Heritage > Rulers


Edward IV, 1461-1470,1471-1483

Edward was born in 1442, and succeeded to the throne without dispute on the death of Henry. He married the widowed Dame Elizabeth Grey and had ten children: Elizabeth, Mary, Cicely, Edward, Margaret, Richard, George, Anne, Catherine and Bridget.

Edward, as the next Duke of York was a pretender to the throne and claimed this on his father's death. He also proved himself in battle, further strengthening his claim, but he had to fight for four years until he captured Henry VI.

Edward had relied upon his cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury to occupy the commanding and political powers of his reign, whilst he dealt with administrative issues, and tried to arrange his marriage. This lasted for four years into his reign and then eventually Edward, decided to rebel against this strong influence in his life. He enrolled members of his wife's family and placed them in powerful positions at court, and married her sisters into the estates of many noblemen in the south of England.

Warwick teamed together with many of his allies in the north, including Edward's youngest brother, George, Duke of Clarence, and met Queen Margaret in exile in France and together overthrew Edward.

Edward retaliated in 1471, when he gathered an army to win the throne. His younger brother George, joined his side. His army was victorious at the Battle of Barnet and at Tewkesbury, and it was on his orders that his brothers killed the young Prince of Wales. The King was murdered shortly afterwards.

Edward was not a good leader, he spent a great deal of time ignoring parliament and then calling sessions to gain money for wars and battle which he never fought but retained the money.

He had huge amounts of territory, gaining more when he took the defeated Lancastrians land. He owned one fifth of the land of England, with so much land with sheep, he vested an interest in the wool trade which was of great influence in the future prosperity of England. He lived in great wealth and riches, but did plough back a lot of money into the economy of the country.

He was the first King of England to die with no debt.

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