Fact of the day: 21st May

On this day in 1471 Henry VI of England died.

Henry was imprisoned in the Tower of London, in whose Wakefield Tower he died during the night of 21/22 May 1471.

In all likelihood, Henry’s opponents had kept him alive up to this point rather than leave the Lancasters with a far more formidable leader in Henry’s son Edward.

According to the Historie of the arrivall of Edward IV, an official chronicle favourable to Edward, Henry died of melancholy on hearing news of the Battle of Tewkesbury and his son’s death.



It is widely suspected, however, that Edward IV, who was re-crowned the morning following Henry’s death, had in fact ordered his murder.

Sir Thomas More’s History of Richard III explicitly states that Richard killed Henry, an opinion he might have derived from Commynes’ Memoir.
Another contemporary source, Wakefield’s Chronicle, gives the date of Henry’s death as 23 May, on which date Richard is known to have been away from London.

King Henry VI was originally buried in Chertsey Abbey; then, in 1485, his body was moved to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, by Richard III.


Fact of the day: 8th May

On this day in 1450 Jack Cade’s Rebellion: Kentishmen revolt against King Henry VI.

Jack Cade was the leader of a popular revolt against the government of England in 1450. At the time of the revolt, the weak and unpopular King Henry VI was on the throne.

While little is known about the rebel leader himself, the events of the rebellion to which he gave his name are well recorded in fifteenth-century chronicles.

The Jack Cade Rebellion stemmed from local grievances concerned about the corruption and abuse of power surrounding the king’s regime and his closest advisors.

Furthermore the rebels were angered by the debt caused by years of warfare against France and the recent loss of Normandy. Leading an army of men from Kent and the surrounding counties, Jack Cade marched on London in order to force the government to end the corruption and remove the traitors surrounding the king’s person.

Despite Cade’s attempt to keep his men under control once the rebel forces had entered London they began to loot. The citizens of London turned on the rebels and forced them out of the city in a bloody battle on London Bridge.

download (30)

To end the bloodshed the rebels were issued pardons by the king and told to return home. Cade fled but was later caught on 12 July 1450 by Alexander Iden, a future High Sheriff of Kent. As a result of the skirmish with Iden, Cade was mortally wounded before reaching London for trial.

The Jack Cade Rebellion has been perceived as a reflection of the social, political and economic issues of the time period and as a precursor to the Wars of the Roses which saw the decline of the Lancaster dynasty and the rise of the Yorks. The Jack Cade Rebellion was the largest popular uprising to take place in England during the 15th century.

Fact of the day: April 28th

On this day in 1442 Edward IV of England (d. 1483) was born.

Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death in 1483. He was the first Yorkist King of England.

The first half of his rule was marred by the violence associated with the Wars of the Roses, but he overcame the Lancastrian challenge to the throne at Tewkesbury in 1471 to reign in peace until his sudden death.

Before becoming king he was 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge and 9th Earl of Ulster. He was also the 65th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Henry VIII

An extremely capable and daring military commander, Edward destroyed the House of Lancaster in a series of spectacular military victories; he was never defeated on the field of battle.

Despite his occasional (if serious) political setbacks — usually at the hands of his great Machiavellian rival, Louis XI of France — Edward was a popular and very able king.

While he lacked foresight and was at times cursed by bad judgement, he possessed an uncanny understanding of his most useful subjects, and the vast majority of those who served him remained unwaveringly loyal until his death.