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War of the Roses: York vs Lancaster

After recovering from his madness, King Henry the 6th of England has dismissed his regent, Richard of York. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding but shortly thereafter, Richard assembles an army. King Henry rides out with his own army to St Albans and finds himself outnumbered. The King hunkers down at St Albans and sends a representative to Richard's encampment to negotiate. The King's men break for dinner in town but negotiations break down quickly after the King threatens Richard. Richard's forces are ready for battle and set upon the makeshift defenses at St Albans. The King's men rush back to join the battle. It's a slaughter... mostly of the nobles. King Henry takes an arrow to the neck, and is taken into protective custody, so to speak. Within months King Henry will slip back into madness and Richard of York will become regent once more. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
King Henry had every right to demand that Richard disperse his army. Richard claimed self-defense, but it was a weak argument. Nevertheless, Richard had broadsheets printed that explained what happened in the best terms possible. Everyone understood that something very dangerous had occurred so both sides worked very hard to tamp down their tempers. The truce held for a time.

Further Information: The terms "War of the Roses" and "The Cousins War" will be coined later to describe this power struggle over the throne between the houses of York and Lancaster. Shakespeare will popularize a legend that the nobles chose sides by selecting a red rose for Lancaster or a white rose for York. This is total bunk but it sounds romantic so the legend persists. This is a complex subject so I've provided background information in the notes below. [6]

The Gutenberg Revolution

Up to this point the Gutenberg printing press has been making money printing various religious documents. Apparently this was big business, but now they've taken on the Bible. This Bible is the first major book printed using the new movable type printing press. The Bible is the Vulgate Latin translation by St. Jerome. 180 copies are ready to go in this first printing. Planning began 5 years ago and it has taken 3 years to produce. 48 copies of the original Gutenberg Bible will survive into the modern day. It is a thing of beauty. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most historians agree: the revolution starts now. The revolution is not so much the printing of the Bible because most people don't know Latin except for clergy and the aristocracy. The revolution is in the printing press itself. Many people will see the potential of the printing press because of this Bible. In 30 years hundreds if not thousands of Gutenberg printing presses with be in cities throughout Europe. Had the printing press existed during the time of John Wycliffe, 60 years earlier, his English translation of the Bible would have had a massive influence on civilization. As it is, the world will change in ways these people can't imagine right now.

When Is a Man Like a Cow?

The answer is.... when he is a prisoner. The jailer takes custody of a prisoner and is therefore responsible and liable for his value as he would be if his neighbor left his cow in custody. If a cow is lost while in custody of another, the custodian is responsible with the exception of theft or robbery by others. Thus if the prisoner's buddies came by, beat up the jailer and helped the prisoner escape, the jailer would not be monetarily responsible but if the jailer was negligent, the jailer must pay. This legal position will remain the law of the land for the next few hundred of years. [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The legal term for taking custody of property on behalf of another is "bailment". For example: when you leave your car AND THE KEYS with your mechanic you have created a condition of bailment. The mechanic is now responsible for your car should it be stolen or damaged unless your car is hit by a comet. Bailment usually applies to property, but a bail bondsman will put up money and guarantee that a defendant will show up for his trial on a date certain. The bail bondsman doesn't actually take custody of the defendant unless the defendant doesn't show up. Then Dog the Bounty Hunter will come looking for the defendant and take custody the hard way or the easy way. It's their choice. [9] [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1455, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. History Extra Podcast: Fresh Views on the Wars of the Roses. Immediate Media. 2014-Sep-11. (PODCAST) Length: 01:00:45. Size: 55.9 megabytes. Summary: Dan Jones is interviewed by Tudor expert Suzannah Lipscomb about his new book: The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors.
  2. Wars of the Roses - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. First Battle of St Albans - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Weir, Alison. The Princes in the Tower. New York: Ballantine Books. 1992. ISBN 9780307806840 (ebook). (BOOK) Quote: "Henry VI's ineptitude in government meant that by 1455 men were beginning to question the title of the House of Lancaster to the crown. There were those who held that York had the better claim."
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: The war never would have started if it weren't for the loss of land and income when France expanded into previous English territories. This coincides with the Great Slump which was an economic catastrophe on the level of the Great Depression of the 20th century. People are blaming a very passive King Henry the 6th and his French wife, Queen Margaret who is really running the country. She is no fool but she doesn't understand English politics very well.
        The original Parliament was under duress when it agreed to crown Henry the 5th as king (a Lancaster). At the time King Richard the 2nd (a Plantagenet) was beheading everyone in sight so he was deposed (or abdicated). The Parliament could have picked someone from the House of York (a secondary branch of Plantagenet with a better claim), but Henry (a Lancaster which is also a secondary branch of Plantagenet) was the best choice at the time since he was politically strong enough to hold the kingship and he was not as hostile to Parliament.
        When King Henry the 5th died, his son, Henry the 6th, was an infant so the nobles ran the country. It was all good in the short-term but Henry the 6th was easily manipulated and eventually was of unsound mind. He carried the gene of insanity of Mad King Charles of France through his mother, Margaret. He lost France to the French for the sake of peace and sparked a civil war at home.
        This part of the War of the Roses will continue until 1477. The second part will be a fight between the House of York and the Welsh Tudors who are also related to the French royalty. I don't want to spoil the ending, but... the Welsh and the French must be laughing their backsides off.
  7. Gutenberg Bible - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Holmes, Oliver Wendell Jr., The Common Law, Gutenberg.org, 2014 [last update] (PUBLIC DOMAIN) Quote: "Next I take a case of the time of Henry VI., A.D. 1455, was an action of debt against the Marshal of the Marshalsea, or jailer of the King's Bench prison, for an escape of a prisoner. Jailers in charge of prisoners were governed by the same law as bailees in charge of cattle. The body of the prisoner was delivered to the jailer to keep under the same liabilities that cows or goods might have been. He set up in defence that enemies of the king broke into the prison and carried off the prisoner, against the will of the defendant. The question was whether this was a good defence. The court said that, if alien enemies of the king, for instance the French, released the prisoner, or perhaps if the burning of the prison gave him a chance to escape, the excuse would be good, "because then [the defendant] has remedy against no one." But if subjects of the king broke the prison, the defendant would be liable, for they are not enemies, but traitors, and then, it is implied, the defendant would have a right of action against them, and therefore would himself be answerable. In this case the court got very near to the original ground of liability, and distinguished accordingly. The person intrusted was liable in those cases where he had a remedy over against the wrong-doer (and in which, originally, he was the only person who had such a remedy); and, on the other hand, his liability, being founded on that circumstance, ceased where the remedy ceased. The jailer could not sue the soldiers of an invading army of Frenchmen; but in theory he could sue any British subject who carried off the prisoner, however little it was likely that he would get much satisfaction in that way."
  9. Dog the Bounty Hunter - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Bailment - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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