The Wars of the Roses

As a child growing up in West Yorkshire I knew that a friendly rivalry existed between Yorkshire and Lancashire, our neighbours on the other side of the Pennines. Later on at grammar school I learnt a little about the Wars of the Roses and was astonished to discover that it wasn’t a war between the two counties as I had believed, but a series of battles fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1485 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The name of the battles derives from the symbols used by the two sides:

comtesse d'Oxford
Red Rose  – House of Lancaster
House of York
White Rose – House of York

On moving to Ludlow a few years ago I found out that one of the major battles of these wars took place only a few hundred yards from where I now live. The Battle of Ludford Bridge 12 October 1459. The Yorkist factions gathered here to make a push into Worcestershire, but fell back when they encountered a large group of Lancastrians led by Henry VI. The two sides took up positions on the opposite banks of the River Teme, but many of the Yorkists deserted during the night and the rest retreated the next day. So a victory for the Lancastrians. It is such a picturesque spot now that it is hard to imagine a battle taking place here.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

52 thoughts on “The Wars of the Roses”

  1. I’ve always remembered the red and white roses from grammar school history classes too. How amazing that you ended up living so close to a battle field. So its a peaceful spot now, any ghosts on a quiet dark night? 🙂

  2. Now THIS is the way I like to learn history!

    I have a hard time imagining any battlefield from history in the heat of its conflicts – our Civil War sites (now national preservations) are beautiful these days. Although Normandy was haunting and easy to visualize because the bunkers still remain dug into the hillsides.

  3. I was always a bit of a Yorkist, though as a young boy in London, I never really understood why. The Lancastrian victory left us with a Tudor king from Wales. Enough said.
    (Good rose photos of course…)
    Regards as always, Pete. x

      1. Wouldn’t bother me at all Jude. And it is a very attractive place to boot. They might have trouble shoe-horning Buck Pal in next to Clifford Tower though!

  4. I always thought I had a rather decent knowledge of history until I started reading other people’s blogs. Then I discovered I know very little.

    Great history lesson for those of us with only a passing knowledge of the War of the Roses. It’s sad that the first thing that came to mind when I saw the title was the 1989 movie with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner

    Love your photo. It looks like you live in a fairy tale land 🙂

    1. That’s so funny! I can’t believe that you thought of the Turner-Douglas film. Hilarious.
      That said, there are millions of people in this country that don’t have a clue about their own 15th century history, (or any history) so not to worry.
      Best wishes from England. Pete.

      1. LOL – yeah, but knowing Jude as little as I do, I was pretty sure I was going to get either history or flowers. Turns out I got both!! 😉
        Cheers from Canada!

    2. Ah, that’s because this is WarS of the Roses. Apparently that is a common misconception [and I hate to admit that I saw that film 😦 ]

      1. Ha! I didn’t notice the plural on Wars!! … hence your comment on multiple skirmishes.
        … and yes, I thought the movie was a disappointment too. What started as an amusing tale devolved into the ridiculous.

        1. Do you have a hearing problem? My excuse is that although I loved history, the teacher had a soporific voice and I was always falling asleep!

        2. Yep, hard of hearing from birth to add to my woes!! But I manage OK much of the time. And digital hearing aids are marvellous…. At school it certainly wasn’t great, but it toughened me up, I think. The story you will like is that for years I wondered where this place called The Etnam was…..much later I heard about the Vietnam war. (I missed all the information we were being taught about that.)

        3. Ah, yes that IS funny! One of my granddaughters suffers from hearing problems, finally (after several years of trying to get someone to take notice) doctors decided she had glue ears and put grommets in. Her speech was pretty poor too because she couldn’t hear. She’s a bright kid though so hopefully will make up for lost time.

  5. This is a great take on the challenge and a first class history lesson, Jude. Divine roses, how long did you take to pick this two from your huge archive, I wonder? 🙂
    Best wishes from the North, Dina & co x

  6. Superlative photos Jude, and a contra-indicatory image for the the fierce hostilities felt by each house. Maybe they were thinking of the thorns. Interesting that you find red and white hard to photograph. Blue is my nemesis.

    1. I suppose the emblems were selected a bit like those for football teams. And then they went to war!

      I find reds and whites (flowers) tend to blend into one lump rather than keep the definition of the petals – I do need to try manual settings!

        1. Oh, yes, Yorkshire puds are THE best, especially with a good roast beef and horseradish sauce Sunday lunch! Making myself hungry now. And some quaint pubs too. What more could you ask for?

  7. I love learning about English history. It’s so complicated though, because every man was named either James, Richard or Charles and then they have titles as well. So confusing – after a while I can’t remember which is which.

  8. And of course the Tudors took both roses to make their own emblem. I love English history. My Middle Son was obsessed with English royalty as a small boy. Not the modern incarnation but the old, particularly the Tudors. It was slightly unnerving to have an eight-year-old who could tell you all the monarchs of England in order.
    Lovely photos, Jude and a great history lesson. If only all school lessons were like this. 🙂

    1. We did the Tudors in primary school which is probably why I know more about Henry VIII then is good for me. My memory is shocking now though, I get very mixed up with the monarchs, even the more recent ones! If only they would use different names rather than tagging on an extra number!

  9. Now I’m a Yorkshire lass Jude but have to admit I never did take much notice of history. I did have a vague recollection of the war(s) of the roses but never realised how it panned out. (I was more interested in geography…) Love your rose photos.

    1. Geography was another of my favourites along with history and languages! I loved the geography trips we had to places like the Yorkshire Dales 🙂

      1. Unfortunately in my school days (almost the dark ages 🙂 ) they didn’t take us on any trips… :(. But art and English were my other 2 favourites…

  10. Ha! Roses all the way 🙂 🙂 As Sue pointed out. I’m hopeless at remembering which rose belongs to which house! Even when I was reading the Philippa Gregory stories 😦 Lovely photos though.

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