Internet sources

The Internet offers a large and growing number of sites relating to the Wars of the Roses and to the history of the British Isles in the fifteenth century. Many of these sites provide brief biographical information on important civil war figures, brief narratives of the wars or of particular battles, and discussions of military and political aspects of the conflict. Besides sites that provide access to the latest scholarship on the period or reproduce contemporary documents and source materials, the Internet contains a host of sites developed and maintained by interested individuals and by various Wars of the Roses reenactment groups. Although the quality of these latter sites can be uneven, many provide interesting or unusual information, illustrations, and links that are well worth the time and attention of any student or enthusiast of the Wars of the Roses or the fifteenth century. Many sites, besides the well-known Richard III Society and its many branches (which are listed below in their own section), focus on the life and career of Richard III, who is clearly the most captivating Wars of the Roses figure for modern students of the period. The sites described below are by no means an exhaustive listing of Wars of the Roses materials to be found on the Web; they are simply a selection of a few of the most useful and best-designed sites currently available.
Scholarly Sites
♦ The History of King Richard III by Sir Thomas More
This site by Renascence Editions supplies the full text of More’s narrative of Richard III.
♦ The Labyrinth
Located at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the Labyrinth is an evolving Web resource for medievalists that offers full texts in the original languages of many works in the medieval canon, medieval Latin word lists, bibliographies, and extensive links to other online resources. Users can match topics of special interest, such as “Armor” or “Art,” with particular types of materials, such as bibliographies, course materials, glossaries, or maps, to find the exact information they are seeking.
♦ Medieval Academy of America
With approximately 4,000 members, the Medieval Academy of America is the preeminent professional association for medievalists in the United States. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy was founded in 1925 for the promotion of research, publication, and instruction in medieval records, art, archaeology, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, science, social and economic institutions, and all other aspects of the Middle Ages. The Web site offers listings of conferences, publications, and prizes, as well as links to related sites. The Academy publishes Speculum, which was founded in 1926 as the first scholarly journal in North America devoted exclusively to the Middle Ages. For the journal, the Web site contains an index to articles published since 1975, submission guidelines for authors, and subscriber information.
♦ Medieval Institute
The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University was established in 1961 as a center for teaching and research in the history and culture of the Middle Ages. The Web site describes the offerings and activities of the institute and provides listings of programs, publications, and conferences, as well as a bulletin board and links to related sites. ORB:The Online Reference Book for
♦ Medieval Studies
ORB is written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and for serious students of medieval history. This extensive site offers a reference shelf with excerpts and full texts of primary and secondary sources found on the ORB server and elsewhere on the Web; resources for teaching, such as syllabi, study questions, writing guides, tips for test-takers, and subject-specific bibliographies; and full-length textbooks written by experienced scholarteachers and tested both in the classroom and on the Internet. The ORB Encyclopedia page contains chronological and geographical indexes of essays, bibliographies, images, and documents, as well as links to related sites and other online resources.
♦ WWW Medieval Resources
This site provides links to a wide variety of medieval history Web pages. These resources include the texts of medieval literature (both English and continental); sites on medieval history, archaeology, architecture, and science; archives of medieval art and manuscript facsimiles; links to libraries with significant medieval holdings; and links to miscellaneous resources, such as the British Library site, the Louvre site, and a Gregorian chant site.
♦ Richard III Societies
Founded in 1924 as the Fellowship of the White Boar by Liverpool surgeon S. Saxon Barton, the Richard III Society acquired its present name in 1959. The Society’s membership now exceeds 4,000, with national branches (see below) in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and local/regional groups in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The society’s goals are to promote the study of fifteenth-century history, especially research pertaining to the life and reign of Richard III. Believing that the traditional view of Richard is not supported by the evidence, the society seeks to secure a reassessment of Richard’s reputation and place in history through its encouragement of scholarly activity.
The society publishes a newsletter and a well-regarded scholarly journal (The Ricardian); organizes lectures, conferences, and seminars; collaborates in the publication of relevant books and papers; maintains a library of materials on Richard III and his times; erects memorials to Richard at important sites; participates in the maintenance of such sites; and cooperates with other organizations in the creation and promotion of various programs relevant to the history of the fifteenth century. In 1986, the society established an independent charity known as the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust, which aims to maintain and broaden the Society’s publishing program, to raise funds, to support research, and to promote cooperation between the Society and the academic community.
The Society’s Web site offers a brief biography of Richard III, a discussion of his reputation, a brief description of the Wars of the Roses, a list of important sites associated with Richard, discussions of Richard’s alleged physical deformities and of the bones found in the Tower of London in 1674, and information on Society projects, publications, and activities in the United Kingdom. Providing links to the Web sites of other branches, the parent society site is a good place to start for the latest research on the life and times of Richard III.
♦ Richard III Society, American Branch
This extremely useful Web site by the American Branch of the Richard III Society is an excellent starting point for any online search for information on the Wars of the Roses or fifteenth-century England. Although the site reflects the pro-Richard point of view of the Society, it also offers a wide variety of useful features for the student of the civil wars. Besides an extensive online library providing the full or partial texts of important source materials, such as the Croyland Chronicle, Philippe de Commines’s Memoirs, and Sir Thomas More’s History of King Richard III, the site also includes all or part of such works of modern scholarship as Sharon D. Michalove’s paper on “The Reinvention of Richard III” and Jeremy Potter’s chapter on the fate of the Princes in the Tower from his 1983 book, Good King Richard? An Account of Richard III and His Reputation.
The site also provides links to sites covering a variety of dramatic renderings of Richard III’s life, from the text of William Shakespeare’s Richard III and a discussion of Maxwell Anderson’s unpublished Richard and Anne to a radio interview of Laurence Olivier discussing Richard III and a description of Al Pacino’s recent film, Looking for Richard. The site also offers a variety of aids for teaching and studying Richard III and the fifteenth century and an extensive series of links to a wide range of scholarly and popular Wars of the Roses and Richard III sites.
♦ Richard III Society of Canada
The Canadian Branch of the Richard III Society was formed in 1966. Subscribing to all the goals and objectives of the parent society, the Branch’s members meet regularly in Toronto for conferences and discussions on Ricardian topics. The highlight of the year is the Annual General Meeting and costumed Medieval Banquet, which are celebrated on or near Richard’s birthday on 2 October.
Besides brief biographies of important Wars of the Roses figures, such as Edward IV, Henry VI, and Margaret of Anjou, this Web site also offers biographies of lesser-known people, such as Richard III’s two illegitimate children, Katherine and John Plantagenet; his legitimate son, Edward of Middleham; and Edward IV’s mistress, Jane Shore. Also provided are a chronology of events in the life of Richard III, a narrative of the Battle of Bosworth Field, a debunking of several crimes ascribed to the king by the traditional view of Richard III, and a discussion of the princes in the Tower and Richard’s possible role in their deaths. The full text is also given for various papers written by members, such as Tracy Bryce’s study of Sir James Tyrell and L. Clement-Hobbs’s discussion of women, courtship, and marriage in late fifteenth-century England. Links are provided to other branches of the Richard III Society, including local groups in Australia and the United Kingdom, and to such other sites as the Richard III Museum in York
Web Addresses for Other Richard III
♦ Society Branches and Groups (Australian Branch)
(New England Branch)
(New Zealand Branch)
(Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Group)
(Queensland Branch)
(Worcestershire Branch)
♦ Shakespeare Sites
♦ Complete Works of William Shakespeare
This site from MIT provides public domain texts, with a glossary, of each of William Shakespeare’s plays, including the entire cycle, from Richard II to Richard III, that depicts the history of fifteenth-century England. The site allows users to search the entire canon for their favorite words or phrases.
♦ Mr.William Shakespeare and the Internet
This site is a complete annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources available on the Internet. It also provides such additional features as a Shakespeare time line and genealogy, a biographical quiz on the playwright, the prefatory material to the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s works, and a list of the plays, giving their probable dates of composition and publication. The site is an excellent first stop for an online Shakespeare search.
♦ Shakespeare Bookshelf
This site from the Internet Public Library offers the full text of all William Shakespeare’s plays, including the fifteenth-century history cycles, as well as links to sites of Shakespeare criticism and Shakespeare Internet discussion groups.
Popular Sites by Groups, Individuals, or Battlefield Societies
♦ The Battle of Blore Heath 1459
This site on the Battle of Blore Heath offers information about the battle, photos of the battlefield, a discussion of fifteenth-century combat and tactics, and information on the annual reenactment of the battle. The page also provides links to related sites.
♦ Continuing Battle of Bosworth Field
This site, which relates efforts to develop the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field for tourism, contains some excellent photos of the battlefield and some useful information on the battle itself. For a more detailed discussion of the Battle of Bosworth Field, see the Bosworth page that is part of the Richard III Society
(American Branch) Web site at
♦ Maps of Medieval England
Containing an interesting map entitled “Britain in 1455–1494,” which depicts the major regions of Lancastrian and Yorkist allegiance, this Web site also offers eleven other maps of Britain prior to 1500, with subjects ranging from the Roman province to the diocesan boundaries of the medieval English Church.
♦ Richard III: Historical Debate
This Web page is dedicated to discussion and study of the Yorkist and early Tudor periods of English history, with a special emphasis on the reign of Richard III. Besides a useful family tree of the house of Plantagenet from Edward III to Henry VII, the site offers an online discussion forum, a series of essays by students and enthusiasts of the period, and a useful bibliography that includes contemporary sources, modern works, historical fiction, and recent films. Links to the main branches of the Richard III Society and to the online resource library of the American Branch are also provided.
♦ Richard III Foundation, Inc.
The Richard III Foundation, Inc., is a nonprofit educational organization that seeks to authenticate the life and times of King Richard III, his contemporaries, and his era, and to expand information about the medieval period, especially the years from 1450 to 1485. Besides a description of the services and tours offered by the foundation, the site includes a biography of Richard III, descriptions of Wars of the Roses battles, a map of battle sites, and links to other medieval history Web pages.
♦ Tewkesbury Battlefield Society
This Web page provides information on the Battle of Tewkesbury and on the society’s efforts to preserve the battle site, including a recent successful campaign to prevent the construction of housing on a portion of the battlefield.
♦ Towton Battlefield Society
This site provides information on the Battle of Towton and on the battlefield site, the preservation of which is the main aim of the Society.
♦ Warrwykk’s Wars of the Roses Page
This Web site includes brief biographical sketches of important civil wars figures, such as Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham (d. 1483), and Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset (d. 1455), as well as all the relevant kings and queens. Also included are a map and a dated listing of important battles and a page of basic but helpful answers to Wars of the Roses FAQs. One fun feature is a challenging multiple choice quiz on the Wars of the Roses (I got twenty-three out of twenty-three but had a few tense moments). Warrwykk’s page also offers a wide and varied selection of links to other Wars of the Roses sites.
♦ Wars of the Roses
This basic site provides a brief but useful time line, biographies of key figures, descriptions of major battles that give casualty figures and lists of notable dead, and links to related sites.
♦ The Wars of the Roses
This site by Matthew Ingalls is useful for its detailed genealogical charts of the house of Plantagenet and of the most important noble families involved in the Wars of the Roses. It also includes the usual series of biographical sketches, battle accounts, and rather breezy discussions of the causes of the wars. Also provided are useful links to Shakespearean and Richard III Society sites.
♦ The Wars of the Roses
This site by Alison Orr offers a brief narrative of the Wars of the Roses, short biographies of key figures involved in the wars, descriptions of major battles, an examination of the debate surrounding Richard III, and general information on life in the fifteenth century. However, it is especially useful for providing detailed family trees of the families of Lancaster, York, Neville, Beaufort, Mortimer, Percy, Woodville, and Tudor.
♦ Wars of the Roses Fiction
This Web site lists authors and titles (but no publishers or dates) of twentieth-century historical fiction with Wars of the Roses or fifteenth-century characters and settings. Carol Mitchell of the Richard III Society compiled the list, so Richard and his story are well represented.
Reenactment Groups
♦ The Company Ecorcheur Medieval Society
The Company Ecorcheur was formed in 1991 by a group of experienced reenactors whose aim is to provide an accurate and entertaining portrayal of military and civilian life in the second half of the fifteenth century. The company specializes in displays of medieval foot combat that employ a wide range of period weaponry, including pollarms and bows.Associated “living history” crafts demonstrated at company encampments include medieval cookery, fletching, calligraphy, and tailoring; also demonstrated are period games, pastimes, dances, and songs. A member of both Livery and Maintenance and the Federation of the Wars of the Roses (see below), umbrella organizations that bring together reenactment groups across Britain to present large-scale battles and sieges for a variety of customers, the Company Ecorcheur portrays the household troops of Richard Plantagenet, duke of Gloucester (Richard III), and also serves as the garrison for Warwick Castle, where it presents a variety of military and craft exhibitions throughout the year. Besides a list of upcoming events and equipment suppliers, the Web site offers brief descriptions of Wars of the Roses battles, a fifteenthcentury songbook, and links to related groups.
♦ Federation of the Wars of the Roses
This detailed and extensive listing of reenactment groups provides mailing addresses, phone numbers, brief descriptions, and Web site links. The site is another good starting point for anyone interested in participating in a Wars of the Roses reenactment group.
♦ The Medieval Free Company
The Medieval Free Company is a nonprofit living history group specializing in Wars of the Roses period reenactments. The site’s most interesting features are a listing of books and music for the medieval enthusiast, links to suppliers of medieval equipage and reenactment support services (such as the Drunken Monk Tavern people who man beer tents), and tips on training with medieval arms and staging medieval combats.
♦ Medieval Re-enactment Society sourcesmr/
The society comprises enthusiasts of fifteenth-century history who reenact the battles of the Wars of the Roses. Society members have taken part in reenactments at Richmond and Bodiam Castles and on the battlefields at Tewkesbury and Bosworth. The site mainly provides information about the society and its activities, but also includes an extensive set of links to other reenactment groups and organizations.
♦ The Red Company
This American reenactment group portrays a continental military company in the service of Burgundy in the year 1471. During their annual encampments, the company’s members sleep in tents, cook meals over a fire, shoot crossbows, fight with swords and pollarms, drill with pikes, and ride horses in armor. Besides a history of the company and a listing of upcoming events, the Web site offers photos of the Red Company encampments, a discussion of fifteenthcentury military life, and links to other reenactment societies.
♦ Society for Creative Anachronism
Headquartered in California, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international organization dedicated to researching and recreating pre–seventeenthcentury European history. The Web site is an excellent place to start for anyone interested in getting involved in fifteenth-century reenactments in the United States.

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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