Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471)

Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471)


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Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471)

Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471) is better known as Warwick the Kingmaker, and played a major role placing Edward IV on the throne before turning against him and briefly restoring Henry VI to power in 1470-71. During his life Warwick had an impressive military reputation, although his performance as a general suggests that this might have been rather undeserved.

Warwick was the oldest son of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the grandson of Ralph Neville, first earl of Westmorland. By the time Warwick was born his father had inherited much of the Westmorland estate, and was about to become earl of Salisbury, so was already one of the wealthier members of the aristocracy. Salisbury was also a major supporter of the Lancastrian regime for most of his life.

The key to Warwick's fortune was his marriage to Anne Beauchamp, the daughter of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. The young Richard Neville wasn't expected to inherit the Beauchamp estates, but the death of Richard Beauchamp's infant granddaughter Anne in 1449 meant that Richard became earl of Warwick. He was suddenly transformed from being the son of a powerful magnate into a powerful and wealthy man in his own right. He even outranked his own father.

Anne had three surviving half-sisters, the children of Richard Beauchamp and his first wife. When her brother Henry died in 1446 the title and Beauchamp estates passed to his infant daughter Anne. When Anne died in 1449 her estates passed to Henry's heir, and the doctrine of the exclusion of the half-blood meant that Richard Neville's wife Anne, as Henry's full sister, inherited the entire estate while her half-sisters were excluded.

All three of her half-sisters were married to powerful men, and all three made a claim for part of the Beauchamp estates. The oldest sister Margaret was married to John Talbot, first of Shrewsbury, and he attempted to claim the Warwick title. The second sister Eleanor, was married to Edmund Beaufort, second duke of Somerset, who had close connections to the court. The third sister, Elizabeth, was married to George Neville, Lord Latimer. The half-sister's cases were soon dismissed, although the question of the hereditary chamberlainship of the exchequer dragged on into the 1450s.

Warwick also inherited large estates through his wife's mother Isabel Despenser. Anne was join heir to both the Despenser estates and the Lordship of Abergavenny. This time their rival was George Neville, heir of Edward, Lord Bergavenny, the co-heir. He was a minor, and at first Warwick was granted the wardship of his estates. In March 1453 the wardship was confirmed, but in July it was granted to Somerset, a step that helped push Warwick into the Yorkist camp. Warwick's response to this snub was to seize Cardiff and Cowbridge Castles and hold them against the king's commissioners.

In 1450 Richard of York returned from Ireland in an attempt to force Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, out of power at court. At first Salisbury and Warwick remained neutral in this power struggle. They were related to both men - Salisbury's mother was Joan Beaufort, while York was married to Salisbury's sister Cecily and was thus Warwick's uncle by marriage.

In 1452 York resorted to arms for the first time, but he had little support. Both of the Nevilles were part of the large Royal army that faced York's much smaller army in a standoff at Dartford. They were part of the delegation that attempted to negotiate between the two sides, but chose to stay loyal to Henry VI. They did manage to reduce York's punishment, but he was still forced away from the centre of political life.

In August 1453 Henry VI suffered his first mental breakdown. At first Somerset and the existing council attempted to remain in power, but Richard of York, as the senior member of the peerage, had a strong case to be made Protector. Salisbury and Warwick were amongst his supporters, and were both rewarded when York took power. Salisbury became chancellor, while Warwick had his rights to the Beauchamp estates confirmed.

At the end of 1454 Henry recovered and in January 1455 York's first protectorate came to an end. Somerset was released from the Tower and Salisbury removed as chancellor. Warwick and Salisbury were now fully committed to the Yorkist cause, and went north to help the Duke raise an army. They moved quicker than the Lancastrians, and greatly outnumbered them at the first battle of St. Albans (22 May 1455). The Lancastrians held the town and for some time managed to keep the Yorkists out, but Warwick's men eventually broke through their defences. Very few Lancastrian nobles were killed at St. Albans, but Warwick was probably responsible for the death of Lord Clifford and his men may have been involved in the death of Somerset. After the battle Warwick took custody of Someret's son Henry, soon to be third duke of Somerset.

The first battle of St. Albans was the foundation of Warwick's military reputation. In later years he would play a major part in Edward IV's victories, fighting at Towton, and conducting most of the campaign in the north of England in 1461-64. He also gained a great reputation as a naval commander, but his record as a battlefield commander wasn't so impressive. Edward IV was said not to have respected Warwick's military abilities, and his two main battlefield commands, the second battle of St. Albans and the battle of Barnet both ended in defeat.

In 1455 Warwick was appointed captain of Calais. At the time Calais contained most important standing army in English pay, and control of Calais would play a major role in the Wars of the Roses. At first he struggled to gain entry to the town, where both the garrison and the Company of the Staple were owed a great deal of money. In February 1456 Warwick came to an agreement to pay the debts, and in July 1456 he was finally able to take command. At first he placed his uncle William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, in command but Calais would soon become Warwick's own base.

Early in 1456 Henry recovered from a second mental breakdown and ended York's Second Protectorate. The Duke of York retained much of his influence for the moment, but Henry's wife Margaret of Anjou now emerged as an important Lancastrian leader, dedicated to her son Prince Edward. Warwick was seen as one of her main enemies, and at the Coventry council late in 1456 he and York were forced to swear an oath of loyalty. After that Warwick spent most of his time at Calais.

Warwick's big problem at Calais was money. Queen Margaret didn’t dare remove him from his post, in part because of the military reputation he had earned at St. Albans, but she withheld funding, making it difficult for him to pay the garrison or pay for supplies. Warwick's position was strengthened in August 1457 when the French raided Sandwich, and he was given a commission to kept the sea safe.

In 1458 Henry VI made an attempt to reconcile the contending parties. Warwick might not have been summoned to the great council of February-March, but he attended, and was included in the 'Loveday' settlement of 24 March. He agreed to help found a chantry in St. Alban's Abbey dedicated to the dead of the battle and to pay reparations to Clifford's heir. In return he was granted extra pay and a commission against piracy.

Instead of tackling piracy, Warwick now became a pirate himself, in part to pay the garrison. In May he attacked a Castilian fleet and later in the summer he attacked the Bay fleet of the Hanseatic League, ignoring a two-year old truce between England and the League. This made him popular with his men and in Kent, but angered the government. Warwick was summoned to London in October 1458 to account for his actions, but the meeting ended disastrously. A fight broke out between Warwick's men and the King's servants, and Warwick only just managed to escape to his ships. Both sides blamed the other for the affair, and Warwick retired to Calais where he continued to operate in defiance of the court.

In 1459 the Lancastrians, led by Queen Margaret, decided to strike against the Yorkist lords. They didn't attend a council held at Coventry in June, and instead prepared for war. York raised an army in the Welsh marches, Salisbury in the north and Warwick crossed over with 600 men from the Calais garrison under Andrew Trollope. Warwick managed to elude an army under Henry Beaufort, third duke of Somerset and his father defeated another Lancastrian army at Blore Heath (23 September 1459), but even after the three Yorkist forces united they were still outnumbered.

Eventually the two armies came face to face at Ludford Bridge, south of Ludlow (12-13 October 1459). It would appear that Warwick had convinced the Calais men that they wouldn't have to find Henry VI in person. It was now clear that the king was with his army, and on the night of 12-13 October Trollope and his men switched sides. The Yorkist leaders decided that their cause was lost and abandoned their troops. York escaped to Ireland, while Warwick, his father Salisbury and York's young son Edward, earl of March, managed to reach Calais.

They arrived on 2 November, just after Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset, had managed to establish himself in the outlying castle of Guines. Over the winter Somerset made a series of attacks on the Yorkist garrison of Calais, but without success. Warwick disrupted his efforts by raiding Sandwich in January 1460, capturing Lord Rivers and preventing reinforcements from reaching Somerset.

In March 1460 Warwick sailed to Dublin to meet with York. Exactly what they agreed isn’t at all clear - if they planned a coordinated invasion of England then York didn't play his part. Warwick eluded a Lancastrian fleet and safely returned to Calais. In June 1460 the Yorkists captured Sandwich, then marched to London. They were let into the city, where they publicly claimed to be true subjects of Henry VI only come to reform his government. After that they marched north, and on 10 July defeated the Lancastrians at Northampton. Salisbury had been left behind to besiege the Tower, so Warwick was probably the Yorkist commander at this battle, which was decided by treachery in the Lancastrian camp. Henry VI was captured, and for the moment Warwick was in charge.

One of his first actions was to return to Calais, where he came to terms with Somerset. York didn't return quickly, and it wasn't until mid-September that he met with Warwick at Shrewsbury. Warwick then returned to London, while York made a slow progress through the country, arriving in London in October.

What happened next has been the subject of much controversy. York entered Parliament and went to the chair of state, clearly hoping to be acclaimed as king. Instead he was met with an embarrassed silence and was then asked if he wanted to meet the king. Salisbury and Warwick are said to have been furious, although it is possible that this was all part of a pre-arranged plot, and their reaction had more to do with York's failure.

Warwick and Salisbury played a major part in the negotiations that led to the Act of Accord of 31 October 1460. This was a compromise solution that left Henry on the throne but disinherited his son Prince Edward and made Richard of York heir to the throne. This agreement revitalised the Lancastrian cause, and revolts broke out around the county. York and Salisbury went north to deal with the most dangerous of them, leaving Warwick in command in London.

The next few weeks went very badly for the Nevilles. For once York had moved too quickly and on 30 December 1460 he was killed at the Battle of Wakefield. Salisbury was captured and executed on the following day. Warwick inherited his father's titles and estates, while Edward, earl of March, who had been sent to the borders, now became Duke of York. After Wakefield the Lancastrians advanced south. Warwick gathered an army, and taking Henry with him moved to St. Albans, but on 17 February 1461 his army was routed (second battle of St. Albans).

Warwick fled west, where he joined up with Edward. The two men led their combined army back to London, where the Lancastrians were struggling to gain entry. Edward was able to beat them into the city, and Queen Margaret was forced to lead her army back into the north.

Edward handled his seizure of the throne with more skill than his father had demonstrated a few months earlier. On 1 March George Neville, bishop of Exeter, addressed a large crowd which called for Edward to take the throne. On 2 March he was officially proclaimed as Edward IV and on 3 March a 'great council' of trusted Yorkists acknowledged him as king. On 4 March Edward IV took the coronation oath.

He now had to face the main Lancastrian army, which had pulled back into the north. On 5 March Warwick was sent north to raise troops. Edward followed on 12-13 March, and the two men met up at Doncaster. By 27 March they were at Pontefract, and on 28 March they fought their way across the Aire at Ferrybridge. Warwick may have been wounded in the leg in this battle, which might explain why he had a low-key role in the decisive battle at Towton on the following day. He probably fought alongside Edward in the centre of the line. Edward emerged as the victor at the end of a hard-fought battle, and his position as king was now secure. The only blemish was that Henry and the Lancastrian royal party escaped into Scotland.

Over the next few years the only real Lancastrian threat came in the north of England, where the castles of Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick were held for Henry VI. While Edward IV returned to London, Warwick was given the command in the north. Dunstanburgh and Alnwick soon surrendered, and by November Warwick felt free to return to London. In fact it would take three years to pacify the far north. In October 1462 Queen Margaret returned from a visit to France and retook Alnwick and Bamburgh. Warwick took command of the campaign to regain them, and all three castles were besieged and take over the winter of 1462-63 (sieges of Alnwick, Bamburgh & Dunstanburgh). By February 1463 Warwick was able to return south again, but Edward's conciliatory policy was a failure and during 1463 many of the Lancastrians he had pardoned broke their word. The Scot joined in and laid siege to Norham. Warwick raised a sizable army and in June lifted the siege. Together with his brother John Neville, Lord Montagu, Warwick captured the northern castles yet again. Montagu was made earl of Northumberland for his efforts, and became a major power in the north of England. It was actually Montagu who ended the fighting in the north, defeating the Lancastrians at the battles of Hedgeley Moor and Hexham and forcing Henry VI into hiding.

Warwick was richly rewarded for his efforts. He was made great chamberlain of England, master of the king's mews, warden of the Cinque Ports, constable of Dover Castle, warden of the east march of the Scottish border, steward of the duchy of Lancaster and was granted many estates that had been forfeited by Lancastrians, including many of the lands of Lord Egremont in Cumberland and the Clifford lordship of Skipton. He was also confirmed in his posts as captain of Calais and warden of the west march. During the 1460s he had an annual income of over £10,000, far above any other member of the aristocracy. He was widely seen to be the real power behind the throne, especially as Edward was only eighteen in 1460.

As the decade passed Edward and Warwick began to drift apart. There were a number of reasons for the growing rift. Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville reduced the amount of patronage that could go to Warwick. They disagreed over foreign policy, with Warwick supporting a French alliance and Edward preferring Burgundy. Perhaps most importantly Edward demonstrated that he was willing and able to rule as king in his own right - Warwick wasn't the power behind the throne, but was instead only the most important of a number of Royal councillors.

On 1 May 1464 Edward secretly married the widowed Elizabeth Woodville. The marriage wasn't made public until September 1464 when Warwick was about to open negotiations for a marriage between Edward and a French princess. At least in public Warwick accepted the new Queen and in the following year he was rewarded with grants of the former Percy lands of Cockermouth and Egremont, while his brother George was made Archbishop of York. In private he may already have begun to turn against Edward. As well as the diplomatic embarrassment, the Woodville marriage also caused Warwick a personal problem. He had no sons, and two daughters, but during the 1460s most eligible sons were marrying into the sizable Woodville family. Warwick struggled to find suitable husbands for his daughters, and his attempts to arrange marriages with Edward's brothers George, duke of Clarence and Richard, duke of Gloucester, were rebuffed by the king.

The first open breach came as a result of diplomatic activity in 1466-67. In October 1466 Edward agreed a secret pact with Charles of Charolais, the heir to the duchy of Burgundy. At the same time Warwick was sent to France to conduct negotiations. These were almost certainly never meant to success, and when Warwick returned to England in June 1467 it became clear that Edward had decided against a French alliance. Later in the summer the alliance with Charolais was announced publically, and soon after this Warwick withdrew to his estates. Edward was aware that he had handled Warwick badly, and there was soon a public reconciliation, but the relationship was never really repaired. Rumours began to spread that Warwick was in contact with Margaret of Anjou, although that was almost certainly not true at this stage.

By the end of 1468 Warwick was probably already planning to take advantage of discontent with Edward's rule to regain what he saw as his rightful position as the main power in the land. He formed an alliance with Edward's able but unreliable brother George, duke of Clarence, who was to marry Warwick's oldest daughter Isabel. Rebellions were to be triggered, which would pull Edward out of position. Warwick could then invade from Calais and trap the king between his own army and the rebels.

Two revolts broke out in the north in the spring of 1469, one led by 'Robin of Holderness' and one by 'Robin of Redesdale'. Both were quickly put down by Warwick's brother Montagu, but in June Redesdale emerged for a second time. This third revolt was probably led by a member of the Conyers family and involved many of Warwick's northern supporters. Edward responded by moving north, while at the same time ordered two of his supports, William Herbert earl of Pembroke and Humphrey Stafford earl of Devon to raise armies. As Edward moved north, Warwick sailed to Calais, where on 11 July Isabel and Clarence were married. He then issued a manifesto that was very similar to that of the northern rebels, and crossed to Kent. As Warwick moved north, Redesdale slipped past Edward's army and heading for London. On 26 July the rebels with help from Warwick's advance guard, defeated Edward's allies at Edgcote (24 July 1469). A few days later Edward was taken prisoner by Warwick's brother Archbishop Neville.

For a brief period Warwick was in command. Edward was held at Warwick then in August moved to Middleham. Parliament was summoned, to meet at York on 22 September, but we don’t know what Warwick had in mind. Rumours suggested that he was planning to depose Edward and put Clarence on the throne, but events got away from him. With the king in captivity a number of local feuds broke out into violence. Sir Humphrey Neville became a Lancastrian uprising in the north, and Warwick discovered that he couldn’t raise an army to oppose it. He was forced to release Edward, who was quickly able to defeat the rebels. Sir Humphrey was executed in front of the king at York, and Edward was able to gather his supporters around him.

Remarkably Edward decided not to punish Warwick or Clarence for their rebellion, and instead attempted to come to terms with them, but Warwick wasn't ready to give up his attempts to seize power. Edward did make one change over the winter of 1469-70 - Henry Percy, heir to the Percy earls of Northumberland, was released from prison and was slowly restored to his lands and titles. Warwick's brother was made Marquess Montagu and given alternative lands, and at first appeared to be satisfied, but later in the year he would dramatically side with his brother.

In the spring of 1470 Warwick and Clarence attempted to repeat their plot of 1469. This time the revolt was in Lincolnshire and emerged out of a dispute between Sir Thomas Burgh, a member of the King's household and Richard, Lord Welles. Welles had attacked and destroyed Burgh's manor house, and in response Edward called him to court and announced that he was planning to take an army to Lincolnshire to restore order. Welles's son Sir Robert allied himself with Warwick, and raised an army in Lincolnshire. Edward ordered Warwick and Clarence to raise troops, and by early March there were three armies in the field. Edward was heading north towards Newark. Warwick and Clarence were also heading north, moving parallel to Edward but further to the west. At first Sir Robert's Lincolnshire rebels headed south-west, with the intention of joining Warwick, but Edward forced Lord Welles to write to his son ordering him to abandon the revolt otherwise he would be executed. Sir Robert was unwilling to leave his father to his fate and turned back in an attempt to rescue him. Edward was thus able to defeat the rebels at Erpingham, in what became known as the battle of Losecote Field (12 March 1470), after the fleeing rebels abandoned their padded coats to increase their speed. Firm evidence was found linking Warwick and Clarence with the rebels.

For a few days the two remaining armies continued to move north in parallel, with messages passing between them. Warwick demanded a safe conduct and a pardon before he would visit Edward, but the king refused. Warwick then turned west and escaped across the Peak District. He hoped to gain support from Lord Stanley in Manchester, but when Stanley refused to help Warwick was forced to flee south. He reached Dartmouth in April and seized a fleet. He then sailed east towards Calais. An attempt to take his flagship from Southampton failed, and much to his surprise he was also denied access to Calais. While he was there his daughter Isabel gave birth on ship - she survived but her infant son died, denying Warwick the male heir he needed.

Warwick's only choice now was to seek refuge with Louis XI in France. On 1 May Warwick's fleet anchored at Honfleur. Louis decided to try and arrange an alliance between Warwick and the exiled Lancastrian court, led by Margaret of Anjou. Warwick didn't take much convincing, but Queen Margaret was harder work and Warwick was forced to beg for her forgiveness in public. On 22 July Warwick and the Queen were publically reconciled. Warwick agreed to restore Henry VI to the throne and in return his daughter Anne would marry Prince Edward. Queen Margaret refused to allow her son to accompany Warwick's expedition, and even after Warwick had successfully deposed Edward she delayed her return for too long.

Once again Warwick used a revolt in the north to draw Edward out of position, before invading from the south. This time his brother Montagu, who had been loyal to Edward during Warwick's earlier revolts, decided to change sides, but he kept his plans secret. The northern revolt was led by Warwick's brother in law Lord FitzHugh. As Edward advanced north the rebels fled, but Edward then lingered in the north. On 13 September Warwick landed in England and advanced north. Edward prepared to move south and confront him, but discovered just in time that Montagu was about to attack. Edward was forced to flee into exile, and at the start of October 1470 set sail for the Netherlands.

Once again Warwick found himself in command in England. This time his power lasted for longer than in 1469, but he had several major problems. The alliance with the Lancastrians was difficult. Several exiled Lancastrians returned to England and expected to be found places in the new government. Henry VI, who had been a prisoner in the Tower, was an unimpressive figurehead and Prince Edward, who might have been able to unite Warwick's allies and the Lancastrians, remained in France. Clarence was in a difficult position. In Warwick's earlier revolts he was a possible alternative king, but now he was an awkward reminder of the Yorkist regime and the best he could hope for was to be allowed to remain as Duke of York. Edward IV was in exile, but he hadn't given up, and eventually gained the support of Charles, Duke of Burgundy. Warwick inadvertently helped Edward by continuing with his pro-French policy, which convinced Duke Charles that he needed to support his brother in law Edward.

On 14 March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur, at the south-eastern tip of the Yorkshire coast. At first he claimed that he had returned to reclaim the Duchy of York. This got him past the immediate threat of an army that had been raised in Holderness, and also gained him access to York for a night. Edward might have had the private support of Henry Percy, the restored earl of Northumberland, but his tiny army should have been overwhelmed by Montagu. Instead Edward was able to slip past Montagu, who may have struggled to get his men to attack without the open support of Percy. As Edward moved south he gained reinforcements, but he was still outnumbered by Warwick, who raised a large army and advanced to Coventry. Warwick posted his army within the strong walls of Coventry and refused to fight. He was waiting for reinforcements, most importantly Montagu from the north and Clarence who was coming up from the south. It isn’t clear if Warwick was simply waiting for reinforcements, or if he was unwilling to face Edward in battle, but his decision to wait for Clarence would prove to be a fatal mistake. On 3 April Clarence appeared on the scene, but instead of joining Warwick he made a public submission to Edward IV. The brothers were officially reconciled between their two armies, which then merged.

Edward took his combined army to Coventry and offered battle. Unsurprisingly Warwick refused to come out and fight. Even if Clarence had changed sides, he was still expected Queen Margaret to land in England at any moment. London was held for him and Edward couldn’t afford to besiege Coventry. Edward came to the same conclusion and decided to make a daring dash for London. Warwick followed him south, but was slowed down by his artillery train. This allowed Edward to reach London, where the main Lancastrian leaders had just left to join with Queen Margaret. The city authorities decided not to resist, and on 11 April Edward entered the city. Large numbers of Yorkists came out of hiding, and he was also able to gain access to the artillery stored in the city.

Warwick wasn't far behind. He must have hoped to find Edward trapped between his army and the city walls, but when he found that Edward had gained entry into the city he is said to have decided to attack during the Easter festivities in the hope of catching Edward by surprise. Warwick camped by the side of the road from St. Albans to Barnet, and prepared for the attack. He had underestimated Edward. Learning that Warwick was close by, Edward led his army out of London. On the night of 13-14 April he camped on the opposite side of the same road, rather closer to Warwick's lines than he had originally planned. Warwick attempted to use his superiority in artillery to bombard Edward's camp, but his men overestimated the range and most of their shots sailed over Edward's men. Early on the morning of 14 April Edward attacked. The resulting battle of Barnet would be Warwick's final battlefield defeat. Although his men were victorious on part of the field, the thick fog meant that the rest of Edward's men didn't realise that their left wing had been driven off the battlefield. Slowly Warwick's left was pushed back, and eventually his line broke. Warwick was killed while attempting to escape. After the battle his body was taken to London to be displayed so that there would be no danger of anyone claiming that the earl was still alive. He was then handed over to his brother Archbishop Neville and buried at Bisham.

On the same day that Warwick was fighting and dying at Barnet Queen Margaret and Prince Edward finally landed on the south coast. If they had arrived soon after Warwick had expelled Edward IV then their cause might have prospered, but now they were forced to fight alone. Edward headed west and intercepted the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury, defeating them and killing Prince Edward. Edward IV was now secure on his throne, and the second half of his reign would be untroubled by over-powerful subjects.

Ironically after his death Warwick got at least part of his own way. His daughter Anne was widowed when Prince Edward was killed at Tewkesbury. Edward then married her to his brother Richard, and he inherited the Neville affinity in the north. The title of earl of Warwick passed to Isabel and Clarence's son Edward, who officially became earl of Warwick after his baptism. In 1478 Clarence was executed for treason, and his son never really came into his estates. He was eventually executed by Henry VII, and the Warwick estates officially came to the crown.

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Richard Neville, 16th earl of Warwick

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Richard Neville, 16th earl of Warwick, also called 6th earl of Salisbury, byname the Kingmaker, (born November 22, 1428—died April 14, 1471, Barnet, Hertfordshire, England), English nobleman called, since the 16th century, “the Kingmaker,” in reference to his role as arbiter of royal power during the first half of the Wars of the Roses (1455–85) between the houses of Lancaster and York. He obtained the crown for the Yorkist king Edward IV in 1461 and later restored to power (1470–71) the deposed Lancastrian monarch Henry VI.

The son of Richard Neville, 5th earl of Salisbury (died 1460), he became, through marriage, earl of Warwick in 1449 and thereby acquired vast estates throughout England. In 1453 Warwick and his father allied with Richard, duke of York, who was struggling to wrest power from the Lancastrian Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, chief minister to the ineffectual king Henry VI. The two sides eventually took up arms, and, at the Battle of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, in May 1455, Warwick’s flank attack won a swift victory for the Yorkists. As his reward Warwick was appointed captain of Calais, an English possession on the coast of France. From Calais he crossed to England in 1460 and defeated and captured Henry VI at Northampton (July 10). York and Parliament agreed to let Henry keep his crown, probably through the influence of Warwick, who preferred to have a weak king.

The situation soon changed, however. York and Warwick’s father, the earl of Salisbury, were killed in battle in December 1460, and on February 17, 1461, the Lancastrians routed Warwick at St. Albans and regained possession of the king. Retreating, Warwick joined forces with York’s son Edward. They entered London unopposed, and on March 4, 1461, Edward proclaimed himself king as Edward IV. Later that month Warwick and Edward won a decisive victory over the Lancastrians in the Battle of Towton, in Yorkshire.

Although Warwick wielded the real power for the first three years of Edward’s reign, gradually the king began to assert his independence. Warwick hoped to marry Edward to a French noblewoman—thereby gaining France as an ally—but Edward spoiled this scheme by secretly wedding Elizabeth Woodville in May 1464. Tensions between the two men mounted as Edward provided his wife’s relatives with high state offices.

Warwick then won to his side Edward’s brother George, duke of Clarence. In August 1469 they seized and briefly detained the king and executed the queen’s father and one of her brothers. A fresh revolt engineered by Warwick broke out in northern England in March 1470. After suppressing it, Edward turned on Warwick and Clarence, both of whom fled to France (April 1470). There Warwick was reconciled with his former enemy, Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI’s wife. Returning to England in September 1470, he drove Edward into exile and put Henry VI on the throne. Once more Warwick was master of England. Edward landed in the north in March 1471, however, and on April 14 his troops killed Warwick at the Battle of Barnet.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.


Why was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the Kingmaker?

Richard Neville sits at the heart of the Wars of the Roses, but what did he do to deserve the title 'Kingmaker'?

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Published: March 25, 2021 at 7:13 am

Warwick used his power to raise and remove kings in a medieval game of thrones, writes Sarah Peverley, professor of medieval literature at the University of Liverpool…

Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick (1428–71) was a decisive player in the late 15th-century conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Fuelled by unparalleled personal wealth and the influence it generated at home and abroad, Warwick used his power to raise and remove kings in a medieval game of thrones that had far-reaching effects on the social and economic stability of England.

An adept politician, Warwick knew how to manipulate popular discontent to his advantage and that of the kings he served. But when he found himself marginalised and at odds with Edward IV, his volte-face in championing Henry VI’s hopeless cause set him and his Lancastrian conspirators on a collision course with disaster.

Warwick’s ambitious plan to make his daughter queen by virtue of a hasty marriage to Henry’s son, Prince Edward, forced him into battle with a superior opponent and few allies. The devastation wreaked on Warwick at the battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471 allowed Edward IV to secure another victory 20 days later at the battle of Tewkesbury, where Prince Edward was killed and Henry VI’s consort, Margaret of Anjou, was captured.

Warwick’s bloody demise on the battlefield also sealed the fate of Henry VI, who was murdered in the Tower of London shortly after Tewkesbury to ensure that no further uprisings could be held in his name.

Warwick was an overmighty subject but also a victim of circumstance, writes historian and battlefields expert Julian Humphrys…

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, has gone down in history as ‘the Kingmaker’, a classic example of one of those overmighty subjects whose ambitions were a major cause of the Wars of the Roses.

In fact, he had no say whatsoever in the event that propelled him to the centre of the national stage, for he was only six when he was betrothed to the nine-year old Warwick heiress, Anne Beauchamp. It was a union that would eventually see him inherit both the Earldom of Warwick and vast estates that, added to his own Neville lands, would make him one of the most powerful men in the country.

It seems that many of his subsequent actions were motivated by a desire to protect his inheritance. He supported Richard of York (and then his son, Edward IV) against Henry VI and in doing so, was able to strike at two pro-Lancastrian families: the Beauforts, who challenged his inheritance, and the Percys, the Nevilles’ traditional enemies. Warwick played a major role in Edward IV’s victory at the battle of Towton, and was for a while the King’s chief advisor. But after Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, he became increasingly disenchanted.

In 1469, feeling he was being denied the influence that was his by right and resenting the King’s failure to find suitable matches for his daughters, he took the first steps on the road that would lead to his defeat and death.

This content first appeared in the April 2018 issue of BBC History Magazine and the June 2018 issue of BBC History Revealed


Bible Encyclopedias

EARL OF (1428-1471), called "the king-maker," was eldest son of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, by Alice, only daughter and heiress of Thomas, the last Montacute earl of Salisbury. He was born on the 22nd of November 1428, and whilst still a boy betrothed to Anne, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. When her brother's daughter died in 1449, Anne, as only sister of the whole blood, brought her husband the title and chief share of the Warwick estates. Richard Neville thus became the premier earl, and both in power and position excelled his father. Richard, duke of York, was his uncle, so when York became protector in 1453, and Salisbury was made chancellor, it was natural that Warwick should be one of the council. After the king's recovery in 1455 Warwick and his father took up arms in York's support. Their victory at St Albans on the 22nd of May was due to the fierce energy with which Warwick assaulted and broke the Lancastrian centre. He was rewarded with the important office of captain of Calais to his position there he owed his strength during the next five years. Even when York was displaced at home, Warwick retained his post, and in 1457 was also made admiral. He was present in February 1458 at the professed reconciliation of the two parties in a loveday at St Paul's, London. During the previous year he had done some good fighting on the march of Calais by land, and kept the sea with vigour now on. his return he distinguished himself in a great fight with Spanish ships off Calais on the 28th of May, and in the autumn by capturing a German salt-fleet on its way to Lubeck. These exploits brought him a prestige and popularity that were distasteful to the home government. Moreover, England was at war neither with Castile nor with the Hanse. Warwick's action may possibly have formed part of some Yorkist design for frustrating the foreign policy of their rivals. At all events there was pretext enough for recalling him to make his defence. Whilst he was at the court at Westminster a brawl occurred between his retainers and some of the royal household. Warwick himself escaped with difficulty, and went back to Calais, alleging that his life had been deliberately attempted. When in the following year a renewal of the war was imminent, Warwick crossed over to England with his trained soldiers from Calais under Sir Andrew Trollope. But at Ludlow on the 12th of October Trollope and his men deserted, and left the Yorkists helpless. Warwick, with his father, his cousin the young Edward of York, and only three followers, made his way to Barnstaple. There they hired a little fishing vessel. The master pleaded that he did not know the Channel, but Warwick resourcefully took command and himself steered a successful course to Calais. He arrived just in time to anticipate the duke of Somerset, whom the Lancastrians had sent to supersede him. During the winter Warwick held Calais against Somerset, and sent out a fleet which seized Sandwich and captured Lord Rivers. In the spring he went to Ireland to concert plans with Richard of York. On his return voyage he encountered a superior Lancastrian fleet in the Channel. But Exeter, the rival commander, could not trust his crews and dared not fight.

From Calais Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of York crossed to Sandwich on the 26th of June. A few days later they entered London, whence Warwick at once marched north. On the 10th of July he routed the Lancastrians at Northampton, and took the king prisoner. For the order to spare the commons and slay the lords Warwick was responsible, as also for some later executions at London. Yet when Richard of York was disposed to claim the crown, it was, according to Waurin, Warwick who decided the discussion in favour of a compromise, perhaps from loyalty to Henry, or perhaps from the wish not to change a weak sovereign for a strong. Warwick was in charge of London at the time when Richard and Salisbury were defeated and slain at Wakefield. The Lancastrians won a second victory at St Albans on the 17th of February 1461, possibly through lack of generalship on Warwick's part. But in his plans to retrieve the disaster Warwick showed skill and decision. He met Edward of York in Oxfordshire, brought him in triumph to London, had him proclaimed king, and within a month of his defeat. at St Albans was marching north in pursuit of the Lancastrians. The good generalship which won the victory of Towton may have been due to Edward rather than to Warwick, but the new king was of the creation of the powerful earl, who now had his reward. For four years the government was centred undisputedly in the hands of Warwick and his friends. The energy of his brother John, Lord Montagu, frustrated the various attempts of the Lancastrians in the north. In another sphere Warwick himself was determining the lines of English policy on the basis of an alliance with France. The power of the Nevilles seemed to be completed by the promotion of George, the third brother, to be archbishop of York. The first check came with the announcement in September 1464 of the king's secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. This was particularly distasteful to Warwick, who had but just pledged Edward to a French match. For the time, however, there was no open breach. The trouble began in 1466, when Edward first made Rivers, the queen's father, treasurer, and afterwards threw obstacles in the way of an intended marriage between Warwick's daughter Isabel and George of Clarence, his own next brother. Still in May 1467 Warwick went again with the king's assent to conclude a treaty with France. He returned to find that in his absence Edward, under Woodville's influence, had committed himself definitely to the Burgundian alliance. Warwick retired in dudgeon to his estates, and began to plot in secret for his revenge. In the summer of 1469 he went over to Calais, where Isabel and Clarence were married without the king's knowledge. Meantime he had stirred up the rebellion of Robin of Redesdale in Yorkshire and when Edward was drawn north Warwick invaded England in arms. The king, outmarched and outnumbered, had to yield himself prisoner, whilst Rivers and his son John were executed. Warwick was apparently content with the overthrow of the Woodvilles, and believed that he had secured Edward's submission. In March 1470 a rebellion in Lincolnshire gave Edward an opportunity to gather an army of his own. When the king alleged that he had found proof of Warwick's complicity, the earl, taken by surprise, fled with Clarence to France. There, through the instrumentality of Louis XI., he was with some difficulty reconciled to Margaret of Anjou, and agreed to marry his second daughter to her son. In September Warwick and Clarence, with the Lancastrian lords, landed at Dartmouth. Edward in his turn had to fly oversea, and for six months Warwick ruled England as lieutenant for Henry VI., who was restored from his prison in the Tower to a nominal throne. But the Lancastrian restoration was unwelcome to Clarence, who began to intrigue with his brother. When in March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur, Clarence found an opportunity to join him. Warwick was completely outgeneralled, and at Barnet on the 14th of April was defeated and slain.

Warwick has been made famous by Lytton as "The Last of the Barons." The title suits him as a great feudal lord, who was a good fighter but a poor general, who had more sympathy with the old order than with the new culture. But he was more than this. He had some of the qualities of a strong ruler, and the power to command popularity. He was a skilled diplomatist and an adroit politician. These qualities, with his position as the head of a great family, the chief representative of Beauchamp, Despenser, Montacute and Neville, made him during ten years "the king-maker." Warwick's only children were his two daughters. Anne, the younger, was married after his death to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III. Their husbands shared his inheritance and quarrelled over its division.


The Kingmaker

In 1469, however, Warwick turned the usual unrest in northern England to his own purposes. The July 11 marriage at Calais of his daughter Isabel to George of Clarence was followed by another expedition to England. Edward's inadequate forces deserted him, and he became Warwick's captive. Warwick, however, found himself unable to raise sufficient troops to deal with the increasing disorders. With both Henry VI and Edward IV as his prisoners, and with George of Clarence at hand as a willing aspirant, the Kingmaker found himself overstocked with royal candidates and under equipped in soldiery. Edward resumed the government, and in 1470 he was "reconciled" to his brother and to Warwick as a curious prelude to a belated public discovery that both were rebels and must be driven from the land.

Warwick, with Clarence, fled to the court of Louis XI, embraced the Lancastrian cause, and betrothed his daughter Anne to Prince Edward, the son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Warwick's 1470 invasion of an unarmed England forced Edward IV to take refuge with Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Warwick recrowned an apathetic Henry VI and committed England to war against Burgundy as Louis's price for the escort of Margaret and Prince Edward to England.

The projected invasion of Burgundy did not materialize. When Edward IV returned in 1471 "to claim the duchy of York, " Clarence made peace with his brother, Louis made peace with Burgundy, and Warwick could not muster an army significantly larger than Edward's. Against Edward that was not enough. Warwick was beaten at Barnet on April 14, 1471, and killed in flight. His Lancastrian candidate was slain at Tewkesbury on May 4, 1471, and the Neville estates were divided between Clarence and Gloucester (later Richard III), following the latter's marriage to the widowed Anne Neville.

Warwick's 1460 rebellion showed how armed wealth and public dissatisfaction could be combined to seize the seat of government in a nation without a standing army and, thus, to establish a legally accepted new regime. This action marked a change from the baronial factionalism of the past, and it looked toward the "popular politics" of the future.


Sources

  1. ↑ 1.01.11.2 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), Vol IV, p 126 MONTAGU #12.
  2. ↑ 2.02.12.2 Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), Vol III, p 164 MONTAGU #11.
  3. ↑ 3.03.1 Lewis, 2014 Lewis (2014), says he's the 1st Earl of Warwick and 2nd Earl of Salisbury while Wikipedia states 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury, (Wikipedia: Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick) Burley, Elliot & Watson, 2013
  • Source: Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013), Vol II page 399.

Alice Langford, married John Stradling. They had one son, Edward, Esq., and one daughter Anne. John Stradling died in 1471. Alice, married (2nd) before 28 June 1483 (as his 1st wife) Richard Pole (or Poole), K.G. They had no known issue. Richard Pole, son and heir of Geoffrey Pole, Esq., by Edith, daughter of Oliver Saint John, Knt. He married (2nd) in or about Nov. 1487 Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of George Plantagenet, K.G., K.B., by Isabel, elder daughter and co-heiress of Richard Neville, K.G. Sir Richard Pole died shortly before 15 Nov. 1504.

  • Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families], 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2013).
  • Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry:A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 5 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011).
  • Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, 2nd edition, 3 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011).
  • Burley, P., Elliot, M. & Watson, H. (2013). The Battles of St Albans: Battleground War of the Roses. Pen and Sword. Ebook.
  • Lewis, M. (2014, March 11). "Sir Richard 'the King Maker' Neville, 1st Earl Warwick, 2nd Earl Salisbury, Lord Bergavenny, Glamorgan, & Morgannwg, Sheriff of Worcestershire, Admiral of England, Ireland, & Aquitaine, Chamberlain of the Exchequer." ORTNCA. Web. see: Richardson, D. Royal Ancestry, IV, p. 126
  • Huddleston, M. (2011, August 24). "A glimpse at Warwick’s natural daughter Margaret." A Nevill Feast. Weblog.
  • Tait, J. (1894). Neville, Richard (1428-1471) (DNB00). WikiSource.org.

Richard Neville, earl of Warwick (1428-1471) - History


RICHARD NEVILLE, EARL OF WARWICK, called "the king-maker," was the eldest son of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, by Alice, only daughter and heiress of Thomas, the last Montacute Earl of Salisbury. He was born on the 22nd of November 1428, and whilst still a boy betrothed to Anne, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. When her brother's daughter died in 1449, Anne, as only sister of the whole blood, brought her husband the title and chief share of the Warwick estates. Richard Neville thus became the premier earl, and both in power and position excelled his father.

Richard, Duke of York, was his uncle, so when York became Protector in 1453, and Salisbury was made Chancellor, it was natural that Warwick should be one of the council. After the King's [Henry VI] recovery in 1455 Warwick and his father took up arms in York's support. Their victory at St Albans on the 22nd of May was due to the fierce energy with which Warwick assaulted and broke the Lancastrian centre. He was rewarded with the important office of captain of Calais to his position there he owed his strength during the next five years. Even when York was displaced at home, Warwick retained his post, and in 1457 was also made admiral. He was present in February 1458 at the professed reconciliation of the two parties at St Paul's, London.

During the previous year he had done some good fighting on the march of Calais by land, and kept the sea with vigour now on his return he distinguished himself in a great fight with Spanish ships off Calais on the 28th of May, and in the autumn by capturing a German salt-fleet on its way to Lubeck. These exploits brought him a prestige and popularity that were distasteful to the home government. Moreover, England was at war neither with Castile nor with the Hanse. Warwick's action may possibly have formed part of some Yorkist design for frustrating the foreign policy of their rivals. At all events there was pretext enough for recalling him to make his defence.

Whilst he was at the court at Westminster a brawl occurred between his retainers and some of the royal household. Warwick himself escaped with difficulty, and went back to Calais, alleging that his life had been deliberately attempted. When in the following year a renewal of the war was imminent, Warwick crossed over to England with his trained soldiers from Calais under Sir Andrew Trollope. But at Ludlow, on the 12th of October, Trollope and his men deserted, and left the Yorkists helpless [cf. Rout of Ludford]. Warwick, with his father, his cousin the young Edward of York, and only three followers, made his way to Barnstaple. There they hired a little fishing vessel. The master pleaded that he did not know the Channel, but Warwick resourcefully took command and himself steered a successful course to Calais. He arrived just in time to anticipate the Duke of Somerset, whom the Lancastrians had sent to supersede him. During the winter Warwick held Calais against Somerset, and sent out a fleet which seized Sandwich and captured Lord Rivers. In the spring he went to Ireland to concert plans with Richard of York. On his return voyage he encountered a superior Lancastrian fleet in the Channel. But Exeter, the rival commander, could not trust his crews and dared not fight.


Bear and Ragged Staff —
Badges of Richard Neville
From Calais Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of York crossed to Sandwich on the 26th of June. A few days later they entered London, whence Warwick at once marched north. On the 10th of July he routed the Lancastrians at Northampton, and took the King prisoner. For the order to spare the commons and slay the lords, Warwick was responsible, as also for some later executions at London. Yet when Richard of York was disposed to claim the crown, it was, according to Waurin, Warwick who decided the discussion in favour of a compromise, perhaps from loyalty to Henry, or perhaps from the wish not to change a weak sovereign for a strong. Warwick was in charge of London at the time when Richard and Salisbury were defeated and slain at Wakefield. The Lancastrians won a second victory at St Albans on the 17th of February 1461, possibly through lack of generalship on Warwick's part. But in his plans to retrieve the disaster Warwick showed skill and decision. He met Edward of York in Oxfordshire, brought him in triumph to London, had him proclaimed king [as Edward IV], and within a month of his defeat at St Albans was marching north in pursuit of the Lancastrians. The good generalship which won the victory of Towton may have been due to Edward rather than to Warwick, but the new king was of the creation of the powerful earl, who now had his reward.

For four years the government was centred undisputedly in the hands of Warwick and his friends. The energy of his brother John, Lord Montagu, frustrated the various attempts of the Lancastrians in the north. In another sphere Warwick himself was determining the lines of English policy on the basis of an alliance with France. The power of the Nevilles seemed to be completed by the promotion of George, the third brother, to be Archbishop of York. The first check came with the announcement in September 1464 of the king's secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. This was particularly distasteful to Warwick, who had but just pledged Edward to a French match. For the time, however, there was no open breach. The trouble began in 1466, when Edward first made Rivers, the Queen's father, treasurer, and afterwards threw obstacles in the way of an intended marriage between Warwick's daughter Isabel and George of Clarence, the King's own next brother. Still in May 1467 Warwick went again with the king's assent to conclude a treaty with France. He returned to find that in his absence Edward, under Woodville's influence, had committed himself definitely to the Burgundian alliance.

Warwick retired in dudgeon to his estates, and began to plot in secret for his revenge. In the summer of 1469 he went over to Calais, where Isabel and Clarence were married without the king's knowledge. Meantime he had stirred up the rebellion of Robin of Redesdale in Yorkshire and when Edward was drawn north, Warwick invaded England in arms. The King, outmarched and outnumbered, had to yield himself prisoner, whilst Rivers and his son John were executed. Warwick was apparently content with the overthrow of the Woodvilles, and believed that he had secured Edward's submission. In March 1470, a rebellion in Lincolnshire gave Edward an opportunity to gather an army of his own. When the King alleged that he had found proof of Warwick's complicity, the earl, taken by surprise, fled with Clarence to France. There, through the instrumentality of Louis XI, he was with some difficulty reconciled to Margaret of Anjou, and agreed to marry his second daughter to her son.

In September Warwick and Clarence, with the Lancastrian lords, landed at Dartmouth. Edward in his turn had to fly overseas, and for six months Warwick ruled England as Lieutenant for Henry VI, who was restored from his prison in the Tower to a nominal throne. But the Lancastrian restoration was unwelcome to Clarence, who began to intrigue with his brother. When in March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur, Clarence found an opportunity to join him. Warwick was completely outgeneralled, and at Barnet on the 14th of April was defeated and slain.

Warwick has been made famous by Lytton as "The Last of the Barons." The title suits him as a great feudal lord, who was a good fighter but a poor general, who had more sympathy with the old order than with the new culture. But he was more than this. He had some of the qualities of a strong ruler, and the power to command popularity. He was a skilled diplomatist and an adroit politician. These qualities, with his position as the head of a great family, the chief representative of Beauchamp, Despenser, Montacute and Neville, made him during ten years "the king-maker." Warwick's only children were his two daughters. Anne, the younger, was married after his death to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol XVIII.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 340.


Warwick the Kingmaker

Warwick ‘the Kingmaker’ was a nobleman, a military commander in the Wars of the Roses and an influential politician who would by stealth, cunning and daring be in virtual control of the country for many years until his death at the Battle of Barnet in April 1471.

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick

He was born Richard Neville on 22nd November 1428, the eldest son of the 5th Earl of Salisbury. He later acquired the title 16th Earl of Warwick through his advantageous marriage to Lady Anne Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, the 13th Earl of Warwick. This was a marriage that proved to be strategically powerful for Neville a marriage involving not only a title, but also an inheritance of great fortune and land. In 1449 Richard Neville became jure uxoris (by right of his wife) Earl of Warwick.

However the newly titled Earl of Warwick soon found himself in conflict with the Duke of Somerset. The Duke had been granted control of Glamorgan, until then held by Warwick, by King Henry VI. King Henry then fell ill and Somerset, a favourite of the king, virtually took control of government. For this reason Warwick decided to support Richard Duke of York’s bid to oust the incapacitated king.

Henry VI

The Duke of York was married to Warwick’s aunt, Cecily Neville, and the subsequent struggle for royal control became a personal matter for Warwick who would fight alongside his father in numerous battles against the king. These battles became known as the Wars of the Roses, a pivotal historical conflict fought between two rival branches of the royal family, the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the House of York (white rose).

In 1455 the First Battle of St Albans resulted in a Yorkist victory, the death of Warwick’s rival Somerset and the capture of the king. This did not however lead to the Duke of York gaining power as he would have hoped. Warwick remained one of his most loyal allies and as a reward for this support, Warwick received the prestigious position of Captain of Calais.

Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI

Warwick’s strong position did not go unnoticed by Queen Margaret who viewed him as a very real threat to the throne. He was very politically astute and used his time in Calais to form good diplomatic relationships. He was cultivating an impressive persona as a man of sound military might with contacts across Europe. He would later return to England with members of his garrison to meet up with his father and the Duke of York.

Unfortunately for York, Warwick and Salisbury, in battle their men proved less willing to fight against the king than they had first thought. In an effort to regroup after defeat at Ludlow, the three men went their separate ways, buying themselves time to come up with another plan of attack.

A year later in July 1460, the Yorkist forces were victorious at the Battle of Northampton. King Henry VI was captured, a decisive turning point in the war.

The Duke of York entered parliament and in a shockingly provocative act, placed his hands on the throne, as if to say this seat is mine.

The onlookers to this scene were outraged and the subsequent agreement called the Act of Accord decreed that York would only inherit the throne after Henry VI had died. This did not satisfy either party and inevitably, the war raged on.

The Battle of Wakefield was for Warwick the Kingmaker a personally significant battle. Margaret of Anjou, the Lancastrian queen had sent a large force of around 6,000 men, including the Duke of Somerset and Lord Clifford, to attack the Yorkist forces at Sandal Castle.

They had been enjoying Christmas festivities, which would soon end in bloodshed. The battle saw York lead his men down from the safety of the castle straight into a trap in which the Duke of York was killed. Meanwhile, his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland also lost his life whilst making an attempt to flee.

Warwick tragically suffered the loss of his father, Salisbury, who had been captured and subsequently executed, along with his younger brother Thomas. In a macabre show of victory, the severed heads of the Duke of York and Earl of Salisbury were then paraded around.

Further defeat on 17th February 1461 at the Second Battle of St Albans led to Yorkist retreat, leaving behind King Henry VI who is said to have spent the battle sitting under a tree, singing.

Warwick’s response as “kingmaker” was to travel to London as quickly as possible in order to announce that Richard’s son Edward would be king. All that was needed was to decisively defeat the Lancastrian forces of King Henry VI.

Battle of Towton

The Battle of Towton proved to be one of the largest and bloodiest struggles of the war. The queen fled to Scotland along with King Henry VI. The Yorkist forces proclaimed victory and Edward headed for London as royal victor. In June 1461 he was crowned King Edward IV of England at Westminster Abbey.

Meanwhile, what did this mean for Warwick? For the first couple of years of Edward IV’s reign, Warwick assumed the role of virtual ruler. He was in the strongest position he had ever held. Not only did he continue to serve as Captain of Calais but he was given the position of High Admiral of England and Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The positions he held were numerous, filing many important administrative roles, a right-hand man of the king so to speak. Not only that, but he had inherited a personal fortune after the death of his father and in 1462, he also inherited his mother’s land and the Salisbury title.

Victory had never tasted so sweet for the Earl of Warwick. He was amassing a great personal fortune as well as holding enormous power in various administrative and political positions, whilst also serving as a military leader, winning favour and popularity for his naval victories off the coast of Calais.

Marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville

Unfortunately, the good relationship between Edward IV and Warwick quickly soured when Edward secretly married Elizabeth Woodville whilst Warwick had been negotiating his marriage to Bona of Savoy. The fact that Elizabeth was also the widow of a Lancastrian knight drove a wedge between Edward and Warwick that could not be reconciled.

The seeds of discontent continued to be sewn as Warwick appeared less and less in court. To add insult to injury, the king began to favour his father-in-law, Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers, especially when he supported a Burgundian alliance which was in direct opposition to Warwick. This was the final straw for Warwick who saw his political power dwindling in favour of Elizabeth’s father.

Warwick’s desire to have his daughter Isabel Neville marry George, Edward’s brother, was thwarted by the king who disagreed with the union. In defiance of the king, the two married in Calais, thus cementing the disloyalty and division. Warwick turned his back on Edward IV and instead turned his attentions towards the House of Lancaster.

A rebellion broke out, instigated by Warwick, that would see the death of Richard Woodville, Elizabeth’s father and one of Warwick’s main rivals. In retaliation for the betrayal he felt by King Edward IV, he took Woodville and his sons and beheaded them at Kenilworth.

Meanwhile, Edward IV had been captured during the battle and subsequently thrown into prison at Warwick Castle. The imprisonment however did not have the full backing of the elite and by 1470 Edward was released and Warwick exiled.

In one final attempt to restore his political power, Warwick sought an alliance with the Lancastrians, a bold move for someone who had fought so fervently against them during the Wars of the Roses. In 1470 Warwick returned for his swansong. He reinstated Henry VI as a puppet king, ruling through him.

Battle of Barnet

His ultimate defeat came at the Battle of Barnet, a clash which saw the “kingmaker” lose his life. His struggle for power had finally come to an end.

The Earl of Warwick had exerted his power and political will across the country, winning popularity as well as enemies. His epithet “Kingmaker” is a powerful reminder of his impact on fifteenth century English monarchy, society and politics.

Jessica Brain is a freelance writer specialising in history. Based in Kent and a lover of all things historical.


1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Warwick, Richard Neville, Earl of

WARWICK, RICHARD NEVILLE, Earl of (1428-1471), called "the king-maker," was eldest son of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, by Alice, only daughter and heiress of Thomas, the last Montacute earl of Salisbury. He was born on the 22nd of November 1428, and whilst still a boy betrothed to Anne, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. When her brother's daughter died in 1449, Anne, as only sister of the whole blood, brought her husband the title and chief share of the Warwick estates. Richard Neville thus became the premier earl, and both in power and position excelled his father. Richard, duke of York, was his imcle, so when York became protector in 1453, and Salisbury was made' chancellor, it was natural that Warwick should be one of the councU. After the king's recovery in I4S5 Warwick and his father took up arms in York's support. Their victory at St Albans on the 22nd of May was due to the fierce energy with which Warwick assaulted and broke the Lancastrian centre. He was rewarded with the important office of captain of Calais to his position there he owed his strength during the next five years. Even when York was displaced at home, Warwick retained his post, and in 1457 was also made admiral. He was present in February 1458 at the professed reconciliation of the two parties in a loveday at St Paul's, London. During the previous year he had done some good fighting on the march of Calais by land, and kept the sea with vigour now on his return he distinguished himself in a great fight with Spanish ships off Calais on .the 28th of May, and in the autumn by capturing a German salt-fleet on its way to Lübeck. These exploits brought him a prestige and popularity that were distasteful to the home government. Moreover, England was at war neither with Castile nor with the Hanse. Warwick's action may possibly have formed part of some Yorkist design for frustrating the foreign policy of their rivals. At all events there was pretext enough for recalling him to make his defence. Whilst he was at the court at Westminster a brawl occurred between his retainers and some of the royal household. Warwick himself escaped with difficulty, and went back to Calais, alleging that his life had been deliberately attempted. When in the following year a renewal of the war was imminent, Warwick crossed over to England with his trained soldiers from Calais under Sir Andrew Trollope. But at Ludlow on the 12th of October Trollope and his men deserted, and left the Yorkists helpless. Warwick, with his father, his cousin the young Edward of York, and only three. followers, made his way to Barnstaple. There they hired a little fishing vessel. The master pleaded that he did not know the Channel, but Warwick resourcefully took command and himself steered a successful course to Calais. He arrived Just in time to anticipate the duke of Somerset, whom the Lancastrians had sent to supersede him. During the winter Warwick held Calais against Somerset, and sent out a fleet which seized Sandwich and captured Lord Rivers. In the spring he went to Ireland to concert plans with Richard of York. On his return voyage he encountered a superior Lancastrian fleet in the Channel. But Exeter, the rival commander, could not trust his crews and dared not fight.

From Calais Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of York crossed to Sandwich on the 26th of June. A few days later they entered London, whence Warwickat once marched north. On the 10th of July he routed the Lancastrians at Northampton, and took the king prisoner. For the order to spare the commons and slay the lords Warwick was responsible, as also for some later executions at London. Yet when Richard of York was disposed to claim the crown, it was, according to Waurin, Warwick who decided the discussion in favour of a compromise, perhaps from loyalty to Henry, or perhaps from the wish not to change a weak sovereign for a strong. Warwick was in charge of London at the ​ time when Richard and Salisbury were defeated and slain at Wakefield. The Lancastrians won a second victory at St Albans on the 17th of February 1461, possibly through lack of generalship on Warwick's part. But in his plans to retrieve the disaster Warwick showed skill and decision. He met Edward of York in Oxfordshire, brought him in triumph to London, had him proclaimed king, and within a month of his defeat at St Albans was marching north in pursuit of the Lancastrians. The good generalship which won the victory of Towton may have been due to Edward rather than to Warwick, but the new king was of the creation of the powerful earl, who now had his reward. For four years the government was centred undisputedly in the hands of Warwick and his friends. The energy of his brother John, Lord Montagu, frustrated the various attempts of the Lancastrians in the north. In another sphere Warwick himself was determining the lines of English policy on the basis of an alliance with France. The power of the Nevilles seemed to be completed by the promotion of George, the third brother, to be archbishop of York. The first check came with the announcement in September 1464 of the king's secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. This was particularly distasteful to Warwick, who had but just pledged Edward to a French match. For the time, however, there was no open breach. The trouble began in 1466, when Edward first made Rivers, the queen's father, treasurer, and afterwards threw obstacles in the way of an intended marriage between Warwick's daughter Isabel and George of Clarence, his own next brother. Still in May 1467 Warwick went again, with the king's assent to conclude a treaty with France. He returned to find that in his absence Edward, under Woodville's influence, had committed himself definitely to the Burgundian alliance. Warwick retired in dudgeon to his estates, and began to plot in secret for his revenge. In the summer of 1469 he went over to Calais, where Isabel and Clarence were married without the king's knowledge. Meantime he had stirred up the rebellion of Robin of Redesdale in Yorkshire, and when Edward was drawn north Warwick invaded England in arms. The king, out marched and outnumbered, had to yield himself prisoner, whilst Rivers and his son John were executed. Warwick was apparently content with the overthrow of the Woodvilles, and believed that he had secured Edward's submission. In March 1470 a rebellion in Lincolnshire gave Edward an opportunity to gather an army of his own. When the king alleged that he had found proof of Warwick's complicity, the earl, taken by surprise, fled with Clarence to France. There, through the instrumentality of Louis XI., he was with some difficulty reconciled to Margaret of Anjou, and agreed to marry his second daughter to her son. In September Warwick and Clarence, with the Lancastrian lords, landed at Dartmouth. Edward in his turn had to fly oversea, and for six months Warwick ruled England as lieutenant for Henry VI., who was restored from his prison in the Tower to a nominal throne. But the Lancastrian restoration was unwelcome to Clarence, who began to intrigue with his brother. When in March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur, Clarence found an opportunity to join him. Warwick was completely outgenerailed, and at Barnet on the 14th of April was defeated and slain.

Warwick has been made famous by Lytton as “The Last of the Barons.” The title suits him as a great feudal lord, who was a good fighter but a poor general, who had more sympathy with the old order than with the new culture. But he was more than this. He had some of the qualities of a strong ruler, and the power to command popularity. He was a skilled diplomatist and an adroit politician. These qualities, with his position as the head of a great family, the chief representative of Beauchamp, Despenser, Montacute and Neville, made him during ten years “the king-maker.”

Warwick's only children were his two daughters. Anne, the younger, was married after his death to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III. Their husbands shared his inheritance and quarrelled over its division.

Bibliography .—Warwick of course fills a great place in contemporary authorities, for a note on the chief of them see under Edward IV. For modern authorities see especially C. W. Oman's brilliant but enthusiastic Warwick the King Maker, Sir James Ramsay's Lancaster and York, and Stubbs's Constitutional History.


The term &ldquoKingmaker&rdquo was coined to refer to Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (1428 &ndash 1471), the wealthiest and most powerful nobleman of his era. He was also a capable military commander during the Wars of the Roses between the Yorkist and Lancastrian branches of the royal Plantagenet family. Warwick began the conflict on the Yorkist side, but then switched his support to the Lancastrians, and his role in deposing two kings earned him the epithet &ldquoWarwick the Kingmaker&rdquo.

The conflict began when Richard, Duke of York, with backing from the Nevilles, made a bid to seize the crown from his cousin, the mentally incapacitated king Henry VI. However, the Duke of York, along with Warwick&rsquos father, were slain in battle, so the struggle passed on to the next generation of Yorkists, Warwick, and the Duke of York&rsquos son, Edward.

Warwick played a key role in securing victory for the Yorkists, who broke the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton in 1461. Henry VI was deposed and imprisoned, and his place was taken by York&rsquos son, who was crowned as Edward IV. The new king was a formidable warrior and military genius, but had little interest in governance, so Warwick effectively ran England on his behalf.

Things soured when Edward&rsquos impulsive marriage to a commoner ruined years of painstaking negotiations by Warwick for a treaty between England and France, that was to have been sealed by Edward&rsquos marriage to a French princess. Things eventually came to a head in 1470, when Warwick, with the help of king Edward&rsquos younger brother, George, Duke of Clarence, deposed Edward. The Yorkist king was forced to flee England, while the deposed Lancastrian Henry VI was dusted off and restored to the English throne.

Warwick&rsquos triumph was short lived, however: Edward returned to England in 1471, and raised a counter rebellion. At a critical moment, Warwick was betrayed by George, Duke of Clarence, who had a change of heart and defected back to his brother, Edward. The two sides met in the Battle of Barnet in April of 1471, a Lancastrian defeat in which the Kingmaker was killed.


Watch the video: Audiobook: Warwick the Kingmaker by Charles William Chadwick Oman. AudioBooks Classic 2


Comments:

  1. Chadwick

    Congratulations, wonderful message

  2. Holt

    I can not participate now

  3. Suthclif

    So cute))

  4. Fremont

    Well done, the sentence remarkable and is timely

  5. Yolmaran

    I do not even dare to call it an article.



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