The history of the Wars of the Roses from the common soldiers' perspective. Historians have researched extensively the motives and fortunes of kings, nobles and gentlemen in the Wars of the Roses that bewildering sequence of rebellions fought between 1455 and 1485. The shadows cast by the awesome puppet masters of the Wars, like Richard of York, Warwick the Kingmaker or Richard III, add to the mist which swirls around the mass of participants, Englishmen, Welshmen and others, including women and children. They were mostly commoners, the fifteenth-century equivalent of the Poor Bloody Infantry. What sort of people were they? Why did they repeatedly buckle and saddle up for combat? What hopes and fears kept them awake, lying under the stars? How did they behave on the way in alehouses and when they encountered beguiling lasses? In the sixteenth century, history-writing was to depict the Wars luridly as theatres of blood, as reflected in Shakespeare's history plays. Did such views square with family and folk traditions?