Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/House of Lancaster

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Promoted Peacemaker67 (send... over) 23:01, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

House of Lancaster[edit]

Nominator(s): Norfolkbigfish (talk)

I am nominating this article for A-Class review because it was suggested by three editors during a recent failed Featured Article attempt. Has been tidied up and given a thorough copy edit since then Norfolkbigfish (talk) 14:46, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments (NB: I've just realised that I've been reading the House of Plantagenet article, vice the House of Lancaster! Dough!)

  • You'll need to check throughout for the use of "king" and capitalisation; see WP:JOBTITLES. "The king changed from being the most powerful man in the country..." is right, for example, "Friction intensified between the barons and the king." is wrong.
  • Similarly check for lower-case battles, e.g. "at the battle of Mirebeau" - should be upper
  • Check for overlinking (Battle of Bosworth Field is linked twice in the intro, for example)
  • "Family tree" section; on my screen, it looks unreadable (lots of overlapping text). Not sure why.
  • "a deeply engaged and mature kingdom" - I'm not sure I understood what "deeply engaged" meant here. I'd also query the "mature" - even by 1066, the kingdom is regarded as being pretty mature.
  • "Henry II accumulated a vast and complex feudal holding with his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine" - as written, suggests he got the holding due to his marriage to Eleanor; much of it he already had, and he didn't get some of it (e.g. Ireland) until rather later.
  • "Winston Churchill, the twentieth-century British prime minister, articulated this in A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; "[w]hen the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns" - I'm really not convinced I'd be quoting Churchill as an historian in a modern article, unless for historiographical purposes
  • "The king changed from being the most powerful man in the country with the prerogative of judgement, feudal tribute and warfare into a polity where the king's duties to his realm," - the king didn't change into a polity... :)
  • "No royal dynasty was as successful in passing the crown to a succeeding generation as the Plantagenets from 1189 to 1377." - no royal dynasty in the world? Or just England?
  • " Destitute soldiery returned from France had turned to crime to survive, while feudalism declined into bastard feudalism, " - you could avoid the pluperfect here (e.g. "Destitute soldiery returning from France turned to crime to survive, and feudalism declined..." I'm not sure that contemporary historians would go for the "decline of feudalism" argument in quite this way.
  • Angevin origins section. Note the MOS guidance on not putting images on the left hand side of sections as they begin.
  • "to Henry's daughter and only surviving child, Matilda." - only surviving legitimate child. There were many, many more...
  • " It is obscure why Richard chose this specific name" - obscure, or uncertain? Hchc2009 (talk) 08:00, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
As per message left on the talk page of Hchc2009 these comments, useful as they are, appear to be about the House of Plantagenet article rather than the House of Lancaster so I am a bit confused :-) Norfolkbigfish (talk) 12:04, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments Support (on the right article this time!)

  • The "king" versus "King" issue applies to this one as well (see above)
  • Ditto "battle" v. "Battle".
  • "After Henry III of England's supporters suppressed opposition from the English nobility in the Second Barons' War, he granted to his second son " - the "he" here isn't quite right, as the active part of the previous clause is the "supporters"
  • " forfeited by attainder of the Barons' leader" - "barons'"
  • "the first Earldom of Lancaster on 30 June 1267 " - how did he give him the first earldom if they were forfeited titles?
  • "Edmund was also Count of Champagne and Brie from 1276 by right of his wife" -full stop needed at the end.
  • "His income was £11,000 per annum—double that of the next most senior earl" - "senior earl"? I don't think there was a ranking like this. Do you mean "richest"?
  • "Thomas carried a great sword and Henry carried the royal sceptre" "a great sword"? I was wondering if this was the Sword of Mercy? I will see if I can check source Norfolkbigfish (talk) 13:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Thomas saw this as an end in itself and he retreated to Pontefract Castle, taking little part in the governance of the realm." - I know what you mean here, but the point about Thomas and the Ordinances wasn't that they were an end in themselves, but rather that he lacked a political programme beyond them; he also took little part in the governance of the realm even when he was holding formal offices.
  • "Edward's rule collapsed into anarchy again in 1321. " - typically this is described as "civil war" rather than genuine "anarchy".
  • "In a show trial, he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered" - I'd be careful about terms like "show trial" - it was a mirror of Gaveston's, in that he wasn't allowed to answer the charges against him (and we don't describe Gaveston's here as a "show trial").
Attempted to address all of the above, apart from the sword question. What do you think? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 13:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Worth noting Henry of Lancaster's increasing blindness at the end of the 1320s? (through to the end of the Origin section) Hchc2009 (talk) 19:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
    • All done, I think - sword at the coronation largely thought to be Curtana & added a sentence on blindness Norfolkbigfish (talk) 13:53, 24 February 2014 (UTC)


  • I'm not sure that the lead adequately summarises the Legacy section.
  • Worth checking for spaces in the right place with citations (some appear after the space, rather than before it)
  • Still a couple of lower case "the king"s which need dealing with I think.
  • "Bedford wanted to defend Normandy, Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester just Calais," - did this mean that Bedford wanted to defend Normandy and Calais?
  • "The English ambassadors’ refusal to renounce the claim to the French crown at the congress of Arras led to the defection of England's ally Philip III, Duke of Burgundy to Charles and the French had enough time to reorganise their feudal levies into a modern, professional army with superior numbers." It's a very long sentence. I'd query whether Weir's got it right; doesn't Paris fall the year after the congress, whereas the military reforms take a number of years? If memory serves, though, they'd almost always had superior numbers.
  • "and recruited militarily" - an odd phrase... "recruited an army"?
  • " While they are factually inaccurate, they demonstrate how the past and the House of Lancaster are remembered in terms of myth, legend, ideas and popular misconceptions" - what are the myths, legends etc.? The paragraph doesn't actually say.
  • "Henry VI continued the architectural patronage ..." Is it worth explaining why? (It's usually seen as a form of architectural propaganda)
  • The article is a bit light on how the Lancastrians, particularly Henry IV, justified their rule through propaganda etc.. Is it worth explaining how Henry IV used the church and religion to buttress his legitimacy, for example? (there's a fair bit out there, I think, on his coronation etc. "Henry IV: The Establishment of the Regime, 1399-1406" is supposed to be quite good. There's also a bit out there I think on how the Lancastrians used Chaucer and his disciples for propaganda purposes.
  • Added section to legacy, although Chaucer was dead by 1400 and appears to be considered a Ricardian appropriated by the Yorkists.Norfolkbigfish (talk) 15:33, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • "For Dan Jones, the accession by force of the throne broke principles..." I was a bit surprised to see Dan Jones singled out here for cited comment. He's not exactly the most heavyweight historian of the period... Hchc2009 (talk) 06:37, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Changed to a more general "Many historians" Norfolkbigfish (talk) 15:18, 24 April 2014 (UTC)


  • "It was through descent from Edmund, rather than from the main Plantagenet line, that the three Lancastrian monarchs legitimatised their reigns."
This is not my period, and apologies if I have got it wrong, but this statement seems to me highly dubious. As stated later in the article, the myth that Edmund was the eldest son of Henry III was not widely believed, and seems to have been a short term expedient when Henry IV seized the throne. Once Richard was dead, Henry had a much stronger claim from Edward III's 1376 entailment of the throne in the male line, and the sources I can find say that this was the basis of Lancastrian claim. The statement that descent from Edmund was crucial is referenced to Alison Weir, but did she say that the three kings legitimatised their claim through Edmund, and is she WP:RS? Dudley Miles (talk) 15:02, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I have amended the lead to come some way towards this. Yes, it was expedient - Henry became de facto king because he was the most powerful male adult Plantagenet. The child Edmund Mortimer had been Richard's heir presumptive - female line, but more senior - de jure next in line. Except for Henry V, VI and VII all English monarchs are descendants of Edmund. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 12:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

CommentsSupport A fascinating bit of history, but not one I'm very well-read on unfortunately. Still, I'll offer a few comments:

  • ...but as Edward's cousin this was commuted to beheading. What does this mean? Presumably you mean the sentence was commuted because he was Edward's brother?
  • It would be Henry who would knight the young King Edward III of England before his coronation. It would be or it was?
  • When Edward called a parliament to make this permanent... To make what permanent? "This" in this context is a little sloppy.
  • It is a sign of Edward's high regard for Henry that he would bestow such extensive privileges on him. That sentence strikes me as out of place in an encyclopaedia article, and there's no reference for it.
  • link to Southampton plot is a bit of an Easter egg.
  • However, the marriage of his sister Anne de Mortimer to Conisborough, son of Edward III's fourth son Edmund of Langley, consolidated Anne's claim to the throne with that of the more junior House of York. However is a word to watch, and I'm not sure it adds much in this context; could it just be removed?
  • comparable with the murder of Thomas Beckett, Comparable in what way? Just checking, but is the comparison made by the source?
  • the church was in schism with two competing popes Were there actually two popes, or two rivals for the papacy? Why were the two rivals keen on Henry's support?
  • Henry IV was succeeded by his son Henry V, and eventually by his grandson Henry VI in 1422. Arguably common knowledge, but there can't be any dearth of sources, so you need a reference there really.
  • Henry V and the Hundred Years' War—the Lancastrian war Do we need the —the Lancastrian war? It's not really 'house style' (though, granted, we struggle to agree on what exactly 'house style' is)
  • He was quick to resume the Hundred Years' War... Presumably it wasn't known as the Hundred Years' War at that time?
  • Henry and Catherine's heirs would succeed to the throne of France. I've never been sure on these, but I think this should be Henry's and Catherine's heirs, because the statement applies to the heirs of both parties, not to Henry and the heirs.
  • Henry's brother Thomas, Duke of Clarence was killed in the defeat at the Battle of Baugé in 1421, Henry V died of dysentery at Vincennes. That's a comma splice.
  • Henry VI and the fall of The House of Lancaster De-cap the The.
  • The refusal to renounce the claim to the French crown at the congress of Arras led to the defection... Whose refusal?
  • All English holdings in France [...] were lost forever. Try to avoid passive voice.
  • Be consistent with your past participles: you use 'burnt' (as opposed to 'burned') and 'spilled' (as opposed to 'spilt'); pick one and stick with it.
  • 'King' is not a proper noun in its own right
  • more radical demands came from John and William Merfold. What sort of demands? Who were the Merfolds and how ere they in a position to make such demands?
  • defeated them at a skirmish called the First Battle of St Albans. Do we need the at a skirmish called?
  • According to Goodman, You should tell the reader who Goodman is in the prose.
  • Ditto According to Davies,
  • However, the remnants of the Lancastrian court party coalesced support around Henry Tudor... Consider what purpose that however is serving.
  • Some detail in the see also section about how some of those articles are related to this one might be nice.
  • Lancashire is linked in the see also section, but there doesn't seem to be a link anywhere to Lancaster the city.
  • Be consistent in whether you give locations for publishers; they're not a requirement, but you give them for some sources and not for others as it is.
  • ISBN for Hicks would be nice.
  • Ditto Davies, R R (1995)
  • Publisher information is lacking for Fowler 1969.
  • What's going on with references 10 and 28? Why do you provide the full citation for them in the references section rather than the bibliography?
  • Just a personal thing, but I always wonder whether a further reading section with only one entry is of much value; if it were my article, I'd find a way to cite Nuttall and add it to the bibliography but YMMV to borrow Dank's phrase.
  • Are you satisfied that you've covered the breadth of the literature on the topic? Not my area of expertise, as I say, but I would have thought that it would have been possible to find more than sixteen books and the ODNB for such an important area of English history and considering the relatively broad scope of the article.
  • The style of writing is quite unusual for Wikipedia (I've mentioned one or two examples above). Is that just the way you normally write? It's not a problem if it is, but I just want to check that it is your style. Please don't take offence; I just haven't reviewed one of your articles before and it just stands out.

HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 11:40, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Harry, I think I have covered most of these now, what do you think? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 12:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Happy with the prose. For the benefit of others, we're discussing the references on my talk page. If other reviewers want to chime in, please do. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:39, 11 March 2014 (UTC)


  • "This brought the Earls of Lancaster into conflict with their cousin Edward II of England before they gave loyal service to his son Edward III of England." They can't have given loyal service as Thomas was dead by then. Also it is not clear that Earls of Lancaster refers to Thomas and Henry. As the lead is not long I think it is worth explaining here that Henry was Thomas's younger brother and inherited his title.
  • "This gave John the vast wealth of the House of Lancaster, which some take as the founding of the Royal House." The expression "which some take as" does not sound encylopedic to me - perhaps "some historians view as". Also I am not clear what is meant by "founding of the Royal House". Does it mean gave Henry the power to seize the throne or something broader?
  • "murder of Henry VI following the execution of his son Edward". Why the distinction? Weren't they both thought to have been murdered?
  • "When Edward called a parliament to make his new powers and estates permanent with the title of Earl of March in 1328" I think this should be Mortimer not Edward.
  • I am doubtful of the emphasis on the myth that Edmund Crouchback was the eldest son. It is not mentioned in ODNB on Richard II and Henry IV, which say that Henry justified deposing Richard because he had misgoverned the kingdom, and attempts to restore Richard had little popular support. ODNB also appears to give as much credence to reports that Richard deliberately starved himself to death as those that blame Henry.
  • As a general comment, this is an interesting summary, but I am not sure whether it over-emphasises the importance of legitimate succession. Other kings who were not the legitimate heir seized the throne - e.g. William II, Henry I, John, Henry VII, and were able to pass on the throne to their own heirs. It was Henry VI's incompetence which allowed the doubtful Lancastrian claim to become a crucial issue. However, editors with a better knowledge of the period may disagree. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:59, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I think I have some way towards addressing these. What do you think? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 12:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

So far so good on prose per standard disclaimer, down to where I stopped, at House of Lancaster#Duchy and Palatinate of Lancaster. These are my edits. - Dank (push to talk) 01:01, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Further point
  • I think it would be worth looking at ODNB on Henry IV. For example "Whether Henry set off with the intention of deposing his cousin or only of recovering his inheritance can never be known for certain, but the likelihood is that by now Henry knew Richard well enough, and particularly his suspicious and vindictive qualities, to understand that, once back in England, he could never be secure unless he replaced Richard entirely or assumed an effectively viceregal authority over him." This puts his actions in a different light to the sources you cite which only look at arguments about legitimate inheritance. Dudley Miles (talk) 09:10, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • This would be true if the only question was regarding Henry's intentions, whereas the questions of the legality of his actions has more historical resonance and remained contentious up to the 17th century, as illustrated by Shakespeare's history plays. I have referenced the ONDB and tried to present a balance. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 14:36, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
* As far as feedback is concerned I feel I have covered it all - is there anything else to be considered? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:18, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't want to be a spanner in the works, but you never did come back on my point about the sourcing (now archived at User_talk:HJ_Mitchell/Archive_79#House_of_Lancaster). Through a few minutes of searching, I found nine books that look (at a glance) like valuable sources, a couple of which you've since incorporated into the article. I'd be very happy for you to come back and tell me you've consulted those works and that, on further analysis, they're not suitable sources if that's the case, but it is a requirement for FA status to have consulted the breadth of the source material. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:36, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
@Norfolkbigfish: just so you don't miss the above. I'm happy with everything else, it's just the sourcing that is preventing me from supporting at the moment. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:48, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Just goes to show you where right about not using your talk to discuss - I must admit I had forgotten this one. Will try and pick up and address this week - Cheers Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:07, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Hello HJ - not a spanner but an interesting question on sourcing. Books 3,4,6 and 9 were respectively published in 1852, 1827, 1792 and 1897 and the historiography has moved on since then away from the Whig view they largely expose. 7 (Castor) I have added and cited and although it rather excellently goes into immense detail based on the Paston letters gives a good summary of the role of patronage in the Wars of the Roses that the anthology that was book 9 also covers. I didn't add 9 for that reason. 2 was a pocket guide of a single battle by a non-hostorian which really didn't add much. Added 1 Storey for the quote on Henry VI's recovery. Lastly 5 was already in the bibliography! I have also added further ODNB references to less prominent members of the House. I know a point by point reply was the point of your comment but I am just using it as a method of showing that these have been considered. Cheers R Norfolkbigfish (talk) 10:13, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
@HJ Mitchell: Hi HJ - could you please give me further notes on this one to see if I need to take it further at this point? Also there is a debate on the talk page of House of Plantagenet that your view on "House of" articles would be welcome. Ta Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:36, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
That's all I wanted—just for you to show that you've evaluated the sources available and picked the ones you think are the most useful rather than anything else. Happy to support now. I'll look at the other article at some point. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 17:59, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Drive-by comment by Peacemaker67 (send... over) 12:40, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

  • I know next to nothing in this subject area, so wouldn't know what to look for, but the tables don't comply with MOS:DTT

Provisional Support -- looks like a good piece of work to me; specifics:

  • I've copyedited throughout, so pls let me know if I misunderstood or broke anything.
  • Not exactly my area of expertise, although the rough outline/lineage is reasonably familiar, so while I'm happy enough with prose, style, structure and readability, I'd like to see that Hchc's outstanding content points are resolved before I sign off unconditionally.
  • Image licensing generally looks okay to me, though I'd have thought we needed more info on File:Agincour.JPG -- without source or author, how do I know it's not a recent image in medieval style, rather than a reproduction of the genuine article?
    • Was there a response to this? Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 10:45, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
      • The original picture is in the Lambeth Palace Library, London, if that helps at all; it is Ms 6 f.243, from the St. Alban's Chronicle, 15th century in origin. Hchc2009 (talk) 14:25, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
        • I'll certainly take your word for it, Hc, and I think it'd be worth adding that info to the file as it's pretty threadbare at the moment. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:38, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I haven't done a source review, and hope Nikki or another kind soul might be able to take care of that. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:42, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
    • Given Hchc's and Dudley's supportive comments, Nikki's source review, and resolution of my image query, I'm happy to offer unconditional support. Perhaps you should tackle WP's articles on the Lancastrian kings next, and get some of them to A-Class as well... ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:52, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Source review

  • A couple of the titles in the infobox aren't sourced - done Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:47, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
  • "As a child Mortimer was not considered a serious contender and as an adult he showed no interest in the throne, instead loyally serving the House of Lancaster. Mortimer informed the new king when Conisburgh, in what was later called the Southampton Plot, attempted place him on the throne instead of Henry's newly crowned son—their mutual cousin—leading to the execution of Conisburgh and the other plotters" - source? Sourced to ONDB Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:47, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Check alphabetization of Bibliography. Done Norfolkbigfish (talk) 09:47, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Nikkimaria (talk) 13:11, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Comments Just a couple of queries.

  • "For many historians, the accession by force of the throne broke principles the Plantagenets had established successfully over two and a half centuries and allowed any magnate with sufficient power and Plantagenet blood to have ambitions to assume the throne." It is a pedantic point, but two and a half centuries is a bit of an exaggeration. John usurped the throne 200 years earlier and had the rightful heir, Arthur, murdered with far less justification than Henry.
  • Not sure this is correct from my sources. Arthur was never crowned or accepted in England so couldn't be usurped. While French precedent was based on male primogeniture Anglo-Norman was based on proximity - John's being a brother and son of the preceding two monarchs trumped Arthur's nephew and grandson—this diffence led to the split in the Angevin Empire.Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  • "This division led to Gloucester's wife being accused of using witchcraft with the aim of putting him on the throne; Gloucester was arrested and died in prison." This is not quite right. According to ODNB on Gloucester, the charge against his wife was justified and although it discredited him, he was not arrested until six years later and then died within days.

Dudley Miles (talk) 20:05, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Corrected to reflect this using the ODNB as source, thanks. Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

  • @Dudley Miles: @Hchc2009: Guys, thank you. I have tried to address all your comments and don't think there is anything left—Unless I have missed something, added errors or generally cocked something up—what do you think? Norfolkbigfish (talk) 11:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Support. Dudley Miles (talk) 16:54, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.