Talk:Wars of the Roses

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Pardon me, I temporarily removed this apparent non sequitur: "Forge ahead York! Forge ahead Lancaster!" Please correct my correction if I am missing something. Caltrop

How are you supposed to see names printed in white on a white background? Marnanel

I was wondering if that was just me... it's too bad -- it's a nice graph otherwise :-\ --Wolf530 19:24, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
The graph does not appear to be transparent either. User:Muriel Gottrop uploaded this version, would she have the original? (I left her a message on her user's discussion page) JeroenHoek 14:22, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The issue seems to have been solved in Jul 2004.

--Nicapicella 24 Apr 2005

Start date[edit]

I would have put the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403) as the decisive battle of the first phase of the wars of the Roses, which started Henry IV/Bolingbroke overthrew his cousin, the reigning king Richard II in 1399. Why is the period here defined to be after 1455? Could it be that the Tudors did not want to be reminded that Henry IV was an usurper?

Either which way I think that this article would be imporved if there was more on his reign and the civil war battles which took plave including a link to the Battle of Shrewsbury.Philip Baird Shearer 19:44, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, it seems kind of wrong that the "Wars of the Roses" would be called that if the whole rose-picking had not happened yet. It was a disute between King Henry VI of Lancaster and Richard, Duke of York, that led them to pluck the differently coloured roses that are associated to the two houses -- the name derives from this particular scene. Before of that there were no roses involved.
Also, the name contains the word "war", so I believe that the date of the beginning was chosen to be 1455 because it was this year, with the battle of St. Albans, that the armed conflict between the two families (well, actually they were one family stemming from King Edward III Plantagenet; it would be better to call them factions) began.
--Nicapicella 24 Apr 2005
(Late to the discussion, but it was Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset who plucked the red rose.) john k 17:27, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Also, guys, just a reminder that the rose-plucking is fictional, while this article is about the historical (not Shakespearean) Wars of the Roses. AndyJones 08:28, 3 March 2006 (UTC)


The Wars were fought largely by armies of mounted knights and their feudal retainers.

So althought for most of the period the English longbow and archers, who were not feudal retainers because they were paid directly by the King, were decimating forign armies (eg at the Battle of Agincourt), at home it was "fought largely by armies of mounted knights". I think that this needs a review. Does any one know enough to do it. Philip Baird Shearer 19:44, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Information Box[edit]

This article could use an information box showing combatants, victor, and other things, like what we see in other war articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Captain Jackson (talkcontribs)

  • I'm not sure. I can see that would work with an individual battle, but can you do it for an entire war? Who should we say won the Wars of the Roses? The Lancastrians because Henry Earl of Richmond won at Bosworth Field? Kind-of, but it's a bit of a shaky conclusion. Did you have a particular template in mind? AndyJones 08:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Key Females[edit]

I was just wondering how come some of the more important females weren't listed. In every book I've read about The War of the Roses, there seem to be many key females, yet here it only lists males. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

  • It's a wiki. Go ahead and add them. Some of the more prominent female players (Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret of Anjou) are discussed in the body text. AndyJones 08:24, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Wrong Implications[edit]

The previous edit before mine, had a misinformed idea. It said Lancastrians were south and west, while Yorkists were north and east. That's obviously anachronistic, because it makes it look like an Anglo-Saxon/Danish conflict. Factions pretty much wholly preceded those whom collided over constitutional issues during the English Civil War; the same issues and parties all over again! IP Address 08:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

When has Northwestern England ever been parliamentarian? When has Southeastern England ever been royalist? Similar sources of mediaevalism and reform, erupted in almost the exact same places...from Plantagenets to Tudors to Stuarts. I'm waiting for an author to make that book! IP Address 08:42, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The Lancastrians were clearly the northern party, and the Yorkists the southern. Note that, in addition to his own lands in Lancashire, Henry VI was supported by the Percies of Northumberland and the Cliffords of Cumberland (only the Nevills of Westmorland supported York of the great northern magnates, and the Earl of Westmorland seems to have himself been neutral in the earlier phases. It was his brother Salisbury and nephew Warwick, both of whom were mostly based further to the south, who were the Nevills most active in the Yorkist cause). On the other hand, York was supported by the City of London. I'm not sure where Anglo-Saxon/Danish or English Civil War issues come into it at all. john k 09:01, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

The prior version made it seem like a carry-over from the Dark Age conflicts, so the error was corrected to approximate just what you said. You mistakenly reverted, without stated reason either. IP Address 09:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Am I mistaken in the idea that York was supported by the West Riding, if in any part of Yorkshire? It is such a large shire, but the outside perception is that they are country-honkies without internal diversity. I was latterly, stating the parallels between the Yorkist and Parliamentary parties. This is more or less accurate, yes? IP Address 09:13, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that revert was a mistake, my apologies. I'm not sure about York's support in Yorkshire. You'd imagine that he'd have to have had some lands there, given his title (back then titles were more closely connected to shires than they later became), but I don't really know. I'm not really sure about connections between the Yorkists and Parliamentary parties. Both had support from the southern urban population, but the issues involved are so different that it's hard to make comparisons. There were no real constitutional issues at stake in the Wars of the Roses. john k 17:39, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

No cite, but my recollection is that York got much more support in Wales and the Marches, from his subsidiary title of Earl of March, than he did in Yorkshire, and that he was essentially operating in hostile terrain when he got chopped at Wakefield. Certainly if you look at the great northern lords, Percy of Northumberland, Clifford of Cumberland, and Neville of Westmorland, all of them were staunchly Lancastrian. This page on the Battle of Wakefield may help a bit. Choess 18:25, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Your recollection? Goodness you've got a good memory. But like they say - if you can remember the 1460s, you probably weren't there ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:29, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Actually, allegiance changed amongst the northern nobility, aprticularly during Edward IV's two, reasonably stable, reigs. In particular, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had a very strong Yorkist hold over the north (which he used when he took power as Richard III).


Although the struggles are, of course, called the Wars of the Roses is it not true that those symbols were retrospectively given to each side much later. That in fact the participants would not have said they were fighting in the wars of the roses? From memory, Edward IV's symbol was a "sun in splendour" (see the British Columbia arms for a demi-sun in splendour), Richard III's symbol was a white boar and neither did the Lancastrians use a red rose. I don't recollect what it was at the moment though. Avalon 14:04, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I think the Lancastrians used a greyhound. IP Address 15:26, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

And while the white rose was a York badge, it was little used in relation to the war. More common were other Yorkist symbols, such as the "sun in splendor".  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 15:36, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I can't back this with evidence right now, but I'm fairly sure that it was Henry Tudor who introduced the red rose to the Lancastrians, near the end of the war. If someone with more knowledge could look into when and where the red rose came from, it might alleviate some confusion about whether the roses were of significence at the time, or just to later historians.


While I think the quote is definitely apropos, it's very placement bothers me a bit. I feel it gives the article a "term paper" edge as opposed to an actual encyclopedia article. Anyone else agree? If not, I'll desist. --Cyrenaic

I fully agree. And I seem to remember one of the ten million wikiguidelines explicitly says articles better not begin with quotes. Don't quite remember where I read it. But I completely agree anyway. Piet 12:57, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I like the quote, i think its a good introduction, but will bow to popular opinion and happily remove it, (as I put it there!) if your feverently against it, after all it's a team effort!:Dom

Nothing wrong with the quote, but I don't think an encyclopedia article should start like that. It should start for example like "The Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) is the name generally given to the intermittent civil war fought over the throne of England between adherents of the House of Lancaster and the House of York." It just seems more encyclopedic, and all other articles do it like that. There's a guideline here although it doesn't say anything about quotes. I think the quote should go into one of the subsections. And btw, please sign your comments :-) Piet 20:18, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

HO KAY, then we're in agreement, we should move the quote rather than just remove it, but until we can figure out a good place for it are we ok with keeping it where it is?, after all it seems a little pointless to put it somewhere by itself: Dom

Maybe we can put it at the start of "The initial phase 1455–60", it would not be so intrusive. BTW is this from the Shakespeare play? It may be obvious but he is not mentioned anywhere. We could also make a short section "Notes" or "Trivia" or something with plays / novels / movies etc. based on or referring to the Wars of the Roses, and then put the quote there. Btw. you can sign comments by adding ~~~~ after your comment. Piet 07:28, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, you're not logged in. Creating an account is easy and increases your privacy, and makes it easier for us to follow the dicussion. But you're free to edit without creating an account. Piet 07:32, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I've moved the quote to a stub section towards the bottom, currently called "In fiction" for lack of a better idea. (Tsk tsk, all that talk and no one did it before me?) Melchoir 14:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Ahhhh sod it, maybe we should get rid of the thing all together, after all the 'in fiction' section would be a couple of shakespeare plays anyway, we should just try and stick to the facts: Dom 31 may 2006

Wrong war[edit]

Is anyone with me that we should stop putting references to The Civil war or war of the three kingdoms in this article as this happened 200 years or so after the events described in this article:Dom

I think it's okay, at least until some place is made for discussing wars generally and their similarities and connections. There is some concern about wars that last thirty years, just the orbital period of Saturn. The War of the Roses lasted that long, and was followed (just about one Neptunian orbit later) by a Thirty Years War in Europe which is said to be "a period of vague religious wars." Then another Neptunian orbit later, approximately, the period from 1776 to 1812 was the war of Independence by the United States against Britain. And finally, still another Neptunian period after that, the First and Second World Wars lasted from 1912 to 1945 -- one long period of war. Of course Neptune might have nothing to do with it but Britain uses that old Roman god as its Lord of the Sea, and would rather keep wars under Saturn under its control. And so forth. -- SyntheticET

I think I can help clarify the above comment. This refers to a possible astrological-astronomical view of history. Certain cycles of the orbits of the planets further from the sun may possibly correlate with periods of otherwise inexplicable violent upheavals here on earth. I'm not taking a position on the truth or accuracy of any such scheme, but I know enough about astronomy (where the planets are), astrology (what some people think these movements mean), and history to know that this is what SyntheticET meant. Saturn takes about 29 earth-years to orbit the sun, Neptune, 164 and some change. A good Ephemeris or astrology program can allow one to noodle with the data one's self. Astrolog is a free download. Some might call this "fringe historiography," but I would not be inclined to dismiss it out of hand.
I hope that I have rendered this subject from compleltely opaque to only fairly muddy.BaalShemRa (talk) 01:34, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

See also: Percy-Neville feud[edit]

The presence of a one-line "See also" section just means that this article is missing information. From Percy-Neville feud:

  • The Percy-Neville feud was a series of skirmishes, raids and vandalism between two prominent northern families and their followers that helped provoke the Wars of the Roses.

Sounds like material for a Background section to me. Melchoir 16:18, 22 May 2006 (UTC)


really not quite sure why this is in the introduction "the later Tudor and Stuart eras, Richmondshire was a centre for such Recusants as George Calvert and Cambridgeshire a centre for such Puritans as Oliver Cromwell. It should be noted that these remnant Plantagenet factions were disabused of their independent positions in post-Henrician times, as monarchs continually played them off against each other",

I know its in brackets and its really interesting but my journalistic sense is tingalling, is this really relevant and it does clutter the intro up a bit... would anyone discuss - dom 11:21 6 June 2006

I think the material can stay, but as you point out, it's not so good in the intro. One problem with the current article is that (apart from the intro) it doesn't offer much analysis of context; the body is only a chronological narrative, albeit a well-written one. At the least there should be a section on Background and a section on Consequences; perhaps the material in question could go into the latter? Melchoir 16:41, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Yeah I agree completly, i really think this article could do with a section detailing the aftermath of the war, and its effects on medieval life, England and europe, as well as a way drawing some conclusions - dom 15:30 7 june 2006

In Fiction[edit]

I think we should add Stevenson's "Black Arrow" to the booklist cause its mainly based on this war.

Also, the first series of Black Adder involved Richard III and Henry Tudor. I think it would fit. 08:43, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I think at least The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses is sufficiently notable to warrant a mention, considering that if you ask people "Name a book about the Wars of the Roses" they'll usually respond "The Black Arrow". Even though it is fiction, it is pretty much the novel on the subject. However, I'm against having a separate "In fiction" section, because from what I've seen that will just attract Simpsons episodes and mecha anime. Shinobu (talk) 16:45, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


So made a few changes, everyone will probably freak out about them, but who knows, feel free to add some knowledge or put them back, you know whatever.....dom 20:50 2 october 2006

Who was on which side?[edit]

It might be bleedin' obvious to history buffs, but to me it isn't. 80N 13:21, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

funny you might ask that, it's actually a remarkably difficult question to answer as people and regions swapped sides constantly- whilst it's quite easy to see what side the royal families were on (Henry IV being a lancastrian) it's quite messy when you come down to looking at certain nobles and retainers, so I quess the answer is it isn't bleedin obvious and you certainly couldn't divide up the country into Yorkists here and Lancastians Here.

Battle of Bosworth[edit]

Surely Bosworth was a Tudor victory, not a Lancastrian one. Tudor could not be said to have been a legitimate leader of the Lancastrians. He had no claim (other than the successful use of force) to the throne. Avalon 23:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

He had a claim which descended through his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, from the Dukes of Somerset and ultimately from John of Gaunt, through Gaunt's marriage to Catherine Roelt. This was stretching matters a bit thin; but the casualties on the Lancastrian side, in particular the death of every holder of the title "Duke of Somerset", left Henry almost the only surviving descendent of John of Gaunt. Even so, it is possible that Henry Tudor might have dwindled into history as a mere pretender had not Richard III turned against the magnates who had earlier helped Edward IV gain and keep the throne (Buckingham, Hastings etc) Even allowing for later propaganda, I don't think it can be denied that Richard largely brought about his own downfall. I'll try and work this into the article. HLGallon 23:49, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
There were numerous surviving fully legitimate descendants of John of Gaunt, they were just mostly in the Iberian peninsula. The King of Portugal would have been the rightful Lancastrian heir, I believe. There were also a ton of Beaufort descendants - Henry Tudor just happened to be the seniormost one, genealogically. At any rate, Henry was clearly seen as the Lancastrian pretender. Obviously he had no reasonable genealogical claim. But that didn't stop Richard de la Pole from becoming the Yorkist claimant later on - while several of his older brothers were still alive, in a much more blatantly dubious claim. Simnel and Warbeck were also Yorkist pretenders, even though neither was actually related to the Yorks at all (presumably - I know there's people who've made cases the Warbeck was related in some way, although I think that's mostly crack-pottery). john k 18:16, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for that correction. Henry's right to the Kingdom derived from a mixture of bloodline, albeit watered down to homeopathic levels; conquest on the battlefield; and acclaim by Parliament. I doubt incidentally whether there were "a ton" of Beaufort descendents; many of them met a sticky end in 1464 and 1471. (Interestingly, Joan Beaufort, daughter of John D. of Somerset and great-aunt to Henry Tudor, married James I of Scotland. Had Henry Tudor died without issue, the Lancastrian claim to the throne could theoretically have reverted to James III of Scotland, since an elder Beaufort branch was under attainder.) HLGallon 22:48, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

There were not many living Beauforts, but there were a bunch of descendants. Next after Henry and his mother were the children of the late 2nd Duke of Buckingham, whose mother was the eldest daughter of Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. Then came the various descendants of Edmund Beaufort's other daughters, who were fairly numerous. Then comes the Scottish connection, with descendants of the marriages of Joan Beaufort, sister of John and Edmund Beaufort, Dukes of Somerset, to James I of Scotland and to Sir James Stewart. Then the descendants of Margaret Beaufort, sister of said Queen Joan of Scotland, who married Thomas Courtenay, 5th Earl of Devon. Finally, the descendants of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford's only daughter, Joan, who married first Robert Ferrers, and later Ralph Nevill, 1st Earl of Westmorland. Among descendants of the latter were, er, Richard III, Queen Anne, Richard III's sisters, Edward IV's daughters, Warwick and Margaret of Clarence. So, pretty much everybody with any claim on the throne was a descendant of John of Gaunt. john k 14:53, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


Hey, could everybody stop dumping information into the introduction it's startoing to look awfully cluttered... it's a broad article and theres plenty of room to embelish things or add historical details... after all the introduction should just introduce the article and get people yo read the rest of it... cheers - Dom 12:52, 2 January 2006 (GMT)

"most of the participants wore badges associated with their immediate want of having sex with the women in the towns so they fucked and they fucked till they fucked themselfs out feudal lords or protectors" I guess there is something wrong with this, right? Sorry I didn't fix it, I'm in a hurry —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 10:59, August 21, 2007 (UTC)

Might be nice to say more clearly who won the war in the Intro. It's my understanding that Henry Tudor was for the Lancastrians when he came out on top, so should the Intro not say the Lancastrians won? Even if I am mistaken, I think the issue should be clarified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Section for Edward IV[edit]

I've split off a section for Edward IV, as it seemed appropriate he should have a section to himself, like the other kings mentioned. Moonraker12 12:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Messed up chronology[edit]

In addition, he suffered from episodes of mental illness that he may have inherited from his grandfather Charles VI of France. By the 1450s, many considered Henry incapable of carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a king.

Reading this, the reader is led to believe that he's already suffering from the mental illness episodes during the next paragraph, while actually his first episode occurs later, when his first episode is discussed. I think it would be better to move this part and integrate it with the part that discusses his first episode, in such a way that the chronology is correct and no false impressions are given. Shinobu (talk) 14:38, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


Can someone please start adding references? --Briaboru (talk) 17:31, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

As if to prove the point, it is now the one year anniversary since the "citations needed" banner was put up. Just when I needed sources the most, too. Crazy coyote (talk) 02:58, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


"This event, or the later defeat of Richard III, later inspired the mnemonic "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" for the seven colours of the rainbow."

is this relevant to the article? seems more like trivia than anything else, plus the fact that it's attribution is divided between richard plantagenet and richard III makes me think that it's simply erroneous.

i'll let a clearer head decide. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rocknrollanoah (talkcontribs) 08:50, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


This article desperately needs a better intro paragraph - maybe something along the lines of the 'simple english' version of this article. Something that gives you a framework to understand the rest of this article in a couple of sentences? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:17, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

I've given it a whirl. It can't really be done in a couple of sentences, but I have put the Wars in context. I have added an info. box, and shifted a map which was a lot of pink with some miniscule and indecipherable copperplate to the bottom. HLGallon (talk) 02:55, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Quite an improvement indeed! Thanks! Michaël (talk) 20:48, 21 March 2009 (UTC)


"Fighting resumed more violently in 1459. York was forced to flee the country, but one of his most prominent supporters, the Earl of Warwick, invaded England from Calais and captured Henry at the Battle of Northampton."

How can a native of England, temporarily stationed in another part of England (Calais) "invade"?

for discussion .. no changes made. (Numbat01 (talk) 20:42, 3 January 2010 (UTC))

The section could do with some small expansion, but mounting an armed overthrow of the current monarch from overseas counts as an invasion in most dictionaries, regardless of nominal nationalities. I wouldn't get too tied up in semantics, though. HLGallon (talk) 22:08, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

3rd or 4th son?[edit]

In the chronology it states that John of Gaunt is the 4th son of Edward III and Phillipa, in other references he is listed as the 3rd son. It would make more sense that he is third son, so his son Henry of Bolingbroke would be considered before Edmunds son.I don't know enough to edit. could someone check this out. KellyChacony (talk) 05:27, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

The confusion results because Edward III's second son was William of Hatfield, who died as an infant, less than one year old. Lionel of Antwerp, who was the third male child born to Edward, is generally counted as the second son to have political or dynastic effect, beget heirs and contribute to the problematical succession etc. Likewise, Gaunt is referred to in some books as the fourth son born, but by others to be the third son as in third in line of succession to Edward in his lifetime. I have generally gone with the latter view, as the succession is generally at issue, not exactness of record-keeping. HLGallon (talk) 13:28, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I also had an issue when I saw this. John was in fact the third surviving son of Edward III and that is how he is quoted in many sources including his own page on Wikipedia. It does make him seem like he's lower down on the list of males though and for people who are used to seeing him as the third surviving son it screams "wrong." Makes you think "did I miss something?" I had to check to see if it was someone vandalizing the page or not. It is the succession that is at issue here and it is odd to count a baby that died -- especially seeing how the outcome of the Wars had absolutely nothing to do with him. Not trying to be disrespectful as he was the son of a King, but quoting that John was "the third surviving son" might be a better statement because that is how he is usually known to those who study that time period. -- Lady Meg (talk) 04:50, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

throne of Algeria??[edit]

Why does it say throne of Algeria in the Intro? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Family tree[edit]

The family tree is making the page too wide, on Firefox anyway. I'd fix it but I don't know how! -- Jack?! 08:50, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

The family tree needs to be that wide, because it spreads as the generations grow and the personalities spawn & then intermarry before they all kill each other. The usual objection is that the tree is incomplete!
If it were smaller, the text of the chart would be unreadable.
So the page is wide. Firefox is not malfunctioning. That's what the bottom scrollbar appeared for, just so you could read this page! BaalShemRa (talk) 19:55, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

"dynastic civil war"[edit]

This is an oxymoron. Either it is a war between two branches of a dynasty, which makes it a war of succession, or it is a war where at least one side is "civil", i.e. represents the general populace rather than a dynasty. If the idea is that this conflict was dynastic as well as civil, some explanation would be helpful. Or at least "dynastic and civil war" to show that "dynastic" and "civil" equally modify "war". --dab (𒁳) 11:24, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

A very poor article needing complete revision[edit]

I am at a loss to understand the origin of certain statements, some of which I have summarily removed. The article has had a verification tag as its header for two years now and rightly so. A complete revision is needed and, given the need for a book that adequately and scholarly describes the entire period AND identifies with the lay reader, I endorse Alison Weir's excellent Lancaster and York which is ideal for the purpose of this site. Providing, of course, that it is exactly cited. Having used Weir's book to provide a baseline, one would then suggest an expansion of the detail by reference to other sources. At present, the article overall is in a poor state. It lacks direction because there is no clear understanding of the necessary scope and structure. It had been rated C-class but that is ridiculous: it is a struggling start-class only. --Jim Hardie (talk) 21:23, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

MilHist assessment[edit]

After reading through the article, as it seems to be disputed (see previous post) whether it should be C- or Start-class, I have updated the B-class parameters.

The article seems to cover all the salient points in a reasonable structure (as per the MilHist article guide), indeed the only thing I see it lacking from the B params are inline refs.

While I can see that User:Jim Hardie has doubts about the article's assessment, as there are no specific points raised (other than a desire to follow one source in particular), it seems more appropriate that a peer review, or MilHist review, should be undertaken to find where the article may be in need of corrections and restructuring.

I have raised the matter at the MilHist project for further comment (Here). Chaosdruid (talk) 16:05, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

I'll start by qualifying this statement by saying I am not an expert on WoTR, though I'm fairly well read on the military aspects. That said, if I were assessing this article I would certainly have gone for C class. I may not agree with all of it, but it generally covers the ground - a hard thing to do with a subject of this complexity. I'm not sure why we should base the article on Weir's book. I've never read it be she isn't a period expert so why her book over scores of others? I'd also like more input from academic, not just popular, histories. If we are peer review mode, general points would be
  • The lead section is too long
  • The naming of the conflict section is rather simplified
  • From a MILHIST point of view, there is very little on the military aspects - tactics, weapons, military science
  • The structure is in form very "dynastic" which is fair enough in some ways, as this was a dynastic conflict, but it does lack around assessing themes e.g. economic, social or international aspects - if the article can have thematic sub-topic on the origin of the name, it could have ones on these and the military dimension.
  • When do the wars end and the aftermath start? Not an easy question (1487?, 1497?, 1525?). The dynastic structure makes this one tricky to handle but prsonally I'd go for 1487 and put the impact on the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII into an evolving aftermath.
  • The list of key characters is a bit short - where, for example, are Oxford or Hastings?
  • Overall, perhaps more use of the main article type heading, rather than just relying on plain wikilinks.

--Monstrelet (talk) 13:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

As much of the existing content is largely mine, I cannot comment on whether the article is good, bad or indifferent. There have been several attempts to create or expand sections on the military aspects of the war, but they have been repeatedly reverted as unreferenced, or claimed to be OR.HLGallon (talk) 23:09, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I hope you appreciate the above comments as points to move forward, not as undermining what you've done. I do understand your problem on the military side - the amount we can firmly say about the military side of the WoTR is far less than folks think, and therefore it is hard to avoid trying to make sense of the evidence and being accused of OR. I'm not sure the definitive work yet exists to reference from. Anthony Goodman's book "The Wars of the Roses", although getting long in the tooth, would be my start point for referenced content, because it is a proper academic study of the military aspects. But even he is limited by the paucity of the evidence.--Monstrelet (talk) 07:56, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
The article isn't in bad shape - largely due to the work of folk like HLGallon, and again, I'd have probably plumbed for C class. If I was suggesting improvements, I'd focus on working with some of the academic histories from around 1990 onwards; there's quite a lot of theory and interpretation in the last two decades that could usefully be incorporated. I'd be cautious about an over-reliance on Alison Weir's popular history of the period; it isn't a specialist work, which is really what you need for this period. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:43, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

PROPOSAL: Consistent naming convention for major actors[edit]

Hi, I am finding this article and most other articles related to the Roses very, very difficult to follow due to the inconsistent naming of the major participants. In particular, the Edwards, Richards and Henrys. It would seem that Edward, Duke of this-or-that is also Prince Edward of something-or-other, but there was also another Prince Edward of somewhere else who was an entirely different person who later grew up to become... oh, you get the idea. It's not like the Wars of the Roses aren't already confusing enough with people swapping sides half a dozen times a lifetime.

I propose that Wikipedia historical editors agree a consensus naming convention for the major participants in the Wars of the Roses, and that this naming convention be (slowly but surely) retroactively applied to all primary related articles. The naming conventions will need to have one and only one consensus short name plus zero or more long names for each actor, and a convention for noting the short name even if that short name would be anachronistic or disputed in a specific context. For example, someone who started out as a Duke and later became a King might be written as "Bob, Duke of Ambridge (later King Bob IV)".

  • The short name must be unique amongst all other short names and must identify a single person.
  • A long name doesn't have to be longer than the short name. The point is, short names are unique, long names are not.
  • A short name may be anachronistic or disputed in certain contexts; in which case, use a long name and attach the short name in parenthesis; "Bob, Duke of Ambridge (later King Bob IV)"
  • A short name should ideally be from a Neutral Point Of View but consensus and common usage of a particular short name can trump neutrality.
  • The long names don't need to be unique. Several different people may lay claim to "Duke of Ambridge". Again, use a short name in parenthesis to resolve the ambiguity.
  • One short name may have many related long names; the person identified by the short name "King Bob IV" may have also been known as both "Bob, Duke of Ambridge" and "Prince Bob" at different times of his life.
  • Long names should usually be suffixed with the short name in parenthesis; "Prince Bob (later King Bob IV)"
  • The wikilink should be placed on the unique short name. The wikilink for the short name may go to a redirect to an article with a longer name, or it may use link expansion.

I'll kick off the proposal with:

  • The short name Edward of Westminster should be used to distinguish the long names "Prince Edward", "Edward Prince of Wales", "Edward Duke of Lancaster", and "Edward Duke of Cornwall" when used to refer to the person born 13 October 1453 who died 4 May 1471. Thus, Prince Edward in this context would be written as "Prince Edward (Edward of Westminster)" or, wherever possible, simply Edward of Westminster. Andrew Oakley (talk) 11:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Given that your proposal would be to roll out any consensus agreed here across related articles about WotR, can I suggest you issue an invitation to participate in the discussion here to the projects which acknowledge some ownership of the page? That way, you are likely to assemble a stronger consensus for any proposed action Monstrelet (talk) 07:18, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion: In Modern Culture section to the article[edit]

I believe that there should be a section on this page (like many others) that talks about the references to the wars of the roses in modern culture. I know of two for example. The heir trilogy by Cinda Williams Chima and the game entitled war of the roses coming out on october 2nd of this year. I am sure there would be quite a few other references to it that would be beneficial to be listed in a category in the article. Thoughts? (talk) 08:08, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The challenge is usually finding the secondary sources for them (e.g. finding a book or article that talks about the significance of a recent work of fiction to the Wars of the Roses). It's very easy to get into Original Research otherwise. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:29, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Echoing what Hchc2009 said - you need secondary coverage for such things - a mere listing of books that mention the War of the Roses would be entirely too large for this article. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:11, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Alison Weir[edit]

Since Alison Weir is not a historian and therefore is not a reliable source, I will be replacing and in some cases simply removing references citing her work. Please bear with me while I do this and I will be more than happy to discuss sources with anyone. --Defensor Ursa 04:29, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I will leave this paragraph, "England in the fifteenth century was ruled by kings who claimed divine right and were believed by the people to be the "Lord's anointed", directed and guided by the hand of God.[5] The king's chief functions were to protect his people by defending them against their enemies, to govern justly and to preserve and enforce the law of the land.[5] The character of the sovereign, in such a society, was all-important because on it depended the security and well-being of his subjects.[6] Although the king wielded vast power by ruling as well as reigning, the complexity of government in a nation of some 3 million people had led to increasing delegation of power through a growing number of state departments.", but I do not understand the relevance....? --Defensor Ursa 04:35, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Morning! Much as it pains me, I'm unusually going to find myself in the position of supporting Alison Weir slightly. This doesn't happen often...
  • Although Alison Weir is a historian, and has written 15 non-fiction volumes etc., I'd be the first to say that she's not a specialist historian in this area and is primarily a popular historical communicator, albeit a good one. Although the likes of McFarlane are fractionally dated now, they are deep specialists in 15th century in a way that Weir is not. Replacing Weir cites with the specialists is usually, in my opinion, a good thing, and I've said so elsewhere.
  • My concern is with removing citations and not replacing them. In this instance, it means that direct quotes (correctly in speechmarks) from Weir become unreferenced, and in other cases opinions that are, I'm certain, drawn from Weir aren't referenced. This isn't a good thing, as it means that a later editor can't see where his/her predecessor got the information. It also means that they can't go back to Weir and use the bibliography to perhaps find a stronger source.
  • I've attempted to revert the removal of citations for now, using the Bold-Revert-Discuss approach.
  • My proposal would be, unless we think that Weir is dead wrong on an issue (and she sometimes is) to deploy the "better source" tag instead; we've done this with the English Civil War article, for example, where I was convinced by PBS that it was a better solution than just removing a weak source in certain circumstances. Happy to discuss further. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:16, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Support Hchc2009 on this. Wikpedia does not have a policy saying popular historians cannot be used, so just removing references to Weir's work on this basis would be unfounded. It would be counter productive if it reduced the level of referencing of an article. Better to leave cited text in place until it can be replaced by better sourced material or, in the case of valid disagreement about interpretation, so it can be used to illustrate such a disagreement. Monstrelet (talk) 18:21, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Fine. Have it your way. --Defensor Ursa 19:11, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Wars of the Roses/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 04:03, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

I'll be glad to take this review. Initial comments to follow in the next 1-5 days. Thanks in advance for your work on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:03, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Not listing at this time[edit]

Another editor has raised copyright issues on the talk page that appear to me to have merit. Checking a Weir citation at random, I see these sentences: "The retainer became a member of the lord's affinity, would wear his lord's livery--a uniform and a badge--and accompany him on military campaigns. In return, the magnate would assure the retainer of 'good lordship', which meant protection from his enemies and payment of an income known as a pension. The retainer could also expect rewards for services rendered, and these were often substantial, such as land or lucrative offices." The language in the article is more similar than necessary: "The retainer who became a member of an affinity wore the nobleman's "livery" (a uniform and badge) and accompany him on military campaigns; in return, the nobleman would pay him a pension, provide protection and grant rewards such as land or a lucrative office." This becomes particularly problematic given how much Weir is relied on the first half of the article. (Unfortunately, Rowse, who's also relied on heavily, is not available online to be checked.)

So I'm not listing this for Good Article status for now, but I don't want the editors involved to be too discouraged. As mentioned on the talk page, this is a problem that needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible--WP:PARAPHRASE has good suggestions on how to identify this issue and work to correct it. Once this is done, though, I hope you'll consider renominating. This is an important topic, and all the work on it is certainly appreciated. -- Khazar2 (talk) 05:13, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing...[edit]

I don't have full access to Alison Weir's book, but a quick spot check of what I can see on the Google version shows a high degree of close paraphrasing. For example, we have:

  • "The king's chief functions were to protect his people by defending them against their enemies, to govern justly and to preserve and enforce the law of the land" versus "His chief functions were were to protect his people by defending them against their enemies, to govern with justice and mercy, and to preserve and enforce the law of the land"
  • "The character of the sovereign, in such a society, was all-important because on it depended the security and well-being of his subjects" versus "the character of the sovereign was therefore all-important, and on it depended the security and well-being of his subjects"
  • "the king wielded vast power by ruling as well as reigning" versus "kings ruled as well as reigned, and they wielded vast power"

It probably needs someone with a copy of the original to go through and do a bit of a clean-up. Weir probably isn't the best source, though, and if I can I'll fish out some of the more recent texts on this instead. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:33, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Hchc, for pointing out this issue. I found a similar instance in my first spot-check, suggesting to me that the problem is fairly extensive. Interested editors can see detail at WP:PARAPHRASE on these policies, including advice on how to spot and correct this problem. -- Khazar2 (talk) 05:15, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the evaluation. I didn't expect it pass GA. I just needed some advice on how to make this article better because it seems uneven to me. I'll continue to work on this article a bit at a time. Thanks again. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 12:18, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Glad to hear you'll be continuing with it--thanks for your efforts! The closely paraphrased material should definitely be the priority, even if you have to strip the article down to a more basic version in the meantime. Cheers, -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:20, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Did some rewording of those specific sentences to try to convey the gist (without actually reading the Weir book). Does this help at all? Deb (talk) 12:50, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
It helps, for sure--I'd have to consult the Weir more closely to be sure of whether the issue is fully resolved in that section. Close paraphrasing in my understanding involves a lot of gray area and judgement calls. Following Weir closely may be an issue no matter how much individual sentences are reworded; ideally, the solution here would be to blend several sources in the section. -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:38, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I can see the whole thing may need restructuring. How about going back to some of the older versions and seeing how it was originally worded? Deb (talk) 21:44, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Deb. We may not need to go back to older versions, although that may be the way it ends up. What I think needs to be done first is to properly structure the skeleton of the article. For example, here's my suggestion:
  • Summary
  • Background (this would include the current sections 2-5)
  • First Phase (~1450 to 1461)
  • Second phase (1461 to 1464)
  • Third Phase (1464 to 1470)
  • Fourth Phase (1470 to 1483)
  • Fifth phase (1483 to 1485)
  • Aftermath (1485 to 1509)
  • Key figures
  • In literature
  • In media
  • References, External links, etc.
Note that I'm only suggesting this as a starting point. Nothing is written in stone. Also, if we can get others involved, that would be great because this will not be an easy task. So, how do we ask others to contribute? There is a Wiki way of asking for contributions, but I don't remember what it is. Anyway, what are your thoughts? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 00:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

I'd suggest that:

  • The first priority should be to remove the close paraphrasing/copyvio from the article, as that's a legal requirement. Given the problems with Weir, I'm also pretty dubious about how Rowse has been used, but I can't prove it.
  • The article's content badly needs some work - the large amount of historical work on this period over the last couple of decades isn't really reflected at all in the article, which appears a bit dated as a result.
  • Large parts remained unreferenced.
  • There are various MOS issues (e.g. the 6 para lead, some over linking etc.) Hchc2009 (talk) 07:01, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Both of the above assessments are correct, although the MOS issues are, frankly, the least of our worries. Bill is focusing on the fact that the present structure is apparently modelled on Weir's book, and his suggestions for restructuring look pretty good to me. There is certainly no need for the lengthy analysis of the reigns of kings who have their own articles. Deb (talk) 12:42, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing - Rowse[edit]

As the editor who added most, if not all, the Rowse cites, I would defend my edits against any accusation of close paraphrasing.

  • Rowse: "Ten years before, he [Richard of York] had succeeded to the vast inheritance of his uncle March—lands in most English counties, though with their main concentration on the Welsh border, looking to the splendid castle of Ludlow on the Teme." versus "... while estates and castles that were part of the Duchy of York (and the Earldom of March, which Richard of York also inherited) were spread throughout England, though many were in the Welsh Marches."
  • Rowse "Unfortunately, Henry recovered and at the end of February 1456 came personally to Parliament to relieve the Protector of his office in proper form." versus "Henry recovered and in February 1456 he relieved York of his office of Protector." This is as close as the paraphrasing gets, though it is difficult to find an alternative phrase for one of Rowse's clearest and most unambiguous sentences.
  • Rowse "A last effort was made to keep things together in 1458, through the mediation of Archbishop Bourchier. The lords were gathering in London for a grand Council, to deal among other things with the dispute between the Nevilles and the Percies which had led to open fighting in the North. The streets of London were swarming with armed retainers; the mayor and citizens with difficulty managed to keep what order there was. People were spoiling for a fight, the militant energies of the fighting class having been denied the outlet they had enjoyed in France for so long. At the last moment there was a reconciliation: complicated awards were worked out with the object of healing the blood-feud begun at St. Albans, and York apologised for the unconstitutionality of his action. Ordinary people rejoiced at the hope of peace ... There followed an extraordinary scene in London, a 'love-day' procession to St. Paul's on Lady Day, in which the poor king marched with the crown on his head; before him walked hand in hand those pairs of enemies, Somerset and Salisbury, Exeter and Warwick; after him came the grand enemies Richard of York and Queen Margaret, also hand in hand." versus "In the spring of 1458, Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to arrange a reconciliation. The lords had gathered in London for a Grand Council and the city was full of armed retainers. The Archbishop negotiated complex settlements to resolve the blood-feuds that had persisted since the Battle of St. Albans. Then, on Lady Day (25 March), the King led a "love day" procession to St. Paul's Cathedral, with Lancastrian and Yorkist nobles following him, hand in hand." HLGallon (talk) 18:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn't argue with that. I think the structure of the article is the biggest problem and, if addressed as suggested above, will cause any close paraphrasing from Weir to drop out naturally. Deb (talk) 09:31, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Suggested rewrite to 2nd paragraph of Intro[edit]

I found this paragraph more than a little confusing. E.g. when it says "Bolingbroke's son Henry V maintained the family's hold on the crown, but when Henry V died, his heir was the infant Henry VI." The "...but when Henry V died, his heir was the infant Henry VI." made me expect that the next sentence would explain why Henry VI being an infant would be a problem. Instead it sort of jumps back in time and starts talking about the origin of the Lancastrian claim. Then the last sentence of the paragraph mentions Henry VI's queen. Huh? I thought he was an infant. Now he has a wife? I had to reference several other wiki articles to get it straight. Wondering if something like the following might be clearer:

"The Lancastrian claim to the throne descended from John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, the third surviving son of Edward III. His son, Henry of Bolingbroke established the House of Lancaster on the throne in 1399 when he deposed his cousin Richard II and was crowned as Henry IV. Bolingbroke's son Henry V maintained the family's hold on the crown, but when Henry V died, his heir was the infant Henry VI whose inherent benevolence and intermittent insanity eventually contributed to his own downfall. Henry VI's right to the crown was eventually challenged by Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (aka Richard of York), who could claim descent from Edward III's second and fourth surviving sons, Lionel of Antwerp and Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. Richard of York, who had held several important offices of state, including Lord Protector during Henry VI's madness, quarreled with prominent Lancastrians at court and with Henry VI's queen, Margaret of Anjou."

Also, why is "Richard, Duke of York" referred to by this title everywhere EXCEPT in the family tree where he is referred to as Richard Plantangenet. This was very confusing. There are so many Richards, Edwards and Henrys, I had a heck of a time figuring out who was who in the family tree. Seems like at the very least the article should be internally consistent in this respect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:52, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Origin of Lancastrian claim[edit]

This article states that the origin of the Lancastrian claim is by descent from Edward III via John of Gaunt. However, I was just watching the British documentary series "Monarchy" on Netflix and it claims something completely different. According to it, the descent from Edward III does not even come into play. Instead, it claims the Lancastrian claim to the throne rested on a bit of Lancastrian family lore going back to the reign of Henry III. Here is what narrator David Starkey claims in regards to Henry Bolingbroke's rationale for deposing Richard II (transcribed verbatim from Season I: Episode 6 - Death of a Dynasty):

"But how to justify dethroning Richard and replacing him with Henry? The neatest solution would be to show that Richard had never been true king by hereditary right anyway, but that Henry was. Conveniently a story to this effect was an article of faith in the house of Lancaster. Henry and Richard were both descended from King Henry III. Richard, from the eldest son, Edward, who'd succeeded as King Edward I, and Henry from the second son, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, surnamed Crouchback. According to the story, however, Crouchback was really the eldest son, but he'd been shunted aside in favor of Edward on account of his supposed deformity."

The documentary goes on to say that historians of the time rejected the argument and confirmed that Edward was the true first son of Henry III. However, it also goes on to say that later when Richard II was forced to abdicate and was deposed by parliament, Henry Bolingbroke went before parliament and basically made the same argument again. I.e. that he was the true king via descent from Henry III and that this was the basis upon which he was made king, not that he was next in line after Richard II via descent from Edward III.

This surprised me because I had just been reading this article and it doesn't say anything about that. In fact, I looked thru a few wiki articles and couldn't find anything about this. E.g. the article on Henry III doesn't have anything about any doubts about the order of birth of his children. Nor does the article on Edmund Crouchback. It also doesn't say anything about any physical deformity he had.

If there is anything to this version of events, perhaps it should be added to the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:35, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Just a follow-up to my own question. Searching around I found the following thru Google Books. It comes from the book "Houses of Lancaster and York: With the Conquest and Loss of France" by James Gairdner, published in 1895. Pages 59-60:
"Henry next stepped forward and claimed the throne as rightly due to him by descent from King Henry III. Now in point of fact Henry was not the next in succession. His father John of Gaunt was the fourth son of Edward III, and there were descendants of that King's third son, Lionel Duke of Clarence, living; so that it should have been quite unnecessary to go back so far as Henry III. At one time Richard himself had designated as his successor the nobleman who really stood next to him in the line of descent. This was Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, the same who was killed by the rebels in Ireland. This Roger had left a son Edmund to inherit his title; but Edmund was a mere child, and the inconvenience of another minority could not have been endured. So the nation was very well disposed to accept Henry as king without inquiring too closely into his claim by birthright; and Henry put forward a claim through his mother founded upon a very idle story indeed, a story so extravagant and untrue that it looks as if it had been invented to serve his purpose. The truth, however, seems to be that it was current in the days of his father John of Gaunt, who got it written in some chronicles which were sent to different monasteries, to flatter his vanity; and perhaps John of Gaunt expected that he himself might have been able one day to claim the crown upon the strength of it. This story was that so far back as the days of King Edward I, the succession had got out of the true line of descent; that the eldest son of Henry III was not King Edward, but his brother Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, who was commonly reputed the second son; and that this Edmund had been purposely set aside on account of his personal deformity. The plain fact of the matter was that Edmund Crouchback was six years younger than his brother Edward I, and that his surname of Crouchback had not the smallest reference to personal deformity, but only implied that he wore the cross upon his back as a crusader." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:07, 5 April 2013 (UTC)


The current lead is not really a lead, it's quite a long chronological summary of events. A detailed summary may be useful but I don't think it should be part of the lead section. The first paragraph is fine, but then we jump back to 1399 and proceed forward rather slowly. Does anybody mind if I move the following paragraphs to a section after the lead called something like "Summary of Events"?
This may be a cosmetic change but I think it's significant; it would mean (for example) the lead could be expanded to talk briefly about some of the themes discussed later in the article, rather than giving a blow by blow chronology. Also, when navigating an article I generally read the lead in full and then may jump around in the article or follow links to other articles. If the "Summary" is a different section then I can choose to read it in full (if I want a summary) or skip to the more detailed sections if I wish. --Merlinme (talk) 13:44, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Good idea Johnbod (talk) 14:08, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 17:41, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I've made a relatively Bold change along those lines, also taking the opportunity to reorganise some of the headings. It's not perfect, but I think it's an improvement. --Merlinme (talk) 17:54, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

divine right of kings???[edit]

The article contains the following sentence: "This was a period when kings of England claimed divine right and were believed by their people to be the "Lord's anointed", directed and guided by the hand of God.[5] The source for this sentence is Alison Weir, a novelist and (non-academic) popular historian. It is commonly known that the issue in England over the "divine right of kings" emerged during the reign of James I, punctuated by a famous confrontation in which Sir Edward Coke, at risk of his life, rebutted the king to his face by quoting the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton (whose view had been the norm in England for centuries) that the king was UNDER the law. King James, an immigrant from Scotland, put forth the novel proposition that the king was ABOVE the law. This standard scholarly view is summarized in the Wikipedia article on the Divine right of kings: "The theory came to the fore in England under the reign of James I of England (1603–1625, also known as James VI of Scotland 1567–1625)." That is to say, the "divine right of kings" was neither generally asserted by monarchs nor commonly accepted belief in England during the period of the Wars of the Roses, so the sentence in question should be deleted unless somebody can demonstrate scholarly backing for it.--Other Choices (talk) 12:28, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Hmm. The (very comprehensive!) Bracton article quotes his view as follows:

The king must not be under man but under God and under the law, because the law makes the king... for there is no rex where will rules rather than lex. Since he is the vicar of Jesus Christ, whose vicegerent on earth he is.

It's not completely obvious to me that this contradicts: 'This was a period when kings of England claimed divine right and were believed by their people to be the "Lord's anointed", directed and guided by the hand of God'. It does however seem to be dubious to use the linked term divine right, which was given a very specific meaning in later centuries. I'd be happy with removing "divine right", so the sentence reads "This was a period when kings of England were believed by their people to be directed and guided by the hand of god." Or just: "This was period when kings of Engliand were believed to be directed and guided by the hand of god", as the relevant view is actually that of lawyers and clerics, it's very hard to know what "the people" thought. --Merlinme (talk) 16:00, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
I would agree with that wording. Divine right is a 17th century concept, but the idea of being an agent of God comes much earlier.--¿3family6 contribs 22:50, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
If Weir is demonstrably unreliable on the divine right of kings, her reliability is open to question concerning "directed and guided by the hand of God." Furthermore, I think we need to be very careful about misreading quotes from Bracton that were taken out of context. Neither Bracton nor other clerics of his day believed that kings were "directed and guided by the hand of God": there is simply no support for such a claim in the scholarly literature. (Just think about popes excommunicating bad-boy kings...) Bracton's statement that the king is the vice-regent of Jesus Christ simply refers to the common doctrine of the day and age that Jesus Christ was the lord of the world and therefore the rightful master of all temporal authority. To supply another quote from Bracton: “The king has a superior, namely, God. Also the law by which he was made king. Also his curia, namely, the earls and barons, because if he is without a bridle, that is without law, they ought to put the bridle on him.” (Bracton [Thorne translation, 1968], 2:110) In other words, for Bracton, writing in the wake of Magna Carta, it was the responsibility of the leading men of the realm to restrain unlawful behavior by the king. But this whole discussion, following the unfortunate lead of the Bracton article, has entered the minefield of original research. Perhaps it is reasonable to suggest that Alison Weir may be reliable for biographical details but not for scholarly questions of ideology and religious doctrine.--Other Choices (talk) 05:44, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
To be honest, especially bearing in mind Weir is currently listed as a near copyright violation, and especially if her reliability in some areas is being questioned, I'd be happy to delete the whole paragraph. Not particularly on the grounds of divine right (although that could be phrased in a way which would have made more sense in 15th century terms), but mainly on the grounds of the relevance of the paragraph. I don't really see what the entire first paragraph of "The state of the realm" actually has to do with the Wars of the Roses, except as very, very general background. Primogeniture is certainly relevant, but the relevance of being anointed by God (or Christ's vicar, or however you want to phrase it) seems fairly tenuous to me. If it is relevant (perhaps because rebelling against Christ's viceregent is bad?) it's certainly not explained why it's relevant. I'd be happy deleting it. --Merlinme (talk) 09:30, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Does anyone object to deleting that paragraph? --Merlinme (talk) 17:16, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I support deletion.--SabreBD (talk) 17:20, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I support deletion. Also, a quick check indicates that parts of that paragraph are not supported by the Weir "source". "Divine right" is not mentioned on page 5, 6, or anywhere else in the book. I had previously inquired as to the relevence of said paragraph.... Anyway, I would refrain from using Weir as a source, since she is not a historian. --Kansas Bear (talk) 19:30, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I support deletion. Pretty much every medieval monarch believed they had God-granted authority, so this statement really doesn't help explain why specifically the Wars of the Roses were fought.--¿3family6 contribs 16:17, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Ok, that's done. --Merlinme (talk) 09:13, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


The article currently states:

During the Hundred Years' War against France, a captured noble would be able to ransom himself for a large sum, but in the Wars of the Roses, a noble who belonged to a defeated faction would be declared attainted, and therefore possessing no property, and of no value to his captor.[15]

I've no doubt that as a civil war the Wars of the Roses were particularly bloody, but the implication that nobles were never captured in the war is wrong. It's fairly easy to find examples of nobles who were captured, even if only because they were then later executed! The implication that anyone who fought on the wrong side was attainted is also too strong. Attainting was fairly rare, and even when issued, pardons were frequently given. See e.g. [1] (pp. 66-68 of Edward IV by Charles Ross); even prominent Lancastrians who fought at Towton were not necessarily attainted. Of those who were attainted, a large number were eventually pardoned (the Attainder article says the majority were pardoned).
Is there a way this section can be better phrased? --Merlinme (talk) 09:57, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Do you have a copy of Sadler's book? Is he specifically stating the Wars of the Roses or the battle of Towton(since the title of his book might indicate the battle not the Wars)? I have, as of yet, not found any mention of this in any other reliable source. --Kansas Bear (talk) 05:37, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't have the Sadler. It's not on Google, Amazon Look Inside gets you the introduction from the Kindle version, which doesn't seem to have page numbers. The end of the introduction repeats the Edward IV quote from de Commines that he called for no mercy to be shown to the lords, and says "in civil war, traitors carry no promise of ransom". This may well be p. 9 in the reference, further details are supposed to be on 14+15.
Edward IV did apparently say that to de Comines, various reliable secondary sources report it. It was presumably from when de Comines met Edward in about 1470. It's worth pointing out that this was about ten years after Towton. Edward could undoubtedly be ruthless, see for example what happened after he won at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. But in contrast to Tewkesbury, when he appears to have decided to ends things once and for all (e.g. the killing of Prince Edward as he tried to surrender, the execution of those sheltering in the abbey), as far as I can tell at Towton none of the significant Lancastrian commanders died, and Edward seems to have been fairly magnanimous towards those who sought his pardon.
As a dynastic civil war it doesn't seem particularly in dispute that a lot of nobles died who in other wars might have been ransomed, other than Tewkesbury, at the First Battle of St. Albans several nobles died or were injured, at the Second Battle of St. Albans two knights were specifically captured and executed, "John Neville had been captured but was spared execution, as the Duke of Somerset feared that his own younger brother who was in Yorkist hands might be executed in reprisal.[6]", Edgecote Moor: "The Earl of Pembroke and his brother Sir Richard Herbert were captured and executed the following day. The Earl of Devon suffered a similar fate a few days later", etc. etc. So it certainly seems fair to say that high rank was not a promise of safe passage. I haven't found any reference yet to someone being successfully ransomed. But I think it is incorrect to imply that nobles were never captured, and that all nobles who fought on the "wrong side" were attainted without hope of pardon. Quite a lot of them were never attainted in the first place, and most of the attainders were later removed. --Merlinme (talk) 13:39, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I've just fished Sadler back out of the local library. P9 does indeed say "in civil war, traitors carry no promise of ransom". PP14-15 elaborates: "A wealthy captive in the French wars could be the making of a yeoman's fortune, but a lord whose lands stood to be attainted by the victors had no commercial value." These two quotes are in a chapter entitled "The Art of War in the Fifteenth Century" and refer to the Wars of the Roses in general, though with emphasis on the slaughter at Towton.HLGallon (talk) 15:46, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I've had a quick web search for noble casualties at Towton, the (admittedly not ideal) source of the Daily Mail [2] gives:
Earl of Northumberland
Lord Egremont
Sir Andrew Trollope and his son.
The Earls of Devon and Wiltshire were caught and beheaded in the days following the battle
Forty-two knights captured on the field "were executed on a vengeful Edward’s orders"
The article on Lionel de Welles, 6th Baron Welles also states that he died in the battle.
The article for William Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Beaumont states that he was taken prisoner and attainted following Towton.
What strikes me about this is that a) despite what the article currently implies, dozens of knights and above were captured b) many of these were however executed later.
It is hard but not impossible to find examples of nobles who were captured but not killed. In addition to Beaumont, above, Baron Welles was captured at Blore Heath in 1459, but was able to fight again at the Second Battle of St. Albans in 1461
I think therefore this section is broadly correct in that as a noble on the losing side you were far more likely than in the Hundred Years' War to be killed trying to surrender or executed later, and ransoming seems to have been almost unknown, however it simply goes too far in the implication that all losing nobles were attainted or killed, and none were ever captured. Does anybody mind if I edit it to remove that implication? --Merlinme (talk) 18:35, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
No objection. --Kansas Bear (talk) 18:41, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Better to clarify, rather than simply remove a valid point because there were a few exceptions to a rule.07:50, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I meant to clarify the (incorrect) implication rather than delete it, but point taken. Feel free to edit further if you think it's appropriate. --Merlinme (talk) 08:54, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Weir plagiarism[edit]

This sentence, "From the beginning of Henry VI's reign in 1422, complaints about corruption, public disorder, riots and the maladministration of justice, became widespread." -- Weir, The Wars of the Roses, page 11.
Has been copied from this sentence, "From the beginning of Henry VI's reign complaints about corruption, public disorder, riots and the maladministration of justice grew ever more vociferous."
As is this sentence, "Most criminals appear to have got away with their crimes.", also copied from Weir's book.
This sentence, "The lower classes, heavily influenced by the teachings of the Lollards and increasingly prepared to question the established order, began to show a lessening of respect for authority and the law, which contributed to the general atmosphere of unrest." is also plagiarized from Weir's book.
"The lower classes, fuelled by the teachings of the Lollards, were increasingly questioning the established order.", page 11. Also, the preceding paragraph has little to do with the Wars of the Roses and attempts to follow a paragraph from Weir's book.
"At the same time, the middle class was growing more prosperous and influential through its mercantile interests. The slow decline of the wool trade after 1450 was offset by increased demand from abroad, not only for woollen cloth, but for tin, lead, leather and other products. Calais, which remained in English hands after the rest of England's French territories were lost in 1453, was the chief wool market, attracting merchants from all over Europe. The importance of retaining Calais was therefore crucial for the nation's continued prosperity. During the Wars of the Roses, however, Calais also came to be seen as a potential place of refuge for those who had fallen from power, and even as a springboard for the potential invasion of England." The highlighted portion is not supported by Weir, she makes no mention of a "middle class", the underlined sections are also plagiarized from her book.
This plagiarism needs to be removed. The paragraph above needs to be removed as well. --Kansas Bear (talk) 19:45, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Rather than simply removing it, how about replacing it? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 21:47, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
If the sentences in question can be verified(ie."From the beginning of Henry VI's reign complaints about corruption, public disorder, riots and the maladministration of justice grew ever more vociferous" & "The lower classes, fuelled by the teachings of the Lollards, were increasingly questioning the established order.") per scholarly sources then I have no problem with a rewrite. Some sentences are simply copied from Weir's book("Most criminals appear to have got away with their crimes"} and lend nothing to this article and should be deleted. I could go into details as to assertions made by Weir that are refuted by Michael Hicks, but we should just deal with the plagiarism for now.
The paragraph is a hodge-podge of OR and plagiarism and if anything can be salvaged from it then it would also require scholarly citation. --Kansas Bear (talk) 22:00, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The bit about soldiers returning from the wars in France causing mischief I'm fairly sure is in other sources. Demobilized troops causing trouble in the Middle Ages was a perennial problem. The part about Jack Cade's rebellion and lack of justice during Henry VI's reign also seems fair enough, with decent sources. The bit about "heavily influenced by the teachings of the Lollards" is however news to me; according to the Lollardy article, Lollardy was being persecuted from the time of the Peasants' Revolt (1381) onwards, with executions for heresy from 1510 through the 1530s, when it seems to have been largely suppressed. It would have been an extremely dangerous philosophy to be following openly. In any case the relevance of what the lower classes thought is unclear, one of the features of the Wars of the Roses is surely that it was largely an upper class power struggle. In the absence of other sources I'll delete that part now. --Merlinme (talk) 09:08, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Cousins' War[edit]

After some web research the most revealing evidence I could find was this: [3] If you scroll down to the comments you will find that someone logged on as Alison Weir says: "Has anyone actually read my book Lancaster and York (1994), on the origins of the term ‘the Wars of the Roses’? ...In the latter decades of the 20th century several academic historians followed S.B. Chrimes in asserting that the name ‘the Wars of the Roses’ was anachronistic, and some asserted that ‘Cousins’ Wars’ was the correct contemporary term, but I too can find no source cited, although I don’t have the full range of works to hand." So in other words the origin of the term in modern usage seems to be the historical novels of Phillipa Gregory, who wanted an evocative name for her series and appears to have taken inspiration from Weir's books. Weir herself doesn't give a proper reference; she has later asserted that some unspecified academic historians at the end of the last century championed the use of Cousins' Wars as the contemporary term. (I begin to see why people are uneasy using Weir as a reliable source!) I had never heard the term before a couple of hours ago; I recently finished reading an edition of the Paston Letters and there were zero references to Cousins' War that I remember. They didn't really give a name to the wars or war as a whole at all, that I can remember. If "Cousins' War" is to go back in it needs a proper reference to the original academic historian "cited" by Weir, and ideally a contemporary quote that actually uses the term. I suspect if the term was used it would probably be more from the 16th century, i.e. looking back on the dynastic struggle, but it's impossible to say more at this stage without proper sources. --Merlinme (talk) 13:05, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Agreed; I'd never heard the term before coming across P.Gregory's books. And I think this snippet of mis-information has been deleted from here several times: So, is it worth adding an edit note asking people not to add it again without the backing of a reliable source? Moonraker12 (talk) 16:33, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
PS: On second thoughts, I've done the bold thingie and put one in. I trust that's OK with everyone. Moonraker12 (talk) 16:46, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! --Merlinme (talk) 12:27, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

1485 vs. 1487[edit]

@Bill the Cat 7: The end date has been changed to 1487. That date seems somewhat arbitrary to me; 1485 is "traditional", and if you think that the "Wars" should include the late rebellions then that presumably goes to 1497. Does anyone have any views on the end date we should use in the article? Does Bill want to provide some justification? --Merlinme (talk) 09:52, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

In the big picture, of course, H7 wasn't secure in his throne until about 1499, when Edward of Warwick and Perkin Warbeck were executed. However, the justification for using 1487 is that the Battle of Stoke was the last major military engagement (and which H7 almost lost). Also, the article as it currently stands lists the Battle of Stoke (in the summary box) as part of the WOTR. What do you all think? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 14:01, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the Cat. Just because 1485 is used as the traditional end of the 'middle ages' does not automatically mean it also has to be the end of the WotR. Certainly, few modern historians think so. Here are some (relatively) recent works on the wars themselves, and we can see the variously considered endings:
  • JR Lander, writing in 1965, takes them to 1487
  • John Gillingham, in 1981, also to 1487
  • Anthony Goodman, also in 1981, to 1497
  • Christine Carpenter, in 1997, to 1509
  • Michael Hicks, in 2010, to- wait for it- 1525

Personally, I think 1487 is good- Stoke was as 'big' and as 'significant' as Bosworth, whereas much of what came later was, as Merlinme says, merely rebellion. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi 14:37, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

PS: Just to point out that we could be having the same discussion about when they started; as good a date though 1455 is, 1452 or'53, 1415, or 1399 are equal contenders for the title. Cheers. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi 14:58, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Fair enough- this is not my chosen specialist subject and if others think 1487 makes more sense than 1485, lets go with that. I just thought it was quite a significant change to make without discussion. --Merlinme (talk) 12:57, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Copyright/ close-paraphrasing problem[edit]

This has been languishing as a "very old issue" at WP:CP for over a year, and has been discussed at length above. Moonriddengirl and Kansas Bear have both looked at it recently. I think it can be resolved. There seems to be consensus here (but please correct me if I'm wrong) that there is close paraphrasing of the Weir book, and that that book is in any case not a suitable source for this article. In case there's any doubt about the former point, here's one comparison: Weir, on page 6, has:

A king was not only expected to protect and defend his realm but also had to be seen as a competent warrior. A king who inclined towards peace courted adverse public opinion, for most people placed great value on success in arms and the glorification of the nation’s reputation.

English kings of the fifteenth century did not maintain a standing army but relied on their nobility to provide them with troops when necessary. Hence it was important for a monarch to maintain good relations with the aristocracy and gentry, who might, if sufficiently provoked, use the armed strength at their disposal against him. It was also the duty of the sovereign to prevent power struggles between magnates, especially where these affected the stability of the realm.

Text added here on 14 January 2012 read:

Defence of the realm was especially important and most English people are believed to have placed great value on success in arms: hence, the king had to be seen as a competent warrior. A crucial point about the series of conflicts that came to be known as The Wars of the Roses was that the king did not maintain a standing army. Rather, he relied upon his nobility to furnish him with troops when necessary and so it was vital that he maintained good relations with aristocracy and gentry who, if provoked, might use their armed strength against him. It follows that the king was duty bound to prevent power struggles between the magnates, especially if these could impact the stability of the realm.

I've bolded some phrases that are directly copied, and most of the rest is too close for comfort; there's no question that this is unacceptable. I see two ways of sorting this out: either revert to this revision from 8 January 2012, which would be the simplest way of dealing with it but might make it necessary to redo a good deal of subsequent work; or remove all content added by that particular editor. The edits appear to be:

so this would not be an impossible task. Does anyone have any preference? Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 13:27, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Essentially, if the Weir sources and cooresponding plagiarism are removed, then I agree with your suggestion. --Kansas Bear (talk) 17:53, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
I'd vote for your proposed suggestion of removing all content added by the editor in question. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:33, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Rightly or wrongly, I've taken that as a consensus, and gone ahead and done, to the best of my ability, what was suggested: presumptively removed what was added in the four edits mentioned above. It's left some gaps that may need to be filled; I restored one bit of earlier text that was removed to make way for Weir stuff. If I've made mistakes, as is really quite likely, please say so; of course any non-copyvio text that I've inadvertently removed can be put straight back. The article as a whole is in my opinion seriously under-referenced – the Summary of events section has not a single citation, for example – so I've tagged it accordingly; that bit of earlier text I added back is without citations, so I'm partly responsible too. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 21:08, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
The "Summary of Events" section was once part of the lead/lede, hence the lack of citations. It might be possible to strip the section down to its bare skeleton and put it back into the lead. HLGallon (talk) 21:43, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

'War' (singular) of the Roses?[edit]

In this edit: [4] an IP essentially asserted that "War of the Roses" (singular) was a commonly used alternate name for the Wars (plural) of the roses. I've never heard it called War of the Roses. Is this genuinely an alternate name? A quick Google search turned up very little except some computer games and the Michael Douglas film. --Merlinme (talk) 09:08, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Never heard of it either. I think we can ignore this one.--SabreBD (talk) 11:47, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree. Hchc2009 (talk) 12:31, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
The IP restored it referencing Google Ngram. Ngram is an interesting tool I've not played with before, and seems to show "War of the Roses" quite a lot, especially in recent years. However! Context matters; here is the first page of results for "War of the Roses" 1929-2000: [5].
  1. The Warren Adler book "War of the Roses" about divorce which inspired the film
  2. "The Exciting Text Vividly Covers The Huge And Bloody Struggle (The Indian Mutiny Of 1853) That Stretched Through The Jungles And Hills And Across The Parched Plains Of India"
  3. Warren Adler book about divorce again
  4. Terence Wise "The Wars of the Roses", i.e. appears to be a mistake
  5. Alison Weir "Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses - Page 306", also appears to be a mistake
  6. David R. Cook "Lancastrians and Yorkists: The Wars of the Roses"; War of the Roses appears to be an editorial mistake in the blurb
  7. "War and Society in Medieval and Early Modern Britain", p. 5. I can see four references to "Wars of the Roses" on that page, zero to "War of the Roses", so I assume this is either a proof-reading error or a scanning/ indexing error by Google.
  8. The last three entries are New York Magazine, and clearly referring to the Michael Douglas film. Sample: 0\—The War of the Roses. 02— Always. #3 — Music Box. #4 — Born on the Fourth of July, #5 — Bade to the Future Part II. #6 — Tango and Cash.
To put it another way, I can find zero valid references to "War of the Roses" on the first page of the Google Ngram results that the IP is using to assert that "War of the Roses" is a commonly used alternative name for the 15th century power struggle. I assume the main reason "War of the Roses" is more common in recent times is because of the popular book/ film about a divorce. --Merlinme (talk) 12:07, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, that isn't what these wars are called. I made a quick disambiguation page for "War of the Roses". War of the Roses currently redirects here; I suggest that it should go to that disambiguation page instead, which should perhaps also be in the hatnote here. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 14:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Good thinking. I agree that is probably the best solution to any search issues.--SabreBD (talk) 18:50, 30 April 2014 (UTC)