It was Sir Walter Scott who first used the term 'Wars of the Roses' as an explanation of the bloody skirmishes, plotting, violence, revenge and lastly murderous war that took place between the two houses of York and Lancaster.
Whenever they are mentioned in films or on television programmes it appears that everyone makes the assumption that it was a war between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Even to this day, the white rose is used to represent Yorkshire and the red rose, Lancashire. The actual event however not only took place over many years but was between two households and their supporters: The House of York and The House of Lancaster. The recordings of disagreements began before 1400 but the first major battle happened in 1455. The then Duke of York owned land and estates throughout South Wales and along the Welsh border but his most passionate and committed supporters were from the Midlands area. The Duke of Lancaster owned land in North Wales and swathes of land and estates in parts of Cheshire and Gloucestershire.
The bad blood boiled over when Richard II a York Plantagenet was overthrown by one Henry of Bolingbroke, the Duke of Lancaster who was also a Plantagenet. He was crowned Henry IV in 1399. The two households plotted and raged between themselves and the crown bounced from one side to the other many times until it landed upon the head of Richard III who was a King of the House of York. Richard went into battle to fight alongside his men to protect the crown but he lost both his head and the crown on the battlefield as it was taken from him by Henry and his supporters from the House of Lancaster. Henry was duly crowned Henry VII but he had a plan to keep the crown by beginning a new house and by using his wile. He had a new design to depict both York and Lancaster and he commissioned it to be both white and red, it would be known as ‘The Tudor Rose’ and it would represent the symbol of a ‘United Kingdom.’ The Royal family would merge and become ‘The Tudors.’
Men from all backgrounds fought in these battles and 3% of all the males in the land died during this bloody conflict