The name of Lord Roos crops up with monotonous regularity during the Wars of the Roses between 1460 until 1464’s Battle of Hexham. Unfortunately he was caught skulking in the aftermath of Lancastrian defeat and executed.
So, who exactly was he. Thomas, Lord Roos or de Ros was the ninth baron of that particular title. One of his ancestors was one of the signatories of the Magna Carta. Our Thomas inherited the title from his father when he was just four years old. His mother, Eleanor, was a daughter of the Earl of Warwick – the one who was responsible for educating the young king Henry VI. After Roos Senior’s demise Eleanor married Edmund Beaufort, the second Duke of Somerset (he’s the younger Beaufort brother who wanted to marry the widowed Katherine of Valois but the Duke of Gloucester put a spanner in the works passing a law stating that Katherine would need her son’s permission when he came of age and if any marrying went on before then that all the new spouses lands and titles would be forfeit – which put Edmund off the idea somewhat). Feeling light headed? If nothing else, take away from this pedigree that Lord Roos was deeply Lancastrian through political affiliation, blood lines and loyalty not least because Henry VI favoured young Thomas with various tax reliefs and grants of land.
Lord Roos was in command of the Lancastrian left flank on the Wakefield side of the Lancastrian army with Lord Clifford holding the centre and the earl of Wiltshire holding the Lancastrian right flank. Richard of York left Sandal Castle and came down onto open ground thinking that he outnumbered the Lancastrians who gave ground in the first instance which drew the Yorkists still further into the waiting trap. Unfortunately the Lancastrian left and right flank were concealed and so Richard did not realise his error. They now emerged, cutting off his retreat and in Edward Hall’s words “catching him like a fish in a net.” Hall is not a reliable chronicler being heavy on Tudor spin but he does have an unexpected link to the events at Wakefield, his grandfather Sir Davy Hall was a loyal servant of York and he had advised caution during the Yorkist council of war – i.e. staying firmly behind Sandal’s wall and awaiting substantial reinforcements. In the event Sir Davy Hall died at Wakefield along with approximately 3,000 other men – 2,600 ish Yorkists and 200 Lancastrians.
As for Lord Roos, well Fortune’s wheel turns, albeit slowly and one of his descendants became the Earl of Rutland during the reign of Henry VIII – which is rather ironic given that Richard of York’s son Edmund, who was killed during his flight from the battle by Lord Clifford, held the title Earl of Rutland.
The double banner at the top of this post depicts his arms. The charge of which are apparently three water bougets on a red or “gules” background. A bouget or budget for those of you who feel the need to know is a leather bag on a pole or yoke used to carry water (thank you my very old Oxford English Dictionary). Double click on the image to open up a rather marvellous web page depicting if not all, most, banners that could be found on the various battle fields of the Wars of the Roses.