EDWARD IV. 1461 - 1483
Born 1442. - Married Elizabeth Woodville, daughter of Sir Richard Woodvile, by whom he had three sons and seven daughters. -
Though possibly he was pre-contracted to the Lady Eleanor Butler, and if so the legitimacy of the children of Elizabeth was fairly disputable, according to the ecclesiastical law of the time.
Began to reign. 1461. - reigned 22 years, - Died 1483.
England, Ireland, and Calais.
The Wars of the Roses renewed battles of Hedgeley Moor and Hexham, and flight of Henry, 1464. Henry betrayed and sent prisoner to London, 1465. Warwick, the king-maker, allies himself with the Lancastrians, 1468. Henry restored by Warwick, 1470. Earl of Warwick slain. Queen Margaret defeated at Tewkesbury, and Henry again sent to the Tower, where he is supposed to have been murdered, 1471. Edward invades France, and obtains a pension from the French king to return without fighting, 1475. Edward's brother, the duke of Clarence, accused of high treason and put to death, 1478.
Edward IV., King of England, was born in 1441. His father, Richard, duke of York, was grandson of Edward, earl of Cambridge and Duke of York, fourth son of Edward III., while the rival line of Lancaster descended from John of Gaunt, the third son. The York line had intermarried with the female descendants of Lionel, the second son, which gave it the preferable right to the crown.
Edward, on the defeat and death of his father at the battle of Wakefleld, assumed his title, and having entered London after his splendid victory over the troops of Henry VI. and Queen Margaret at Mnrtimer's Cross, in Feb. 1461, was declared king by acclamation. The victory of Towton, soon after his accession, confirmed his title, and three years after, on May 4,1464, the battle of Hexham completely overthrew the party of Henry VI.
The king now made an imprudent marriage with Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Grey, at the very time when he had despatched the Earl of Warwick to negotiate a marriage for him with the sister of the French king. He thus alienated powerful friends, and Warwick, passing over to the Lancastrian cause, gathered a large army, and compelled Edward to flee the country. Henry's title was once more recognized by parliament, But in 1471 Edward, at the head of a small force given him by the Duke of Burgundy, landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, and his army, being quickly increased by partisans, marched swiftly on London and took the unfortunate Henry prisoner. Warwick now advanced with an army to Barnet, where a battle was fought. 4th April, 1471, which ended in the death of Warwick and a decisive victory for Edward. Shortly afterwards Edward also met and defeated a Lancastrian army, headed by Queen Margaret and her son Edward, at Tewkesbury.
The prince was murdered, and the queen was thrown into the Tower, where Henry VI. soon after died. Edward was preparing for an expedition against France when he died, in April, 1483
The victory of Towton, 1461, properly belongs to his reign. In 1462 Queen Margaret obtained some help from France, and in 1463 from Scotland, and resumed the war in the North. In 1464 her troops were defeated at Hedgeley Moor and Hexham. In 1469 the jealousy of the old nobility, and specially of the Earl of Warwick, for the Queen's Lancastrian relatives, the general discontent at the continuance of heavy taxes and oppression, and the desire of Warwick to free himself from a king who had escaped from his control, produced a combination of the Warwick and Lancastrian parties, which began what was in effect a struggle of the nobility against the Crown. A popular insurrection was prepared, which defeated the king's troops at Edgecote, and captured and executed the father and brother of the queen. In 1470 Edward defeated a similar insurrection at Loosecoat Field, near Stamford, and forced Warwick to fly the country, but the latter returning with Edward's brother Clarence, Edward fled in turn to Holland. In 1471 he returned, and with his brother Richard defeated and killed Warwick at Barnet, and ruined the remaining strength of the confederacy at Tewkesbury.
The bastard of Falconbridge made an invasion of Kent and an abortive attempt on London, while Edward was in the West. Henceforward the power of the Crown was established as it had not been for long, and a peace policy abroad saved the king from the necessity of asking for frequent supplies. The immense confiscations which came into his hands helping to render him independent of Parliament
The baronage, however, were not exterminated by these wars. Only the families of Beaufort, Holland, Tiptoft Lovel, and Bonneville were exterminated in the male line; but of the older important nobility Beauchamp, Montacute, Mowbray, had all merged in other lines by female descent, and many great families were nearly ruined.
Archbishop - Thomas Bourchier, 1461 - 1483.
Chancellor - George Neville, Bishop of Exeter, afterwards Archbishop of York, brother to the Earl of Warwick, 1461 - 1467; Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1467 - 1473; John Morton, afterwards Bishop of Ely, Archbishop and Cardinal, and Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex, were Keepers in 1473; Lawrence Booth, Bishop of Durham, 1473 - 1475; Thomas Rotherham, Bishop of Lincoln, afterwards Archbishop of York, 1475 - 1483, except for a short time in 147 5, when John Alcock, Bishop of Rochester, was Chancellor; Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop, was Treasurer, 1461 - 1 462; Richard, Earl Rivers, the Queen's father, was Treasurer, 1466 -1469; Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex, brother to the Archbishop, was Treasurer, 1471 - 1483. He married the sister of Richard Duke of York.
ACTS AND DOCUMENTS
In 1461, by 1 Ed. iv. c. I the acts of the Lancastrian
kings were confirmed, except with regard to such persons as the king might consider his enemies, an exception allowing
of extensive forfeiture. Printed in the Statutes. To this first Parliament 44 peers were summoned, and 14, already
dead or in exile, were attainted by it
In 1465 tunnage and poundage and the subsidy on wool were granted to the king for life. This became the practice in the case of tunnage and poundage down to the accession of Charles I. (Rolls of Parl. v. 508.)
In 1474 Edward made a treaty with Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy, for the recovery of France, ceding, in anticipation to the duke, Bar, Champagne, the Nivernois, and other possessions. (Rymer's Foedera, xi. ) In 1475, when in France, he informed the French king that he was willing to return on receipt of a sum of money, and a treaty was accordingly concluded at Amiens. (Rymer's Foedera, xii. 14, iii 20.)