westminster Abbey on 23 February 1421. In June 1421, Henry returned to France to continue his military campaigns. By this time, Catherine was several months pregnant and gave birth to a son named Henry on 6 December 1421 at Windsor, her husband never saw their child. During the siege of Meaux, he became sick with dysentery and died on 31 August 1422, just before his 36th birthday.
Catherine was left a queen dowager. Charles VI died a couple of months after Henry V, making the young Henry VI king of England and English-occupied northern France. Catherine doted on her son during his early childhood. Catherine was still young and marriageable, a source of concern to her brother-in-law Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the guardian of her son. Rumours abounded that Catherine planned to marry Edmund Beaufort, Count of Mortain, her late husband's cousin; the Duke of Gloucester was against the match and the Parliament of 1427–8 passed a bill which set forth the provision that if the queen dowager remarried without the king's consent, her husband would forfeit his lands and possessions, although any children of the marriage would not suffer punishment. The king's consent was contingent upon his having attained his majority. At that time, the king was only six years old. Catherine lived in the king's household so she could care for her young son, but the arrangement enabled the councillors to watch over the queen dowager herself.
Catherine entered into a sexual relationship with Welshman Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudor, who, in 1421, in France, had been in the service of Henry V's steward Sir Walter Hungerford. Tudor was appointed keeper of Catherine's household or wardrobe; the relationship began when Catherine lived at Windsor Castle, she became pregnant with their first child there. At some point, she stopped living in the King's household and in May 1432 Parliament granted Owen the rights of an Englishman; this was important because of Henry IV's laws limiting the rights of Welshmen. There is no clear evidence that Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor were married. No documentation of such a marriage exists. Moreover if they had been married, the question arises whether the marriage would have been lawful, given the Act of 1428. At the same time, there is no contemporaneous evidence that the validity of the marriage and the legitimacy of her children were questioned in secular or canon law. From the relationship of Owen Tudor and Queen Catherine descended the Tudor dynasty of England, starting with King Henry VII.
Tudor historians asserted that Owen and Catherine had been married, for their lawful marriage would add respectability and stronger royal ties to the claims of the Tudor dynasty. Owen and Catherine had at least six children. Edmund and Owen were all born away from court, they had one daughter, who became a nun and died young. Catherine died on 3 January 1437, shortly after childbirth, in London, was buried in Westminster Abbey. While the death date is not in question the cause is, with an equal number of records stating that she did not die a result of childbirth, but entered Bermondsey Abbey seeking a cure for an illness that had troubled her for some time, she made her will just three days before her death. She now rests at Westminster Abbey in Henry V's Chantry Chapel. After her death, Catherine's enemies decided to proceed against Owen for violating the law of the remarriage of the queen dowager. Owen appeared before the Council, was subsequently arrested, taken to Newgate Prison, he tried to escape from Newgate Prison in early 1438 and ended up at Windsor Castle in July of that year.
Meanwhile and Catherine's two older sons and Jasper, went to live with Katherine de la Pole, Abbess of Barking and sister of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Sometime after 1442, the king took a role
John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was an English prince, military leader, statesman. He was the third of the five sons of King Edward III of England. Due to his royal origin, advantageous marriages, some generous land grants, Gaunt was one of the richest men of his era, an influential figure during the reigns of both his father and his nephew, Richard II; as Duke of Lancaster, he is the founder of the royal House of Lancaster, whose members would ascend to the throne after his death. His birthplace, corrupted into English as Gaunt, was the origin for his name; when he became unpopular in life, scurrilous rumours and lampoons circulated that he was the son of a Ghent butcher because Edward III was not present at the birth. This story always drove him to fury. John's early career was spent in Spain fighting at the Hundred Years' War, he made an abortive attempt to enforce a claim to the Crown of Castile that came through his second wife, for a time styled himself as King of Castile. As Edward the Black Prince, Gaunt's elder brother and heir to the ageing Edward III, became incapacitated due to poor health, Gaunt assumed control of many government functions, rose to become one of the most powerful political figures in England.
He was faced with military difficulties abroad and political divisions at home, disagreements as to how to deal with these crises led to tensions between Gaunt, the English Parliament, the ruling class, making him an unpopular figure for a time. John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of King Richard II, the ensuing periods of political strife, he mediated between the king and a group of rebellious nobles, which included Gaunt's own son and heir, Henry Bolingbroke. Following Gaunt's death in 1399, his estates and titles were declared forfeit to the Crown, his son, now disinherited, was branded a traitor and exiled. Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile shortly after to reclaim his inheritance, deposed Richard, he reigned as King Henry IV of England, the first of the descendants of John of Gaunt to hold the English throne. The House of Lancaster would rule England from 1399 until the time of the Wars of the Roses, when the English crown was disputed with the House of York.
Gaunt fathered five children outside marriage. They were legitimised by royal and papal decrees, but which did not affect Henry IV's bar to their having a place in the line of succession. Despite that restriction, through these offspring, surnamed "Beaufort", Gaunt is ancestor to all Scottish monarchs beginning in 1437, of all English monarchs of the houses of Lancaster and Tudor as well as, York. John was the third surviving son of King Edward III of England, his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster, was his third cousin. They married in 1359 at Reading Abbey as a part of the efforts of Edward III to arrange matches for his sons with wealthy heiresses. Upon the death of his father-in-law, the 1st Duke of Lancaster, in 1361, John received half his lands, the title "Earl of Lancaster", distinction as the greatest landowner in the north of England as heir of the Palatinate of Lancaster, he became the 14th Baron of Halton and 11th Lord of Bowland. John inherited the rest of the Lancaster property when Blanche's sister Maud, Countess of Leicester, died without issue on 10 April 1362.
John received the title "Duke of Lancaster" from his father on 13 November 1362. By well established, he owned at least thirty castles and estates across England and France and maintained a household comparable in scale and organisation to that of a monarch, he owned land in every county in England, a patrimony that produced a net income of between £8,000 and £10,000 a year. After the death in 1376 of his older brother Edward of Woodstock, John of Gaunt contrived to protect the religious reformer John Wycliffe to counteract the growing secular power of the church. However, John's ascendancy to political power coincided with widespread resentment of his influence. At a time when English forces encountered setbacks in the Hundred Years' War against France, Edward III's rule was becoming unpopular due to high taxation and his affair with Alice Perrers, political opinion associated the Duke of Lancaster with the failing government of the 1370s. Furthermore, while King Edward and the Prince of Wales were popular heroes due to their successes on the battlefield, John of Gaunt had not won equivalent military renown that could have bolstered his reputation.
Although he fought in the Battle of Nájera, for example, his military projects proved unsuccessful. When Edward III died in 1377 and John's ten-year-old nephew succeeded as Richard II of England, John's influence strengthened. However, mistrust remained, some suspected him of wanting to seize the throne himself. John took pains to ensure; as de facto ruler during Richard's minority, he made unwise decisions on taxation that led to the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, when the rebels destroyed his home in London, the Savoy Palace. Unlike some of Richard's unpopular advisors, John was away from London at the time of the uprising and thus avoided the direct wrath of the rebels. In 1386 John left England to seek the throne of Castile, claimed in jure ux
Margaret of Anjou
Margaret of Anjou was the Queen of England by marriage to King Henry VI from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471. Born in the Duchy of Lorraine into the House of Valois-Anjou, Margaret was the second eldest daughter of René, King of Naples, Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, she was one of the principal figures in the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses and at times led the Lancastrian faction. Owing to her husband's frequent bouts of insanity, Margaret ruled the kingdom in his place, it was she who called for a Great Council in May 1455 that excluded the Yorkist faction headed by Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, this provided the spark that ignited a civil conflict that lasted for more than 30 years, decimated the old nobility of England, caused the deaths of thousands of men, including her only son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. Margaret was taken prisoner by the victorious Yorkists after the Lancastrian defeat at Tewkesbury.
In 1475, she was ransomed by King Louis XI of France. She went to live in France as a poor relation of the French king, she died there at the age of 52. Margaret was born on 23 March 1430 at Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire east of France ruled by a cadet branch of the French kings, the House of Valois-Anjou. Margaret was King of Naples and of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, she had five brothers and four sisters, as well as three half-siblings from her father's relationships with mistresses. Her father, popularly known as "Good King René", was duke of Anjou and titular king of Naples and Jerusalem. Margaret was baptised at Toul in Lorraine and, in the care of her father's old nurse Theophanie la Magine, she spent her early years at the castle at Tarascon on the River Rhône in Provence and in the old royal palace at Capua, near Naples in the Kingdom of Sicily, her mother took care of her education and may have arranged for her to have lessons with the scholar Antoine de la Sale, who taught her brothers.
In childhood Margaret was known as la petite créature. On 23 April 1445, Margaret married King Henry VI of England, eight years her senior, at Titchfield Abbey in Hampshire; the king and queen of France were the uncle and aunt of the groom and the bride respectively: Henry's late mother, had been the sister of King Charles VII, whose wife Marie of Anjou was a sister of Margaret's father René. Further, Henry claimed for himself the Kingdom of France, controlled various parts of northern France. Due to all this, the French king agreed to the marriage of Margaret to his rival on the condition that he would not have to provide the customary dowry and instead would receive the lands of Maine and Anjou from the English; the English government, fearing a negative reaction, kept this provision secret from the English public. Margaret was crowned Queen Consort of England on 30 May 1445 at Westminster Abbey by John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury at the age of fifteen, she was described as beautiful, furthermore "already a woman: passionate and proud and strong-willed".
Those that anticipated the future return of English claims to French territory believed that she understood her duty to protect the interests of the Crown fervently. She seems to have inherited this indomitability from her mother, who fought to establish her husband's claim to the Kingdom of Naples, from her paternal grandmother Yolande of Aragon, who governed Anjou "with a man's hand", putting the province in order and keeping out the English, thus by family example and her own forceful personality, she was capable of becoming the "champion of the Crown". Henry, more interested in religion and learning than in military matters, was not a successful king, he had reigned since he was only a few months old and his actions had been controlled by protectors, magnates who were regents. When he married Margaret, his mental condition was unstable and by the time of the birth of their only son, Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, he had suffered a complete breakdown. Rumours were rife that he was incapable of begetting a child and that the new Prince of Wales was the result of an adulterous liaison.
Many have speculated that either Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, or James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, both staunch allies of Margaret, was the young prince's actual father. Although Margaret was aggressively partisan and had a volatile temperament, she shared her husband's love of learning by dint of her cultured upbringing and gave her patronage to the founding of Queens' College, Cambridge. Elizabeth Woodville Queen of England as future wife of her husband's rival, King Edward IV, purportedly served Margaret of Anjou as a maid of honour. However, the evidence is too scanty to permit historians to establish this with absolute certainty: several women at Margaret's court bore the name Elizabeth or Isabella Grey. After retiring from London to live in lavish state at Greenwich, Margaret was occupied with the care of her young son and did not display any signs of political will until she believed her husband was threatened with deposition by the ambitious Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, who, to her consternation, had been appointed Lord Protector while Henry was mentally incapacitated from 1453 to 1454.
The duke was a credible claimant to the English throne and by the end of his protectorship there were many powerful nobles and relatives prepared to back his claim. The Duke of York was powerful.
Tower of London
The Tower of London Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill, it was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite; the castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although, not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence; as a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion under Kings Richard I, Henry III, Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries; the general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, controlling it has been important to controlling the country; the Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle; this was a trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery; the peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls.
This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. The Tower was orientated with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London, which archaeologist Alan Vince suggests was deliberate, it stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle enclosures; the innermost ward is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard I. There is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285; the castle encloses an area of 12 acres with a further 6 acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons.
The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in periods. Tower Wharf was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II; the White Tower is a keep, the strongest structure in a medieval castle, contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case, the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, "The great tower was by virtue of its strength and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence"; as one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, the White Tower has been described as "the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe". The White Tower, not including its projecting corner towers, measures 36 by 32 metres at the base, is 27 m high at the southern battlements.
The structure was three storeys high, comprising a basement floor, an entrance level, an upper floor. The entrance, as is usual in Norman keeps, was above ground
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, 6th Earl of Salisbury, 8th & 5th Baron Montagu, 7th Baron Monthermer, known as Warwick the Kingmaker, was an English nobleman and military commander. The eldest son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, Warwick was the wealthiest and most powerful English peer of his age, with political connections that went beyond the country's borders. One of the leaders in the Wars of the Roses on the Yorkist side but switching to the Lancastrian side, he was instrumental in the deposition of two kings, which led to his epithet of "Kingmaker". Through fortunes of marriage and inheritance, Warwick emerged in the 1450s at the centre of English politics, he was a supporter of King Henry VI. From this conflict, he gained the strategically valuable post of Captain of Calais, a position that benefited him in the years to come; the political conflict turned into full-scale rebellion, where in battle York was slain, as was Warwick's father Salisbury. York's son, however triumphed with Warwick's assistance, was crowned King Edward IV.
Edward ruled with Warwick's support, but the two fell out over foreign policy and the king's choice of Elizabeth Woodville as his wife. After a failed plot to crown Edward's brother, Duke of Clarence, Warwick instead restored Henry VI to the throne; the triumph was short-lived, however: on 14 April 1471, Warwick was defeated by Edward at the Battle of Barnet, killed. Warwick had no sons; the elder of his two daughters, married George, Duke of Clarence. His younger daughter Anne had a short-lived marriage to King Henry's son Edward of Westminster, who died in battle at the age of 17, she married King Edward's younger brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who became King Richard III. Warwick's historical legacy has been a matter of much dispute. Historical opinion has alternated between seeing him as self-centred and rash, regarding him as a victim of the whims of an ungrateful king, it is agreed, that in his own time he enjoyed great popularity in all layers of society, that he was skilled at appealing to popular sentiments for political support.
The Neville family, an ancient Durham family, came to prominence in England's fourteenth-century wars against the Scots. In 1397, King Richard II granted Ralph Neville the title of Earl of Westmorland. Ralph's son Richard, the Earl of Warwick's father, was a younger son by a second marriage, not heir to the earldom, he received a favourable settlement and became jure uxoris Earl of Salisbury through his marriage to Alice and heiress of Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury. Salisbury's son Richard, the Earl of Warwick, was born on 22 November 1428. At the age of six, Richard was betrothed to Lady Anne Beauchamp, daughter of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, of his wife Isabel Despenser; this made him heir not only to the earldom of Salisbury, but to a substantial part of the Montague and Despenser inheritance. Circumstances would, increase his fortune further. Beauchamp's son Henry, who had married the younger Richard's sister Cecily, died in 1446; when Henry's daughter Anne died in 1449, Richard found himself jure uxoris Earl of Warwick.
Richard's succession to the estates did not go undisputed, however. A protracted battle over parts of the inheritance ensued with Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, who had married a daughter from Richard Beauchamp's first marriage; the dispute centred on land, not on the Warwick title, as Henry's half-sisters were excluded from the succession. By 1445 Richard had become a knight at Margaret of Anjou's coronation on 22 April that year, he is visible in the historical record of service of King Henry VI in 1449, which makes mention of his services in a grant. He performed military service in the north with his father, might have taken part in the war against Scotland in 1448–1449; when Richard, Duke of York, unsuccessfully rose up against the king in 1452, both Warwick and his father rallied to the side of King Henry VI. In June 1453, Somerset was granted custody of the lordship of Glamorgan – part of the Despenser heritage held by Warwick until – and open conflict broke out between the two men.
In the summer of that year, King Henry fell ill. Somerset was a favourite of the king and Queen Margaret, with the king incapacitated he was in complete control of government; this put Warwick at a disadvantage in his dispute with Somerset, drove him into collaboration with York. The political climate, influenced by the military defeat in France started turning against Somerset. On 27 March 1454, a group of royal councillors appointed the Duke of York protector of the realm. York could now count on the support not only of Warwick, but of Warwick's father Salisbury, who had become more involved in disputes with the House of Percy in the north of England. York's first protectorate did not last long. Early in 1455 the king rallied sufficiently to return to power, at least nominally, with Somerset again wielding real power. Warwick returned to his estates, as did York and Salisbury, the three started raising troops. Marching towards London, they encountered the king at St Albans; the battle was brief and not bloody, but it was the first instance of armed hostilities between the forces of the Houses of York and Lancaster in the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses.
It was significant be
First Battle of St Albans
The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses in England. Richard, Duke of York, his allies, the Neville earls of Salisbury and Warwick, defeated a royal army commanded by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, killed. With King Henry VI captured, a subsequent parliament appointed Richard of York Lord Protector; the incapacitation of Henry VI by mental illness in 1454 had led to the recall to court of Richard of York, his closest adult relative. Back in 1447, York had been assigned as Lieutenant of Ireland in exile away from England, while his long time rival, Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, favorite of the king, had been given the charge of the Lieutenancy of France. After Somerset's own failure in France, York unexpectedly returned to London with significant support not only from the nobility, most of whom saw the incompetence of Somerset's efforts in France, but from the public, he presented himself as a champion of the law and urged the King to have Somerset tried and held accountable for his failures.
He wished to be recognised as heir presumptive to the English throne while Henry VI was childless. York formed an armed force to force the issue in 1452, after meeting with the council of war and the King, who wanted to avoid a conflict, York's demands were agreed on. York was soon arrested and held prisoner for three months. An execution was avoided. York was only released after he agreed to swear an oath at St. Paul's Cathedral that he would never again take up arms against the King. After the English army led by Sir John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, was routed in the Battle of Castillion, Henry VI suffered a complete mental breakdown and was unable to perform his royal duties. Somerset had sought to make himself Lord Protector. However, Somerset underestimated the Duke of York's influence and popularity, as many nobles on the council were on York's side, and so York was given the appointment to govern England as Lord Protector and First Councillor of the realm while the king remained unfit.
He used this position to move against his chief rival and express the bitterness which had accumulated over the years, thus the Duke of Somerset was imprisoned. It was during this 14 months that the sides were forming. There was conflict beyond that between the Dukes of Somerset; the Percys were, still are to this day, the Earls of Northumberland. The Nevilles were related to the Duke of York by marriage, as the Duchess of York was Cecily Neville, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury. Much of the fighting was over land and money, but both were choosing sides, the Percys for Somerset and the Nevilles for York. By Christmas of 1454, King Henry had recovered from his illness, removing the basis for York's authority. Somerset was restored to his former position of power. Having reconvened the court at Westminster by mid-April 1455, Henry and a select council of nobles decided to hold a great council at Leicester. York and his closest allies anticipated that Somerset would bring charges against them at this assembly.
They gathered an armed retinue and marched to stop the royal party from reaching Leicester, intercepting them at St Albans. The Lancastrian army of 2,000 troops arrived at St Albans first, with Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in command, proceeded to defend it by placing troops along the Tonman Ditch and at the bars in Sopwell Lane and Shropshire Lane; the reassignment of Buckingham from Somerset as Commander of the Army had been a last minute decision by Henry VI, whether by fear of Somerset's past failures, or of animosity of the Duke of York. The 7,000-strong Yorkist army camped in Keyfield to the east. Lengthy negotiations ensued with heralds moving forth between the rival commanders. After a few hours, it was believed in the Yorkist camp that King Henry VI knew nothing of the letters of negotiation; the Duke of York had made his intentions clear: he wanted Somerset punished and executed. In a message to Henry VI he states: "... surrender to us such as we will accuse, not to resist til we have him which deserves death."
This was dangerous territory that York was playing on, as he was demanding much from the King and setting the rules himself. The act of displaying such an aggressive front to the King was treasonous, but his popularity kept York confident and supported. In a fit of uncharacteristic regency, Henry refused, replying: "By the faith that I owe to St. Edward and the crown of England I shall destroy every mother's son and they shall be hanged, drawn and quartered." After several hours, despairing of a peaceful solution, decided to attack. Although his army might have been unwilling to attack King Henry, the Royal Standard was not visible and might have been negligently propped against a wall by the royal standard-bearer, the Earl of Wiltshire; the bulk of Henry's forces were surprised by the suddenness of Richard's attack. However, two Yorkist frontal assaults down the narrow streets against the barr