Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources on the Wars of the Roses

Below is a list of Primary and Secondary source material on the Wars of the Roses that is available in digital format. They include contemporary accounts, letters and government records. Near contemporary accounts are also included, often written at the behest of a victor in a phase of the wars, or in chronicles. Secondary sources include some that are written during the Tudor era, based on recollections. Historiography from more modern historians will be added to the site at a later stage. 

Froissart’s Chronicles cover to Hundred Years War up to the demise of Richard II. Useful reference material when studying the long term causes of the Wars of the Roses.

Hicks on the causes of the Wars (From a Review by Professor J Watts)

The Croyland Chronicles – sometimes spelt Crowland. This Chronicle was written at Crowland Abbey in the east of England. It’s continuations cover much of the medieval era. This link is to the section relating specifically to the Wars of the Roses.

Letters and Correspondence of the 15th Century

Chronicles of the White Rose of Yorkshire

Stansfield on the South West in the Wars of the Roses

Escalating tension 1453-62. Croyland Chronicle: Selected segment.

The Coventry Muster of 1455. Memorandum to the people of Coventry for a muster. This is immediately before the First Battle of St. Albans.

Richard, Duke of York versus the Court Party. Croyland Chronicle: Selected segment.

The death of Richard, 3rd Duke of York. Croyland Chronicle: Selected segment.

Support for Edward, Earl of March 1460/61. Croyland Chronicle: Selected segment.

Queen Margaret’s advance on London 1460/61. Croyland Chronicle: Selected segment.

The Arrival of Edward IV

Levying of Customs Duty by Edward IV, June 1461. Close Rolls.

Repair by and lease of a tower to Richard Kelsale in Southampton, 1481. Kelsale was attained in 1484 for his role in the uprisings in the south against Richard III.

List of essays and chronicles – the Richard III Society provide a good bibliography of essays and chronicles on the period.

The History of King Richard the Third. Thomas More. More’s history of Richard III was one of the dominant texts on the period for quite some time. Based on accounts he heard and read it doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny, though it helped to shape opinions about the period for centuries.

Edward Hall: The union of the noble and illustrious families of Lancaster and York – Hall’s account of the Wars of the Roses came some time after the end of the conflict.

On the ruin of Britain, Gildas

Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s request of the City of York. 10th June 1483.

To what extent did Richard III’s reputation differ in the North from that elsewhere?

Jane Austen poems about the Wars of the Roses. Purely for interest, Austen wrote these as a teenager.

The Ballad of Bosworth Field – famous ballad, hosted on the Richard III Society website.

The Last of the Barons

Review: Writing by women in the later middle ages

Original letters illustrative of English History

The Paston Letters – The Paston family rose through the ranks following the Black Death to become important landowners by the end of the Medieval era. Their correspondence has survived and provides a wonderful insight into many aspects of life. In relation to the Wars of the Roses, the letters are of value when looking at the local issues in East Anglia and the way in which the wars were used by nobles to try and make gains of land and power. In particular, at Caister Castle.

The Book of Margery Kemp – written in East Anglia this is a quite radical book. Margery Kemp is representative of the new type of woman emerging in medieval towns, she is a guild member and though devotional at times, is putting forward ideas that for the time were quite radical. Notes in the surviving copies suggest links with Mount Grace in Yorkshire as well as East Anglia. The Book presents us with a picture of the way in which towns had developed by the reign of Henry VI.

Edward IV Calendar of Close Rolls.  British History Online provides a translation of the original Close Rolls from the reign of Edward IV.

Audio Book – Margaret of Anjou. 19th Century history recorded as a CD. Now in the Public Domain.

English Queenship 1445-1503, Joanna L Chamberlayne. Master Dissertation. (pdf file)

Margaret of Anjou’s role in the Wars of the Roses. Dissertation. (pdf file)

Northumbria in the Wars of the Roses. Masters Dissertation. (pdf file)

Do you want to find other Primary Sources for use in your lessons, or for research purposes? Visit our Primary Sources page to see which areas we currently have a range of sources for.

Primary History

Knowledge Rich History Resources

Wars of the Roses Section

The Wars of the Roses 

Causes of the Wars of the Roses – Course of the War of the Roses – Events of the War of the Roses

Battles in the Wars of the Roses

First Battle of St. Albans  – Battle of Blore Heath – Battle of Ludford Bridge – Battle of Northampton – Battle of Wakefield – Battle of Mortimer’s Cross – Second Battle of St. Albans Battle of Ferrybridge – Battle of Towton – Battle of Hedgeley Moor – Battle of Hexham – Battle of Edgecote Moor – Battle of Losecote Field – Battle of Barnet – Battle of Tewkesbury – Battle of Bosworth – Battle of Stoke Field

Documents, Maps and Evidence

Primary and Secondary Sources – The Rous Rolls – Paston Letters – Edward IV Roll – Richard III’s letter to the people of York, 1483 – Historiography, Professor Carpenter on Edward IVEscalating tension 1453-62 – Richard, Duke of York versus the Court Party – The death of Richard, 3rd Duke of York – Support for Edward, Earl of March 1460/61 – Queen Margaret’s advance on London 1460/61 –  The Coventry Muster of 1455 – Repair by and lease of a tower to Richard Kelsale in Southampton, 1481.

People and periods

British History – The Wars of the Roses – The Plantagenets – The Tudors – King Henry IV – King Henry V – King Henry VI – King Edward IV – King Edward V – King Richard III – King Henry VII – Margaret of Anjou – Richard, Duke of York – Richard Neville, Warwick the Kingmaker – Jack Cade – Humphrey, Duke of GloucesterRobert Bolling


Battle in a BlizzardThe problem with Henry VI’s Catatonia: who should rule?Author interview with Alex Marchant

Schoolshistory – teaching resources for Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level history

Causes of the Wars of the Roses – Battles of the Wars of the Roses – Personalities of the Wars of the Roses – Women in the Wars of the Roses – Timeline of the Wars of the Roses – Infographic: Key Facts on the Wars of the Roses – Primary and Secondary Sources on the Wars of the Roses – Nathen Amin – the Rise of the Beaufort’s and Tudor England