Why Edward IV Won the Crown at Towton (Yorkist claim to the throne (Edward…
Why Edward IV Won the Crown at Towton
Edward's qualities and skills
A strong warrior, demonstrated by his leadership at Mortimer's Cross in February 1461
Charismatic, handsome and pious (he heralded the symbol of the Three Suns at Mortimer's Cross) so was popular
Was diplomatic, had offered amnesty to any Lancastrians who renounced Henry VI after taking London in 1461
Poor decisions of Margaret and Lancastrian leaders
By February 1461 the Lancastrian army was short on food. Margaret should have taken London, but she decided to remain in the North due to anti-Lancastrian sentiment there.
In 1459 Margaret passed the Act of Attainder which shockingly disinherited the Yorkist heirs. This caused 6 previously passive nobles to side with York, including the Duke of Norfolk.
Yorkist claim to the throne
Edward was young, his longevity would mean stability for the realm.
Edward had a claim of descent through two different royal lines, from Edward III.
In November 1460 the Lords swore to uphold an Act of Accord, agreeing that the York or his heir would inherit the crown.
Edward, Earl of March, was suspected of being illegitimate, with Somerset being the real father.
Support from Warwick and the Nevilles
Warwick was the most powerful nobleman in England. His land and influence in the midlands allowed him to call huge numbers of men to fight, and his wealth from piracy allowed him to pay his supporters well.
Warwick was well connected with London businessmen, Calais landowners and Milanese ambassadors, so his support gave wide credibility to his claim.
Warwick had no choice but to support Edward after being sentenced to death for treason in the 1459 Parliament of Devils.
Support from London
Many London merchants believed Henry VI favoured foreign merchants over English ones. They also has strong links with pro-Warwick merchants in Paris and Calais.
Londoners feared Lancastrians after rumours that their army had been ordered to ransack the city in 1460.
Yorkist forces were permitted to enter the city after Towton.