A List of the Battles of the Wars of the Roses.
For this list of the battles we've included the Siege of Caister Castle in August 1469. It is not generally included in such a list but it the context of this Paston web site, we've put it in to illustrate the general unrest in England, with local Lords seeking to further their own ambitions whilst the battle for the throne went on around them.
You can also access the information and the links to the Paston letters and documents from the map page.
William Worcester (also known as Botoner) wrote to John Berney at Caister Castle describing the incident. Botoner writes about the incident at Sandwich to John Berney. His tone is somewhat sneering about Lancastrian attempts to thwart the naval raid on Sandwich.The raid from Calais, was led by the leader of the exiled Yorkists, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick.
Thomas Deynes wrote to John Paston recalling his service for the Yorkists under the Earl of Warwick at the Battle of Northampton and later at the second Battle of St Albans. Deynes recounts the events surrounding the two battles. In the letter Deynes alludes to some personal difficulties and was murdered the following year.
After the Battle of Wakefield, John Paston's brother Clement, wrote to strongly suggest that John should gather some men and ride north, to be seen to support the Yorkists cause. A Clement writes to his elder brother pressing him to join the King. At the time, John Paston had only recently inherited Caister Castle from Sir John Fastolf and was struggling to hold on to his prize.
Both John Paston's sons were in the Welsh Marches at the time of this battle. John (II) was travelling with King Edward's army and his younger brother was with the Duke of Norfolk's retinue, who were also in the area. John Paston II writes from The Marches. The Yorkists were gathering to thwart the threat posed from Wales by Jasper Tudor and the factions met at the Battle of Mortimers Cross.
John Paston's sister Elizabeth was married to Sir Robert Poynings who was killed at the battle fighting for the Yorkist cause. Clement Paston wrote to John Paston about the battle. Poynings had supported Jack Cade's rebellion in 1450.
William Paston, John Paston's younger brother, wrote with a hasty account of the battle and a list of casualties. William Paston provides a first account of the battle
The siege of Caister Castle, starting on 21st August, was not one of the main battles between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. But it was an example of the local feuds that were taking place whilst the country was in turmoil as Henry and Edward and their followers sort to establish rule. John Paston III led the defence of the castle; the Duke of Norfolk besieged the castle. The balance of forces and weapons eventually forced John Paston to surrender the Caister Castle, although the defenders held out for several weeks. Margaret Paston writes to John Paston III with news of the Siege
John Paston II and his younger brother John III both fought at Barnet for their Lancastrian patron John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. John Paston III wrote to his motherwith a report on the battle. The younger John received an arrow wound to the arm and his older brother reassured their mother Margaret that he was recovering well.
The Paston Letters contain a full list of the battle's participants and their fates as a record of the battle. Listed among those knighted on the battlefield after this decisive Yorkist victory was Sir George Browne, third husband to Elizabeth Paston. Sir George later turned his coat in 1483 to support the Tudor uprising and was executed for treason. Both he and Elizabeth were buried at Whitefriars in London.
The Duke of Norfolk wrote to John Paston (III) on the eve of battle with instructions for John to join him at Bury St Edmunds with a company of tall men. The Duke of Norfolk writes to John Paston III with his request. Evidently John did not respond and his old employer was subsequently killed in the battle. Legend has it that the Pastons' new patron, the Earl of Oxford, was responsible for Norfolk's demise.
John Paston (III) fought at the Battle of Stoke with the Earl of Oxford. Oxford, following his success at Bosworth, was now King Henry VII's leading supporter. Henry VII triumphed in the battle against the Yorkist rebels and John Paston was among those subsequently knighted on the battlefield by a grateful King.