History of England, Part I For the use of Middle Forms of Schools

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER IV: Edward IV of Rouen 1461-1483

1. But there could not be two kings in England, so without delay set forth to defeat his foes and avenge his father. King and the queen lay at with 60,000 men. and Warwick led 50,000 against them. The vanguards fought at Ferrybridge, which was seized for by Lord Fitzwalter, who was slain by Lord Clifford. [1]  But Lord Falconbridge came up, killed Clifford, and retook the bridge. Next day, 28th March, at nine in the morning, the two great hosts met on the moor by Towton. There was a thick fall of snow in the faces of the Lancastrians, and their arrows fell short of the mark; when their quivers were empty, the Yorkists drew near, poured in volley upon volley, and then charged. But the northern footmen held their ground bravely in the sword-play, and only gave way about three in the afternoon, when Norfolk brought up 's rearguard. pressed on the pursuit without quarter, and drove his defeated foes into the river Cock, where many were drowned. All through the night the Lancastrians fled and the Yorkists pressed upon their heels, cutting them down without mercy, so that by the sunset next day they had slain more than 30,000 men; among them were the Earl of , six barons, and Sir Andrew Trollop. But Somerset and escaped, and , the queen, and the prince (who had stayed at during the battle) fled after them to Scotland, where they were welcomed, for they gave up Berwick to the King of Scots, who at once sent an army into England to check the Yorkists and beset . But Lord Montague, who had been left to guard the north while went to London to be crowned, relieved , and overthrew the Scots with great slaughter. On the 28th June was crowned, and Parliament met on the 4th November. He had already given new honours to many of his truest friends. His two young brothers, George and Richard, were made Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester, William Neville Lord Falconbridge was made Earl of , Lord Bourchier Earl of Essex, and Humfrey Bourchier and William Herbert barons. Parliament declared 's title good, and the three Henries usurpers, but confirmed the Acts passed under


their rule, so that no man should suffer by the coming of the true king. A Bill of Attainder was passed against the late king, his wife and son, and the chief lords that had stood by them alive or dead. The young king thanked them for the tender and true hearts they had shown him with all his heart, said he, He did not need their money, for he had lately borrowed 120,000 florins from Cosmo dei Medici, the rich lord of Florence.

2. was possibly not sorry to be rid of all the cares of the crown, but Margaret, eager to revenge her friends, and determined to win back her son's heritage, left no stone unturned in gathering strength for another attack on . Scotland was at this time weakened by the struggles between the royal house and the powerful Douglas and Angus families, which had prevented the Scottish kings from taking advantage of the weakness of England during 's reign. And James II.'s death at the siege of Roxburgh in , left his crown to a child, James III. [2]  It was in vain that Margaret gained the Earl of Angus's aid, for bribed the Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles, and won over the Dowager-Queen Mary, so the Scots agreed not to interfere. Margaret therefore sought help from abroad. The Duke of Brittany gave her money, and Louis XI. of France, on her promise of yielding Calais as soon as she had won back her husband's throne, lent her 20,000 crowns, and sent Peter of Breze with 2000 men to Scotland with her. But again she failed; her friend was tried by Roman law before the Constable Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, for corresponding with her, and beheaded. Her fleet was wrecked with all her treasure, and the most part of her foreign allies only escaped death by water to be taken prisoners on Holy Island in . Margaret and Peter reached Berwick alone in a fisher-boat. The three strongholds which the Lancastrians had taken were retaken by Warwick. Even Somerset, , and Sir Ralph Grey now gave up the Red Rose, and swore fealty to . But Margaret did not despair, and in the exiles, with Scottish help, made a second attack upon the north of England, when they were joined by the faithless Somerset and his friends. But John Neville overcame them at Hedgley, April 15, where fell

"fighting like a man,"

and at Hexham, May 5, where Somerset was taken and beheaded, while Warwick battered Bamborough Castle


with his two iron guns, and and his brass cannon till it yielded, when its captain, Grey, was brought to the king, judged, and put to death at Doncaster. Margaret and her son were in Flanders, and King in Lancashire, where he lurked in hiding till , when he was betrayed by Sir James Harrington and his friends Tempest of Branwell and Talbot of Bashall. Warwick brought him to London, and had him lodged in the Tower, where he was safely kept, and not unkindly treated.

3. [3]  determined to plant himself so firmly on his throne that he should not be lightly overthrown. He sent embassies to most of the courts of Europe, made truces with Scotland and France, and treaties of peace and trade with Burgundy, Brittany, Aragon, Castille, Denmark, and Poland. He took care to reward his friends, giving John Neville the earldom of , and George Neville the archbishopric of , and making Lord Herbert Earl of Pembroke. But he grew restless under the constant control which Warwick sought to keep over him, and when he was desired to marry Bona, sister of Louis XI., he refused, and privately married (in I464) a widow, Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Jacquette of Luxemburgh and her second husband, the Lord Rivers. The new queen was crowned, May 26, , amid great rejoicings. And as could trust her kinsfolk to stand by him, he resolved to enrich them, so that he might have partisans of his own, who should not owe anything to the Nevilles or Bourchiers. Accordingly Lord Rivers was made Treasurer, the queen's sisters married to the Duke of Buckingham and the heirs of Arundel and Pembroke, her elder brother to the heiress of Scales, her younger brother to the Dowager-Duchess of Norfolk, and her son, Thomas Grey, to the king's niece, the heiress of . Warwick looked with displeasure on the favour shown to these

" upstarts,"

but he grew angry when gave his own sister Margaret in marriage to Charles, Earl of Charolois, Burgundy's son, a man with whom he was at deadly feud. And in spite of a reconciliation (brought about by George Neville), he began to cast about for means of regaining his power. Clarence, jealous of his brother, and eager for a crown, easily fell in with the kingmaker's plans, and in July married his elder daughter Isabel, at Calais. Margaret and her party


in the north began again to raise their heads, and as disgusted some men by his favour to the woodvilles, and others by his strict justice and the stern way in which he punished any one who broke the law, she found here and there those who for their own ends were ready to stir up civil war again. Early in the shire commons rose under Robert Hulyard, calling himself Robin of Holderness, and complaining of the tithes. John Neville put them down, and killed their leader. Sir William Conyers, a Lancastrian, known as Robin of Redesdale, with Clarence's approval and Warwick's knowledge had already raised a great host, and published articles complaining of the king's bad counsellors, the Woodvilles. July 26, the king's Welsh troops were beaten at Edgecote, and the Earls of Pembroke, Devon, and Rivers were afterwards taken and beheaded by Clarence's orders. saw nothing better than give himself up to George Neville, by whose advice and his mother's, the Duchess of , he was reconciled with Warwick and Clarence, who were afraid of going too far, for was very well liked by the people of London and by the merchants and farmers, who were glad of the good peace and stern justice he kept. In , however, Sir Robert Welles put himself at the head of a rising in shire by secret orders from Clarence and Warwick. , now knowing the danger of such movements, at once, by quick marching, came up with the rebels, and set upon them near Stamford, March 29. The fire of his cannon put them to flight, and the day was remembered as Lose-coat field, from the white gaberdines the rebels threw off in their hurry to get away. Welles was taken, and confessed that there was a plot to make Clarence king. therefore wrote to Clarence and Warwick to urge them to come back to their duty, and on their delay proclaimed them traitors. They fled to France, where Louis welcomed them warmly, and, at Amboise, by his persuasion Warwick was brought to offer Queen Margaret (who was with her son at Louis' court) his help to put her captive husband back on his throne. Margaret hung back at first, but at last agreed that her son should marry Warwick's second daughter Anne, and that Clarence and Warwick should be Lieutenants of the Realm till the prince was of age. Clarence, though he put a fair face on it, did not like this new plan of Warwick's, and began to write secret messages to King , telling him that he was only waiting for a fit time to show his loyalty to him.

4. [4]  paid little heed at first to the treaty of Amboise, though Charles, his brother-in-law (now Duke of Burgundy), who hated Warwick, not only warned him of his danger, but blockaded the Seine mouth for him. Profiting by a gale, which drove off the Flemish fleet, Warwick and Clarence slipped past them, and landed at Dartmouth September 13, . The queen and her son, with his young wife, were to follow when all was at peace again. King was lured to the north to meet John Neville (whom he had made Marquis Montague, and whom he trusted entirely), leaving his queen in the Tower. And as he lay in bed at Doncaster one morning, there came to him Alexander of , the chief of his minstrels, and Alexander Lee, a priest, and bade him rise and flee, for Montague was within an hour's ride seeking to take him prisoner. He flung on his clothes, and moneyless and with no armour but a light brigandine [studded coat], he rode down to Lynn with Hastings, Rivers, and a few friends. There they embarked in three small ships, and set sail for Holland. After being nearly taken by some ships of the Hanse Towns, who chased them ashore at Alcmaar, they were kindly received by Louis of Bruges, Earl of Grauthus, and taken to Duke Charles's court. Queen Elizabeth fled to Westminster with her daughters. Clarence and Warwick, finding none to say them nay, went to London, took King out of prison, and setting him on horseback, in a long gown of blue velvet, led him to S. Paul's, while all cried,

"God save King Harry !"

And the lords that had been disinherited, Jasper Earl of Pembroke, and his nephew Henry Earl of Richmond, and the Dukes of Somerset and , came back to their estates. But the Earl of Worcester, John Tiptoft, the most learned and best-read noble in England, was taken and beheaded, because, when he was constable under King , he had judged men to death by the law of Padua [Roman law]. The Parliament declared a usurper, and confirmed the agreement made between Warwick and Margaret at Amboise. Louis of France made a treaty with for fifteen years. But Burgundy, though he did not dare openly to make war for his brother-in-law , gave him both money, men, and ships, and counselled him to go to England and see if he could win back his crown either by fair words or war.

5. So with 900 Englishmen and 300 Flemings with handguns,


took shipping from Flushing, and landed at Ravenspur, March . Like before, he declared that he was only come to claim his own lands, and even swore to this at , before he turned southward. Montague let him pass without drawing sword, Stanley joined him at Nottingham, and Clarence at Coventry. Warwick, who was near his road, refused to fight him or to make peace. [5]  So raising his standard as king he pushed on to London, when George, the Archbishop of , opened the gates to him. He entered, made King prisoner again, and taking him with him, marched out to Barnet, where Warwick and Montague were in battle array. Clarence offered to make peace between them, but Warwick was too angry with his double faithlessness to listen to him.

"And all that night both sides loosed guns at each other, and on Easter Day early next morning, April 14, they fell upon each other; and there was such a great mist that neither side could see the other clearly. And divers times the earl's party had the victory, and supposed that they had won the field. But it happened that the Earl of


's men had upon them their lord's livery, which was a star with streams [rays] much like King

Edward IV.

's livery-a sun with streams [rays]. And the mist was so thick that a man might not perfectly judge one thing from another. So Warwick's men shot and fought against


's men, thinking that they were King

Edward IV.

's men, and soon the Earl of


and his men cried,

'Treason ! treason !'

and fled away from the field 800 men. But the Marquis Montague was agreed to come over to King

Edward IV.

, and he put upon him King

Edward IV.

's livery in the midst of the battle; and a man of the Earl of Warwick saw that, and fell upon him and killed him. And when the Earl of Warwick saw his brother dead, and


fled, he leaped on horse-back and fled to a wood by the field of Barnet which there was no way out of. And one of King

Edward IV.

's men espied him, and came upon him there and killed him, and spoiled him of his armour and clothes."

And when King knew that he had won the day he took horse and rode through the field crying to his men to spare the commons, but kill all the nobles and gentry. And he was more sorry for the death of his friend Montague than he was glad for the death of his foe Warwick, and had them both buried in state at Bisham priory.

The very day of this victory Queen Margaret and her son


landed in the west, where they soon heard the news that Warwick the was dead and King a prisoner again. Yet many men gathered to her out of the west and South Wales, and with Somerset, Devon, and other lords, she halted and stood at bay at Tewkesbury, May 4, where King came up with her, and a battle was fought. The Lancastrians were drawn up

"in a right evil place to approach as could well have been devised."

But had the better archers and gunners, and his brother Gloucester broke the Lancastrian line. Somerset made a bold attack on the ist flank, but was himself set on from behind, whereat, believing that Lord Wenlock had betrayed his plans, he struck him dead with his mace and rode angrily out of the battle. The Lancastrians having no good leader to rally them now turned in flight. The young prince was taken as he fled, and, though he cried to his brother-in-law Clarence for quarter, the servants of King and Gloucester stabbed him to death before their eyes. Many Lancastrian nobles were killed in the battle or beheaded afterwards, and Queen Margaret herself was made prisoner.

Before could get back to London, Thomas, son of Neville Lord Falconbridge, with 300 soldiers from Calais and the levy of , marched to London to deliver King .

"But Lord Scales, keeper of the Tower, and the mayor, shut the gates against them, whereon Falconbridge shot his cannon into the city, and fired Aldgate and Bishopsgate. At which the commons were sore wroth and greatly moved against him, for if he had not burned the gates they would have let him in, spite of Lord Scales and the mayor. And when he found he could not enter by force, he turned past the city and crossed the river at Kingston with 20,000 men, meaning to fight King

Edward IV.

on his way to London. But Scales went to him and promised him and Farmer, the Mayor of


, that was with him, great things if they would turn homewards. And forasmuch as fair words and promises make fools fain [glad], Falconbridge brought his men back to Blackheath, and then stole from them by night with his soldiers to their fleet that lay at Sandwich. And when the


ishmen perceived that their captain was gone, they departed every man to his own home."

So King reached London safely, 21St May.

And that night King died in the Tower, slain, as it was believed, by the Duke of Gloucester. His body, after


lying in state in S. Paul's, was taken by boat to Chertsey, and there buried. King 's life had been so sorrowful, and he himself had been so innocent of the wrongdoing that had brought civil war on in England, that many men held him for a martyr. He was a merciful man, pitiful even to dumb beasts, long-suffering, mild of speech, and patient in his troubles, pure and pious in his life, ever grieving over the sin and sorrow he could not stop. For, while he himself could not rule through his weak health and lack of strength, he was not able to give up his crown to another for fear of bringing on the war and bloodshed he did his best to stall off. In face he was comely and fair, in body tall, slender, and well made. His understanding was good, and he was a lover of learning, but the illness that came to him from his grandfather, the King of France, must have sorely hindered him even in his quiet studies.

With and his son dead, and Margaret a prisoner, was safe at last, but he took care not to give his foes any more chances of dethroning him. Henry Holland, Duke of , was put to death in prison. Falconbridge, who had given himself up and got a pardon, was beheaded by Gloucester. John de Vere, Earl of , who held S. Michæl's Mount for six months, and yielded to save his life, was shut up in Hammes Castle, near Calais. George the archbishop was kept under guard at Guisnes. Only Jasper Earl of Pembroke got awayto Brittanywith his young nephew Richmond, the heir of the Beauforts of whom had foretold great things. did his best to get Duke Francis to give them up, but he would not trust the English king's promises. To lesser men was always ready to give pardon, and even honour; thus he made Dr. Morton, the tutor of Margaret's son, Keeper of the Rolls, and he favoured Sir John Fortescue, 's chancellor, who was the best lawyer in England.

6. And now began to make ready for an attack on France, for like he thought that it would be better to employ his nobles in fighting abroad than let them make war at home. To get moneyhe sent to many rich people through England, begging them to give or lend him money, which he called


And they lent it, rather than be taxed by Parliament, for they were afraid lest Parliament should merely bring on quarrels and unsettle the peace. got the help of the Dukes of Burgundy and Brittany, and the Constable of S. Paul, and in June reached Calais with 5000 armoured knights and gentry,


15,000 mounted archers, besides artillery and foot soldiers. But Louis of France was too wise to fight him, and by crafty promises and gifts of money, he won over and his nobles to make a truce at Peronne. [6]  At Pecquigny, on a bridge over the Somme, the two kings met and shook hands, and talked through a strong wooden grating set up between them. Louis paid 75,000 crowns, and promised him 50,000 more every year, and engaged that his son should marry 's daughter. Margaret was to be ransomed by her father for 50,000 crowns. So the kings parted in peace, and came home satisfied that he was now able, without asking Parliament,

" to live off his own :"

he could also keep a guard of stout yeomen about him, which no king since had done. Some of his money he used in trade and made large profits ; and he also got much gain from fines laid upon rich law-breakers, and by forcing those of his tenants who had broken the terms of their holding to pay heavily for a new title. The clergy gave him money again and again rather than run the risk of the troubles that would follow fresh taxes.

Soon after the death of Warwick in , Richard of Gloucester made up his mind to marry his youngest daughter Anne, the widow of King 's son, for he wished to share in the rich heritage left by the Kingmaker. Clarence, who hoped to keep it all for himself, did all he could to stop the match, even smuggling Lady Anne away in disguise. But Gloucester found her out, and married her in spite of Clarence, who then said that though he won the lady, he should have no share in the livelihood. But the king insisted that the heritage should be properly shared without further dispute. However, from this day forward Clarence showed ill-will to both of his brothers, and was Clarence's secret foe. In Clarence's wife Isabel died, and he had one of her servants, Annkenet Twyndow, unjustly tried, and put to death, on the charge of having poisoned her. This made angry, but he was still more displeased when at the death of Charles Duke of Burgundy, his widow Margaret planned to marry their daughter, Mary heiress of Burgundy, to her favourite brother Clarence. The king refused to further this match, and put forward Antony, his queen's brother, for Mary's hand, which angered Clarence, and he withdrew from court for a while. But when his foes had two of his servants tried and put to death for working witchcraft against the lives


of the king and others, he openly declared at the council that they were wrongly condemned. Gloucester and the Woodvilles feared Clarence (for he was the next heir to , and would be Regent in case should die before his sons were of age), and at their desire Duke George was brought before the House of Lords. The king himself accused his brother of trying to destroy his title and seize his crown. He was declared guilty in a bill, and put to death secretly in the Tower in February .

7. [7]  Henceforward the Woodvilles and Gloucester shared the king's favour and the offices of state between them. The king's mind was turned more and more towards a war abroad. In he quarrelled with James III., and sent his brother Gloucester to the Borders with an army against him; and later on, in , when James's brother Albany, who had been in exile in France, came back to claim the throne of Scotland, he took up his cause warmly. At Fotheringay Albany swore to hold Scotland as a fief of England, to give up Berwick, and to marry Cicely 's daughter, if would help him to win the kingdom. In July Albany and Gloucester, with a large army, beset Berwick. King James set forth against them, but on the way the Earl of Angus seized him, hanged his chief counsellors, and bore him to Edinburgh a prisoner. Gloucester and Albany now left Berwick and hurried there also, and were received with joy; but, instead of taking the crown, Albany set his brother free, and made terms for him with England, on condition of yielding Berwick. Balked in Scotland, and Gloucester now fell out with France in , for Louis, breaking all his promises, betrothed the dauphin to Margaret of Burgundy's daughter, Mary. called a parliament, got large supplies, and set about gathering an army for a second invasion of France, when he was suddenly stricken with fever at . Feeling himself near death, he sent for his kinsfolk, and prayed them to live peaceably with one another after he was gone. On the 9th April he died, aged 41, and his sister's son, John de la Pole, Earl of , took his body to Windsor to be buried.

Tall, stout, handsome, and skilled in all manly feats, was as well gifted in mind as he was in body. Brave, quick, with all the powers of a good general (even in his boyhood winning every battle he ever fought), he had also many of the powers of a good captain-an open hand, a fair tongue, a ready ear, a cool brain. He loved his children,


was kind to his servants, did not forget his friends, and took pains to be courteous to all he met, rich or poor. But he was thoroughly selfish, over fond of pleasure, over hasty in his suspicions, over greedy of wealth, and too lazy to look far forward in his plans. Hence he did less with his gifts than he might have done, and his successes seem rather strokes of luck than the result of his own work. He was neither so good a man of business, nor so ready to put himself to trouble as his brother ; but, on the other hand, he was not so cruel or greedy. He was not so subtle or persuasive as his brother George, but he was more true to his word and steadfast to his aim. He was popular all his life rather by reason of his beauty and bravery and easy good-nature, than for any trouble he took for his subjects' sake. The most kingly quality he had was his unflinching justice, and zeal for fair law. The unsettled state in which he left the realm at his death must be the chief condemnation of his rule.


[1] Towton field Palm Sunday 1461.

[] [1461-1469]

[2] Margaret's attacks foiled, and King Henry taken, 1461-1463.

[3] Edward IV. marries and quarrels with Warwick and Clarence, 1464-1470.

[] [1469-1471]

[4] Warwick dethrones Edward IV. and sets up King Henry again, 1470 - 1471.

[] [1471.

[5] Edward IV. wins back his crown, and King Henry dies, 1471.

[] [1473-1476]

[6] Peace with France, 1473. Clarence is put to death, 1478.

[] [1483.

[7] Edward IV.'s plans respecting Scotland and France. Edward IV.'s Character and death 1478-1483.

  • In-text illustrations for this text are cataloged in MS004/002.001#DO01.
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