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Edward IV, 1442–83

King Edward IV of England is the subject of poem 29.

Edward was the eldest son of Richard, duke of York. His mother was Cecily Neville. Edward was a great-grandson of Edward III (1327–77) through both his father and his mother’s line, as the following table shows (the information is based on entries in the DNB Online):

Lineage of Edward IV

It can also be seen that Edward descended from the Mortimer family, a very powerful family in Wales. When the Mortimer line failed in 1425, it was Edward’s father who inherited their lands, including Usk, Ewyas, Blaenllyfni and many other lordships. That meant that Richard, duke of York, and, later on, his son Edward were lords over the lands where some of Guto’r Glyn’s most prominent patrons lived, men such as Henry Griffith, Sir William ap Thomas and his son William Herbert.

Dates and career
Edward was born on 28 April 1442 (Ross 1974: 3) in Rouen while his father was serving the Crown there. During the 1450s, when Edward was still young, there was increasing tension between Richard, duke of York, and the court party surrounding King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster. Edward was still in his teenage years when his father was killed following the battle of Wakefield at the end of 1460. In February 1461 Edward fought against Jasper Tudor, Henry VI’s half-brother, at the battle of Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire. He was victorious and proceeded to London where he was declared king. On Palm Sunday 1461 he fought the battle of Towton in Yorkshire, where the Lancastrians were defeated, and following that he was crowned in London.

Edward’s chief supporters in his attempt on the throne were the Nevilles, especially Richard, earl of Warwick. During the 1460s, however, others came to prominence. Edward depended heavily on William Herbert, one of Guto’r Glyn’s major patrons, as his assistant in Wales, and in 1464 Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, thus bringing her family also into the limelight. Edward’s relationship with the earl of Warwick deteriorated. In 1469 the earl raised a revolt against Edward, and William Herbert and his brother Rhisiart were killed during the resultant troubles. In 1470 Edward was compelled to flee to the Continent as Henry VI was restored to the throne. Edward returned in 1471 and seized back the throne, defeating the earl of Warwick at the battle of Barnet and definitively crushing the Lancastrians at the battle of Tewkesbury. After that he ruled until his death in 1483.

Ross, C. (1974), Edward IV (London)