chapter  8
A regime in crisis
Jack Cade and the Duke of York, 1450–55
Pages 25

The years between 1450 and 1455 had been the most turbulent of Henry's reign to date and a crucial one in the kingship of Henry VI. In the face of military defeat abroad and political crisis at home, the king's commitment to his version of the Lancastrian legacy wavered. Henry's failure of leadership during Cade's rebellion provided the circumstances for others to emerge as true defenders of the Lancastrian legacy. Cade's identity remains a mystery, but it was later claimed that he was an Irishman who had served in France and had fallen foul of the authorities. Henry was escorted to St Albans Abbey by York. Henry thus played a more prominent and public role in the government of the realm in the two years following Cade's rebellion, and it was this display of personal kingship, as much as anything else, that probably accounted for York's failure to gain the political ascendancy.