Before Henry VII Chronology 1455 – 1485

Wars of the Roses

A chronology of the years prior to the accession of Henry VII – 1455 to 1484 showing dates, events and details.

Events are coded:
 Births, Marriages and Deaths births marriages and deaths
Trials, Imprisonments and Executions trials and executions 
Wars, Battles and Rebellions Conflicts
Property and Possessions Property and Possessions
Titles and Appointments Titles
Acts of Parliament Acts of Parliament
Treaties and oaths treaties
Church and Religion Religion
Art and Culture Culture


22nd May 1455
The Wars of the Roses began with the First Battle of St Albans
The rivalry for control of the weak King Henry VI between the Lancaster and York descendants of Edward III came to a head with the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses. This first battle of the 30 year conflict was a decisive victory for the Yorkists. Henry VI was taken prisoner and Richard Duke of York became Protector of England.
4th March 1461
Edward IV became King
Richard Duke of York was killed during the Battle of Wakefield. His son, Edward, Earl of March became Duke of York. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick wanted Edward to replace the mentally unstable Henry VI. They succeeded after marching on London and Warwick became Edward’s chief minister.
28th June 1461
Edward IV Coronation
Edward IV was crowned King of England and Wales at Westminster Abbey
1st May 1464
Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville
Edward IV secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, the daughter of Baron Rivers. Warwick was annoyed because he was negotiating a French alliance which would be sealed with the marriage of Edward to a French princess.
January 1467
Birth of John Colet
A son, John was born to Henry Colet in London. John Colet would become a notable christian humanist.
30th October 1470
Henry VI was restored to the throne
The Earl of Warwick had changed allegiance and, with the support of Margaret of Anjou had invaded England. Rather than face defeat, Edward IV fled to Burgundy. Edward’s pregnant wife sought sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. Henry VI was restored to the throne with Warwick as his chief minister.
2nd November 1470
Birth of Edward V
A son, Edward, was born to Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville in Westminster Abbey.
4th May 1471
Battle of Tewkesbury
Edward IV supported by his brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester, defeated the Lancastrian army. During the battle Edward, Prince of Wales was killed and Margaret of Anjou captured.
22nd May 1471
Edward IV restored to the throne
Edward IV returned triumphant to London.
22nd May 1471
Death of Henry VI
It is believed that Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London.
circa 1473
Birth of Thomas Wolsey
A son, Thomas, was born to Robert Wolsey, an Ipswich butcher and his wife Joan. The butchery trade was considered to be one of the lowest trades. Wolsey would become Henry VIII’s chief minister.
Birth of Cuthbert Tunstall
A son, Cuthbert was born, the illegitimate son of Thomas Tunstall of Thurland Castle. He would later succeed Thomas Wolsey as Bishop of Durham.
August 1475
Treaty of Picquigny
Edward IV successfully negotiated this treaty with King Louis XI of France. Edward agreed a seven year peace with France in exchange for a yearly payment.
Canterbury Tales
William Caxton published the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. It was the first book printed on his printing press in Westminster.
7th February 1478
Birth of Thomas More
A son, Thomas was born to John More and his wife, Agnes. John More was a struggling lawyer living in Cripplegate, London. Thomas would later become Chancellor to Henry VIII.
In 1480, London was an international city with a population of 60,000 that was steadily becoming the business centre of Europe. The city now extended beyond the city walls to take in Southwark in the south, Westminster in the west and Thameside in the East. Merchants from Venice and the low countries brought wines, spices, glassware, pottery, carpets, silk and timber to London which they exchanged for English wool. England also exported corn, tin, coal, timber and salt but to a much lesser degree than wool and cloth.
9th April 1483
Death of Edward IV
Edward IV died at the Palace of Westminster. He was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. He decreed that his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester should be regent for his young son.
9th April 1483
Edward V became King
Edward V became King of England. At the time of his accession he was resident with his Woodville relatives who were reluctant to pass Edward to the care of his nominated protector, Richard of Gloucester.
19th May 1483
Edward V placed in the Tower
Richard, Duke of Gloucester put the young king, Edward V, in the Tower of London to await his coronation.
16th June 1483
Richard of York placed in the Tower
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, managed to persuade Elizabeth Woodville to release Edward V’s younger brother, Richard of York, into his care. He joined his brother in the Tower of London.
25th June 1483
Edward V declared Illegitimate
The marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville was declared illegal because Edward had been contracted to marry Eleanor Butler. As the marriage was invalid, Edward V was illegitimate and could no longer be king.
26th June 1483
Richard of Gloucester became King Richard III
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took the throne as King Richard III.
late July 1483
Princes in the Tower
Edward V and his brother Richard, were last seen at the windows of the Tower of London. It is believed they were murdered shortly afterwards, possibly suffocated by the Constable of the Tower, John Howard.
late July 1483
Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, former Constable of the Tower, was created Duke of Norfolk.
10th October 1483
Buckingham’s Rebellion
The Duke of Buckingham rebelled against Richard III’s rule. Buckingham had he support of Henry Tudor, grandson of Henry V’s widow, Catherine of Valois, who believed he should be King instead of Richard.
25th December 1483
Henry Tudor Marriage Promise
Henry Tudor swore an oath in Reims Cathedral that when he succeeded in taking the English throne from Richard III he would marry Edward IV’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York.
23rd January 1484
Titulus Regus
This Act of Parliament formally declared the marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville to be invalid and their children illegitimate. It also declared that Richard was the lawful King and that the succession would pass to his descendants.
9th April 1484
Prince Edward Died
Richard III’s only son and heir died at Middleham Castle.
circa 1485
Birth of Thomas Cromwell
A son, Thomas, was born to Walter Cromwell, a blacksmith and his wife Katherine in Putney, London. He would rise to become Chancellor to Henry VIII.
Morte d’Arthur
William Caxton published Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.
16th March 1485
Anne Neville Died
Anne Neville, Queen consort to Richard III, died probably from tuberculosis.
1st August 1485
Henry Tudor Invasion
Henry Tudor left Harfleur, France at the head of an invasion force of French, Breton and Scottish soldiers.
7th August 1485
Henry Tudor Invasion
Henry Tudor landed at Milford Haven in Wales. He marched inland gaining much support along the way.
18th August 1485
Richard Call to Arms
Richard III called his army to muster at Leicester.
21st August 1485
Henry Tudor Made Camp
Henry Tudor’s army reached Whitemoor’s Plain near the town of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire and made camp.
22nd August 1485
Battle of Bosworth Field
Henry Tudor stood at the head of an army of around 5,000 men. Richard III had an army of around 9,000 men. The battle began at around 9am with Henry’s archers making the first attack. Richard’s archers counter-attacked. As the battle became hand-to-hand combat it seemed likely that Richard would win the day. However, brothers William and Thomas Stanley, who had an army of 3,000 had not entered the battle wanting to see how the battle went before committing his troops. They chose this moment to enter the battle on Henry Tudor’s side. The battle turned but Richard did not retreat, rather he chose to fight to the death. Henry was proclaimed King while standing on the Battlefield.


First published 2017; updated and republished Aug 27, 2020 @ 1:21 am – Updated – Oct 13, 2022 @ 4:50 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2021). Before Henry VII 1455 – 1485 Chronology Available: Last accessed [date]


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