In the immediate aftermath of the battle of Blore Heath the Earl of Warwick issued a series of articles that justified the actions of the Yorkist lords. Politically it was an incredibly tense time and a justification of arraying forces and Yorkist policies was required. The clash at Blore Heath had precipitated parliamentary sessions. The party loyal to the Queen and duke of Somerset had already been making moves to limit or stop the actions of the duke of York and earls of Salisbury and Warwick. The clash at Blore Heath made parliamentary action more likely, and the level of risk that had led to the Yorkists gathering their retainers had simply increased.
The Earl of Warwick on Yorkist Intentions
Conscious of the mixed feelings about the government and the actions of the Lancastrian lords, Warwick chose to remind the populace of the Yorkists good intentions and the wrongs that were being done in the King’s name. From the introduction to the Chronicles of the White Rose of York:
Warwick justified the steps taken by the confederates in the following Articles, which he dispersed on his March.
I. That the Commonweal and good politic laws had been piteously overturned.
II. That the crown property had been outrageously spoiled and robbed.
III. That sufficient was scarcely left for the sustentation of the royal household.
IV. That the merchants and people had, by illegal novelties, suffered great extortions, without payment, from the Ministers of the King’s household.
V. That the Government permitted great and abominable murders, robberies, perjuries and extortions ; and favoured and cherished instead of punishing them.
VI. That the King from his own blessed conversation, and noble disposition, graciously applied himself to the commonweal; but that certain persons, from their covetousness, and (in order) that they might rule, had hidden all these evils from him.
Harleian MS 543, cited in the introduction to the Chronicles of the White Rose of York.
The Kentish Memorial was a list of grievances published in 1460. It is generally speaking supportive of the arguments that had previously been put forward by the Yorkist Lords.
Richard Duke of York Claims the Throne. In contrast to the statements of the Lords who had sought refuge in Calais and the commonality of the South East, Richard asserted his right to be King of England, a move that culminated in the Act of Accord.
Complaint of the Poor Commons of Kent was published in 1450. It is useful as a gauge of how much change there had or had not been in the views of the Commons of Kent over the course of the 1450’s. The Compaint was issued at the time of the revolt led by Jack Cade.
Richard 3rd Duke of York and the Act of Accord. The Yorkist response was swift. The Earls of March, Salisbury and Warwick returned from Calais and took control of London and the King. The Duke of York then returned from Ireland. When he arrived in London he claimed the throne. It was a shocking move by the Duke but led to succession in his and his lines favour being written into law.
Richard duke of York slain in the Battle of Wakefield. Queen Margaret and many nobles opposed the Act of Accord. It sparked a military response to which the Duke of York in turn responded. He failed to quash the Lancastrian opposition, he died in battle at Wakefield.
Wakefield, Mortimer’s Cross and St. Albans. The consequence of the Battle of Wakefield and the deaths of the Duke of York and Earls of Rutland and Salisbury was all out war. In the busiest military period within the Wars of the Roses the Yorkists fought back. At Mortimer’s Cross the Earl of March was victorious. At St. Alban’s the Yorkists under the Earl of Warwick were defeated. It left the Yorkists, now united, in London facing the threat of a large Lancastrian army.
Edward IV declared King of England. Despite the threat of a Lancastrian siege and with no guarantee of success against Queen Margaret’s large force, the Yorkists chose to declare Edward as King of England. The grounds for this were the breech of the Act of Accord, and the incompetency of Henry VI’s regime,
Reburial of Richard 3rd Duke of York. Once established as King, Edward IV had his father and brother exhumed and transferred, in great ceremony, to more fitting resting places.