The War of the Roses


This April a mighty force will descend on our wonderful Lancaster. A force that, although strong, this year will be beaten. It’s time to get ready for the monumental Roses Battle and finally show York what we are made of. In 2010, Roses will be entering into it’s 45th year, and this time Lancaster is on the warpath. After a harsh defeat last year, Lancaster has already started to make a strong victory campaign with the Roses Rally.
However, for many of us, who are not of the sporting variety, we won’t really know what Roses is about. And, unless you went to York last year, it is only the third years that have even
experienced a Roses weekend at all. Basically it’s a week of sporting events – a mini Olympics if you will – between us and York Uni. All of the sporting teams that you could possibly think of, from swimming to ballroom dancing compete. But what a lot of people won’t know – unless you’re a history student – is why we are so bothered about York anyway. They are all the way over the other side of the Pennines and just seem, well, a little bit boring. But the rivalry that, to be fair, we all love, actually originated over 550 years ago in a full blown war.
The War of the Roses (hence our competition’s name) was between (surprisingly) York and Lancaster. York has the white rose, and Lancaster the red. Ever noticed the red bits on the sports teams hoddies and kit? Well the red rose is where they get it from. The long and short of it is this: King Henry VI from the house of Lancaster was causing a bit of a stir. He came to the thrown as an infant and was seen as mentally unstable. People were a bit worked up about having him as King, so Richard, the Duke of York challenged him, wanting the crown for himself. What makes it quite Eastenders-ish is that they were actually two branches from the same family. Anyway, they fought loads of battles, but everything really got going in the final battle, the Battle of Bosworth. Henry VI had been killed, so Henry Tudor took over his campaign to get this Richard bloke out of the way (especially as he’d already taken the throne when he killed poor mad Henry VI). So Henry Tudor managed to kill Richard ending the whole war and became King Henry VII – that’s right the very man that spawned the wife executing, church havocking Henry VII.
But, in my opinion, the most important part of the whole story is this: Lancaster Won. We beat York all those years ago so surely we ought to carry on the legacy of Lancaster as a determined, victorious team. Hopefully if anyone actually reads this, and you happen to be a big rugged manly sports player, the story of your fellow comrades will inspire you and fulfill you with that fighting spirit to regain the Roses crown.
Oh by the way, in the end Henry VII married a lovely lady named Elizabeth… Elizabeth of York. He got the red and the white rose, made them into one Tudor Rose and they all lived happily ever after. So basically we aren’t actually at war with York at all any more. Hmm… let’s ignore that for now shall we?
So, Roses starts on the 24th of April until the 2nd of May, with the main body of events going on between the 30th to the 2nd. If you’re not up for the physical exertion that go along and support your university. It’s the one weekend when it doesn’t matter what college your in, feel the solidarity and help Lancaster win!

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