House of York
Edward, of the House of York, styled EDWARD IV, who commenced his reign in the nineteenth year of his age, reigned ten years, perpetually disturbed by renewed attempts of the Lancastrian party, of which he mercilessly sacrificed many thousands who fell into his hands. At length, having offended the Earl of Warwick, who had been chiefly instrumental in placing him upon the throne, that powerful nobleman raised an insurrection against him, and in eleven days was master of the kingdom, while Edward had to take refuge on the continent. Henry VI was then re stored, and Warwick acquired the title of King-maker. Nine months after (1471), Edward landed with a small body of followers, and having called his partisans arround him, overthrew and killed Warwick at St. Alban's. Margaret of Anjou, who had fought battles for her husband in almost every province of England, gathered a new army, and opposed Edward at Tewkesbury Park, where she was completely defeated. Her son and husband being taken, were murdered in cold blood, and she herself spent the remainder of her singular life in France. Edward reigned, a profligate and a tyrant, till 1483, when he died in the forty-second year of his age. He had previously caused his brother, the equally profligate Duke of Clarence, to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.
During the reign of Edward IV, the plague frequently broke out in England, and carried off immense numbers of the people. It was particularly fatal in London, and in all other places where many houses were huddled closely together, with imperfect means of cleaning and ventilation. It was calculated that the disease, on one occasion in this reign, destroyed as many lives as the fifteen years' war. The plague did not cease to occur in England, as well as in other European countries, until considerable improvements had taken place in the habits of the people, especially in point of cleanliness.
EDWARD V, the eldest son of Edward IV, was a boy of eleven years when he succeeded to the crown. His uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a wicked and deformed wretch, soon after contrived to obtain the chief power, and also to cause the murder of the young king and his still younger brother in the Tower. He then mounted the throne under the title of RICHARD III. For two years, this disgrace to humanity continued to reign, though universally abhorred by his people. At length, in 1485, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, a connexion rather than a descendant of the Lancaster family, resolved to make an attempt upon the English crown. Having landed with about 2000 followers at Milford Haven, he advanced into the country, and speedily gained such accession of force as enabled him to meet and overthrow Richard at Bosworth Field, where the tyrant was slain, and the victorious Richmond was immediately proclaimed king, under the title of HENRY VII. The new monarch soon after sought to strengthen his title by marrying Eliza beth, the daughter and heir of Edward IV, by which it was said the families of York and Lancaster were united.