- An important town and castle on the Anglo- Scottish border, Berwick served as a base for Lancastrian and Scottish raids into northern England in the 1460s, and remained a complicating factor in Anglo-Scottish relations throughout the WARS OF THE ROSES. After the capture of HENRY VI at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July 1460, Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU and her son Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER fled into SCOTLAND, where they were honorably received by the regency government of young JAMES III. In January 1461, after negotiations with Queen MARY OF GUELDRES, mother of the Scottish king and leader of his regency council, Margaret agreed to surrender Berwick to the Scots in return for Scottish military assistance against the Yorkists. The agreement was to be sealed by a marriage between the Prince of Wales and Mary, the sister of James III. Although the Yorkist victory at the Battle of TOWTON in March 1461 won the throne for EDWARD IV, the north of England remained loyal to Henry VI, and Edward was unable to prevent the Lancastrian surrender of Berwick to the Scots on 25 April 1461.The loss of Berwick infuriated Edward IV, but he could do little about it beyond using Margaret’s surrender of an English town as a PROPAGANDA weapon against the Lancastrians. Prince Edward’s marriage to the Scottish princess never occurred, but a Scottish-held Berwick became an ideal staging point for repeated Lancastrian and Scottish military efforts, which kept northern England unsettled for most of the 1460s. Although the Lancastrian threat to the region ended with Edward IV’s restoration in 1471, continued Scottish possession of Berwick irritated the Yorkist government, and Anglo-Scottish relations remained poor (see Edward IV, Restoration of).Having unsuccessfully besieged Berwick since the previous year, Edward IV concluded the Treaty of Fotheringhay with Alexander, duke of Albany, estranged brother of James III, in June 1482. In return for the surrender of Berwick and certain other concessions, Edward IV agreed to support Albany’s claim to his brother’s throne. In fulfillment of the treaty, Richard, duke of Gloucester (see Richard III, King of England), led a large army northward in July. The town of Berwick capitulated immediately, but the castle held out. Gloucester then invaded Scotland, where the political opposition to James III prevented any real resistance and allowed the duke to enter Edinburgh on 1 August. With no help coming from the Scottish king, the Berwick garrison surrendered the castle to Gloucester on 24 August 1482. After twenty-one years in Scottish hands, Berwick was once again an English town.Further Reading: Haigh, Philip A., The Military Campaigns of the Wars of the Roses (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1995); Macdougall, Norman, James III: A Political Study (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 1982); Nicholson, Ranald, Scotland: The Later Middle Ages, vol. 2 of The Edinburgh History of Scotland (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1974); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.
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