1 YEAR 3: WARS OF THE ROSES (5 lessons) Contents Include: Henry VI Edward IV The Princes in the Tower Richard III The Battle of Bosworth Field Suggested Teacher Resources: The Young Oxford History of Britain & Ireland, pages Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey, pages The Richard III society has some excellent articles about he period. The society is dedicated to rehabilitating Richard's poor reputation as a king. The Battlefields Trust has good information on the Wars of the Roses.
2 Lesson 1. An introduction to the Wars of the Roses The aim of this lesson is to give pupils an overview of the Wars of the Roses. Although they need not know all of the details, pupils should understand what a civil war is, and that the Wars of the Roses was fought between two rival families over who should be king. The Wars started because Henry IV was a bad ruler, and suffered from episodes of madness. So, a nobleman named Edward from a rival family who was descended from King Edward III, claimed that he should be King. Edward declared war against mad King Henry. The two families chose different coloured roses, red and white, as their symbols. See pages of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know. Learning Objective Core Knowledge Activities for Learning Related Vocabulary Assessment Questions To understand that the Wars of the Roses were fought between two families. The Wars of the Roses were fought between two families: the House of Lancaster who were represented by a red rose, and the House of York who were represented by a white rose. It was a Civil War that lasted for thirty-three years ( ), and caused much death and destruction. At the start of the Wars, Henry VI from the House of Lancaster was King. Henry VI was a very weak king, and the House of York wanted to seize power from him. Pupils learn some essential differences between the two Houses, York and Lancaster, and write a brief fact box about each (resource 1). The teacher narrates an overview of the Wars of the Roses (resource 2). Whilst telling the story, they demonstrate to the class how the English crown jumped between the two families. Pupils act as Henry VI, Edward IV, Richard III, the two princes, and Henry Tudor, as the teacher passes crown between the different pupils performing the different roles. After this, pupils complete a basic timeline of the Wars. Here is a summary of the Wars of the Roses from Horrible Histories. civil war House of York House of Lancaster What started the Wars of the Roses? What did the two sides use to represent themselves? Who were the two different sides in the Wars of the Roses? What is a civil war?
3 1. The Wars of the Roses The House of. The House of. Write down three important facts about the House of. 1. Write down three important facts about the House of
4 2. Narration of the Wars Setting up the activity Resources: A crown, the sign of a red rose and the sign of a white rose. Teacher selects 8 pupils to represent the different main players in the Wars of the Roses. On one side of the classroom, there is the House of Lancaster: Henry V, Henry VI, and Henry Tudor (later Henry VII). On the other side of the classroom, there is the House of York: Edward IV, Richard III, the two princes, and their sister Elizabeth of York. Pupils act out characteristics of the different kings (strong, mad, evil, dead etc.). Teacher Script Henry V s son, Henry VI, is from the House of Lancaster, and becomes King aged only one year old. When he is old enough to rule, he does it badly. He dislikes fighting, loses wars against the French and is a weak ruler. He also suffers from periods of madness. Henry VI s distant cousin, Edward, from a rival family called the House of York, claims he should be king. He is a strong and capable leader, and defeats Henry VI in a fierce battle. The crown passes to him, and he becomes Edward IV in Teacher passes the crown to Edward IV. Edward IV rules England for ten years, but some nobles become angry at his arrogance and laziness. He is thrown off the throne in 1470, and Henry VI becomes King again. Teacher passes the crown back to Henry VI. However, Henry VI lasts only one year. Edward IV builds up an army, defeats Henry VI again in a battle, and has Henry killed. Edward IV is now King once more. Teacher passes the crown back to Edward IV. Edward IV rules successfully for 12 years, and is an excellent King. He dies in 1483, and everyone expects the crown to pass to his young son. However, his evil brother Richard locks Edward IV s sons, the two princes, in a prison, and has himself crowned Richard III. Teacher passes the crown to Richard III. Rumours start to swirl around the country that Richard III has killed the two princes in prison so that he could be the unquestioned King. People are appalled and start to want someone else person to become King. A member of the rival House of Lancaster called Henry Tudor raises an army in 1485 to challenge Richard III. He kills Richard in a famous battle called The Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor is crowned Henry VII. Teacher passes the crown to Henry VII. Henry is desperate for all of the killing and the wars to be over. He therefore marries Elizabeth of York, from the rival House of York, to unite the two families and end the Wars of the Roses.
5 Lesson 2. Henry VI versus Edward IV For much of the conflict, the Wars of the Roses were a fight between Henry VI and his distant relative Edward IV. Henry VI had a good claim to be king, and his father, Henry V, had been an excellent king of England. However, Henry VI was a weak king: unsuccessful on the battlefield; easily manipulated by his French wife; and the victim of bouts of madness. Therefore, his distant cousin Edward claimed that he should be King instead. Edward s claim to the throne was poor he was the great-great-grandson of Edward III. However, he was a far better king than Henry VI and ruled England for twenty-two years. See pages of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know. Learning Objective Core Knowledge Activities for Learning Related Vocabulary Assessment Questions To understand why people in Britain were so divided over who should be King of England. Henry VI (House of Lancaster) had a good claim to the throne, but he was a very weak King. His cousin, Edward IV (Yorkist) was an excellent king, but had a weak claim to the throne. Henry VI suffered from bouts of madness and lost the Hundred Years War against the French. Edward IV was tall and handsome, and an excellent military commander. He was a popular and successful King. Write a fact box about the Battle of Towton, which saw Edward defeat Henry VI and become King of England. Though it is not greatly remembered today, many say it was the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. Study the differences between Henry VI and Edward IV (resources 3 and 4). Write a persuasive letter as a Yorkist supporter of Edward IV to a Lancastrian persuading him why Henry VI is such a bad King, and why Edward would make such a good King. Hundred Years War Henry VI Edward IV Lancaster York (Yorkist) Why was Henry VI such a bad King? Why was Edward IV such a good King? Why were people so divided over which king to support?
6 3. Henry versus Edward Battle of Towton (1461) This was one of the most important, and the most bloody battle during the Wars of the Roses. Some believe that is the largest battle ever fought on British soil. It was fought on a bitterly cold, snowy day on 29 March, between King Henry VI and the Yorkist challenger to the throne, Edward IV. Edward was a far better military commander than Henry, and easily beat his larger army. The battle is estimated to have involved between 50,000 and 80,000 soldiers, with around 28,000 casualties (1% of the England s population). So many died, that a red blood stain was said to have run through six miles of snow on the Towton battlefield. Henry VI Henry ruled England from 1422 to 1461, and again from 1470 to He had a good claim to the throne, as his father and grandfather had been popular and successful Kings. However, he was a bad warrior who lost the Hundred Years War against France, and allowed England to fall into lawlessness and criminality. He was easily manipulated by his French wife, Margaret of Anjou, and suffered from periods of madness during which he would not even be able to eat! Edward IV Edward IV took the throne from Henry VI in 1461, and ruled until 1483 (aside from a brief period ). He was a giant for the time, at 6 foot 2 inches, and an inspiring military leader. His family believed that Henry VI was not fit to be king, and that Edward (who was descended from Edward III) could do a better job. Edward won great victories in the Battles of Towton and Tewkesbury, and never lost a battle on English soil. He was a wise and capable king, but sometimes a bit lazy.
7 4. Henry VI versus Edward IV Henry VI Edward IV When was Henry VI King? When was Edward IV King? Why did he think he should be King? Why did he think he should be King? What sort of king was he? What sort of king was he?
8 Lesson 3. Did Richard III kill the Princes in the Tower? When Edward IV died, his twelve year old son Edward was next in line to be king. Instead, his brother Richard III seized the throne and claimed that he would rule on his nephew s behalf. Then, Edward and his younger brother were both locked in the Tower of London, and never seen again. For centuries, people have suspected that Richard III murdered his own nephews so that he could be king. In particular, Shakespeare wrote a play, Richard III, which depicts him as a murderous villain with a withered arm, a hunchback and a limp. Others say Richard never commit such a crime, and the debate still rages today. See pages of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know. Learning Objective Core Knowledge Activities for Learning Related Vocabulary Assessment Questions To find out about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower of London. When Edward IV died, his brother became King Richard III. Richard is accused of killing Edward IV s sons his own nephews so that he could become king. Richard III locked away the princes in the Tower of London, and is believed to have ordered their murder. This interpretation of the story has much to do with a play written 100 years later by William Shakespeare. Pupils weigh up the evidence supporting and contradicting the idea that Richard III could have killed his own nephews in the Tower of London (resource 5). Pupils then come to a decision about whether Richard III should be accused of the crime. This scene from a famous production of Shakespeare s Richard III shows him order the murder of the Princes in the Tower. This is a video from Horrible Histories, where Richard III tries to set the record straight. This shows that much of what we know about Richard was invented by Shakespeare. Tower of London Edward IV Richard III Shakespeare villan crime Why did Richard II become King? Why would Richard have wanted to kill the Princes? What evidence suggests that Richard III did not kill the Princes in the Tower? Do you think that Richard III killed the Princes in the Tower?
9 5. Was Richard III guilty? Evidence the Princes were murdered Evidence the story is false The story about Richard II being a murderer may have been made up by his enemies, such as Henry Tudor, who disliked him because he was a Yorkist. Richard III was known for being a loyal brother, who was brave and charming. Could he really have murdered his own nephews? People like to believe the story of the Princes in the Tower because Shakespeare later wrote a play about it, which cast Richard III as an evil villain. An English Knight who was loyal to Richard III later confessed that he killed the princes under Richard s orders. However, he may have made the confession under torture. The two princes were never seen after the summer of Two hundred years after their deaths, two skeletons were found under a staircase in the Tower of London. They were confirmed to be the skeletons of two young boys.
10 Lesson 4. The Battle of Bosworth Field Henry Tudor did not have a very good claim to the throne. He was Welsh, and the great-great-great-grandson of Edward III through his mother, Margaret Beaufort, the Countess of Richmond. Nevertheless, he gained much support from the Lancastrians who despised Richard III, not only because he was a Yorkist, but because of the rumours that he murdered his own nephews. Henry Tudor raised a small rebel army, and met King Richard III s army at Bosworth Field outside of Leicester. Henry Tudor won a great victory against the far bigger King s army, and Richard III was killed. Henry Tudor became Henry VII. See pages of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know. Learning Objective Core Knowledge Activities for Learning Related Vocabulary Assessment Questions To understand why Henry Tudor won the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor was a Lancastrian from Wales, who killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He thus became Henry VII, the first Tudor King. Richard III was a Yorkist, and there were still many Lancastrians who did not support him as King. They supported Henry Tudor instead. Richard III s remains were found in 2013 near the location of Bosworth Field. Learn about the basic events of the battle (resource 6), then write a newspaper report about Henry Tudor s victory. Look at a photograph of Richard III s skeleton and learn how archaeologists were able to work out that it was him. Introduce the exercise by telling the story of archaeologists excavating near the supposed battle sites, then show an image of the skeleton they found. Then ask the pupils, who do you think it was? Children perform an interview with the archaeologist who discovered Richard III s body. The interviewer asks the archaeologist why he believes the body belongs to Richard III. See videos here and here. Battle of Bosworth Field archaeologist Henry Tudor (Henry VII) Who was Henry Tudor? Who were Henry Tudor s supporters? Why did Henry win the Battle of Bosworth Field? When was Richard III s skeleton found? How did people know that it belonged to Richard?
11 6. Battle of Bosworth Field The Battle of Bosworth Field (1485) King Richard III did not have a happy reign. He beheaded anyone he suspected of opposing him, but rumours still spread about his evil murder of his own nephews in the Tower of London. In 1485, a Lancastrian nobleman named Henry Tudor landed in Wales and raised an army to defeat Richard III. The two armies met in Bosworth Field on 22 August, Richard III s army was larger. During the battle, Richard III made a charge for Henry. His horse got stuck in a marsh, so Richard carried on fighting on foot. He fought bravely, but was killed with an axe blow to the head. Richard s crown was found in a bush, and Henry Tudor was crowned on the battlefield, Henry VII. Who was Henry Tudor? Henry Tudor did not have a good claim to the throne of England. He was from a powerful family of Welsh nobles, and was the greatgreat-great grandson of Edward III. In addition, his grandmother had once been married to Henry V. However, he was a clever and successful king, and his son was Henry VIII, one of England s most famous kings. The King of the car park After he was killed in battle, Richard III was stripped naked and buried in a commoners grave in a church near Leicester. In September 2012, a team of archaeologists found a skeleton on the supposed site of the church. It had a curved spine, consistent with Richard III s hunchback, and a large bladed wound in the skull. In addition, the man was in his thirties and the corpse was dated to around the fifteen century. Archaeologists concluded that this had to be the long lost skeleton of Richard III.
12 Lesson 5. Henry VII and the Tudors Henry Tudor won the Battle of Bosworth. Richard III was the last king from a family known as the Plantagenets, and for the next 120 years Britain would be ruled by a new royal family: the Tudors. Having become king, Henry VII s first aim was to end the Wars of the Roses, as they had caused so much death and destruction in England. To do this, he married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV and the sister of the Princes in the tower. This bought the two rival families, Lancastrian and Yorkist, together. To symbolise this union, a Tudor Rose was created incorporating both the white and the red flower. See pages of What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know. Learning Objective Core Knowledge Activities for Learning Related Vocabulary Assessment Questions How did Henry VII bring peace to England after 33 years of war? Henry VII was the first Tudor King. He managed to bring peace to England after defeating Richard III. One of the main ways in which Henry VII, a Lancastrian, achieved this was by marrying the daughter of Edward IV from the House of York. This union between the two warring houses, Lancaster and York, was represented in the Tudor Rose, which is a white rose surrounded by a red rose. Pupils make their own Tudor Rose out of Red, white, yellow and green card, or colour in a copy of the Tudor Rose (resource 7). See here. Pupils complete an extended piece of writing answering the question, what did the Tudor Rose represent? Pupils write a love letter from Henry VII Elizabeth of York, explaining not only that he loves her, but also that their marriage could bring peace to England for the first time in over thirty years by uniting two warring families. Tudor Rose union Elizabeth of York Lancastrian Yorkist How did Henry VII bring peace to England? Why did Henry VII marry Elizabeth of York? What did the Tudor Rose represent? What royal line did Henry VII begin?
13 7. The Tudor Rose Colour in the Tudor Rose What did the Tudor Rose Represent? How did Henry Tudor end the Wars of the Roses?..
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