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This is a new interpretation of English politics during the extended period beginning with the majority of Henry VI in c. 1437 up to the accession of Henry VII in 1509. The later fifteenth century in England is a somewhat baffling and apparently incoherent period which historians and history students have found consistently difficult to handle. The large-scale 'revisionism' inspired by the classic work of K. B. McFarlane led to the first real work on politics, both national and local, but has left the period in a disjointed state: much material has been unearthed, but without any real sense of direction or coherence. This book places the events of the century within a clearly delineated framework of constitutional structures, practices and expectations, in an attempt to show the meaning of the apparently frenetic and purposeless political events which occurred within that framework - and which sometimes breached it. At the same time it takes cognisance of all the work that has been done on the period, including recent and innovative work on Henry VI.