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Northumberland at War

BROAD, WILLIAM,ERNEST (2016) Northumberland at War. Masters thesis, Durham University.

PDF (MA Dissertatio) - Accepted Version


At the Battle of Towton in 1461 the Lancastrian forces of Henry VI were defeated by the Yorkist forces of Edward IV. However Henry VI, with his wife, son and a few knights, fled north and found sanctuary in Scotland, where, in exchange for the town of Berwick, the Scots granted them finance, housing and troops. Henry was therefore able to maintain a presence in Northumberland and his supporters were able to claim that he was in fact as well as in theory sovereign resident in Northumberland. For three years and four months he was able to be maintained in this state and to offer a real challenge to Edward IV. This thesis seeks to answer the question, ‘how was it possible that the Lancastrian presence survived for such a long time?’
This under-researched episode in English history is the subject of this dissertation. It examines the lack of zest of Henry VI and how his wife, Margaret of Anjou, and some of her knights, notably Sir Ralph Percy and Henry, Duke of Somerset, made up for this by bravery and resource. It examines the lacklustre performance of the Scots and the reluctance of the French to get fully involved in England’s most northern county. It shows that the claim of almost all historians that Northumberland was a Lancastrian county is altogether false and that the number of local people who were involved in the fighting was in fact very small.
This dissertation interrogates the secondary sources and tests them against both the primary sources and the logistical possibilities and restrictions of fifteenth-century warfare. The result is a retelling of a familiar story with surprising results.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Lancastrian, Yorkist, Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, Tailboys, Sir Ralph Percy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Apr 2016 17:02

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