Questions regarding the Wars of the Roses


On page 20 of Michael Hicks’s “The Wars of the Roses”(2010) he divides the wars into three distinct civil wars.
“The Wars ended conclusively in 1461-and in 1471- and in 1485”. Is everyone agreed on these years?

In his Chronological Table of Principal Events he lists the following dates for the wars:

pages xiv-xv
First War 1459-61 . Why??(Why not 1455, which I see most often for the beginning of the Wars of the Roses with the Battle of St. Albans)
Second War 1469 -71
Third War 1483- (doesn’t give an end date)

Is there or is there no consensus among academics about the division of the wars into three separate wars? Are the dates on which they started and ended debatable ?

I look forward to your feedback

Your cite gives the Wars of the Roses as from 1455-85.

There isn’t much dispute that the last battle of the Wars was Bosworth Field in Aug 1485

Michael Hicks states on his Chronological Table
pages xiv-xv
First War 1459-61

Is Michael Hicks arguing that the civil war was not a fully fledged civil war until 1459?

One might be forgiven for thinking that the Wars were well underway by this point, but Hicks’s re-working of the well-established notion that there were really three ‘Wars of the Roses’ contains some novel dates: the First War does not begin until four years after the 1455 battle of St Albans (and ends in 1461), the Second (as usual) is 1469-71 and the Third, most uncommonly, is 1483–1525 (though 1485–1525 is also the period of the ‘Ending of the Wars’).

It’s idiosyncratic, but the reasoning behind it is that in 1455 Richard of York was not yet formally trying to claim the throne. Rather he wanted to purge Henry VI’s court of certain unloved favorites. This was not so unusual and had been the scene of numerous prior civil clashes in England with other kings( i.e. the Poitevins and Lusignans under Henry III or Piers de Gaveston/the Despensers under Edward II ). After St. Albans there was a partial and uneasy reconciliation.

1459 was when the breach became insurmountable.

Thank you Tamerlane. That makes sense. Very helpful.

Is it really accurate to call the Wars of the Roses “wars”? Weren’t they just an extended period of political instability punctuated by the occasional small-scale battle?

Occasional large-scale battles as well. Said political instability involved regular armies campaigning and every once in awhile a violent change in rulers that involved struggles above the level of a backroom political coup, so I think it is fair to say they were civil wars. It’s a bit like a longer, more sporadic version of the Anarchy in England during Stephen and Mathilda’s long succession war.

I am slightly embarrassed by the fact I listed ‘Poitevins’ separate from the Lusignans as part of Henry III’s entourage above though. They were basically part of the same group( though the Poitevin appellation was applied to other folks like Peter des Roches as well ). I meant to say Poitevins and Savoyards( the Queen’s relatives basically, like Peter of Savoy ).