Wars of the Roses
The ‘Wars of the Roses’ is a title given to the various civil wars fought in Britain from around the middle of the fifteenth century until the accession of Henry Tudor to the throne in 1485. A major dispute between the descendants of Edward III (who died in 1377) was the source of the wars as one branch of the family contested against the other for the English Crown (see Background). Following the loss of French lands in the Hundred Years’ War, England was a defeated country. Many believed that the royal family was to blame and Henry VI, the king at the time, was in a fragile position. His mental state soon deteriorated and the hostility amongst the nobility resulted in a series of battles fought mainly between the house of York and the house of Lancaster for a period of thirty years (see Timeline).
Guto’r Glyn lived through the whole of this period. He sang to Sir William Herbert during the first phase of the wars and also to Sir Rhys ap Tomas after the battle of Bosworth, the last of the battles (in 1485). Other noblemen and gentry from Wales also fought, some for the house of York, others for the house of Lancaster, and, as some were also patrons of poets, the poetry contains some valuable references to the wars, see Wales and the Wars.
Bibliography: See further H. Fulton, ‘Guto’r Glyn and the Wars of the Roses’ and Rh. Griffiths, ‘Mwy o Gymro na Iorciad’ in B.J. Lewis, A. Parry Owen and D.F. Evans (eds), ‘Gwalch Cywyddau Gwŷr’: Essays on Guto’r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales (Aberystwyth, 2013), chapters 2 and 3.
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