The Wars of the Roses 1455 – 1487 *37 Year War

The Wars of the Roses were a series of clashes between the two dynasties of medieval England during the 15th century.

The wars took place between the two branches of the royal House of Plantagenets and the houses of York and Lancaster. The conflict mainly emerged from the troubling conditions that resulted from the Hundred Years’ War and was further intensified by the weak rule of Henry VI.

The Wars of the Roses History

The actual history of the Wars of the Roses began in 1455, although there was related fighting before that too. Given the weak rule of Henry VI and the financial troubles resulting from the Hundred Years’ War, Richard from the House of York renewed his claim to the throne.


King Henry VI Portrait painting

Henry VI

Henry VIII Medieval King

Henry Tudor

The Wars of the Roses continued until 1487 when the final victory fell into the hands of Henry Tudor from the House of Lancaster.

Wars of the roses emblems

Emblems from the wars of the Roses

Wars of the Roses England

The Wars of the Roses is one of the most famous dynastic clashes in the history of England. It ended with the emergence of Henry Tudor who laid the basis for the Tudor Dynasty to rule England for more than a century.

The war also united the two rival houses of York and Lancaster when Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York.


The timeline of the Wars of the Roses can be traced back to 1399 when Henry of Bolingbroke deposed his cousin Richard II and ascended to the throne.

Wars of the Roses painting

Henry VI was from the same line but he was a weak king with little hold on the throne. This gave rise to the rival claims on the throne which eventually led to the war in 1455. The war continued for 32 years and ended in 1487 with the victory of Henry Tudor.

Reason for the Wars

The main reason behind the Wars of the Roses was rival claims to the throne of England. From the House of Lancaster, John of Gaunt claimed his right to the throne as he was the descendant of Edward III.

Richard, Duke of York, also challenged Henry VI’s claim to the throne and thus there were multiple rivals who were ready to go to war to get their own way.

John Gaunt English King

John Gaunt

Wars of the Roses Armies

The armies that took part in the Wars of the Roses mainly consisted of the landed aristocracy and the armies of the feudal retainers. Besides, some foreign mercenaries also took part from both sides.

Large numbers of men-at-arms were hired by both sides and this reduced the royal authority to nil. Sometimes, the nobles also switched sides during the battles.


Several major battles were fought during the Wars of the Roses. The battles began with the Battle of First St. Albans on 22 May 1455 which resulted in the victory of the House of York.

Subsequent battles include Blore Heath, Ludford Bridge, Towton, Hexham, and others. The final battle was the Battle of Stoke in 1487 after which Henry Tudor became the king.

King Henry viii Tudor King England 2


The Wars of the Roses were a series of battles fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York, the two rival claimants to the throne of England.

Rival claims to the throne emerged as a result of the weak rule of Henry VI. The Wars of the Roses ended with the victory of the Lancastrian party, with Henry Tudor becoming the new king.

The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors Paperback – October 6, 2015

The Wars of the Roses: A Bloody Crown

Learn More about the Wars of the Roses at Wikipedia