Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Queen and the Brigand

The War of the Roses began about two years after the Hundred Years' War ended. It lasted nearly thirty years, and in it twelve battles were fought and about one hundred thousand people perished. It was in many respects worse than the Hundred Years' War, because now the English were fighting against one another, and because they displayed great cruelty and showed no mercy.

In the first great battle of the War of the Roses, that of St. Albans, the Duke of Somerset was killed, and the Yorkists captured the poor wounded king. Then for a short time the Duke of York was again protector. But the party of Lancaster rallied around the queen to continue the struggle.

The Duke of York, finding that many people were opposed to the idea of his being king, now went off to Ireland, leaving his cause in the hands of his brother-in-law, the Earl of Warwick, who was one of the richest men in England. This nobleman had lands and castles, thirty thousand people were fed at his tables every day, and as he was well liked he could raise an army whenever he pleased.

Left at the head of the Yorkist party, Warwick collected troops, and defeated the Lancastrians at the battle of Northampton. Henry VI. was again captured, and was now forced to recognize the Duke of York as his heir. But Queen Margaret, at the head of a Lancastrian army, soon defeated the Yorkists at Wakefield, and in this battle the Duke of York was killed. By Margaret's order, his head was cut off and exhibited upon the walls of York, wearing a paper crown.

Margaret, encouraged by this victory, now marched on London to deliver the captive king. But she was met on the way by Warwick, and at St. Albans a second battle took place, in which the queen was victorious. Warwick was forced to flee, leaving the king in her hands.

As Margaret's followers had disgraced themselves by plundering all along the road, London refused to admit her when she appeared, and preferred to open its gates to the new Duke of York. Warwick, who entered with him, the asked the people whether they wanted a York or a Lancaster for king, and they clamoured for a York: So Warwick led his nephew to Westminster, where he was publicly proclaimed as Edward IV., King of England.

The new king was only nineteen, but he was handsome and clever, and would have made a good ruler, had he not been cruel and self-indulgent. As the Lancastrians would not submit, he fought against them at Towton, where he celebrated his victory by being even more harsh than usual. After this battle he was formally crowned as king, and he named his two brothers, George and Richard, Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester.

Queen Margaret fled to Scotland with her helpless husband and son, and, having secured new troops by journeying twice to France, she invaded England. But the Lancastrians were again defeated in the battles of Hedgeley Moor and Hexham. The deposed king, Henry VI., escaped only because he was well mounted; but after dodging his enemies for about a year, he was betrayed into their hands. Warwick tied his feet under his horse, made him ride around the pillory (whipping post), and, after many similar indignities, thrust him into the Tower.

As for Queen Margaret, she fled with her little son. In crossing a forest, she fell into the hands of a party of brigands. While these men were quarrelling over the division of her jewels, she managed to escape with her son. But she had not gone far before she met another robber. Stepping up to him boldly, she pushed her boy towards him, saying, "Protect the son of your king."

Margaret of Anjou and the Robber.


Thus appealed to, the brigand led the queen and prince to his retreat, where he hid them for a few days. Then he helped them to cross over to France, where Queen Margaret had many friends. It was well for her that she managed to escape, for all the nobles who had sided with her were now reduced to beggary. We are told that one Lancastrian lord had to become a shepherd, and that the Countess of Oxford had to support her family by doing needlework and by begging in the streets.