WOULD THE BATTLE OF BARNET MAKE A GOOD FILM?
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.
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”.
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
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.