England in the XIV-XV centuries. The War of the Roses and the White Roses

England in the XIV-XV centuries. The War of the Roses and the White Roses

In 1348, the English people experienced an epidemic of plague – “black death”, which claimed almost a third of the country’s population. Feudal lords, rich merchants and craftsmen faced the problem of shortage of workers and preservation of old wages. To satisfy their interests, royal power in the second half of the XIV century. issued a number of laws known as “working legislation”. All healthy men and women aged 12 to 60 years without their own land and other means of livelihood were forced to work for those who needed it, and for the old fee. For refusal to work under such conditions, a fine, imprisonment and branding with a red-hot iron was established. “Working legislation” and military tax led to a peasant uprising led by the roofer Wat Tyler. The uprising broke out in 1381.

Together with Wat Tyler, the uprising of 1381g. headed by John Ball – a priest from York. Since the early 60-ies of the XIV century. he traveled the country, calling for church reform and the establishment of social equality. Among ordinary people, his preaching was especially well-known. “When Adam plowed, and Eve spun, who then was a nobleman?” This expression in the people became winged.

Detachments of the rebels thundered the monasteries and estates of the feudal lords, seized grain, livestock and other property, burned documents with a list of peasant duties. The peasants were especially cruel to deal with tax collectors

and royal judges. The insurgents were supported by the urban poor and they entered London. They believed in a just king who wants good for his disadvantaged people. King Richard II was forced to agree to negotiations with the rebels. During the meeting with King Wat Tyler was treacherously killed. Massacre expected others.

XIV century. Chronicle of the abbey of St. Mary in York about the murder of Wat Tyler and the massacre of insurgent peasants

Wat Tyler trustfully approached the King’s suite to hand over the demands of the peasants to him… The Mayor of London… Sword to reproach Woot for the violence… and arrested him… Wat in great irritation caused a mayor with a dagger to hit the stomach. However… the mayor wore chain mail and was not injured, but, like a brave and courageous man, he snatched his sword and responded with a strong blow to his neck and head…

After this, the king sent his messengers to various places to grab criminals and punish them to death. And a lot was seized and hanged in London. And many gallows were set then… in other cities and villages… Finally, from the caress of God, the king saw that many of his subordinates were killed and much blood was shed, his heart was filled with pity and he announced forgiveness to them on condition that they are more will never rebel under pain of losing their lives…

The uprising led by Wat Tyler had a great influence on the future fate of English society. The royal power made concessions: the taxes and the “working legislation” were somewhat reduced. The process of freeing the peasants from land dependence and accelerating their transfer to cash rents accelerated.

Since 1399, the Lancastrian dynasty came to power in England. With the mentally ill Henry VI, the Duke Richard York, a distant relative of the king, advanced his claims to the throne. The coat of arms of the Lancaster was adorned with a scarlet rose, and the coat of arms of York is white, so the bloody thirty-year confrontation between them went down in history as the War of the Roses and the White Roses. Events unfolded in the interests of one, then in the interests of another kind. In the bloody clashes, Yorkies and Lancasters were killed.

In one such battle, Richard of York died. At the head of the Yorkshire party was his son Edward. He several times defeated the Lancastrians, captured London and was proclaimed King by the name of Edward IV. However, with his coming to power, the bloodshed increased.

Soon the struggle began among the Yorkers themselves.

In 1483, Edward IV died suddenly. King was to be his 12-year-old son Edward. However, the power was seized by Richard Gloucester, the brother of the late King Edward IV. He began to rule under the name of Richard III.

Prince Edward and his younger brother were imprisoned in the Tower, where the boys were killed.

Against Richard III, the Lancastrians and part of the Yorkist barons united. They accused him of usurping power, raised an insurrection against him, and nominated Henry Tudor, a distant relative of the Lancaster. A new pretender to the throne assembled an army in France and landed in England. In 1485, near the town of Bosworth, a decisive battle took place between the forces of Henry Tudor and King Richard III. The army of Richard III was defeated, and he himself was killed. Henry Tudor on the battlefield was proclaimed king. He was crowned under the name of Henry VII.

The War of the Roses and the White Roses is over. Henry VII married a representative of the dynasty of York and founded a new royal dynasty – the Tudors. The marriage put an end to the longstanding confrontation between two noble families whose symbols – scarlet and white roses – now adorned one coat of arms.


England in the XIV-XV centuries. The War of the Roses and the White Roses