Thursday, 10 March 2011

Shakespeare's Places

a Gazetteer and Topographical Guide to the Plays

by Patrick Thornhill (1984)


Editors and critics who have wished to find out what Shakespeare really wrote, and what he meant by it, have tended to regard his place-references as being in little need of their attention. Not many editors include in their bibliographies a reference to E. H.Sugden's Topographical Dictionary to the Works of Shakespeare and his Fellow Dramatists, a monumental work published in 1925 and now out of print. It covers about 700 plays in all, and the references to those by Shakespeare are scattered throughout its closely-printed pages. Nobody who deals with this subject can ignore such a leviathan, and the present writer gratefully acknowledges his indebtedness to it. But Sugden completed it before the end of the First World War, and his Shakespeare quotations were taken from the Globe edition of 1881. Since 1928 the emphasis in Shakespearian studies has been on textual criticism, but perhaps there is now room for something slimmer than Sugden that will better serve the needs of the present generation.

There is one important respect in which the simple A-Z Gazetteer treatment in Part 2 may fail to satisfy the needs of the reader of any particular play: for example, a reader of Henry V will find in Sugden useful references to Agincourt, Calais, Harfleur, the Somme, and Southampton, but it lacks any guide to the migration of the action from place to place. So the present book provides in Part 1 some topographical notes on each of the plays, chiefly in order to trace the movement of the action, and supplies references in the Gazetteer to all places mentioned in the plays. In many of the plays, especially the Histories, it will be found that precise topographical information brings the action into sharper focus and can sometimes shed new light on it – though we need not search too assiduously through the woods near Athens for 'a bank where the wild thyme grows'.

The temptation to hunt through the Works for evidence of Shakespeare's own travels is hardly to be resisted. We can be sure of Warwickshire and its neighbouring counties, of the road from Stratford to London and London itself, of the old Kent Road through Rochester to Dover - and no reader of King Lear could doubt that Shakespeare had looked down from the dizzy edge of those white cliffs. But was there no view that day, over the Strait to Gap Gris Nez and beyond? Did he never venture across that moat? Where was he in the 'lost' years of the 1580s, when other Englishmen were defeating the Armada, fighting in the Netherlands, attacking Cadiz, exploring Virginia, and searching for the North-West Passage to the Indies? There can be no certainty, but if one guess be permissible it would be that in the 1590s - possibly when plague closed the theatres in '93 – he took passage from below London Bridge in a Baltic trader, perhaps accompanied by a pair of lively students returning to their studies at Wittenberg, and went ashore at the first port of call, Helsingǿr, in Denmark, to see the great castle of Kronberg which with its "brazen cannon" commanded the narrows of the Sound.


Abbreviations, etc
Stage Directions
 Part 1, The Topography of the Plays:
The First Part of King Henry VI
The Second Part of King Henry VI
The Third Part of King Henry VI
The Tragedy of King Richard III
The Comedy of Errors
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Taming of the Shrew
Titus Andronicus
Love's Labour's Lost
A Midsummer-Night's Dream
Romeo and Juliet
The Tragedy of King Richard II
The Merchant of Venice
The Life and Death of King John
The First Part of King Henry IV
The Second Part of King Henry IV
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Much Ado about Nothing
The Life of King Henry V
As You Like It
Julius Caesar
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Twelfth Night; or. What You Will
Troilus and Cressida
All's Well that Ends Well
Measure for Measure
Othello, the Moor of Venice
King Lear
Antony and Cleopatra Coriolanus
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Timon of Athens
The Winter's Tale
The Tempest
King Henry VIII
Part 2, A – Z Gazetteer
A. Where did Justice Shallow live?
B. The Mortimers and the Throne.
C. The Theatres of Elizabethan London.

DP       Dramatis Personae, i.e., the list of characters.
SD       Stage Directions.
TS         In Shakespeare's lifetime, 1564-1616.
Q         Quarto, a page-size of about 7x9 inches, arrived at by folding a sheet of paper twice; here, it indicates plays published individually as Quartos between 1593 and 1609.
F          Folio, a book made up of sheets folded once to make two leaves, four pages; here, it means First Folio, the first collected edition of the Plays, published in 1623.
1•2•34 Act 1, scene 2, line 34, etc.; but the line number should be regarded as an approximation, as editions vary slightly.
/           In quotations, this sign marks the end of verse-lines.
q.v.      'quod vide', which see; here, refer to the name in A-Z.
N,S,E,W           North, South, East, West.

Distances are stated in miles; to convert miles into kilometres, multiply by 8 and divide by 5. A yard is about nine-tenths of a metre.

Many books have been identified as having been sources of material used by Shakespeare in his plays. Most of these are indicated under the separate 'Sources' headings, the best-known being abbreviated to the name of the author, thus:
'The New Chronicles of England and France ', 1516.
'The Book of Martyrs', 1563.
'Chronicles', tr. Lord Berners, 1523-5
'The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York', 1548.
'The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland', 1577.
'The Metamorphoses', tr. Golding, 1567.
'The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans', tr. Sir Thomas North, 1579.
Plays, especially 'Menaechmi' and 'Amphitruo'.
To these we may add:
'A survey of London', 1598 (Probably not used by Shakespeare, but now an indispensible guide to the London he knew; reprinted in the Everyman Library.)


Many of the stage directions (SD) in modern editions of the plays have been added by editors. Shakespeare wrote for the stage, not the study, and his words were meant to be accompanied by actions, entries, exits, changes of scene and other business visible to an audience in a theatre and therefore needing little comment from the playwright; but when the text of the plays appeared in printed form its readers needed more help. In the course of the 18th and 19th centuries library editions were published in which many of the now accepted scene-divisions and stage directions were added by editors, of whom Nicholas Rowe, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, Edward Capell and Edmund Malone were the chief. They sometimes assigned locations to scenes on the authority of their own interpretation of the text, and for the most part these have been found acceptable and helpful, but their editorial origin should borne in mind.

Part 1. The Topography of the Plays
The notes that follow are arranged in the order of Date: of the plays, so far as it is known, though scholars disagree on the dates of some of them, particularly the first seven. The historical 'tetralogy' of 1,2 and 3 Henry VI and Richard III appeared between 1590 and the end of 1593, but within the same period we also have three comedies, The Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew, whose positions in the first group of seven are less certain. The rising playwright, still in his twenties, may have worked on more than one play at a time.

1 HENRY VI (The First Part of King Henry the Sixth)
Date: 1590. This was probably Shakespeare's first play, and it forms the first part of a tetralogy: 1,2, and 3 Henry VI. and Richard III.
Sources: Holinshed, Hall, and possibly Fabyan.
Period: 1422–1453; Henry VI reigned from 1422 to 1461.
Places: Partly in England, partly in France.
After Agincourt, 1415, and the Treaty of Troyes, 1420, Henry V of England had become nominal ruler of most of France N of the Loire and E of Brittany, including Paris. Under the Treaty he was to succeed Charles V1 as King of France, but Charles outlived him by two months. Henry's baby son succeeded him as Henry VI, and his younger brother John, Duke of Bedford, became guardian of the baby king and Regent of France, while his youngest brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, became Protector. The attempt of the English monarchy to impose its rule on France dragged on in what was now becoming the Hundred Years War, to which was shortly to be added the home-made strife of the Wars of the Roses.       
1•1 The play opens at the funeral procession of Henry V, outside Westminster Abbey. Messengers arrive in succession with news of the loss of Orleans, Paris and Rouen, the coronation of Charles VII at Rheims, and the defeat and capture of the English commander, Talbot - all this being a dramatic anticipation of events that were to occur before the end of the play. The scene ends with an exit of royal uncles - Bedford to prepare for war in France, Gloucester to the Tower of London to inspect munitions, and great-uncle Exeter to take charge of the nine-months-old King Henry VI at Eltham Palace, some ten miles from London along the Old Kent Road.
1•2 symbolically displays the situation in France: near Orleans the over-confident Charles VII is beaten back by the English until the entry of Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc) - which in fact occurred at Chinon in 1429.
1•3 returns to London, outside the Tower, where Glouces­ter's retainers fight with those of his  uncle, Henry Beaufort, Cardinal Bishop of Winchester, until quelled by the Lord Mayor of London - a scene symbolic of the disorder resulting from the lack of a strong king, and of the importance of the civic power of London.
Meanwhile in France the English invaders were becoming badly overstretched, though they now had the support of the Duke of Burgundy, whose duchy was on the SE side of Charles' kingdom. Driven out of Paris, Charles had his headquarters at Bourges, S of the upper Loire. This made the capture of Orleans, at the most northerly crossing of the Loire, a prime objective for the English, who laid siege to it in October 1428. (See Orleans.)
1•4 to 2•2 depict the siege of Orleans. The death of Salisbury, 1•4, puts Talbot in command, and in 1•5 he and La Pucelle symbolically fight a duel. Charles and Joan relieve the siege in 1•6, but as a sop to English audiences the English in 2•1 scale the walls and the French flee in their shirts when an English soldier cries "A Talbot!" Joan is depicted as a sorceress rather than a saint. In 2•2 the funeral of Salisbury takes place in the market-place of English-occupied Orleans.
2•3 is an interlude in which the gallant Talbot responds to an invitation from "the virtuous lady, Countess of Auvergne" to pay her a visit, but as Orleans was more than a hundred miles from Auvergne in the heart of the mountainous Massif Central, it seems likely that the virtuous Countess had a chateau on the Loire.
2 • 4 Temple Gardens, London, on the slope down from Fleet Street to the Thames, the scene of the famous - though unhistorical - plucking of the roses, white by the Yorkists, red for the Lancastrians, which signalised the start of the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare was well aware that the Tudor monarchs derived from the Yorkists, and in 2•5 he allows Edmund Mortimer, a prisoner in the Tower, to explain at length to Richard Plantagenet, later Duke of York, the hereditary basis of his claim to the throne (see Appendix B). Mortimer then dies.
Act 3 opens in Parliament, here assumed to be at Westminster, though the Parliament of 1426 in fact met at Leicester. Henry Vl was still an infant, though here depicted as a youth surrounded by the usual bevy of uncles and great-uncles. The proceedings become distinctly unparliamentary, but Henry restores to Richard the title of Duke of York.
3•2 locates at Rouen some anecdotes of Joan and Talbot taken from Hall's chronicle, and 3•3 summarises the transfer of the Duke of Burgundy's allegiance from the English to the French by attributing it to the wiles of Joan la Pucelle.
3•4 in France, presumably in Paris, the boy-king Henry VI meets Talbot and creates him Earl of Shrewsbury. Historically this did not happen until much later.
4•1. The coronation of Henry VI in Paris, in December 1431, is followed by Talbot's denunciation of Sir John Falstaff for cowardice at the battle of Patay (1429). Several years later Shakespeare conferred immortality Falstaff's name 1 and 2HIV before killing him off in HV. The scene ends with Burgundy's defection, and a foretaste of the Wars of the Roses from York and Somerset.
4•2 - 4•7. The action is transferred to Gascony, in Aquitaine, the prosperous wine-producing province around Bordeaux in SW France which had been a possession of the English crown since 1152. These scenes are devoted to Talbot's campaigns in and around Bordeaux and end with his death in 1453 in an attempt to relieve the siege of Castilion, a castle on the Dordogne some 25 miles E of Bordeaux.
At 4•7•60, Sir William Lucy recites over Talbot's dead body the list of his titles, thus:
"Great Earl of Washford, Waterford, and Valence,
Lord Talbot of Goodrig and Urchinfield,
Lord Strange of Blackmere, Lord Verdun of Alton,
Cromwell of Wingfield, Furnival of Sheffield,
The thrice victorious Lord of Falconbridge..."
Territorially, these titles fall into three groups:
(1) In Ireland, of which the counties of Washford (Wexford) and Waterford form the SE corner; Valence was the name of a great Anglo-Irish landowning family in Wexford.
(2) In Herefordshire, where Goodrig (Goodrich) was a castle on the R. Wye, 4 miles S of Ross-on-Wye; Urchinfield (properly Archenfield), a Welsh-speaking enclave between the Wye and the Monnow which had its own customs and privileges; Blackmere (Blakemere), a village 8 miles W of Hereford.
(3) Between Derby and Sheffield: Alton, Derbyshire, 5 miles N of Wingfield; Wingfield, Derbyshire, with a manor-house built by the Cromwell family; Sheffield, S Yorkshire.
"Lord of Falconbridge" is puzzling. Three members of that family appear in K John, and the name (or Faulconberg) occurs in five other plays, but the only apparent connection with Talbot is that a Faulconberg was under his command in France. The Faulconbridge question is discussed in the preface to the Arden edition of K John, though without mention of any claim to the title by Talbot.
5•1 returns briefly to Westminster, where the Protector, Gloucester, suggests that young Henry VI should wed a French princess, and Henry, though more interested in his studies, raises no objection.
5•2 - 5•4 are located in Anjou, a province on the Loire, for Margaret, daughter of its Duke Regnier (René), is to be Henry's bride. Joan la Pucelle appears and conjures up some fiends, but is captured by York. The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole, captures Margaret, who captivates him, but he sees in her a queen for Henry. In 5•4 York and Warwick send Joan to the stake in a shameful scene which has not even the merit of locating her martyrdom in Rouen. Thereafter the politicians patch up a truce.
5•5. Suffolk, back in Westminster, so successfully describes to bookish Henry the charms of Margaret that Henry sends him off to France to fetch her. Suffolk ends the play with, "Margaret shall now be Queen, and rule the King;/ but I will rule both her, the King, and realm."
A-Z References: Alençon, Amazon, Angiers, Anjou, Artois, Auvergne, Bedford, Blois, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Calais, Champagne, Dover, Eltham, Exeter, France, Gallia, Gascony, Gloucester, Guienne, Guysors, Jerusalem, Lancaster, Maine, March, Memphis, Monmouth, Naples, Orleans, Paris, Parliament, Patay, Picardy, Poictiers, Rheims, Rouen, Salisbury, Scythia, Shrewsbury, Somerset, Suffolk, Temple, Touraine, Tours, Tower of London, Turkey, Walloon, Warwick, Westminster Abbey, Winchester, Windsor, York.
2 HENRY VI (The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth)
 Date: 1590.
Sources: Holinshed, Hall, Fox.
Period 1445 - 1455.
Places: Although this play is a direct continuation of Part 1 its action is confined to England within a hundred miles of London and its only battlefield is at St. Albans. Shakespeare was able thus to confine it by having dealt in Part 1 with the loss of France down to the death of Talbot in 1455. He then ended Part 1 with Suffolk's mission to France in November 1444 and was thus able to begin Part 2 with Suffolk's return to West­minster in April 1445 with the promised bride for Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, the daughter of René(Regnier), Duke of Anjou and titular King of Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem.
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the only surviving brother of Henry V, had been Protector to young Henry VI and was still heir-apparent to the throne and the most powerful man in the land. He was furious when he heard that Suffolk had promised Anjou and Maine to René, and Salisbury commented, "These counties were the keys of Normandy!" - which they were not, for they were on the far side of it.
1•2. "The Duke of Gloucester's House" was Bella Court, by the Thames at Greenwich (q.v.), where now stands the Royal Naval College built by Wren. Here Duke Humphrey and his wife, Eleanor, discuss the ambitions revealed in their dreams. Eleanor plans a seance with Hume before she and the Duke depart for St. Albans.
1•3. The Palace is evidently the Palace of Westminster; at 1•3•153, Gloucester cools his temper by "walking once about the quadrangle", which Stow refers to as "the palace-court, betwixt the clock tower and the gate of the old great hall".
1•4. The SD to this strange scene is simply "Gloucester's garden", i.e., the two-hundred acres of Blackheath to the S of Bella Court which Humphrey enclosed in 1433 and which now forms Greenwich Park. At 1•4•6, Roger Bolingbroke speaks of 'aloft' and 'below', and after 1•4•12 the SD says "Enter Duchess aloft, Hume following", but in  a pirated version of this play ('The Contention', a version reconstructed by some of its actors) Eleanor says, "And I will stand upon this Tower here". In fact, the Duke had in 1427 built a watch-tower at the highest point of the park, where now stand the Old Royal Observatory and Flamsteed House. This tower commanded a fine view down the tidal Thames and must have been clearly visible from London Bridge, only miles upstream, and thus a familiar landmark to Shakespeare; indeed, the reference to the tower may have been deleted because it located too precisely the strange goings on depicted in this scene.
2•1. The royal party arrives at St. Albans for some falconry. There are quarrels; Gloucester exposes a local rogue; news comes of Eleanor's arrest. There is a Hawkswick on the ridge just N of St. Albans, and there was once a Falconer's Hall on the site of modern Luton Airport.
2•2. Editor Capell located this discussion of the Yorkist claim to the throne at "London, the Duke of York's garden". This may have been at Baynard's Castle (q.v.), of which Stow says, " the year 1446 it came to the hands of Henry VI, and from him to Richard, Duke of York, of whom we read that in the year 1457 he lodged there, as in his own house". Agas' map shows it facing directly on the Thames, with a huddle of houses on its N side,         but nothing that looks like a garden. However, the text stipulates no more than "this close walk", 2•2•3, and "this private plot", 2•2•59, and there seems to have been a small internal courtyard; but in this scene the precise location matters less than the subject under discussion.
2•3. For the trial of Eleanor before the King and Queen the only likely "hall of justice" was Westminster Hall.
2•4. "A street". Eleanor had been condemned to do "open penance in three open places, within the citie of London" (Hall), and this is one of them.
3•1. The influence of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, had been growing, and by 1445 Henry was beginning to show his independence of Gloucester. It was decided to hold the Parlia­ment of 1447 in the Abbey at Bury St. Edmunds, in the heart of the de la Pole country. News comes of trouble in Ireland, and York is granted an army with which to go and put it down, but he also intends to stir up a rising in Kent.
Gloucester is summoned to answer accusations, only to be arrested in the house of Cardinal Beaufort and, according to 3•2, murdered. His death is followed by that of Beaufort, in 3•3.
Act 4, though devoted mainly to Jack Cade's rebellion, opens with the death of Suffolk. He had overplayed his hand and been banished; in April 1450 he set out for France, but was caught by his enemies in the Straits of Dover and beheaded. The Lieutenant in charge of him says "...for while our pinnace anchors in the Downs/ here shall they make their ransom on the sand,/ or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore", which suggests the sandy foreshore between Sandown Castle and Ramsgate as the scene of Suffolk's death.
The rest of the act is devoted to Jack Cade's rebellion. Below the highest in the land, with their quarrels and intrigues, there was growing discontent among the general population, from the local gentry downwards, and it came to a head in the prosperous county of Kent. Shakespeare displays its most proletarian and violent aspect in the rebel Jack Cade, an Ashford man, who claimed descent< from Edmund Mortimer. (See Appendix B.)
4•2 - 43. The rebels meet on Blackheath, the traditional place of assembly for an attack on London from Kent.
44. At the Palace, Westminster, where the Queen is weeping over Suffolk's severed head, a Messenger tells the King, "The rebels are in Southwark", at the S end of London Bridge, and describes them as " a ragged multitude/ of hinds and peasants, rude and merci­less". A second Messenger enters: "Jack Cade hath almost gotten London Bridge." The King and Queen hastily leave for Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
45. At the Tower, Lord Scales hears that Cade has crossed London Bridge into the City, and the Lord Mayor calls for his help. Scales tells him to gather his forces at (West) Smithfield, on the NW side of the City.
46. Cade sits symbolically on London Stone, in Cannon Street. A follower tells him, "My lord, there's an army gathered together in Smithfield", and he replies, "Come then, let's go fight with them. But first, go and set London Bridge afire, and, if you can, burn down the Tower too".
47. At Smithfield, Scales' men are slain, and Cade sends some of his followers to "pull down the Savoy". He may not have heard that it had been destroyed by Wat Tyler in 1381 and had yet to be rebuilt!) Others are sent to the Inns of Court, the haunt of the hated lawyers. At 47•120 Cade agrees to go to Cheapside, which meant his turning back from West Smithfield into the heart of the City.
4•8 was set in Southwark by editor Theobald, but this cannot be correct, for Cade cries, "Up Fish Street! down Saint Magnus' Corner! kill and knock down throw them into Thames!" Fish Street and Saint Magnus were within the City, at the N end of London Bridge, and one cannot but feel that this speech should come between 44 and 45.
49. In his hide-out at Kenilworth (Killingworth) Castle, Henry hears that York is returning from Ireland with an army. He landed in Anglesey in August 1450, determined to get rid of Somerset, who had been recalled from France and made Constable of England.
410 returns to Kent for the death of Cade, now a fugitive, at the hands of Alexander Iden, in the latter's garden at Ripple, three miles NW of Cade's home town, Ashford.
Act 5 begins with York and his Irish army "between Dartford and Blackheath", which at first sight seems an unlikely spot to find even an Irish army when on its way from Anglesey to London. However, Hall's chronicle makes it clear that the army avoided London, crossed the Thames at Kingston and kept well to the S of London to encamp "on brente Heath, a mile from Dertford, and x. miles from London", where York was in touch with his Kentish friends. But the King's army came down the Old Kent Road and blocked his way to London. The situation was resolved without a battle, and York was tricked into disbanding his force. Iden came from Ashford with Cade's head for exhibition on London Bridge, and Henry knighted him on the spot.
52 -55. The first battle of St. Albans. The English were now being turned out of France (except Calais) and Henry was too weak a king to heal the widening breach between Yorkists and Lancastrians, so the Wars of the Roses began. In the spring of 1455 Yorkist Warwick marched on London from the Midlands and met the royal army at St. Albans. It was hardly more than a skirmish, though Somerset was killed, and in the final speech of the play Warwick manages to make it sound like a second Agincourt.

A-Z. References: Albion, Anjou, Ashford, Bedlam, Berwick, Blackheath, Bury St. Edmunds, Cannon Street, Chartham, Cheapside, Dartford, Downs, Eie, Elysium, England, Fish Street, France, Inns of Court, Ireland, Kent, Killingworth, London Bridge, London Stone, Long Melford, Maine, Man (Isle of), Normandy, Paris, Picardy, Saint Albans, Saint George's Field, Saint Magnus, Savoy Palace, Smithfield, Southwark, Thames, Tours, Tower of London, Troy, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Palace, Wingham.
3 HENRY VI (The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth)
 Date: 1591.
Sources: Hall, Holinshed.
Editing: No scene directions in Q or F; all are editorial.
Period: 1455 - 1475.
Places: The play opens in the Parliament House, Westminster, and the white roses worn in hats indicate the triumph of the Yorkists. 1•1 reads like a direct continuation from the final scene at St. Albans (1455) in 2HVI, but in fact this scene, showing the acceptance of York as heir-apparent by weak-minded Henry VI, took place in 1460. Henry's queen, Margaret, refuses to disinherit her young son Edward, Prince of Wales, and she goes to seek support in the North.
1•2. The Duke of York arrives at Sandal Castle, near Wakefield but between Sandal and York a Lancastrian army is assembling at Pontefract (Pomfret). York's sons persuade him to stir up Warwick in London, Lord Cobham in Kent, and Norfolk in Norfolk. News comes of the approach of Queen Margaret with an army of 20,000, against York's 5,000.
1•3 covers the short engagement known as the battle of Wakefield, 30 December 1460, in which York is captured and then stabbed to death by Margaret and Clifford, and his head set over one of the gates of York. In 1461 the fortunes of war swing confusedly from side to side, and Shakespeare simplifies the course of events.
2 • 1. At Mortimer's Cross, Herefordshire, two of York's sons, Edward, Earl of March (later to be Edward IV),and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later to be Richard III), see an unusual atmospheric phenomenon which they take to be an omen, and they then hear of their father's death. Warwick arrives and admits to his defeat by Queen Margaret's army at the second battle of St. Albans,(17 February 1461).
After her success at St. Albans Margaret made the mistake of not taking London, for from Mortimer's Cross Edward dashed back to Westminster and proclaimed himself king. On 16 March he set out for the North, joining forces with Warwick on the way. He found the Lancastrians at Towton, ready to defend the bridge over the Wharfe at Tadcaster.
2•2. At one of the gates of York, displaying its Duke's bleeding head Queen Margaret welcomes her reluctant husband, Henry VI. Then Edward's Yorkist force arrives from the South and there is  fierce argument  ending in defiance. This encounter serves an obvious dramatic purpose, but if it took place it cannot have been at York, for Towton was ten miles away to the SW.
2•3 - 2•6. The battle of Towton. The Lancastrians tried to defend the Tadcaster crossing of the Wharfe and were decisively defeated in a March snowstorm by Edward's Yorkists. Queen Margaret escapes to Scotland.
Act 3 opens with Lancastrian Henry being captured by gamekeepers while wandering somewhere in the North of England. It returns in 3•2 to the Palace of Westminster for the courtship of Lady Elizabeth Grey by the new king, Edward IV. The vicious character of Richard 'Crookback', Earl of Gloucester, Edward's younger brother, now begins to come to the fore.
3•3. At the court of Louis XI of France, Queen Margaret and her son, Prince Edward, gain the French King's support, but Warwick arrives and wins him over to the Yorkist side by an offer of marriage between Edward IV and Bona, Louis' sister-in-law. Then a post arrives, 3•3 •162, with the news that Edward IV has married Lady Elizabeth Grey. At that, both Louis and Warwick revert to the support of Margaret, and Warwick swears to bring Edward down - "Not that I pity Henry's misery,/ but seek revenge on Edward's mockery."
In act 4, Shakespeare attempts to impose some sort of order on the turmoil of the years 1469 - 1471 by a succession of scenes - in Westminster, Warwickshire, Westminster, Middleham Castle, the Tower of London, York - in which Warwick, the 'Kingmaker', now a Lancastrian, deposes Edward IV and restores Henry VI, who is then again overthrown by Edward.
In March 1471, Edward, at the head of an .army, was heading southward from Yorkshire, pursued by Montague. Warwick, coming from London to oppose him, called on his own friends to concentrate at Coventry. Edward meanwhile put Oxford to flight at Newark and marched on Coventry where, 5•1, he challenged Warwick. A day or two later, Oxford and Montague arrived - though not through Dunsmore, Daventry or Southam, for here Shakespeare the Warwickshire native seems to have laid on the local colour too thick. But Edward was able to resume his southward march, and Clarence, arriving from the SW, went over to Edward at Banbury on 3rd April. By the 11th Edward was in London, and within two days he had gathered reinforcements, turned round, and was awaiting Warwick ten miles N of London on the Great North Road at Barnet.
5•2 - 5•3. The battle of Barnet began on 14th April 1471 in a dense spring mist in which the right wing of either army overlapped the left of its opponent. There was confused fighting in which Warwick was killed and Edward was the victor. News came that queen Margaret had landed in Dorset from France with an army.
Somerset joined Margaret with some Barnet survivors as she headed for the Severn, presumably with the normal medieval expectation of finding support in Wales. She reached Bristol on 1st May, but Edward made contact with her force the next day, at Sodbury. She marched fast up the Severn valley while Edward kept up with her along the Cotswold edge. The Yorkist governor of Gloucester castle would not let her cross the Severn, so on she went.
54 - 55. At Tewkesbury, Edward caught up with her and defeated her. After the battle Edward and his brothers stabbed Margaret's cheeky young son to death, and Richard then dashed off to London, "to make a bloody supper in the Tower".
5•6. The Tower. Richard murders Henry VI.
5•7. The Palace of Westminster. The Yorkists have won. Edward counts his bag of Lancastrians: "Three Dukes of Somerset... two Cliffords...two Northumberlands...Warwick and Montague.." He kisses his baby son, 'Ned'. Margaret's father, René, "to the King of France/ hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem" to raise a ransom for her, so he sends her back to France. So it is "Sound drums and trumpets! Farewell, sour annoy!/ For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy!" He reckoned without his brother, Richard.

A-Z References: Amazonia, Antipodes, Barnet, Berwick, Brittany, Buckingham, Burgundy, Cobham, Coventry, Crete, Daintry, Dunsmore, Elysium, England, Essex, Exeter, Falconbridge, Flanders, France, Gallia, Gloucester, Hames, Hastings, Hyrcania, Kent, Leicester, London, March, Middleham, Mortimer's Cross, Naples, Norfolk, Northampton, Northumberland, Oxford, Pembroke, Ravenspur, Rutland, St. Albans, Sandal, Saxton, Scotland, Somerset, Southam, Stafford, Suffolk, Tewkesbury, Thrace, Tower of London, Towton, Tuthill Fields, Wakefield, Warwick, Westmorland, York.

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