· Henry V
King Henry V ruled from 1413-1422 and was the son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun. He originated from the House of Lancaster and ruled from age 26 to age 35, focusing most on gaining territories that were once possessed by his ancestors. He was most known for his invades on France during the Hundred Year’s War. One of these invades being where Henry completely demolished the French army in the Battle of Againcourt. This was his most prestigious accomplishment; however, Henry V died of an unknown illness shortly after at the age of 35.
· Henry VI
Son of Henry V and Catherine de Valois, Henry VI ruled from 1422-1461 and from 1470-1471. As an infant, Henry VI was crowned King of both England and France, but he proclaimed himself ruler of England and lost all his territories except Calais in the Hundred Year’s War. In 1455, Henry VI married French royalty Margaret of Anjou at age 32, unfortunately, however, in that same year; Henry VI suffers his first mental illness. The crown gets transferred unwillingly by Henry VI to Richard, Duke of York, and when Henry finally recovers, he clashes with Richard to get his crown back. This clash over the rule of England began the War of the Roses. Within these dynastic battles, Henry regained power but only for a year because he was captured by Richard’s son Edward IV to be imprisoned and murdered.
· King Edward IV
King Edward IV was the son of Richard Duke of York and Cecily Neville. He had ten children and was crowned at the age of 19 and continued to rule from 1461-1470 and from 1471- 1483. King Edward’s foremost accomplishment was gaining power as a Duke of York to complete a full decade of reigning power in his family name. Prior to this, however, in the War of the Roses, Edward IV fought battles alongside his father and defeated the Lancastrians at Mortimer’s Cross to be crowned king that March of 1461. From here, King Edward married Elizabeth Woodville in 1964, setting up for many troubles to come. Edward fled to Holland in September of 1470 to avoid the Lancastrian armies, but was able to come back and defeat them the next year in the battle of Tewkesbury. That same year, a significant choice of Edward’s was to have Henry VI executed. Twelve years later, Edward IV died and left behind to prodigal sons that unfortunately also died less than a year after their father in the Tower of London.
· King Edward V
Edward V was the son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydville, who never married nor had any children. Edward V was twelve years old when his father died leaving him with the throne. Before the coronation date, however, Edward V was taken by his uncle and protector Richard, Duke of Gloucester, whom canceled the coronation date. With this, Edward V and his brother Richard were confined to the Tower of London. Later in June of the same year, 1483, Edward’s royalty was considered invalid by Parliament and because the marriage of his parents was declared illegal. Both Edward and Richard were murdered shortly after generating one of the most infamous murder mysteries in history.
· Richard III
Richard III was also the son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydville and was proclaimed Duke of Gloucester in 1461. He was the younger brother of King Edward IV and helped fight for him at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. After Edward’s death in 1483, Richard took over Edwards heirs Edward V and Richard and sent them to the Tower of London, leading to the young boys’ deaths. In that same year as his brother’s death and his nephew’s murders, Richard III was crowned king. Richard III was killed, however, by Henry VII in 1485 at the battle of Bosworth Field.
· Henry VII
King Henry VII was a part of the Tudor family and was specifically the son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. Henry VII ruled from 1485-1509 and was the first ruler of the Tudor family. Near the end of the War of the Roses, Henry VII had been living in France in Brittany. After the deaths of Henry VI and his son Edward, Henry VII became Head of the House of Lancaster though his mother’s bloodline. The declining acts of Richard III brought Henry VII nearer to the Kingship, and in 1485, Henry VII defeated the Yorkish army and killed Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. In that same year, Henry VII was crowned king. Marrying Elizabeth of York in 1486, allowed for Henry to bring together rival houses, yet he still defeated all Yorkish endeavor to regain the throne. Also, remarkably, Henry VII rebuilt the Richmond Place and the chapel at Westminster Abbey. Henry VII died at age 52 in 1509, but he was ultimately the king that lead England into the renaissance period.
Why did Shakespeare portray Richard III the way he did?
Shakespeare illustrated Richard III as a villainous hunchback who would commit eleven murders to become king. Richard III came off as a grievous, evil character whom is not ashamed of his choices. It was understood to be a bit of an exaggerated portrayal of Richard; however, Shakespeare’s writing of the King was still generally accepted as dependable. Shakespeare made this renowned play into a malo-drama of wicked King Richard III mainly because it is known that Shakespeare used sources written by Tudor Historians. One main primary source used for this was Raphael’s Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This texts and others were each on the Lancastrian side of the view of Richard III, hence the characterization of Richard III in Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Traditionalist: is the orthodox view on a historical event and the adherence to authority and institutions (Dictionary.com). Examples: Traditionalist view of Richard III was considered to be the Tudor Historian view (“The Society-History”). The traditionalist view on kingships changed in the Renaissance under Henry VII’s rule, because religion became a greater driving force to the royalty (EnglishHistory.net).
Revisionist: One that writes history as a reinterpretation or assumption on facts surrounding a historical event. Ex: Revisionist view of Richard III in Shakespeare’s play, Richard III that was extracted from traditional primary sources.
Lancastrian: One on the side of the House of Lancaster during the War of the Roses. The Lancastrian line was carried down after the House’s extinction through the Tudor family and was against the House of York (“House of Lancaster”). Royal Lancastrians included Henry V and Henry VI (Wikipedia). Lancastrians were against Richard III and are the source of Richard’s deformed portrayal.
Ricardian: A term given to the idea of anyone who is interested in recovering the posthumous character of Richard III. These people are those who argue that Richard was a fair person born into an unfair body. The origin of the term is from the Yorkist army in the War of the Roses (“Richardian (Richard III)”). An example of a Ricardian group includes the Richard III Society founded in 1924 (Richard III Society).
Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. <http://dictionary.reference.com/>.
"House of Lancaster." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Lancaster>.
"King Henry VIII: Biography, Portraits, Primary Sources." EnglishHistory.net. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. <http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/henry8.html>.
"Ricardian (Richard III)." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricardian_(Richard_III)>.
Richard III Society - American Branch. Web. 21 Sept. 2010. <http://www.r3.org/>.
"The Society - History." The Richard III Society. Web. 22 Sept. 2010. <http://www.richardiii.net/barnardsinnspeech.htm>.
Read the following and explain whether each is "Lancastrian" or "Ricardian" -- be sure to quote directly from sections throughout your response:
from Vergil, Polydore. Anglica Historia, Books 23-25. London: J. B. Nichols, 1846.
Because the first passage illustrates Richard not as the victim but as the villain with its harsher view on Richard III, it is a Lancastrian document. Regard these quotes from the passage below and descriptions about them to further understand the reasoning behind this:
o “…Thinnocent child pullyd owt of his mothers armes. Richard having by this meane obtaynyd almost his hartes desire, convaighed his nephewys from the byshhop of Londons howse unto the Towr…”
§ Using imagery of literally ripping his nephews, Henry V and Richard, from their widow mother’s arms, this quote leads onto to explain that Richard III housed the newhews to the tower of London where they were later mysteriously murder in the same year that Richard III became king. Extracting the power from Henry V and his brother was only for Richard III’s heart’s desire.
o “And this way his dryft, that, whyle stayng and tarying made the people desyrus of this solemne sight, he, by consultinge from poynt to poynt, might sound and serche out how the nobylytie was affected, saying alway that he did not seke the soveraigntie, but referryd all his dooings to the profyt of the realme. Thus covering and cloking certane days his desire, under the colour and pretence of common welthe…”
§ Richard III ruled only under the pretence that his choices were for the common good; however, they were intended only for his desires. His choices were claimed to be for the realm of nobility, but they were only made to empower himself as king.
o “…so many matters dyd he so often propone and so few explane, according as a guyltie conscyence ys wont to be of many myndes.”
§ The ruling that Richard III made and proposed was seemingly not explained fully to the people, and people caught on that that it was not a mistake
The second passage is a Ricardian retail of Richard III, clearing up the false fronts that historians seemingly put against him. Here are quotes from Horace Walpole’s passage that argue the character of Richard III.
§ “With regard to the person of Richard, it appears to have been as much misrepresented as his actions. “
o This opening to the report informs that ideas about Richard III are greatly askew. Not only his physical appearance, but also his actions have seemingly been exaggerated and drawn falsely.
§ “…had Richard been a little, crooked, withered, hump-back'd monster, as later historians would have us believe --- and very idly? Cannot a foul soul inhabit a fair body? The truth I take to have been this Richard, who was slender and not tall, had one shoulder a little higher than the other…”
o This is a description of Richard in a Ricardian way, in which his characteristics are softened around the edges to not make Richard sound physically normal. Also, it affirms that the deformation of Richard III was the fault of Tudor historians against Richard III.
§ “…a defect, by the magnifying glasses of party, by distance of time, and by the amplification of tradition, easily swelled to shocking deformity; for falsehood itself generally pays so much respect to truth as to make it the basis of its superstructure.”
o This quote again blames the public and the historians for gradually increasing the ghastly characterture of Richard III. Supposedly, the truth about Richard III was made on the basis of falsehood against his character.
Part III: The Battle of Bosworth Field
Please read the following text and write two poems of your own in response, taking the point-of-view of Richard III in the first and Henry Tudor in the second. Each poem must be at least 250 words in length; style is completely your choice. Be sure to base your poem on historical sources and footnote each line or verse in your poem that corresponds to a source.
The Ballad of Bosworth Fielde Text from Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript. Ballads and Romances, ed. J.W. Hales and F.J. Furnivall, 3 vols. (London, 1868), III, pp. 233-59. http://www.r3.org/bosworth/ballad2.html
A crippled man
With a crooked collar
Small and hunched
With a grievous squalor
Richard was this
Richard was ambitious
Richard was eager
He wanted the lavish
On the death of Edward
And his sons’ succession
For Richard, Lord Protector
Degrading young power was his transgression
Nephews sent to the Tower
By Richard with Hasting’s assistance
Two deaths transpired
Edward V and young Richard lost their existence
Succeeding was the death of Hastings
In conspiracy he was accused of indulging
Declaring Henry VI marriage illegitimate
Richard’s power began bulging
At Westminster Abbey
Richard was crowned
King on top of his false debris
Until invaded by Henry
So together a troop Richard pulled
Market Bosworth, Leicestershire
The troops intersected
Richard’s troops outnumbering
And with militant strategy he hoped Henry deflected
Richard’s troops split to three
Earl of Oxford assisted in command
Tudor publicity ready to regard
Lord and Sir Stanley picked a side to stand
Kill Henry he was trying
Yet Stanley leapt to Henry’s aid
And stabs to Richard were applying
So Henry was crowed
Upon 1485 at Crown Hill
The Plantagenet at end
So Tudor accepted the throne he would fulfill
It was a battle of great severity
concentrated King Richard it was upon
Richard lost his life and his obsessive power
And his dynasty would no longer go on
A great war he lost
Pierced with numerous mortal wounds
Yet valiantly he fell
So brave his self-worth was attuned
And now the new soul Henry
Will begin the Tudor reign
And Richard will mark the end
Of the great Yorkist fame
Tudor was his name
Earl of Richmond he was
And half brother of Henry VI
A brother to an ill-fated king t’was
Early life was tumultuous
In exile he sat
Until Bosworth Field prevailed
And Henry went up to bat
Yet before his kingship granted
King of France Henry did then empower
Until England’s rule was in need for him to replace
And his parliament aspirations would publically flower
Now King Henry Tudor
Married Elizabeth of York
Adjoining rival families
To lessen political torque
These strategies were appreciated
Yet Ricardian considered himself
A secretive and introverted King of wealth
And in Ricardian alike
Henry was remembered to have fled
First up to Crown Hill
To make sure that monster Richard was dead
Fortunately, Henry’s proclaim to the end of the war
Brought support from his people to him
Though his power was achieved by relatives extended
For a stable government was his covenant to them
In Lancastrian terms
Each Yorkist endeavor suppressed
And the rival house was quelled
So his power did not regress
Every ultimate situation
Henry’s majestic rule he held prime
Peace was his venture
Yet war was he adept
Great consequence to violence he gave
Because just he stressed was kept
Resentment was given by nobility
Henry’s greed was congruent to his predecessor
And inside him it ridiculed
Yet his truthfulness and integrity seemed lesser
He was remarkable in turn
West Minster Abbey he rebuilt
And Richmond Place he beautified
Beginning the renaissance tilt.
Jeremy Potter, Good King Richard? an account of Richard III and his reputation (1983), p. 258.
5Good King Richard? an account of Richard III and his reputation (1983), p. 258.
Good King Richard? an account of Richard III and his reputation (1983), p. 258.
Foss, P J, 1990, The Field of Redmore: The Battle of Bosworth 1485
Henry VI, Part III, (III, iii, 155-160) and (V, vi, 71-79).
Hay, D (trans), 1950, The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil
15Michael Taylor, Henry VI, Part One (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 12-13
Michael Taylor, Henry VI, Part One (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 12-13