Skip to content



2nd February: Issue of the royal licence for Archbishop John Kemp of York to accept the cardinal's red hat from Pope Eugenius IV.

11th October: Henry issued the foundation charter for his new college at Eton.

3rd November: Charles, Duke of Orléans, who had been captured in 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt, was released on the authority of the King, despite Gloucester's opposition and protest.


12th February: Henry issued letters patent for the foundation of King's College, Cambridge, dedicated to Our Lady and St. Nicholas.

2nd April: King Henry personally laid the first stone of King's College on Passion Sunday.

5th July: Henry personally laid the foundation stone of the school chapel at Eton.

9th November: Eleanor Cogham, wife of the King's uncle Duke Humphrey of Gloucester was sentenced to public penance and imprisonment for practising the black arts and encompassing the King's life.


12th April: Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury died. He was succeeded as archbishop in May by the Lord Chancellor, John Stafford, at that time the bishop of Bath and Wells.


1st February: William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, was appointed to head the embassy to France to negotiate the King's marriage.

24th May: Margaret of Anjou was formally betrothed to King Henry.


9th April: Suffolk carried an ailing Margaret of Anjou ashore at Portchester after a stormy crossing from France.

23rd April: King Henry and Queen Margaret were married by Bishop William Aiscough of Salisbury at Titchfield Abbey.

30th May: Margaret was crowned queen consort in Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Stafford of Canterbury.


11th November: Henry received the Golden Rose awarded to him by Pope Eugenius IV for his piety and fidelity, and his efforts to achieve peace with France.


10th February: Parliament opened at Bury St. Edmunds.

18th February: Arrival of the duke of Gloucester, who was placed under arrest in his quarters on suspicion of treason.

23rd February: The sudden and unexpected death at the age of 56 of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, which led to inevitable rumours of foul play, laying the blame at Suffolk's door.

11th April: Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, the long-standing adversary of Humphrey of Gloucester, died aged c. 72 in his Wolvesey Castle at Winchester.

29th September: Richard Duke of York was appointed the King's Lieutenant in Ireland for a term of ten years. He had been replaced in France in 1445 by Edmund Beaufort, the then Marquis of Dorset and later 2nd Duke of Somerset.


31st March: Edmund Beaufort, Marquis of Dorset, was created Duke of Somerset.

15th April: Queen Margaret issued letters patent for the founding of the Queen's College of St. Margaret and St. Bernard at Cambridge. Her chamberlain, Sir John Wenlock, laid the foundation stone of the college chapel the same day.

2nd June: William de la Pole, Marquis of Suffolk, was created Duke of Suffolk.


22nd October: Somerset surrendered Rouen to the French.

8th December: Harfleur besieged by the French. The port surrendered on New Year's Day. Less than three weeks later Honfleur was also again in French hands.


9th January: Bishop Adam Moleyns of Chichester was murdered by a mob in Portsmouth.

7th February: The commons in parliament presented a bill of charges calling for the impeachment of the duke of Suffolk for treason. Suffolk was already detained in the Tower.

17th March: In an attempt to save Suffolk's life, King Henry banished him as of 1st May from the realm for five years.

2nd May: William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, was taken in the Channel by seamen from Kent and Sussex and brutally beheaded. His body was then thrown up on the Dover Sands.

11th June: Kentish rebels under Jack Cade set up a fortified camp at Blackheath, threatening London. Cade had previously issued his “Complaint of the Commons of Kent”.

24th June: The city of Caen in Normandy surrendered to the French.

29th June: Bishop Aiscough of Salisbury was butchered by a riotous mob at Edington.

2nd July: Cade, calling himself John Mortimer, entered London with his rebel forces. Several executions and murders followed, including that of the treasurer Lord Say and Sele on 4th July.

10th July: Cade was proclaimed a traitor and two days later he was mortally wounded during his capture in Sussex by the sheriff of Kent.

22nd August: With the fall of Cherbourg, all Normandy was lost to the English.

7th September: Richard of York left his post in Ireland without royal permission and landed in Wales. Posing as the advocate of reform, York marched on London with 4,000 men.

6th November: Parliament opened at Westminster. The King was confronted with a second and more sweeping act of resumption of alienated royal properties.


January/February: The King and his lords held sessions to punish rebels in Kent and Sussex. “Men called it in Kent the harvest of heads.”

May: Thomas Yonge (Young) of Bristol petitioned in parliament for the formal recognition of Richard of York as heir to the throne. Rejected by both King and lords, he was committed to the Tower until April 1452.

30th June: The city of Bordeaux submitted to Charles VII.


late February: Richard of York took up arms to dislodge Somerset from the King's Council by force. With some 10,000 men he marched on London and set up a fortified camp at Dartford.

2nd March: After intense negotiations, York submitted to the King in Henry's tent at Blackheath.

10th March: York solemnly swore in St. Paul's on the Gospels, the Cross and the Blessed Sacrament his loyalty and allegiance to King Henry. He signed a promise never to bear arms against the King, not to proceed against ministers of the crown save by the means of law and not to raise armed men without the King's licence.

25th September: John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was appointed lieutenant-general in Gascony (Guienne).

23rd October: Bordeaux opens its gates to Talbot.

23rd November: Henry creates his half-brothers Edmund and Jasper Tudor the Earl of Richmond and the Earl of Pembroke respectively.


January: Queen Margaret fell pregnant. Henry rewarded Sir Richard Tunstall with an annuity of £40 for conveying to him the glad news.

17th July: Talbot and his son died in the Battle of Castillon against a victorious French army. Bordeaux again surrendered to Charles VII three months later on

19th October.

10th August: The onset at Clarendon of the King's great illness; probably a form of catatonic schizophrenia.

13th October: Queen Margaret gave birth to Prince Edward at Westminster.

23rd November: Somerset was committed to the Tower of London by the lords until the charges made against him by York and Norfolk could be investigated and tried.


14th February: At the resumption of parliament Richard of York was appointed to preside as the King's Lieutenant.

15th March: The baby Edward was created Prince of Wales.

22nd March: Cardinal John Kemp, Archbishop of Canterbury (formerly of York), and chancellor of the realm, died aged about 74.

3rd April: Parliament appointed Richard Duke of York protector and defender of the realm “at the King's pleasure”. Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and York's brother-in-law, became Lord High Chancellor. BishopThomas Bourchier (related to York by blood and by marriage) was translated from Ely to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

13th November: Reform and reduction of the royal household.

1st December: The Council confirmed York's Lieutenancy of Ireland for ten years as from 1447, annulling the appointment of the earl of Wiltshire in March 1453.

25th December: As of Christmas Day King Henry recovered from his long illness.


January: End of York's protectorate.

26th January: Somerset was released from the Tower on bail guaranteed by the duke of Buckingham.

7th March: Somerset was restored to the captaincy of Calais, which York had taken over. Salisbury was relieved of the Great Seal and Archbishop Bourchier was appointed chancellor.

16th April: A Great Council was summoned to Leicester for the beginning of June.

19th May: King Henry expressed his displeasure at York, Norfolk, Salisbury and Warwick arraying the King's subjects without royal warrant.

22nd May: The first Battle of St. Albans. The royal party on the way to Leicester were attacked by York, Salisbury and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known to history as the “Kingmaker”). The duke of Somerset, the earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were killed in the fighting. The duke of Buckingham and Dorset (Somerset's son) were badly wounded. The King himself was wounded by an arrow in the shoulder below the neck. By attacking the King and his escort under the royal standard, York had “levied war against the King in his Realm” and had thus committed high treason under the treason statute of 1351, Edward III.

18th July: York acquired a parliamentary pardon. He laid the whole blame for the battle at St. Albans on the deceased duke of Somerset.

10th November: York was commissioned by the Council to open parliament as the King's lieutenant.

19th November: York was appointed protector a second time, with the safeguard that only parliament could dismiss him. This was a political bid for power. There was no evidence of a relapse of the King into his so-called “insanity”.


25th February: King Henry came in person to parliament to end York's second protectorate. York had secured the entry of Warwick as the new Captain of Calais just prior to losing power.

14th September: The Court moved to Coventry where a Great Council was to be held. King Henry was to remain in the Midlands (largely at Kenilworth, Coventry and Leicester) until autumn of 1457

11th October: William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, replaced Archbishop Bourchier as Lord Chancellor and Keeper of the Great Seal.


January: A household was set up for the young Edward, Prince of Wales.

26th March: Edward was empowered to issue writs and charters in his own right as Prince of Wales.

28th August: A French raiding party under Pierre de Brézé attacked and sacked the port of Sandwich in Kent.

12th November: Bishop Pecock of Chichester was dismissed as a royal councillor on suspicion of heresy. He recanted on 23rd November before the bishops and on 28th November before the King and Council.


27th January: At a Great Council in Westminster Henry lectured his nobles on the dangers and evils of the divisions and rivalries between them. The Queen and he then removed themselves to Berkhamsted, leaving negotiations in the hands of the bishops.

23rd March: An accord was reached requiring indemnities be paid for the deaths at St. Albans and bonds be entered into for keeping the King's peace.

25th March: Lady Day: King Henry organised a “Loveday”, in which he led the lords (enemies hand in hand) in prossession to St. Paul's to celebrate the accord and the re-establishment of peace and harmony.

29th May: Warwick and his Calais squadron defeated a Spanish merchant fleet in the Channel. While his acts of piracy won popular acclaim along the coast, they created diplomatic problems, as no state of war existed between England and Castile.

11th October: York, Salisbury, Warwick and Wenlock refuse to obey summonses to a Great Council in Westminster.

9th November: Warwick finally appeared before the Council to answer on his conduct in the Channel and in negotiations with Burgundy. His retainers got into a fracas with household men, and Warwick himself had subsequently to fight his way out of Westminster Hall, before fleeing London.


3rd April: Easter at St. Albans. King Henry appears to have been admitted to the Benedictine community there as a confrater.

10th May: Fearing a renewed show of force by the discontented Yorkist lords, summonses were issued to meet the King at Leicester accompanied by armed retainers. York and the Nevilles were also arming. Queen Margaret and Prince Edward recruited in Cheshire.

Late June: York, Salisbury and Warwick again ignore summonses to attend the King in Council in Coventry. The Queen urged their inditement.

20th September: Warwick entered London with a force from the Calais garrison, before heading for his castle of Warwick. His father, Salisbury, had left Middleham with his own forces, and King Henry led a royal army across to Nottingham to prevent a juncture with Warwick in the south.

23rd September: The battle of Blore Heath: Salisbury was in fact marching down to join forces with York at Ludlow. Lord Audley intercepted him at Blore Heath. In a battle lasting several hours Salisbury defeated anfd killed Audley, leaving some 2,000 dead upon the field. He then march on towards Worcester, where he was to meet up with both York and his own son Warwick.

12-13th October: The battle at Ludford: faced with a superior royal army and failing to attract further adherent, the Yorkist were in a weak position. Andrew Trollope and the men of Calais had been assured that they would not be led against the King. They now deserted to the royal encampment. York fled to Ireland. Salisbury and Warwick escaped back to Calais. Their forces surrendered to the King's grace.

20th November: The so-called “Parliament of Devils” (Yorkist label) at Coventry attainted York and his two eldest sons, Salisbury and Warwick. Conscious of the direction York's propaganda was heading, 67 lords spiritual and temporal were required to swear anew their allegiance to King Henry, his Queen and to Prince Edward as his legitimate heir, pledging to defend them with their lives and goods.