The Wars of the Roses: 11

Virtual classroom

Was Henry VI personally respected?

Based on the sources from the previous pages this is how you may interpret this question:-

  • Definitely true No. There is no evidence to suggest this in any of the sources. Even John Blacman is clearly preparing a case for Henry precisely because he knows Henry is not well thought of.
  • Probably true No. Not only is there no direct evidence of this, but it is inherently unlikely that a king with his record of military failure, not to mention being overthrown twice, would command general respect. John Blacman says that members of Henry’s household spoke of him apparently going into religious trances, but it is unclear whether this inspired respect or revulsion; the very fact that Blacman feels he has to mention it suggests that either it was to Henry’s credit but was not widely known, or that it was widely known but was counted against him. Either way it does not suggest personal respect for Henry.
  • Possibly true No. It is not impossible that Henry was personally respected in some quarters – John Blacman clearly respected him and he thought it would be possible to convince the Papacy to canonise the king, in which case many people would presumably come to share Blacman’s opinion. However, despite Blacman’s optimism, there is no evidence in his account of a widely-held good opinion of King Henry VI.
  • Definitely untrue Yes. Given the lack of evidence in these sources and the inherent unlikelihood of the proposition, this judgement, though extreme, is probably correct.
  • Not shown by the evidence It certainly is not shown by the evidence; however the evidence to the contrary allows us to be rather more definite than this in our judgement.


J b) Propaganda determined which side people supported in the Wars of the Roses.

  • Definitely true;
  • Probably true;
  • Possibly true;
  • Definitely untrue;
  • Not shown by the evidence;