3 Edward IV, Restoration of

Edward IV, Restoration of

   In the spring of 1471, only six months after being driven from the throne, EDWARD IV returned to England, overthrew the READEPTION government of HENRY VI, defeated and killed Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and destroyed the male line of the house of LANCASTER.
   Funded by his brother-in-law, Duke CHARLES of BURGUNDY, Edward IV departed the Dutch port of Flushing on 11 March 1471. Leading a fleet of 36 ships and 1,200 men, both Englishmen and Burgundians, Edward sought first to land in East Anglia, where he hoped for assistance from John MOWBRAY, duke of Norfolk, and John de la POLE, duke of Suffolk.However, when agents sent ashore learned that the dukes were in custody and John de VERE, earl of Oxford, was keeping close watch on the coast, Edward turned north to land at Ravenspur. As he marched through a hostile Yorkshire that provided few recruits, Edward was menaced by John NEVILLE, marquis of Montagu, and unsupported by Henry PERCY, the sympathetic earl of Northumberland, who could not persuade his Lancastrian followers to join the king who had slain so many of their relatives ten years earlier at the Battle of TOWTON. Still, Northumberland did good service by keeping his men from taking an active part in resisting Edward and by preventing an uncertain Montagu from attacking the Yorkist force while it was still small and vulnerable. Denied entry to several towns, Edward announced that he had come not to reclaim the throne but merely to secure his inheritance as duke of York. At York, he gained admission to the city only by agreeing to leave his army outside the walls. Nonetheless, Montagu’s failure to attack allowed Edward to survive, which increased his chances of gaining support. As Edward marched south into the Midlands, men loyal to such Yorkist lords as William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings, joined his force, which now grew to sufficient size to convince Warwick to withdraw before it into Coventry. Rejoined by his wayward brother, George PLANTAGENET, duke of Clarence, and unable to coax Warwick to give battle, Edward left Coventry and marched on LONDON, which he entered unopposed on 11 April. After taking custody of Henry VI and releasing Queen Elizabeth WOODVILLE and his newborn son (see Edward V, King of England) from SANCTUARY at Westminster, Edward led his rapidly growing army northward. On 14 April, he slew both Warwick and Montagu at the Battle of BARNET.
   On the same day as Barnet, Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU and her son Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER landed in southern England. Greeted by Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset, and other staunch Lancastrians, the queen marched into the West Country, where she raised a large force. Edward followed quickly and on 4 May defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of TEWKESBURY, where Prince Edward was slain and Somerset was captured and executed. With a captive Queen Margaret in tow, Edward returned to London, where Anthony WOODVILLE, Earl Rivers, and other Yorkist lords had beaten back an assault on the city by Thomas NEVILLE, the Bastard of Fauconberg.With all significant resistance crushed, Edward entered London on 21 May. That night, Henry VI was murdered in the TOWER OF LONDON, thus ending the Lancastrian cause and completing the restoration of the house of YORK.
   Further Reading: Gillingham, John, The Wars of the Roses (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981); Goodman, Anthony, The Wars of the Roses (New York: Dorset Press, 1981); Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998); Ross, Charles, The Wars of the Roses (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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