Category Archives: Educational texts

W L S Churchill

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CHURCHILL

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born in November 1874. He was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. This is the only non-royal and non-episcopal palace in the British Isles. It is the seat of the Duke of Marlborough. Winston was the grandson of the Duke of Marlborough. Winston’s father was Lord Randolph Churchill. Lord Randolph was a younger son of the duke so was not in line to inherit the dukedom. Winston’s mother was Jenny Jerome who was American.

In August 1873 Miss Jerome had come from New York to England to find a husband. Her father was a highly successful banker. The family had money but they feared not class. Jenny Jerome was 18 and she went to Cowes Week. This was a yachting even on the Isle of Wight. It was very fashionable at the time. That was because international travel was much slower before the plane was invented. Jenny met Lord Randolph who was a few years older than her. Within weeks of a whirlwind romance they wed.

Winston was born early. He was always below average height. He also suffered from a shoulder that often became dislocated. This might have been due to his premature birth.

A few years later Winston was followed by a brother named Jack. The two were not close.

The Spencer-Churchill family had been prominent in politics since the 17th century. They originated in a Oxfordshire village named Churchill from which they took their name. They moved to Wiltshire in the Middle Ages. There they became gentry. Sir John Churchill fought for the king in the English Civil War. Sir John became a close advisor to Charles II. His sister became the mistress of James II who was the brother of Charles II.

As a toddler Winston moved to Dublin. His father was Under Secretary for Ireland. His grandfather was the Viceroy of Ireland. Winston dwelt in the Under Secretary’s Lodge. He was fond of a kindly civil servant Thomas H Burke. After some years they left Ireland. When Winston was 7 he found out that that lovely Mr Burke had been murdered by the Fenians. Winston developed a lifelong aversion to Irish republicanism.

Winston attended St George’s School in Ascot. He did not excel. He found Latin and Greek dull. The headmaster was a flagellomaniac.

Later Winston went on to Harrow School. His pater had attended Eton and loathed it. Therefore he sent his son to Eton’s rival. Winston had to parade in alphabetical order like the rest of the school. His surname was Spencer-Churchill. This put him far down the alphabet. He chose to drop the ‘Spencer’ part. As a Churchill he was much higher up the alphabet. Winston struggled with classics and French. He did well only at history and English.

The cleverest boys concentrated on classics. Middling ability boys did some classics but a lot of other subjects such as Maths, sciences and modern languages.  The dimmest did little classics and were called the army class. The dimmest of the dim were guided towards joining the cavalry. Winston was in the army class and was told to aim to become a cavalry officer.

By the time Winston was a teenager his parents were estranged. They both carried on extramarital affairs. They had little regard for their eldest son. He knew his lack of academic aptitude disappointed them. He wrote to them begging for them to visit him. They seldom replied. His emotional bond was with his nanny Mrs Everest. He called her Womany as he had done since toddlerhood.

At Harrow Winston showed prowess in fencing. He was the public schools champion. He also won a declamation competition for reciting Macaulay’s the Lays of Ancient Rome. One of the most renowned quatrains is ‘How can man die better/ than facing fearful odds /for the ashes of his fathers /and the temples of his gods.’ By ‘fathers’ Macaulay meant ‘ancestors’.

Winston left Harrow a year early. He was enrolled in a crammer to prepare him for Sandhurst. This is the Royal Military Academy. The crammer was not fun or prestigious but it got the job done.

At Sandhurst Winston trained to be a cavalry officer. He passed out successfully. By then his father was stricken with syphilis. He died when Winston was 20. That same year Womany also died. Winston paid for her funeral.

Lady Churchill soon married a man only a little older than Winston. Winston loathed his stepfather.

The young Winston went to India with the British Army. There he read with avidity. His voracious desire for knowledge was limited to European history. He decided that he was a Liberal in politics. However, his family connections were all to the Conservative Party.

The British and Indians were fighting against rebellious tribes on the North West Frontier. Winston was sent there with the Malakand Field Force. He distinguished himself by his contempt for death. He exposed himself to enemy fire when there was no need to do so. He wished to make a name for himself. Winston was adamant that he must demonstrated his gallantry. He said that he was playing for high stakes and therefore must risk his life. He later wrote a history of this military expedition. The young officer was convinced that India had nothing to teach him. He soon returned to the British Isles.

In the 1890s the British Empire was fighting in Egypt. The British were assisting the Egyptians to defeat the Mahdist Revolt. Many Sudanese were against the extremist sect ruling the country. Winston was eager to participate in what he saw as an adventure. He wangled his way onto the expedition. He set sail for Egypt. Then he took a boat down the Nile to Sudan.

On one occasion Winston had to report to the British commander Herbert Kitchener. Winston found this nerve wracking. He fought at the Battle of Omdurman. Winston later wrote about killing an enemy soldier, ‘how easy it is to kill a man’. He later wrote how some British soldiers killed wounded enemy fighters. His book on the campaign was entitled ‘The River War’.

At this time there was a rebellion in Spanish Cuba. Winston managed to go there as a war correspondent. He could not make up his mind which side he sympathised with.

Later Winston went to SOuth Africa as a war correspondent. He not only reported on the fighting but participated in it. He was on a train that was ambushed. He carried a gun and fired at  the enemy. He was taken prisoner. The Boers was irate. This man was masquerading as a journalist. The Boers considered executing him. He managed to escape. Winston walked through the night and hid out in the day. He took a risk and asked a man for help. A friendly civilian hid him in a mine for a few days. In the end he managed to get onto a train to Portuguese South-East Africa (now called Mozambique). He got to Lourenco Marques. At this time the conflict was going badly for the empire. Winston’s escape was a ray of hope.

The young journalist to the United Kingdom to a hero’s welcome. Winston soon stood for Parliament. He was elected as a Conservative. He was instantly regarded as a rising star.

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Economics

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ECONOMICS

Economics is summarised as ‘money studies’. This is about why some countries are wealthier than others. Economics asks why a country gets richer and why it sometimes becomes poorer. Why is it the world economy grows sometimes yet shrinks other times?

Macroeconomics looks at economics on a large scale: sometimes a worldwide scale. Microeconomics looks at local economies. The subject of economics looks at money supply. If we printed more money would be richer? No, we would not. But why not?

Currencies are studied by economics. Why is a currency will gain value sometimes and lose value other times? What is inflation and hyperinflation? Is economic growth always good?

If money loses value this is inflation. That usually happens. It is normally a problem but can be kept within reasonable limits. If a currency appreciates too much (gains value) that can be bad too. Currencies depreciate a lot (lose value). The exchange rate fluctuates.

There are different sectors to the economy. Primary economic activity is farming, fishing and mining. Secondary economic activity is industry and construction. Tertiary economic activity is services such as medical care, education, transport, financial services, tourism and so forth.

The subject studies trade, opportunities, costs wages and so on. This subject has been around since Ancient Greece. However, the subject only really took off in the 18th century. Statistics started to be collated. Various people developed theories about the subject.

 

Many centuries ago all money was coinage. Coins were of silver, gold or other metals. Then paper money was introduced. People did not trust it. States adopted the gold standard. This meant a person could go to a bank and exchange a bank note for an amount of gold. Conversely a person could take gold to a bank and sell it for cash. Was the gold standard good? This was a contentious issue in many lands. It was finally abandoned in the 1970s. The idea of the gold standard was that it gave people confidence in the money. They believed that cash had real value if it could be exchanged for gold.

The father of modern economics is Adam Smith. Smith was an 18th century British economist. He was a luminary of the Scottish Enlightenment. His most celebrated tome is ‘The Wealth of Nations.’ In this work he expounded his claim that capitalism is the way forward. He believed that self-interest advanced the common weal.

Karl Marx was also a notable economist. He was an 19th century German thinker. He asked why there was so much abject penury in the midst of incalculable wealth? Marx’s answer was that there was no lack of wealth. It was the inequitable distribution of wealth that was to blame. There was a marked tendency for the might to accrue ever more wealth to themselves. He observed that money is power. The theory of Marx is known as Marxism. His adherents are called Marxists. Dr Marx’s most renowned work was entitled Das Kapital (‘Capital’ is the English translation). Even in English it is known by its German title. By ‘capital’ he meant property and money. Marx held that there were different socio-economic classes. Their interests were necessarily inimical. The masses were exploited by the affluent. The time would come when the benighted and long downtrodden masses would overthrow their masters. Karl Marx wanted to see the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. K Marx was an exceptionally influential thinker in the 20th centuries. His ideas are out of fashion now.

Marx is viewed as the father of communism. This is a political as well as an economic system. His disciples are called Marxists.

John Maynard Keynes was one of the most famous economists. Keynes gave his name to an economic theory – Keynsianism. He believed that governments ought to intervene more but he stopped short of advocating large scale state ownership. Keynes’ theory was en vogue in much of the Western World from the 1940s into the 1980s. It then gave way to Monetarism. Keynes believed in high borrowing and spending. This would stimulate economic growth. His most famous book is General Theory of Money.

Friedrich Hayek was an Austrian-American economist. Hayek believed that government should stay out of the economy insofar as possible. He is regarded as a right wing economist. His ideas had much purchase in the University of Chicago. His policies were executed in the United States and Latin American countries.

 

 

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  1. What is economics?
  2. Who wrote General Theory of Money?
  3. What did Hayek believe?
  4. Who is Scotland’s most renowned economist?
  5. What is Adam SMith’s famous book called?
  6. Would printing more money enrich us?
  7. What was Marx’s famous published work on economics called?
  8. In economics what is capital?
  9. What is it called when money loses value?
  10. What was the gold standard?

UK Politics

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UK Politics

The politics of the United Kingdom is centred on Parliament. Parliament stands in London beside the River Thames. Parliament is also known as the Palace of Westminster. Strictly speaking it is a royal palace but no member of the royal family has lived there for centuries. It was dubbed the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ by John Bright MP. Parliament is sometimes called ‘Westminster’ because of the area of London in which is located.

The United Kingdom has existed in 1707. That was when Scotland and England united to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. They had both been separate kingdoms prior to 1707. Wales was a Principality attached to England.

There are two houses of Parliament. These are the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Commons is elected and the Lords is not.

Those who are elected to the Commons are called Members of Parliament. They put MP behind their names.

People in the House of Lords have the title ‘lord’ for a man or ‘baroness’ for a woman.  There are over 800 people in the Lords. Those in the House of Lords can be called ‘peers’ as well. The House of Lords is sometimes called ‘the House of Peers’. Most of those in the Lords are life peers. That means they hold the title for life. When a life peer dies his or her title is not passed on to his or her son or daughter. There are hereditary peers too. There are over 1000 hereditary peers but only 89 of them in the House of Lords.

Legislation usually starts in the House of Commons. It is a bill (a suggestion for a law). The bill is read aloud thrice in the Commons. There is debate on it. If it is passed it is sent to the House of Lords. It is read aloud thrice in the Lords. The peers debate the bill. If the bill is passed it is sent to the Queen to sign. The monarch has signed every single bill that has been passed since 1714. Once signed the bill becomes an act. It is announced in Parliament ‘la reine le veult’ which is Old French for ‘the Queen wills it’ to signify that the bill has received the royal assent and has become an act. An Act of Parliament is a law.

The process of making laws is called legislation. Laws passed by Parliament are pieces of legislation. A law making body is called a legislature. Those who are members of these legislatures are called legislators. There are other legislatures in the UK. These are the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the London Assembly and various county councils.

Elections to the UK Parliament are by the first past the post system. There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Each one elects one MP. A constituency is also called a ‘seat’. An MP ‘sits’ for his seat – that means he or she represents it. The main parties will field a candidate in every constituency. Whoever gets the most votes wins the seat. That might seem obvious. You do not need 100% of the votes to win a seat. But you do not even need 50%. In fact it is rare to get over 50%.

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There are a few major political parties in the UK. The Conservative and Unionist Party is the biggest one. It is commonly called the Conservative Party. Its nickname is the Tory Party. A member of it is colloquially called a Tory. The word ‘Unionist’ in the official name is because it supports the Act of Union. The party’s mission is to keep the UK together. It is a centre-right party. This party is eurosceptic so they are leading Brexit.

The Labour Party is the other major party in the UK. Since 1922 every government in the United Kingdom has been been either Labour or Tory. Occasionally there have been coalitions with minor parties. This is a left of centre party. The Labour Party’s constitution says that it is a democratic socialist party. The party’s colour is red. The party emphasises social justice. It has a lot of working class support. The party is committed to helping the poorest and improving public services. It believes in raising taxes on the affluent.

The Liberal Democratic Party is the third largest party in share of the vote. The Liberals say they are neither right nor left. They are ardent enthusiasts for the European Union. They also support devolution. The party values individual liberty and is suspicious of state control and opposes any diminution of civil liberty.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is the fourth biggest party in the UK. The SNP only seeks election in Scotland. The SNP aims to break Scotland away from the UK and make Scotland a separate kingdom. It is a left of centre party. The SNP wishes to keep the Queen but would retitle her as Queen of Scots. The party is passionately europhile.

The Green Party is a tiny party. It says that ecology is the most vital thing. They wish to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions and wastage. They oppose nuclear power and nuclear arms. They want to cut the defence budget. The party proposes higher taxes and better funded public services.

The Democratic Unionist Party is the fifth biggest party in the UK. The DUP only exists in Northern Ireland. The party wants to keep Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.

Sinn Fein means ‘ourselves alone’ in the Irish language. Sinn Fein exists in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Sinn Fein wants to take Northern Ireland out of the UK and into the Republic. The party is pro European Union.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) is a nationalist party in Northern Ireland. The SDLP wants Northern Ireland to join the Republic. It is centrist and europhile.

The Brexit Party was founded in 2019. The aim was to ensure that the UK left the European Union. The party will probably dissolve in 2020. It has no one in Parliament. Ironically it got people elected to the European Parliament

Plaid Cymru means ‘the party of Wales’ in the Welsh language. The party wants Wales to leave the UK. The party favours a greater role for the Welsh language. It is socialist and anti-monarchist.

The UK Independence Party used to be the main anti EU party. This role has been taken over by the Brexit Party. UKIP will probably fold in 2020.

Latin

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LATIN

The Ancient Romans spoke the Latin language. Latin drew on other languages such as Etruscan. The Etruscans lived in a region north of Rome called Tuscany. Note the words Tuscany and Etruscan are similar. The area around Rome was called ‘Latium’. In Italian this region is now called ‘Lazzio’. The word ‘latina’ means ‘tin’ in Italian – as in the metal called ‘tin’. Tin was used a lot by the Romans because it is easy to find and it is malleable.

The alphabet that we use in English is the Latin alphabet. However, Latin had no letter J or W or Y. Latin letters were drawn without curves usually. They were easy to carve into stone. The Romans did not have punctuation. They sometimes put all the letters together without gaps between the words. Thatmadeitverydifficulttoreadthewords.

The Romans started out in the city of Rome. They gradually conquered the whole of Italy. From there they spread out. The Romans subjugated much of Europe. They ruled from Scotland to Turkey. They ruled from Morocco to Crimea. They ruled all the lands adjacent to the Mediterranean. Their language spread throughout the empire. Most subjects of the empire did not learn the language.

When the Roman Empire started to collapse in the 4th century AD the language did not disappear in the colonies. Christianity came along. In Western Europe the Catholic Church made its headquarters at Rome. The Pope is the leader of Western Christians. The Catholic Church is often called the Roman Catholic Church because it is based in Rome. The Catholic Church continued to use Latin as its official language. The church controlled education. Therefore, Latin became the main language of education.

The Latin language had a profound influence on other languages. Italian grew out of Latin. French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian are mainly Latin vocabulary. These languages are called Romance languages. Their grammatical systems emulate Latin to varying degrees. Other European languages draw on Latin too but less so.

Intellectual words in most European languages are Latin or Greek in origin. Therefore, an academic text in another European language is easier to understand than a conversation in demotic words which tend to be sui generis to the language in question.

Here are some English words of Latin origin: origin, verb, language, intelligence, gender, respire, mouse, palace, family, decision, computer, emperor, army, port, illustration, art, victory, divine, comedy, treasure, order, justice, one, conversation, sermon, table, non and liberty. 30% of English words come directly from Latin even if they have changed their spelling or meaning slightly. Another 30% of English words come from Latin via French.

The Latin language was a spoken language well into the Middle Ages. Educated men all over Europe spoke it. This meant that a professor from Portugal could teach at a university in Poland using Latin. A priest from Albania could lead worship in Iceland using Latin.

In the 1930s the Italian Government founded a town called ‘Latina’ near Rome. ‘Latina’ means ‘Latin’ in the Italian language as well as meaning the metal ‘tin’.

The Latin language has cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative and ablative.

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  1. Which country did Latin start in?
  2. What region of Italy did Latin start in?
  3. Where is Tuscany?
  4. What does ‘latina’ mean besides a language?
  5. Name five English words that come from Latin.
  6. Which three letters did Latin not have?
  7. Did Latin have punctuation?
  8. Where was the most northerly place the Romans ruled?
  9. Which religious organisation is based in Rome?
  10. Name four languages that are mainly based on Latin?
  11. Why is it easier to understand an intellectual conversation in another European language than a non-intellectual one?
  12. What % of English words come straight from Latin?

13. How many cases does Latin have?

Harry Potter

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HARRY POTTER

Joanne Rowling is a British writer. She grew up in the countryside of southern England. She read French at Exeter University. She married and had a child. She soon divorced. In the 1990s she was a penniless single mother in Edinburgh. She conceived an idea for a character. Harry Potter was born. She was advised by publishers to go by the pen name of J K Rowling. Boys would not wish to read a book by a female. Using her initials disguised the fact that she is an authoress.

In 2000 the first Harry Potter novel was published. It was an overnight sensation. Rowling became very wealthy.

Harry goes to a school called Hogwarts. It is in northern England. Potter takes the Hogwarts Express Train from King’s Cross Station, London. He departs from platform nine and three quarters. He runs his trolley into the wall. Harry plays Quidditch at school. He learns magic spells. He befriends Hermione Granger and others. The school is for young magicians. The headmistress can shape shift into a cat.

If you go to King’s Cross Station in London you can see Platform 9 3/4. There is a trolley disappearing into the wall. People queue for hours to pose for a photo with this. It is free of charge to do so. There is a Harry Potter shop there. In Watford there is a Harry Potter Studio.

There are some people who think that Harry Potter is sinister. Some people claim that it is teaching children black magic.

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All questions are worth one mark unless otherwise stated.

  1. Who wrote Harry Potter?
  2. Describe Harry Potter’s personality. Five marks
  3. Where was J K Rowling living when she wrote her first novel?
  4. What special sport does Harry play?
  5. What platform does the Hogwarts Express leave from?
  6. What is unusual about the headmistress of the school?
  7. Where is Platform 9 3/4?
  8. Who is your favourite character in the novels besides Harry? Five marks.
  9. Who is so scintillating about the way that the novels are written? Five marks

American Football

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AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Various forms of football have been played since Ancient Roman times. There were huge differences between the varieties of football. But they all had certain things in common. All of them involved an inflated ball as opposed to a hard ball. They were all invasions games within a pitch defined by sidelines.

In the 19th century a special form of football was invented in the United States. In the US it is simply known as ‘football’. In the rest of the world it is called ‘American football’. The word ‘football’ might seem surprising as the ball is seldom kicked.

Players wear helmets and body armour. They try to go forward ten years and get a down. That means they have touched the ball down again. Then play stops. They start again from a set piece. The game is very sporadic. Play breaks down every few seconds. This allows for many commercials.

Players are allowed to tackle each other when the other player does not have the ball. Forward passing is not allowed. Scoring is by crossing a line deep inside the other team’s territory and touching the ball down. It is an invasion game.

Thanksgiving is the main day for this sport.

Each team has different squads for offence and defence. A field goal can be scored – kicking the ball over the bar. The one who kicks the ball is a specialist who comes on only for that.

In the rest of the world there is a sport called football which involves kicking the ball and no one except the goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands. In the United States this sport is called ‘soccer’. The word ‘soccer’ is also used in Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

Some players have to be very strong and built like the side of a barn. Others are very fast. Some players have to have superb hand eye co-ordination.

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Wars of the Roses

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WARS OF THE ROSES

The name ‘Wars of the Roses’ was invented by Sir Walter Scott in his 19th century novel Geierstein. The Wars of the Roses lasted from 1455 to roughly 1485. There is some debate as to when exactly these wars ended.

In the 14th century Edward III reigned. He had five sons. Four of them had descendants. The descendants of these four fought against each other. That is what the Wars of the Roses is about. Different factions of the English Royal Family fighting against each other.

There were four sons but only two sides. How so? This is because sometimes cousins married each other. That does not mean first cousins but it could be second cousins or third cousins. First cousins share the same grandparents. Second cousins share the same great-grandparents, third cousins share the same great-great-grandparents and so forth.

Henry VI became king in 1422. He was 9 months old. His father Henry V has been known as a great warrior king. Henry VI’s mother was Catherine de Valois who was a French princess. Henry VI was proclaimed King of England and King of France. Henry VI also had another title : the Duke of Lancaster.

Henry VI is the only man whose writ ever ran in both the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France. As he was a child authority exercise had to be exercised on his behalf by his paternal uncles.

Charles VII was the paternal uncle of Henry VI. Charles VII claimed to be the rightful King of France. His father Charles VI had been King of France. Charles VII organised a fightback against the English in France and began to take back much of the country.

Henry VI was crowned King of France in Notre Dame Cathedral Paris. However, kings of France are not crowned at Paris. They are crowned at Rheims. But Rheims had fallen into the hands of Charles VII therefore Henry VI was unable to go there. Some held that Henry VI’s coronation in France was invalid. He married a French noblewoman named Margaret of Anjou. She was a domineering woman and brought many courtiers from France who made themselves unpopular. She was obliged to take up the reins of government as it became obvious that her husband was suffering from a psychiatric disorder. After several years of marriage she and her husband had no children. Questions were asked.

By the 1450s it was clear that Henry’s was mentally infirm. His grandfather Charles VI of France had also been afflicted with insanity. Henry VI suffered transient attacks of mental illness. His psychotic episodes started to become longer and more severe. His episodes of lucidity grew briefer and less pronounced.

In 1453 Margaret of Anjou was delivered of a bonny baby boy. The royal imp was known as Edward of Westminster.

Richard Duke of York was Henry VI’s distant cousin. They shared a common ancestor – Edward III.  The Duke of York owned very extensive landed estates in South Wales and the English Midlands. The Richard Duke of York thought that Henry VI was incapable of discharging his kingly functions. Therefore he wished to exercises governmental functions on behalf of the monarch.  Richard of York had himself declared Lord Protector. He was empowered to carry out executive functions on behalf of the king since the king was unable to do so. When the monarch died he, the Duke of York, should reign. Edward of Westminster – the son of Henry VI – ought to be excluded from the succession.

Those who supported the Duke of York were called Yorkists. Those who backed Henry VI were called Lancastrians.

The Duke of York’s proposal excited much controversy.  In 1455 the king returned to sanity. He realised what had happened and swore to depose Richard of York from his office as Lord Protector. Fighting broke out. At the First Battle of St Albans Henry VI was bested. The king was taken prisoner and a number of important Lancastrians were slain.

The Duke of York therefore continued to rule as Lord Protector. Margaret of Anjou remained at liberty. She wished to fight on. In 1459 she made at attempt to oust the duke. The Duke of York fled to France.

The Earl of Warwick was a very prominent nobleman. He was known as kingmaker Warwick. Whoever he backed became king. Lord Warwick gathered soldiers at Calais – the nearest town in France to England. He used Calais as his springboard to invade England. Warwick defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Northampton. Henry VI was captured once again.

The Duke of York felt it safe to return to the Realm of England. He was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Realm again. Margaret of Anjou had still not given up hope. She marshalled forces in northern England.

In 1460 fighting broke out afresh. Richard of York marched north to engage the Lancastrians. In December 1460 they fought the Battle of Wakefield. Richard of York was killed and so was one of his sons Edmund. The Lancastrians were buoyed up by this tremendous success. They moved south. They won the Second Battle of St Albans and freed Henry VI.  Despite this they did not manage to take London. The Lancastrians then retreated north.

Richard of York’s son was Edward IV. Upon the death of Richard of York his son automatically became Duke of York. He had himself proclaimed King Edward IV. As Edward IV controlled London he was able to do this. There were now two men who both claimed to be king. Edward IV did not follow his father’s old policy of controlling the country as Lord Protector and waiting for Henry VI to die.

Edward IV struck north determined to finish off the Lancastrians. In March 1461 the Yorkists and Lancastrians fought the Battle of Towton on a very snowy Palm Sunday. Up to 28 000 men were killed in one day! It was the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. 28 000 people represented 1% of the population of England. It was 2% of the male population. Of military age males it was 4%. However, the death toll is probably exaggerated even if not by much. Even if the death toll was considerably less it was a huge blow even to the victors.

The victory at Towton secured Edward IV position. In 1464 some Lancastrians rebelled but were put down by the Yorkists quite easily. Henry VI was a captive held in the Tower of London.

The Earl of Warwick had been crucial to Edward IV’s success. However, after 1464 relations between the two men became strained.

Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville in secret. When the marriage was announced many people disapproved. The king began to appoint his wife’s relatives to high office. Lord Warwick felt he was denied the recognition that he deserved.

Warwick negotiated with George the Duke of Clarence. Warwick’s plan was to get the Duke of Clarence to marry Warwick’s daughter Isbael Neville. Lord Warwick would overthrow Edward IV and replaced Edward IV with his younger brother the Duke of Clarence. However, the plot was discovered. The duke was executed on the orders of his brother.  Lord Warwick’s plan had minimal support. He fled for his life. He sailed to France and offered his services to Margaret of ANjou. This was a coup. The doughty warrior had gone over the Lancastrian side.

In 1471 Lord Warwick led a Lancastrian army back to England. However, he lost the Battle of Barnet where Warwick was killed. In May 1471 there was another major Yorkist victory at Tewkesbury.