ABSTRACT

The consequences of the battle of Northampton differed greatly from those of the first battle of St Albans. The latter had so shocked contemporaries that it had ushered in a period of political compromise, leading eventually to the new court ascendancy against which York rebelled in 1459. But the compromise after Northampton rested on a novel, even more unstable basis – the recognition of Yorkist dynastic claims. York’s acceptance as Henry’s heir in parliament in October 1460 immediately provoked a struggle for the crown, a war of succession, producing widespread involvement and lasting bitterness as it developed into what some contemporaries regarded as a war of the north against the south. 1 Once the dynastic issue had been raised, with such dramatic and extreme consequences, it was hard to boule up again, and, in various guises, it was to be a long-lasting problem in English politics and a principal cause of the recurrence of the wars.