History of the Arrival of Edward IV
- The anonymous work entitled, in full, History of the Arrival of Edward IV in England and the Final Recovery of His Kingdoms from Henry VI is the most important narrative source for the events that occurred during EDWARD IV’s campaign to regain the English Crown in the spring of 1471 (see Edward IV, Restoration of).The Arrival covers a period of roughly three months, extending from 2 March to 26 May 1471, that is, from the time Edward IV sailed from BURGUNDY to a few days after his supporters defeated the attack on LONDON by Thomas NEVILLE, the Bastard of Fauconberg. Completed, shortly after the events it recounts, by an unknown writer who described himself as a servant of Edward IV and a witness of “a great part of his exploits” (Three Chronicles, p. 147), the Arrival was written for or adopted by Edward IV as an official Yorkist account of his restoration to the throne. A short French version of the Arrival was completed by the end of May and was distributed on the continent as a newsletter designed to set Edward’s version of events before foreign courts. Although it is therefore clearly a piece of Yorkist PROPAGANDA, expressing a point of view favorable to the house of YORK, the Arrival’s immediacy and eyewitness perspective make it a valuable historical source for the end of the second phase of the WARS OF THE ROSES.Although concerned to record the course of Edward’s campaign and to explain the reasons for the king’s actions, the narrator, who wrote in a detailed and powerful prose style, HISTORY OF THE ARRIVAL OF EDWARD IV 123 was candid about Edward’s problems. For instance, the writer recorded that Edward attracted little support on his landing, was refused admission by the town of Hull, and was fortunate in not being vigorously pursued by John NEVILLE, marquis of Montagu, the brother of Edward’s chief opponent, Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick. The Arrival also contains the most detailed extant account of the Battle of BARNET, of the campaign that led to the Battle of TEWKESBURY, and of the Bastard of Fauconberg’s assault on London. The writer’s Yorkist sympathies are most clearly illustrated by his description of the death in the TOWER OF LONDON of HENRY VI, which is most unconvincingly attributed to “pure displeasure and melancholy” (Three Chronicles, p. 184).Further Reading: Three Chronicles of the Reign of Edward IV, introduction by Keith Dockray (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1988); the text of the History of the Arrival of Edward IV is also available on the Richard III Society Web site at http://www.r3.org/bookcase/arrival1.html.
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.
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