The Wars of the Roses: 8

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Source 5

Richard was a highly successful military commander and could be expected to force a favourable settlement out of the Scots. An important part of Richard’s appeal was not just his dynastic claim to the throne, but his undertaking to rule benevolently, working with Parliament in the interests of the common people. This letter would seem to indicate that at least one prominent figure, and no doubt many others, was prepared to believe it.

Not everyone viewed Richard’s accession positively. Read this extract carefully and use it to answer the questions that follow.

Wishing therefore to display in the North, where he had spent most of his time previously, the superior royal rank, which he acquired from himself in this manner, as diligently as possible, he left the royal city of London and passing through Windsor, Oxford and Coventry came at length to York. There, on a day appointed for the repetition of his crowning in the metropolitan church, presented his only son, Edward, whom, that same day, he had created prince of Wales with the insignia of the golden wand and the wreath; and he arranged splendid and expensive feasts and entertainments to attract to himself the affection of many people. There was no shortage of treasure then to implement the aims of his so elevated mind since, as soon as he first thought about his intrusion into the kingship, he seized everything that his deceased brother, the most glorious King Edward, had collected with the utmost ingenuity and the utmost industry, many years before, as we have related above, and which he had committed to the use of his executors for the carrying out of his last will.
In the meantime and while these things were happening the two sons of King Edward remained in the Tower of London with the specially appointed guard... When at last the people ... [in various southern counties] ... began considering vengeance, public proclamation having been made that Henry, duke of Buckingham, then living at Brecknock in Wales, being repentant of what had been done, would be captain-in-chief in this affair, a rumour arose that King Edward’s sons, by some unknown manner of violent destruction, had met their fate. For this reason, all those who had begun this agitation, realising that if they could not find someone new at their head for their conquest it would soon be all over with them, remembered Henry, earl of Richmond, who had already spent many years in exile in Brittany.


H) Using the evidence of this source, suggest answers for the following:

  • What sort of source has this extract come from? A letter? A history? A report?
  • Was this written during Richard’s reign or after it?
  • What might have been the writer’s purpose in writing this?