If you have seen movies such as “Braveheart” you will know that a good battle scene is half of the story. The rest is a tale that can keep the audiences attention and so we all learned about William Wallace.
But would the story of “The Battle of Barnet” make an even better film? It has intrigue, love, betrayal and of course one of the most significant battles in English history. It even has a tale of sorcery when a certain Friar Bungay was supposed to have been responsible, using sorcery, to raise the mist that came down on the battle

It’s a story of two very good friends, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, (known as the Kingmaker) and the King of England Edward IV. In 1471 England had two kings fighting for the throne. Henry VI of the house of Lancaster, who had inherited the throne as an infant, and Edward IV of the house of York, who had seized the throne, and held Henry prisoner. They each had a son, (both called Edward), who had an equal right to become the future King. This was because both houses had descended from the same King, (Edward III) and the house of Plantagenet.

Neville was the second richest man in England (only the King had more wealth) and with his riches he had helped Edward to depose Henry and take the throne. Warwick was soon advising the young Edward and they had a close relationship during the early years of his reign. And then along came a woman.
Her name was Elizabeth Woodville and she eventually turned her husband against his old friend.
But Warwick was a shrewd and devious man, and he had another plan to make himself more powerful. Edward's younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, was jealous of the King and in 1469 he
married Warwick's eldest daughter Isabel. The Duke now had a chance to be "The Kingmaker" if he could get Clarence onto the throne.

With this in mind they raised an army against the King, which ended in defeat. They both headed for what they saw as the safety of France. Edward declared Warwick and Clarence traitors, and once more he was in control of the country.

But Warwick was never short of ideas. He realised that his route to the throne through Clarence stood little chance, so another daughter would be used as a pawn. King Henry's wife, Queen Margaret, and the young Prince of Wales were also in exile in France. She hated Warwick as it was he who had taken the crown from her husband, who was still imprisoned in the Tower of London. The Lancastrians had been in exile for many years and were impatient to get home to see their families.

Eventually she allowed Warwick to see her and he begged her forgiveness. This she finally accepted. She also accepted Warwick's suggestion that his youngest daughter, Anne, become betrothed to Edward Prince of Wales which they did in July 1470. Once more Warwick had the chance to influence the future King and be "Kingmaker”.

The Lancastrians planned their invasion of England and by September 1470 they were ready. They landed a force in southern England and headed inland, gathering more troops on the way. Edward was taken unawares, he was fighting in the North, and when he heard of Warwick's return he headed for London. But at Doncaster he was told that a large part of his army, led by The Marquis of Montagu Warwick's brother, had changed sides and would now be fighting against him. Trapped, and without enough men to win a battle, Edward and his brother Richard Duke of Gloucester, (later to be crowned Richard III) decided it was better to run and fight another day so they made for Bruges and his old friend Louis de la Gruthuse, the Governor of Holland.

With Edward no longer in the country the land was in chaos. Order had to be restored. Warwick did this by putting Henry back on the throne, but at his coronation it was noticed that many of the Lords and knights present wore the bear and ragged staff badge of Warwick. Once the old King was dead the Earls daughter would be queen, and he would again be a leading figure at court.

King Edward had wasted no time in building an invasion army during his absence and by early March 1471 he had enough men to set sail for his homeland and landed at the Humber on the 14th March. With their large force they marched into London and Henry VI was once again made prisoner in the Tower of London.
Warwick marched south, with a large and well provisioned artillery train, and on Good Friday April 12th 1471 his Lancastrian army marched to St Albans, and camped on the outskirts.
The next day he led his
army into Barnet to wait for the army of Edward to come out of London.

On Easter Sunday April 14th 1471 both sides fought a bloody Battle at Hadley Common.
It was the white rose of the house of York that won that day and during the fighting Warwick was slain on Edwards orders.
The Lancastrians had been defeated and with the death of Warwick the kingmaker would take no more part in deciding English history.

With the defeat of Richard III at the battle of Bosworth the house of Plantagenet would give way to the Tudors.