Biographies & Memoirs


Setting the Scene

1.  From Shakespeare, As You Like It, II. VII (1599).

2.  See Nayha, S. ‘Traffic deaths and superstition on Friday the 13th.’ American Journal of Psychiatry, 159 (2002), 2110-2111; and also Radun, I. & Summala, H. ‘Females don’t have more injury road accidents on Friday the 13th.’ Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, 3 (2004), 50-51.

3.  There is such a cottage industry now attached to the Knights Templar that it is often hard to divorce serious scholarship from popularisation and myth.

4.  There has been controversy as to whether the events which are the focus of this text happened on Friday 13 June 1483, or actually one week later on Friday 20 June. In large part this arises from some textual interpretations of the crucial Stonor letter. However, the matter is of such importance it cannot be left to a note and is therefore the subject of Appendix II. While it may seem that this is merely an argument about dates, the issue has actually coloured opinions as to the meaning of events, such as the interpretation of Charles T. Wood in his influential article on the deposition of Edward V.

5.  My beginning this framing with Edward III is a traditional starting point but may well be a misleading one. For example, Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The Lancastrian claim to the throne.’ The Ricardian, XIII (2003), 27-38, points out that it might be as well to go back to Henry III as the more appropriate start point.

6.  See Ashley, M. British Kings & Queens. Carroll & Graf, 2002.

7.  Saul, N. Richard II. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

8.  Abbott, J. History of Margaret of Anjou. Harper & Brothers: New York, 1900.

9.  For an account of Edward IV see Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV, in England and the Finall Recouerye of His Kingdomes from Henry VI. A.D. M.CCC.LXXI. at: http//, and in hard copy texts of the same reference.

10. It has been argued that Edward, Prince of Wales was summarily dispatched by Edward IV’s major lieutenants and advisors in front of him. However, contemporary records indicate that the prince was killed in the pursuit following the break of the Lancastrian lines.

11. And see also: White, W. J. ‘The death and burial of Henry VI, A review of the facts and theories, Part 1.’ The Ricardian, 78 (1982), 70-80, and White, W. J. ‘The death and burial of Henry VI. Part II. The re-burial of Master John Schorne and King Henry VI: Windsor’s two Saints.’ The Ricardian, 79 (1982), 106-117.

Chapter 1: The Path to the Throne

1.  Note that the College of Arms MS2 M6 indicates the previous day (being Tuesday 8th). The author of the College of Arms MS1,7.f. 7 made the opposite error, placing the date as Thursday 10 April, see Gairdner, J. Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (p. 4). London: HMSO, 1861. However, the generally accepted date remains the 9th. See Green, R. F. ‘Historical notes of a London citizen 1483-1488.’ English Historical Review, 96 (1981), 585-590.

2.  See: Sutton, A. F. & Visser-Fuchs, L. ‘Laments for the death of Edward IV: “It was a world to see him ride about.”’ The Ricardian, 145 (1999), 506-524.

3.  One of his predecessors, Henry V, had died of dysentery at the age of thirty-four in 1422, while his great-grandson, Edward VI, died of tuberculosis aged almost sixteen in 1553. These were the only two kings of the modern era who we know died of natural causes at a younger age than Edward.

4.  For a close to contemporary account see: Mancini, D. The Usurpation of Richard III. Trans. C. A. J. Armstrong. Alan Sutton: Gloucester, 1989. See also Lord Hastings’ comment to the Mayor of Canterbury, Reports of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, IX (1883).

5.  Richmond, C. ‘The Princes in the Tower; The Truth at Last.’ Ricardian Register, 26 (3) (2001), 10-18. With the remains in the tomb in St George’s chapel, Windsor, it may still be possible to identify the actual cause of death.

6.  For some comments on Richard’s capacity as an administrator during this protectorate see Burr, K. ‘Richard the Third as an Administrator: The Lord Protector.’ The Ricardian, 33 (1971), 5-8.

7.  For example, Richard had loyally followed his brother into exile in Burgundy when events had turned against the king. They set sail on Tuesday 2 October 1470, with a small company including William, Lord Hastings (Kendall, 1955, p. 100).

8.  In the present account, I rely quite extensively on the most helpful and informative article by Wood (Wood, C.T. ‘On the deposition of Edward V.’ Traditio, 31 (1975), 247-286). Unfortunately, Wood’s acceptance of Hanham’s re-dating of the execution of William, Lord Hastings represents, in my view, a fatal flaw in his subsequent interpretation of events. Thus, I have used much of the evidentiary basis of his argument but reject his conclusions, since I believe that the original date for Hastings’ death on Friday 13 June 1483 is both correct and critical.

9.  Wood (1975), op. cit.

10. It has been suggested that Polydore Vergil dated Richard’s aspirations for the throne from the date of his brother’s death. As we shall see, this assertion is not supported by the hard evidence (and see Seward, D. The War of the Roses (p. 259). Viking: New York, 1995). Others also speculate upon Richard’s decision-making process, including Ross, who sees Richard’s actions as largely reactive rather than proactive.

11. Pollard, A. J. The Middleham Connection: Richard III and Richmondshire 1471-1485 (p. 1). Old School Arts Workshop: Middleham, 1983.

12. It was a threat that persisted in history until the terrible aftermath of Culloden (16 April 1746) and the subsequent depopulation due to changes in agricultural strategy, see Sked, P. Culloden. National Trust for Scotland, Thomsom: Edinburgh, 1997. See also the Cely Letter for a contemporary confirmation (Appendix 1: The Cely, York and Stallworth Letters).

13. Richard was most probably at Middleham when he received news of his brother’s death (Mancini, 1483 [1989, p. 71]). The message was sent, not through official channels but according to Mancini by William, Lord Hastings.

14. And see Myers, A. R. ‘The Character of Richard III.’ History Today, 4 (1954), 511-521.

15. See Kendall, P. M. Richard III: The Great Debate. W.W. Norton: New York, 1965.

16. Upon hearing of his brother’s death and his nephew’s accession, Richard had a requiem mass said in the chapel at Middleham and later at York he had his own men and the magistrates of the city swear allegiance to the new king (Kendall (1955), p. 195).

17. Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 194. See also: Moreton, C. E. ‘A local dispute and the politics of 1483: Roger Townshend, Earl Rivers, and the Duke of Gloucester.’ The Ricardian, 107 (1989), 305-307. And also the replies by, Wigram, I. & Thone, M. ‘A local dispute and the politics of 1483: Two reactions.’ The Ricardian, 109 (1990), 414-416.

18. Mancini (1483), op cit., p. 71. The desire to help Richard was also compounded by Hastings’ antipathy to the Woodville clan, especially the queen and her son by her first marriage.

19. It is reported that Edward V and his party had moved on from Northampton to Stony Stratford when the apparent expectation was that the respective groups would meet in Northampton itself. However, it may well be that the Woodville party actually moved on to Grafton Regis, their family home, which is on the direct route from Northampton to Stony Stratford and only a few miles from the agreed meeting place in the county town. This understandable progress toward the family home might well have been interpreted as an effort to reach London before Richard. If this proposition is correct it may have been an influence, albeit an unwitting one, on behalf of the Woodville party, on Richard’s decision to act. Alternatively, the traditional story cannot be excluded and the Woodvilles were making an understandable effort to reach London, the base of power, first.

20. Sutton, A. F. ‘The Hautes of Kent.’ The Ricardian, 77 (1982), 54-57. She comments that he ‘may have been arrested and imprisoned,’ but that he appears to have entered into a bond of 700 marks with William Catesby. This seems very much to be related to Catesby’s strong desire to acquire the manor at Welton, and see Appendix VI.

21. See Smith, G. ‘Hastings and the news from Stony Stratford.’ Ricardian Bulletin, Summer 2006, 48-49.

22. Indeed, Elizabeth Woodville had given birth to the future Edward V, her eldest son by Edward IV, while in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey some years early on 4 November 1470.

23. Originally, the coronation had been scheduled for this day, 4 May, but at best that was a very ambitious undertaking in all senses of the word. The postponement to a later, more reasonable date, did not connote any obvious, malevolent action on behalf of the Protector.

24. For example, on 14 May John Howard was appointed by Richard as Chief Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, who returned the favour next day by presenting Richard with a gold cup weighing over 4lbs.

25. In one of the Stallworth letters, the date is indicated as the 23rd, since the letter is written on the 9th and the quote is ‘this day fortnight’, i.e. 23 June (see Appendix 1: The Cely, York, and Stallworth letters).

26. See Wood (1975), op. cit., p. 252.

27. See de Blieck, E. Analysis of Crowland’s Section on the Usurpation of Richard III. 2003. Retrieved from:

28. And see

29. See Edwards, R. The Itinerary of Richard III 1483-1485 (p. 3). Alan Sutton, for the Richard III Society: London, 1983; British Library Harleian Manuscript 433, p. 9; Public Records Office, Privy Seal Office 1/56/2847.

30. On 9 June, Simon Stallworth had written in his letter to Sir William Stonor that: “My lady of Gloucestre came to London on thorsday last.” (The full text of this letter is reproduced in Appendix 1: the Cely, York, and Stallworth Letters).

31. Extracts from the York records. See Davies, R. (Extracts from the Municipal Records of the City of York. J. Nichols & Son: London, 1843.

32. Indeed, a letter was sent one day later from Edward V under the direction of the Lord Protector confirming that Dame Alice Savile of Hull was to have one ton of wine yearly. As Wigram (1963) noted, one wonder what service Alice had performed for Edward IV to deserve such a reward?

33. This letter was addressed to Otes Gilbert Esq. It is reprinted in H. Ellis, Royal Letters (p. 147) from an original document in the British Museum, Harleian Manuscript, 433, fol. 227. And see also: Strickland, A. Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England (p. 143). Sempkin, Marshall, & Co.: London, 1861.

34. De Commines, P. The Memoirs of Phillip de Commines, Lord of Argenton. Bohn: London, 1855. Originally written in the interval between 1488 and 1494, with a mean date of 1491, De Commines mentions the bishop and the pre-contract in two sections of his work (Volume I, ppp 395-396, and Volume II, pp 63-64). In neither of these extracts does he identify a date for his revelation of this information.

35. Markham, C. R. Richard III: His Life & Character (pp 93-102). Smith, Elder, & Co.: London, 1906.

36. See Stallworth Letter in Appendix 1: The Cely, York and Stallworth Letters.

37. See also Levine, M. ‘Richard III – Usurper or Lawful King?’ Speculum, 34 (1959), 391-401.

38. Carpernter, C. (ed.). Kingsford’s Stonor Letter and Papers. 1290-1483 (pp 159-160). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

39. Davies, R. Extracts from the Municipal Records of the City of York during the Reigns of Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III (pp 149-150), J.B. Nichols & Son: London, 1843. The text of the letter is reproduced in Appendix 1.

40. Wood, op. cit.

41. See Kendall, op. cit., p. 246.

42. See Pronay, N. & Cox, J. (eds). The Croyland Chronicle Continuations (p. 159). Alan Sutton, for the Richard III Society: London, 1986.

43. See Hancock, P. A. ‘No Richard, Rhyme nor Reason.’ The Medelai Gazette, 14 (3) (2007), 16-22.

44. The traditional explanation that has been offered has been summarised most recently by Hicks, M. Edward V: The Prince in the Tower (pp 159-161), Tempus: Stroud, Glos, 2003. He notes: ‘The explanation traditionally advanced from 1483 onwards, that Hastings’ commitment to Gloucester stopped short of the throne, is surely correct.’ I do not think this is surely correct or even probably correct; the following text seeks to articulate why I hold this belief.

45. More, T. The History of Richard III. 1513. Retrieved from: See also the text by R. S. Sylvester of this same book (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976).

46. A consideration of the relation between Richard, Duke of Gloucester and John Morton is given in: Worth, S. ‘Richard & the Parson of Blokesworth.’ Ricardian Register, 26 (3) (2001), 4-7.

47. See Moorhen, W. E. A. ‘William, Lord Hastings and the Crisis of 1483: An Assessment. Part 1.’ The Ricardian, 122 (1993), 446-466, and also, Moorhen, W. E. A. ‘William, Lord Hastings and the Crisis of 1483: An Assessment. Part 2 (conclusion).’ The Ricardian, 123 (1993), 482-497 for a full and important discussion of this whole interval, and especially the motivations of the events of this particular day, (and see also the website

48. See Wood, C.T. ‘If Strawberries Were Ripe on June 13, Was October 2 Really Richard III’s Birthday?’ Paper given at the 1993 meeting of the American Branch of the Richard III Society, and Hancock, P. A. (‘On the Trail of King Richard III.’ Ricardian Register, 29 (1) (2004), 8-10.

49. See More, T. in Sylvester, R. S. (1976), p. 47.

50. It is this particular inversion that Croyland, in his terse comments, took note of.

51. Tower Green subsequently assumed a much more dire reputation as the place where the Tudors dispatched many individuals in much more ‘formal’ proceedings.

52. Croyland Chronicle, op. cit., p. 159.

53. See Worth (2001), op. cit.

54. As seems to be represented in the Cely Letter, see Appendix 1: The Cely, York, and Stallworth Letters.

55. It was this same Oliver King who appears later to have been an executor of the will of Cecily, Duchess of York, mother of both Edward IV and Richard III. He also (later in 1495) succeeded Stillington as Bishop of Bath & Wells.

56. We must remember that the mayor was Sir Edmund Shaa (and see Blunden-Ellis, J. ‘ Sir Edmund Shaa, Kt., P.C. 1427?-1488 Lord Mayor of London.’ The Ricardian, 45 (1974), 11-15). It was his brother, Ralph Shaa, who went on to preach that ‘bastard slips shall not take root’ at St Paul’s Cross (the alternative wording being: ‘The ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips’). The mayor, Edmund Shaa, was a northerner by birth and it may have been this affinity that threw his support behind Richard at this time, although he is reputed to have been shown written proofs of the illegitimacy of the sons of Edward IV. The support of the Mayor of London may have proved pivotal in the same way that de Bleick argues that the support of the troops in the capital was essential. The mayor may well have had influence over the indigenous populace. Thus both brothers Shaa had a significant hand in the issue of Richard’s assumption of the throne (and see

57. cf. Thompson, C. J. S. The Witchery of Jane Shore. Grayson & Grayson: London, 1933.

58. See York Letters, op. cit. and the quoted Neville Letter.

59. See

60. And see Hancock, P. A. ‘On images of the “Princes in the Tower”.’ Ricardian Register, 30 (1) (2005), 4-18.

61. See HMSO The Tower of London (p. 6). HMSO: London, 1974.

62. York Civic Records, op. cit., essentially communicating that the putative Parliament of Edward V being cancelled, required no attendant representatives of the people of York.

63. For more on Robert Brakenbury see Hampton, W. E. ‘Sir Robert Brakenbury of Selaby, County Durham.’ The Ricardian, 90 (1985), 97-114. Within this article, on pp 100-101, Hampton refers more directly to the messenger, John Brakenbury.

64. Wood (1975), op. cit., p. 260, argues from comparable evidence derived from the corporation records of New Romney that while the 17th is the most probable date, the afternoon of the 16th also remains a viable possibility.

65. Lord Lisle was Edward Grey, brother to Elizabeth Woodville’s first husband. He was married to a grand-daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. Thus his wife was Eleanor Butler’s niece. He was created Viscount Lisle by Richard III in the first week of his reign. Could the understanding, derived through his family connections, that the pre-contract was real, have anything to do with his rapprochement with Richard? I suspect that it might.

66. See Mancini, op. cit., and York Civic Records, op. cit.

67. Kendall, op. cit,, p. 256, says ‘The Lord Protector often rode through the city these days with a great train of lords and attendants.’ On p. 262 Kendall notes more generally that ‘the streams of visitors to Crosby Place and Baynard’s Castle, the splendor of the train with which Richard, having relinquished black, now rode in purple through the city.’ and on p. 261 he suggests that it was now that Richard disclosed the revelation of the pre-contract to the rest of the council. In respect to some of these observations it is hard to tell whether Kendall has direct evidence or is using some artistic license to draw reasonable but essentially unsupported conclusions.

68. And see Wood, op. cit.

69. An interesting discussion of possible early dissension with respect to Richard’s reign is provided for example by Hicks, M. ‘Unweaving the web: The plot of July 1483 against Richard III and its wider significance.’ The Ricardian, 114 (1991), 106-109. However, extended discussion of the next phase of Richard’s life is not the central focus here at this time.

70. The mayor, Edmund Shaa, is commemorated by a plaque on Church Brow in Mottram in Longendale, Lancashire.

71. Although there are a number of potential grounds for Richard taking the throne which historians suggest were tried at the time, e.g. the bastardy of Edward IV himself, the references to bastard slips sounds more like the illegitimacy of the princes here. If it were a reference to Edward it would most probably be singular. A more complete set of references concerning the specific claim can be seen in: Sheperd, K. R. ‘The title of the King: Aspects of Richard III’s Act of Succession.’ The Ricardian, 94 (1986), 281-286.

72. Mancini, op. cit.

73. More, op. cit.

74. Testamenta Vetusta.

75. And see also the article by Williams, B. ‘Richard III and Pontefract.’ The Ricardian, 86 (1984), 366-370.

76. Croyland noted that: ‘second innocent blood which was shed on the occasion of this sudden change.’ Op. cit., p. 161.

77. This is an assumption embraced by Wood (1975) op. cit., p. 263, who believed the warrants were brought by the same messenger who communicated the writ of supersedes to the city of York which arrived there on the 21st, Sherriff Hutton being about half a day’s ride north of that city.

78. It was on this day that Richard began his formal reign, as we can see by the letter of instruction to Lord Mountjoy and others concerning the disposition of concerns related to the port of Calais and particularly the oath previously sworn to Edward V. See Gairdner, J. Letters and Papers Illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III and Henry VII (p. 12). London: HMSO, 1861.

79. The relevant excerpt from the Croyland Chronicle (p. 159) reads: ‘on the 26th day of the same month of June Richard, the protector, claimed for himself the government of the kingdom, with the name and title of king.’

80. Sutton, A. F. ‘The city of London and Coronation of Richard III: Points of interest.’ The Ricardian, 63 (1978), 2-8.

81. Again, see Wood, op. cit.

Chapter 2: Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler

1.  Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen. The Lady Eleanor Talbot. Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11, (139) (1997), 166-190; Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘Further reflections on Lady Eleanor Talbot.’ The Ricardian, 11, (144) (1999), 463-467; Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘The inquisition post mortem of Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler, 1468.’ The Ricardian, 12, (159) (2002), 563-573; Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘Lady Eleanor Talbot’s other husband.’ The Ricardian, 14 (2004), 62-81; Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘The endowments of Lady Eleanor Talbot and Elizabeth Talbot, Duchess of Norfolk, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.’ The Ricardian, 14 (2004), 82-94; Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘The go-between.’ The Ricardian, 15 (2005), 119-121; Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Lady Eleanor Talbot: New evidence: New answers; New questions.’ The Ricardian: Journal of the Richard III Society, 16 (2006), 113-132. And now, Ashdown-Hill, J (2009) Eleanor: The Secret Queen. The History Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

2.  Ashdown-Hill (2006), p. 113.

3.  Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen. The Lady Eleanor Talbot. Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11, (139) (1997), 166-190.

4.  Sweeney, J. ‘Eleanor Butler, Queen to Edward IV.’ The Medelai Gazette, 3 (3) (1996), 18-19, states that the second marriage occurred in 1425.

5.  These pictures are among the oldest English paintings in existence and come from the house, Compton Wynyates, in Warwickshire where they apparently descended through the family of Margaret Beauchamp. The representations show the father and mother of Lady Eleanor Talbot and perhaps give some idea of what Eleanor must have looked like. This topic that is explored further in later discussion.

6.  Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned Queen: The Lady Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11 (1997), 166-190.

7.  Op. cit. p. 168.

8.  But also see Routh, P. S. ‘”Lady Scroop daughter of K. Edward”: An enquiry.’ The Ricardian, 121 (1993), 410-416, especially see the observations on p. 413.

9.  From Littlebury’s Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7, and see

10. For an analysis of Eleanor’s relations with her-in-laws, especially her first mother-in-law (Elizabeth Norbury), and her connection with Francis, Lord Lovell through her second mother-in-law (Alice Deincourt), see Ashdown-Hill, J. Eleanor: The Secret Queen(p. 89) The History Press: Stroud, Glos, 2009. See also Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Lady Eleanor Talbot’s other husband.’ The Ricardian, 14 (2004), 62-81. In the cited text (Ashdown-Hill, 2009, p. 58) he has also suggested that Thomas Butler may have spent a part of his early life in the Talbot household. Hence, his association with Eleanor may have been from her childhood. This speculation helps explain the subsequent disparity in rank at the time of their later marriage since the initial agreement may have been made much earlier when the two families were of essentially equal status.

11. Richardson, D. Magna Carta Ancestry. (pp 795-796). Genealogical Publishing Co.: Baltimore, MD, 2005.

12. Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The inquisition post mortem of Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler, 1468.’ The Ricardian, 12 (2002), 563-573.

13. For more on Eleanor’s husband see, Barker, J. ‘Sir Thomas Le Boteler.’ The Ricardian, 45 (1974), 6-8.

14. See F. O’Shaughnessy, The Story of Burton Dassett Church. Undated. In the possession of the author.

15. There is the particularly interesting story of the Kimble Charity, established around the time that Eleanor would have been lady of the manor. At the time at which Ralph Boteler (Eleanor’s father-in-law) still possessed the manor, an orphan boy appeared one day begging for food and shelter from the people of South End (Little Dassett). Receiving no relief from these villagers, he crossed the brook dividing South from North End and received succour from these latter villagers. Later, that boy became a rich farmer and in his will remembered his benefactors. The 1469 deed read: ‘settled and conveyed the messuage and two-yard lands to one Ralph Wallis and his heirs in trust, that the rent and profits thereof should be employed in the manner following: seven shillings to the use and towards the repair of the Parish Church of Burton Dassett, and two-pence a house yearly to be given in bread to every householder in Knightcote or Northend in the name of Dole, and all the rest and residue of the said rents and profits to be employed to such uses, intents and purposes as the inhabitants should direct and appoint.’ see F. O’Shaughnessy, The Story of Burton Dassett Church (p. 14). Undated. In possession of the author. It is not impossible that Eleanor might have known and influenced the people of the village in terms of their attitude to the orphan boy some twenty years before the deed was created. This, of course, like much of our present considerations must remain speculation until and unless further evidence is uncovered.

16. There are some extant records of letters and jointure settlements in existence which relate to this arranged second marriage. The latter are to be found at: Public Records Office (PRO) Ancient Correspondence, SC1/51/147; Calendar of Ancient Deeds, iii, A4369. Further information is available in Payling, S. ‘Never “desire to be grete about princes for it is daungeros”: the rise and fall of the fifteenth-century Catesbys.’ In Bertram, J. The Catesby Family and their Brasses at Ashby St Ledgers (pp 1–17). Monumental Brass Society: Burlington House, London, 2006.

17. There is a possibility that she actually died on the 20th, although this was potentially the date of her burial.

18. See Bertram, J. The Catesby Family and their Brasses at Ashby St Ledgers. Monumental Brass Society: Burlington House: London, 2006.

19. Ashdown-Hill (2006), op. cit., p. 122. And see also Ashdown-Hill (2009). op. cit., p. 37.

20. See Bertram, J. The Catesby Family and their Brasses at Ashby St Ledgers. Monumental Brass Society: Burlington House, London, 2006.

21. Baker, E. ‘Notes on the paintings in Burton Dassett Church.’ In: F. O’Shauhnessy, op. cit. And see also: Tristram, E. W. ‘Wall-paintings in Ashby St Ledgers Church.’ Northampton & Oakham Architectural & Archeological Society, in Associated Architectural Societies Report and Papers, 38 (1926–1927), 352-260.

22. Although we do not know if Eleanor was the sponsor of these works, we do know that she retired to a religious life and if the quotation about Edward’s ‘pious’ mistress referred to Eleanor, it may add to our belief that she was religiously inspired and so sponsored these paintings, one at each of the churches that she knew.

23. See Hargreaves, J. W. & Gray, J.B. The passion series of wall paintings in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Leodagarius, Ashby St. Ledgers, Northamptonshire. JR Press: Daventry, undated. And see also Tristram. E. W.Wall Painting in Ashby St Ledgers Church. 1929.

24. See Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen. The Lady Eleanor Talbot. Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11 (1997), (139), 166-190. (especially p. 185). And see also the new artistic rendering of Eleanor in Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit.

25. Hancock, P. A. ‘No Richard rhyme nor reason: Resisting the seduction of confirmation bias.’ The Medelai Gazette, 14 (3) (2007), 16-22.

26. From Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen. The Lady Eleanor Talbot. Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11, (139) (1997), 166-190. (specifically, p. 185). And see also: Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The missing molars: A genealogical conundrum.’ The Ricardian, 142 (1998), 340-344.

27. See O’Regan, M. ‘The pre-contract and its effect on the succession in 1483.’ The Ricardian, 54 (1976), 2-7; Sutton, A. ‘Richard III’s “tytylle & right”: A new discovery. The Ricardian, 57 (1977), 2-8. Also see the more recent article at: See also Carson, A. Richard III: The maligned King (pp 67-68, 71). The History Press, Stroud, Glos, 2008. Also Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit., p. 103.

28. Ashdown-Hill (2006), op. cit., p. 116. See also Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit. p. 62, where he establishes that Thomas Butler was certainly dead by 15 January 1460 as evidenced by a deed to his father.

29. Ashdown-Hill, op. cit., p. 116. (and see the note on the quit claim deed accomplishing this action, which is contained in the Warwickshire County Record Office, L 1/80, and L 1/81). This latter action is eminently sensible given the respective location of the two manors, and see Figure 8. Also, this proposition makes strong commercial sense since Great Dorsett is predominately hill country with sheep farming most appropriate while Fenny Compton is solid arable land in the vale beneath. Further, it answers Ashdown-Hill’s (2009) op. cit., p 90, intrinsic question concerning this issue.

30. As Kendall, P. M. Richard III. W.W. Norton: New York, 1955, notes: ‘The probability is that Lady Eleanor met Edward IV when she petitioned him to keep the manors of Greve (Grove) and Great Dorset in Warwickshire.’ (note 9 from Kendall, 1955, p. 553). There remains the interesting question as to why Eleanor petitioned Edward anyway. After all, if she had decided to live with her sister at Framlingham in Suffolk or at some nearby location in Norfolk, the manors would have reverted to her father-in-law. It suggests Eleanor had a particular reason in wanting to retain her lands at this time. The recognition of her religious commitment and the possible link to the remains of the Templar order might still be a possible and intriguing reason for her actions

31. Ashdown-Hill (1997), op. cit., pp. 173-174. The exact date is also diffuclt to specify. However, it seems to be bracketed by the summer of 1460 and early in 1461 (and see Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit., p. 102).

32. ‘The main surviving facts about the Lady Eleanor Butler can be found in the Inquisitions Post Mortem and the Calendar of Patent Rolls. From the Inquisitions Post Mortem (8 Edward IV, no. 39; see also Cal. Inq. Post Mortem, p. 344 and GEC, XII, p. 422) we learn that Eleanor, wife of the deceased Thomas Butler knight, and sister of Sir John Talbot, died on June 30, 1468, possessed of the manors of Grove or (Greve) and Great Dorset in Warwickshire.’ (Kendall (1955), op. cit. p. 553).

33. Hancock, P. A. ‘On the Trail of King Richard III.’ Ricardian Register, 29 (1) (2004), 8-10.

34. For example, Kendall, P. M. Richard III. W.W. Norton: New York, 1955, notes that: ‘He [Stillington] alone had witnessed, or transmitted, the King’s oath to the lady of his desire. Only then had she been willing to surrender to her sovereign, who, however, had sworn troth but to have his use of her.’

35. De Commines, P. Memoires. The Reign of Loius XI, 1461-1483. Ed. M. Jones. Harmondsworth, 1972.

36. See Hammond, P. W. ‘Stillington and the pre-contract.’ The Ricardian, 54 (1976), 31.

37. See Campbell, J. Lives of the Lord Chancellors. Murray: London, 1868 (especially pp 333-335).

38. Sometime later she seems to have joined her sister, the Duchess of Norfolk, perhaps at her sister’s Dower House at Kenninghall in Norfolk, see Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The go-between.’ The Ricardian, XV (2005), 119-121. The relationship between the sisters seems to have been close, see Ashdown-Hill. J. ‘The endowments of Lady Eleanor Talbot and Elizabeth Talbot, Duchess of Norfolk, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.’ The Ricardian, 14 (2004), 82-94.

39. It may be possible that when Thomas More referred to the last of King Edward’s mistresses in the following manner, ‘the thirde the holiest harlot in his realme, as one whom no man could get out of the church lightly to any place, but it wer to his bed,’ he is referring to Eleanor. If such were so, it may imply a much longer and more involved relationship than a single meeting. If it was Eleanor who was the pious one, it may have induced Edward to tread a little more carefully than usual, not wishing to offend the Church.

40. In a recent article, Sweeney (1996), op. cit., p. 19, reports that Eleanor did indeed have a son and he was the great-grandfather of William Cecil’s (Lord Burghley) own secretary, Richard Wigmore. Burghley of course served Elizabeth I almost the whole of his adult life. Elizabeth I herself was the granddaughter of Elizabeth of York, the niece of Richard III. Smith, M. ‘Reflections on Lady Eleanor.’ The Ricardian, 142 (1998), 336-339, is sure that Eleanor died childless and cites the barreness of her immediate relations as support. We must await more definitive evidence for such a child before we speculate upon the implications of such a birth. Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit., p. 108, states unequivocally that ‘Although Buck suggested that Edward and Eleanor may have had a son, there is absolutely no evidence to support this contention.’

41. To quote from Ashdown-Hill (2006), p. 124, ‘His [Catesby’s] connection with Lady Eleanor is certainly intriguing.’

42. I am now unable to conceive of Jacquetta except in terms of the pushing mother in the puppet play in the film The Sound of Music. Such a role has also been attributed to many mothers who would push their daughter in front of the king or the immediate heir to the throne even in modern times.

43. Perhaps Eleanor had a reason for wanting simply to retain the manor of Great Dorsett. The manor most probably also contained the settlement of Temple Herdewyke which, it has been speculated, was a Templar chapel associated with some of the Templar mysteries. See: Phillips, G. The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant. Bear & Company: Rochester, VT, 2004. The latter author has also stated that Sir Walter Ralegh later bought Temple Heredewyke through his wife and engaged there in a search for Templar treasure. Could this have been associated with the reason that Eleanor did not press her claim further? Here, we are on the very attractive but especially dangerous edge of speculation. After a considerable search in resources such as Dugdale, and after having contact with the Warwickshire County Record Office (A. Williams personal communication, 7/4/08) I can find no reference that Bess (Throckmorton) Ralegh ever puchased this property. See also: Beer, A (2003) My Just Desire: The life of Bess Ralegh, wife to Sir Walter. Random House: New York. Also Rowse, A. L (1962) Sir Walter Ralegh: His Family and Private Life. Harper Brothers: New York

Chapter 3: William Catesby, Esquire of the Body

1.  In the same way that our knowledge of Eleanor Butler has been elucidated by John Ashdown-Hill, so we must turn to Roskell and Williams for our understanding of William. However, in this chapter I also rely extensively on the work of Simon Payling (2006), which is referenced below, and the recent text by Dickson (2007) which I acquired during the latter part of the writing of this chapter.

2.  See Dickson, J. M. William Catesby: ‘Gras de Hower Gyd’ (p. 4). Richard III Foundation: Las Vegas, NV, 2007.

3.  See for example Hancock, P. A. ‘Solem a tergio reliquit: The troublesome Battle of Bosworth.’ Ricardian Register, 27 (2) (2002), 4-10. And see Jones, M. K. Bosworth 1485. Tempus: Stroud, Glos, 2002. Hutton, W. The Battle of Bosworth Field. Nichols, Son, & Bentley: London, 1813, and also Foss, P. The Field of Redemore: The Battle of Bosworth, 1485. Kairos Press: Newton Lindford, 1998.

4.  Nicholas, N. H. Testamenta Vetusta (p. 381). Nichols & Son: London, 1826.

5.  Stephen, L. & Lee, S. (eds). The Dictionary of National Biography (pp 1193-1194). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917.

6.  This fact is also shown by his own wording of his last will and testament (see Williams, D. T. ‘The hastily drawn up will of William Catesby, Esquire, 25th August, 1485.’ Transactions of the Leicestershire Archeological and Historical Society, 51 (1975), 43-51).

7.  The epithet ‘Cat,’ of course comes from Colyngbourne’s rhyme, see Sutton, A. F. ‘Colyngbourne’s Rhyme.’ The Ricardian, 67 (1979), 145-146. And see also Kendall, P.M. Richard III (p. 301). W.W. Norton: New York, 1955.

8.  A brief survey of this part of Warwickshire shows that the Catesbys at Ladbroke would have been the direct neighbours of the Butlers at Great Dorsett. Similarly, if Bishop’s Itchington is an extended version of Bishopston, then the family of Sir William’s first wife would also have been neighbors of both families.

9.  There is also the possibility that some of the family property in Coventry was viewed as the primary family home.

10. See Morris, M. ‘Catesby Brasses at Ashby St Ledgers.’ The Ricardian, 39 (1972), 28-32, and more recently Bertram, J. (ed.). The Catesby family and their brasses at Ashby St Ledgers. Monumental Brass Society, Headley Brothers: Ashford, Kent, 2006.

11. More, T. The history of King Richard III. 1513 Also see The precise quote is ‘Catesby, which was a man well learned in the laws of this land.’

12. Many of my observations here come from the detailed and scholarly article by Payling, S. ‘Never “‘desire to be grete about princes, for it is dangeros”: the rise and fall of the fifteenth-century Catesbys’ (pp 1-17). In Bertram, J. (ed.). The Catesby family and their brasses at Ashby St Ledgers. Monumental Brass Society, Headley Brothers: Ashford, Kent, 2006.

13. Of course, it is always a reasonable possibility that Phillipa Bishopston, Sir William’s first wife, died in childbirth. If so, her daughter of that birth, Elizabeth, survived that possible trauma and went on to lead a full life (see Bertram op. cit., p. 66).

14. See Payling (2006), op. cit., p. 5.

15. PRO, Ministers’ and Receivers’ Accounts SC6/949/16; Lincoln Diocese Documents. Ed. A. Clark Early English Text Society, 149, 1914, p. 81. PRO, Early Chancery Proceedings, C1/53/247.

16. Hancock, P. A. ‘No Richard rhyme nor reason: Resisting the seduction of confirmation bias.’ The Medelai Gazette, 14 (3) (2007), 16-22.

17. PRO Issue Rolls, E403/786, m. 1; Lambeth Palace Library, Register of Stafford and Kemp, f. 312v.

18. The letter is at The National Archives, under entry PRO SC1/51/147. The letter itself is reproduced in the separate Appendix IV: The Letter of Sir William Catesby of 15 September 1452. Sir William was true to his word and we find even just a year before his death he was still including his wife in the business of the disbursement of the presentation of the chaplaincy of the church of Chesilburgh (Cheselbourne, Dorset?). I take the the evidence for this from Maxwell-Lyte, H.C. The registers of Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1466-1491 and Richard Fox, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1492-1494. Somerset Record Society, 52 (1937), 1-235. I believe that the citation ‘on the presentation of John Barre and William Catesby, knights’ (pp 76-77), to be a misrepresentation of Joan Barre and William Catesby, husband and wife.

19. See Leonard, W. The Oxford of Inspector Morse (pp 186-187). BFS Entertainment: Canada, 2004.

20. See Payling, op. cit. (p. 8). This is also evident in the observation of Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit. (p. 140), who notes that Sir William witnessed the 4 June 1468 deed of gift of Eleanor to her sister.

21. Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen. The Lady Eleanor Talbot. Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 11, (139) (1997), 166-190.

22. Much of our knowledge of William Catesby’s life and career is founded on the important and detailed work of Roskell (see Roskell, J.S. ‘William Catesby, Counsellor to Richard III.’ Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 44 (1959), 145-174). As will be evident to readers of this latter work, I have relied extensively upon it as a source for this present text.

23. The translation reads: ‘Once one of the trenchers of King Henry VI.’ See Bertram (ed.) (2006), p. xvii.

24. The written plaque on the left side reads: ‘Here lies lady Joan, second wife of William Catesby, knight, formerly wife of Richard de la Bere, and daughter of Thomas Barre, knight, and his wife Alice, sister of John Lord Talbot, who was created Earl of Shrewsbury. She died 2 August 1471; on whose soul may God have mercy Amen.’ It is my suggestion that the attribution ‘Richard’ is incorrect and is a mis-interpretation of Kynard, or possibly Reynard, which may denote the manner of address for her first husband. The brass of her son, Richard de la Bere, can be seen in Hereford Cathedral, and see Figure 9. 25. Thorne, S. E. (ed.). Readings and Moots at the Inns of Court in the Fifteenth Century (p. lvii). Selden Society, Bernard Quaritch: London, 1954.

26. Ives, E. W. The Common Lawyers of Pre-Reformation England. Cambridge, 1983. and see Payling (2006), op. cit. (p. 10).

27. See Roskell (1959), op. cit. (p. 146).

28. Roskell (1959), op. cit. (p. 153).

29. Interestingly, it seems that it was Ralph, Lord Sudeley who in 1442 had built the famous Sudeley castle which still stands today within the confines of the Cotswold town of Winchcombe, and was then forced, in 1469, to sell it to Edward IV, shortly after the death of his daughter-in-law, Eleanor Butler (née Talbot).

30. There remains, of course, the intriguing rumour that Eleanor actually had a child. Whether this child was her husband’s or Edward IV’s is a further step of speculation and perhaps, in our present state of knowledge, a step too far (and see Hancock, P. A. ‘No Richard rhyme nor reason: Resisting the seduction of confirmation bias.’ The Medelai Gazette, 14 (3) (2007), 16-22).

31. See Bertram (2006), op. cit.

32. A spatial assessment of Catesby’s acquisition shows that he was engaged in the systematic increase of a coherent consolidation of properties and holdings centered around Ashby St Ledgers and his Northamptonshire and Warwickshire holdings. Effectively, he was in the process of building a small ‘kingdom within a kingdom.’ In this he may have followed the strategy of William, Lord Hastings, whose personal holdings clearly got in the way of Catesby’s ambition (see figures 36, 37 and 38 respectively).

33. See Roskell (1959), op. cit., p. 147.

34. The Council meeting of Friday 13 June 1483 in the Tower is perhaps noted as one of the best-recorded events of Edward V’s reign (Historia croylandensis, p. 566, Great Chronicle, p. 231; Fabyan, Chronicles, p. 688; Chronicles of London, p. 190; More,Richard III, pp 48-9: Polydore Virgil, Anglica Historica, pp 689-90; note 81 in Mancini, D. The Usurpation of Richard III. (Trans. and ed. with an introduction by C. A. J. Armstrong. Wolfeboro Falls: Alan Sutton, 1989).

35. More quoted in Payling (2006), p. 11.

36. Hancock, P. A. ‘The Polarising Plantagenet.’ Ricardian Register, 26 (4) (2001), 4-7.

37. Hancock (2001), op. cit.

38. I am here unwilling to embrace Leach’s theory that Catesby warned Richard of a deadly poison sprinkled on the ‘mess of strawberries’ but am happy to concur in respect of Catesby’s vital role in events of that day, and see Leach, C. A. ‘A mess of strawberries.’The Ricardian, 29 (1970), 21-22.

39. Roskell, op. cit., p. 147.

40. One of the most persuasive records comes from the contemporary building accounts of Kirby Muxloe castle which shows that when the news of Hastings’ execution reached Leicestershire, the most skilled artisans basically downed tools in the eventually justified, expectation that the commission would be cancelled. Internal evidence of these records suggests that the news reached the construction site some time on Monday 16th or perhaps very early on Tuesday 17 June 1483. Also see Hancock, P. A. ‘Kirby Muxloe Castle: The Embodiment of the Disembodiment of William, Lord Hastings.’ Ricardian Register, 36 (1/2) (2006), 4-13.

41. For the baseline of Catesby’s rise following Hastings’ execution, we should note that Roskell (1959), p. 158 observed that at the time of the death of Edward IV, ‘[Catesby] held no proper office by Crown appointment.’

42. This is indirectly confirmed by Ross (1981), op. cit. (p. 156), who observed that: ‘William Catesby, who, as “the Cat,” was the second member of Collingbourne’s notorious lampoon, was given lands chiefly in the Midlands. Lands to the annual value of 323-11-8d, which made him wealthier than most knights, no mean achievement for an aspiring lawyer.’

43. See Dickson, J. M. William Catesby (pp20–28). Richard III Foundation, 2007.

44. The antithesis here is that Rivers actually did receive news of Hastings’ execution and thus named Catesby in light of the understanding of his role in that event and his expectation of Catesby’s coming elevation in legal and political matters. This interpretation is supported by the suggestions that Rivers named Richard, Duke of Gloucester as overseer, if he would act in that capacity (see Roskell (1959), p. 162). The third alternative is that Rivers knew of Catesby only in terms of his legal abilities and appointed him as a known and competent lawyer. The possibility that somehow news of Hastings’ execution reached Sheriff Hutton should not however be quickly dismissed. After all, we know that this news reached Kirby Muxloe on the outskirts of Leicester, most probably some time on 16 June. It would present no difficulty to thus reach Sheriff Hutton just north of York some time in the remaining seven days.

45. As reported by Dickson (2007), op. cit., p. 21.

46. As noted, the spatial distributions of the lands that Catesby looked to accumulate are very evidently designed to achieve a cohesive block of properties centered on Ashby St Ledgers in the county of Northamptonshire. It is clear from plotting his holdings and acquisitions that Catesby was well on the way to achieving his aspiration at the time of his execution. Welton was vital for this consolidation.

47. There is a note on a contemporary website by Mark Burgess that indicates that Catesby was involved in similarly shady dealings to secure the Malory manor of Swinford. Evidently this was part of Catesby overall strategy of creating a contiguous area of influence around Ashby St Ledgers.

48. And see A. F. Sutton and P. W. Hammond (eds). The Coronation of Richard III. Sutton: Gloucester, 1983.

49. See Puplick, C. ‘The Parliament of Richard III.’ The Ricardian, 36 (1972), 27-29.

50. And see Horrox, R. ‘British Library Harleian Manuscript 433.’ The Ricardian, 66 (1979), 87-91.

51. The lands were distributed across the Buckingham estates in Essex, Gloucestershire, Surrey, Huntingdon, Warwickshire and, of course, Northamptonshire (and see Dickson, (2007), p. 23).

52. Here, a quotation from Ross is certainly pertinent, he comments: ‘Another indication that Richard had managed to assemble a complacent House of Commons lay in its choice of speaker. From the beginning of the Yorkist period at least it had become usual for the Commons to select a man who was acceptable to the King, who was generally a royal councillor, who was paid a fee for his labours and who therefore tended to be rather more a Government spokesman, rather like a modern leader of the House, than a defender of the Commons interest. In choosing William Catesby they provided a man who had all these qualifications, perhaps to an unusual degree, given the high favour in which he stood with the King. What was most unusual, for a speaker, was that he had never sat in parliament before, and therefore had no experience of its procedures. His selection was so politically convenient as to suggest that Richard had indeed been at pains to procure a biddable assembly. Certainly, it proceeded to execute his wishes without notable signs of dissent.’ (Ross (1981), p. 185).

53. Richardson puts this event some twelve days after Richard’s coronation in 1483 (G. Richardson ‘The Cat, the Rat and the Dog.’ Ricardian Register, 23 (4) (1983), 4-10), whereas Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 362, seems to suggest that this was in 1484. In this he is confirmed by Gairdner (History of the Life and Reign of Richard the Third. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898), who has a most interesting account on p 188, and see footnote 1 on the same page, as well as Horrox, R.. ‘Richard III and London.’The Ricardian, 85 (1984), 322-329. I think it safer to follow the latter authorities.

54. For an account of Colyngbourne see K. Hillier. ‘William Colyngbourne.’ The Ricardian, 49 (1975), 5-9.

55. The rhyme itself and possible subsequent extensions and explanations have been discussed in P. W. Hammond ‘The cat, the rat, etc.’ The Ricardian, 50 (1975), 31. A further sequence of six lines sometimes appended to the opening couplet has been traced by Hammond to the creation of a person named Fogg (not Sir John Fogg), whose words appear in a play by Thomas Heywood published in 1600. See P. W. Hammond. ‘Colyngbourne’s rhyme.’ The Ricardian, 67 (1979), 145-146.

56. And see Hillier, K. ‘William Colyngbourne.’ The Ricardian, 49 (1975), 5-9.

57. Very much like Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 363, I have been unable to resist quoting this gruesome but fascinating end to this man who is the quintessential footnote to history.

58. William Catesby was directly related to Ratcliffe. His wife (Margaret) was the half-sister of Ratcliffe’s wife. Thus the ‘Cat’ and the ‘Rat’ were relatively closely related. From the information we have concerning land transactions, it appears, however, that Catesby was actually closer to Lovell in affiliation.

59. The quotation is from Croyland, but there seems to be something very personal and a wry and bitter sense of satisfaction in the words. It suggests to me a rather personal antagonism; almost a professional jealousy.

60. Indeed, in Hammond’s article in Volume 50 of The Ricardian we read a supposed ‘key’ to the rhyme, which was purportedly also written by Colyngbourne, it read:

‘Catesbye was one whom I called a Cat,

‘A craftee lawyer catching all he could’

It is also postulated that the attribution is heraldic in nature, with Richard’s known badge of the white boar and Lovell’s reported crest as a silver wolf-dog, while Catesby’s badge is given as a white cat.

61. Croyland Chroinicle (Pronay & Cox, op. cit., pp 175, 177).

62. The quotation is from Henry VI Part II (IV. ii) and apparently refers to Jack Cade’s Rebellion.

63. Hancock, P.A. ‘Solem a tergio reliquit: The troublesome Battle of Bosworth.’ Ricardian Register, 27 (2) (2002), 4-10.

64. However, as we shall see, this is not the date given on his tomb.

65. Richardson, G. ‘The Cat, the Rat and the Dog.’ Ricardian Register, 23 (4) (1998), p. 6.

66. Payling, S. (2006), op. cit., p. 14. The Brechers, father and son, two West Country yeoman, were apparently also executed after the battle. Kendall records that they were also hanged. These words very much echo Roskell’s sentiment that: ‘… he alone of men of importance in the royal army who were so captured was executed after the battle.’ (Roskell, op. cit., p. 170).

67. See Badham, S. & Saul, N. ‘The Catesby’s taste in brasses.’ In J. Bertram (ed.). The Catesby family and their brasses at Ashby St Ledgers (pp 36-75). London: Monumental Brass Society, 2006.

68. Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 444.

69. See Bertram, J. (2006). ‘Nearly headless Bill: The mutilation of the brasses in Ashby St Ledgers’ (pp 24-26), In Bertram, op. cit. Commentary on the ‘frivolus’ suggestion by Bertram that the defacement was actually a posthumous treatment of a traitor has been provided by Kleineke, who is fairly adamant that Bertram’s interpretation here is incorrect. See Kleineke, H. ‘The Catesby family and their brasses at Ashby St Ledgers: Book Review.’ The Ricardian, XVII (2007), 108-109.

70. Serjeantson, R. M. ‘The restoration of the long-lost brass of Sir William Catesby [at Ashby St Legers],’ Association of Architectural Societies, XXXI (1912), 519-24.

71. Badham, S. & Saul, P. (2006), op. cit., p. 69.

72. See Badham, S. & Saul, P. (2006), op. cit., p. 69.

73. See Bertram (2006), op. cit., pp 24-26.

74. If he took this action, Catesby actually deposed someone of his close affiliation. His mother-in-law, Lady Scrope, had earlier attended Elizabeth Woodville during her confinement in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey. There she had stood godmother to the future Edward V when he was born there in 1470 (see Roskell (1959), p. 153).

Chapter 4: William, Lord Hastings

1.  For more extended discussion of Hastings in wider contexts see: Rowney, I. ‘Resources and retaining in Yorkist England: William, Lord Hastings and the honour of Tutbury.’ In A. J. Pollard (ed.). Property and politics: Essays in later Medieval English History(pp 139-155). Macmillan: London, 1984; and Hicks. M. A. ‘Lord Hastings’ indentured retainers.’ In: Richard III and his rivals (pp 229-246). Hambledon: London, 1991. And of course, Dunham, W. H. ‘Lord Hastings’ indentured retainers 1461-1483.’Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 39 (1955), 1-175. And see also, Turner D.H (1983) The Hastings Hours. Thames and Hudson: London

2.  Dictionary of National Biography. See:

3.  In 1436 Richard, Duke of York granted Sir Leonard Hastings a £15 annuity for life and later in 1442 made him his ‘beloved councilor.’ It may well be York’s influence that gained Sir Leonard his knighthood in 1448 (see Dunham, W. H. ‘Lord Hastings’ indentured retainers 1461-1483.’ Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 39 (1955), 1-175. (p. 19).

4.  The Duke of York was equally generous to Sir William Hastings as to his father granting him a £10 annuity in 1458, some three years after his father’s death.

5.  In July 1461 Hastings was appointed steward of the honour of Leicester, which controlled manors throughout Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and parts of Nottinghamshire. It may well be that many of these properties were those which were coveted by William Catesby, and see Seward, D. The Wars of the Roses (p. 98). Penguin: New York, 1995.

6.  Dunham (1955), op. cit., p. 21.

7.  It appears that Hastings had previously been married himself to one Elizabeth Walden. It is possible that he presented the living of the church of Kyngesbury (most probably modern-day Kingsbury Episcopi) to one of his own sons or perhaps a near relation on 26 August 1467. See Maxwell-Lyte H.C(1937), The Registers of Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1466-1491, Somerset Records Society, Taunton, Somerset, p. 11, although the living was later resigned by the same Master William Hastynges to Sir Thomas Warson on 3 September 1473 (see op. cit., p. 50).

8.  For the act of attainder against Henry VI and his Lancastrian supporters see Document MS. X.d. 114, Great Britain Sovereigns, etc, February 15th, 1572/1573, at the request of Sir John Cutte, Exemplification of the Act of 1461. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC.

9.  Dictionary of National Biography (pp 148-149).

10. This is a rather bold statement and the issue over the dating of the Council meeting itself and whether it was quite such a spectacular revelation in open council is dealt with in much more detail by Ross, C. Edward IV. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1974 (p. 91, n.2, n.3). Ross favours a more gradualist decline in Warwick’s influence over Edward and a more fatalistic acceptance of Elizabeth Woodville by the ‘Kingmaker.’ The truth may well lie between these extremes.

11. Dunham (1955) indicates that it was Hastings who managed Edward’s eventual escape to Holland from Lynn in Norfolk. Craig, J. (1953), op. cit., p. 93, notes that: ‘When Warwick the Kingmaker struck in 1470 it was Lord Hastings who held the front of a Doncaster house till Edward IV could slip away at the back; he overtook the flying king and escaped in the same ship with him to Holland.’ (and see Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 158). Hastings further helped engineer the exiled king’s return and indeed landed with him in Ravenspur near Hull in March 1471.

12. In this he was successful and the meeting took place at Banbury. 13. And see Hillier, K. ‘William, Lord Hastings and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.’ The Ricardian, 100 (1988), 13-17.

14. See Hancock, P. A. ‘Kirby Muxloe Castle: The embodiment of the disembodiment of William, Lord Hastings.’ Ricardian Register, 36 (1/2) (2006), 4-13.

15. See De Commines. op. cit.

16. See Grummitt, D. ‘William. Lord Hastings, the Calais Garrison and the politics of Yorkist England.’ The Ricardian, 153 (2001), 262-274.

17. For example, in 1474 he had assumed the wardship of George Talbot, the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, being a later member of Eleanor Talbot’s family. Hastings later married him to his own daughter Anne. His administration of the Talbot estates further permitted him to expand his hegemony in the Midlands area. And see Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 201.

18. And see Freeman, J. ‘The moneyers of the Tower of London and William Lord Hastings in 1472.’ The Ricardian, XVI (2006), 59-65.

19. Woodhead, P. The Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles: Schneider Collection, English Gold Coins and their Imitations (p. 33). Spink & Sons: London, 1996.

20. Craig, J. The Mint: A History of the London Mint from A.D. 287 to 1948 (p. 88). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953.

21. The dates of his office being 29 October 1482 to 28 October 1483, thus being the mayor at the time of Hastings’ execution.

22. See Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 263.

23. Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 263, indicates that Hastings re-appointment was a favour granted by then Protector, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. However, the dating here makes it difficult to confirm this and it does not seem likely that this represents Richard’s direct act.

24. And see also Hammond, P. ‘Research notes and queries.’ The Ricardian, 39 (1972), 10-12.

25. Pronay and Cox, p. 159.

26. Keay, A. The Elizabethan Tower of London: The Haiward and Gascoyne plan of 1597. Topographical Society: London, 2001.

27. The central keep here (the White Tower) is divided in two very much like the configuration of the central keep of Middleham castle in Yorkshire, one section of which is shown in Figure 1-1.

28. I think from all the evidence we have, we can discount Chrimes’ (1964) speculation that Hastings was in fact killed during the melée and the subsequent arrests (and see Weissbruth, 1970).

29. Rotherham was imprisoned from this day until the middle of July (see Davies, The Church and the Wars of the Roses, p. 142). Richard’s ire against him may have proceeded in part from his transfer of the Great Seal to the queen dowager. Morton was imprisoned and then handed over to Buckingham’s keeping. After fomenting rebellion Morton escaped from Brecknock Castle to Flanders. Thomas Stanley, later made 1st Earl of Derby by Henry VII on 27 October 1485 seemed, as we have seen, to escape major punishment altogether.

30. From

31. Donno, E. S. ‘Thomas More and Richard III.’ Renaissance Quarterly, 35 (3) (1982), 401-447.

Chapter 5: Jane Shore, Mistress of the King

1.  Although, as will become evident, there is contention over her real name, I shall adhere to convention and call her by the name by which she is known.

2.  This absence of hard fact has not stopped a number of authors writing full-length texts about Jane, including the recent, most interesting treatment by Margaret Crossland, see Crossland, M. The Mysterious Mistress: The Life and Legend of Jane Shore. Sutton Publishing: Stroud, Glos, 2006.

3.  An early edition of the Dictionary of National Biography stated that she was the daughter of one Thomas Wainstead, although later scholarship concludes that this was an erroneous attribution and that John Lambert was her father, (and see Seward, D. The Wars of the Roses (p. 19), Viking: New York, 1995).

4.  Her popular surname derives from her marriage to one William Shore (and see Sutton, A. ‘William Shore, merchant of London and Derby.’ Derbyshire Archeological Journal, 106 (1986), 127-139).

5.  Scott, M. M. Re-presenting Jane Shore: Harlot and Heroine. Ashgate: Aldershot, 2005.

6.  See Barker, N. ‘The Real Jane Shore.’ Etoniana, 125 (1972), 383-391.

7.  And see St Aubyn, G. The Year of Three Kings. Atheneum: New York, 1983.

8.  Helgerson, R. Adulterous Alliances: Home, State, and History in Early Modern European Drama and Painting (p. 37), University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2000.

9.  See Stephen, L. & Lee, S. (eds). The Dictionary of National Biography (pp 147-148). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917.

10. For more see Dockray, K. Edward IV: Playboy or Politician. The Ricardian, 131 (1995), 306-325.

11. One is very much reminded of the behaviour of Mel Brooks in his movie The History of the World where, as the lecherous French king, he demands the sexual favours of a young lady in order to save her doomed father. The parallel is almost exact with Edward’s general behaviour.

12. There has, of course, been extensive discussion about the nature and validity of this marriage. And see also Kelly, H.A. ‘The case against Edward IV’s marriage and offspring: Secrecy, witchcraft; secrecy; pre-contract.’ The Ricardian, 142 (1998), 326-335.

13. From Markham (1906), quoted in O’Regan (1976). Made at Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. ‘Generally accepted the marriage vows were exchanged in a private house not in church’ (O’Regan, 1976).

14. The Great Chronicle of London (p. 202) reported that the marriage occurred on 1 May 1464 (and see Fabyan’s Chronicles, p. 654). The fact of the marriage was apparently not made public until 29 September 1464 at a Council meeting in Reading (see William Worcester, Annales, p. 783); see also Fahy, C. ‘The marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville: A New Italian Source.’ English Historical Review, 76 (1961), 660-672, and see the earlier note in this text on the revelation of the marriage.

15. And see Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The elusive mistress: Elizabeth Lucy and her family.’ The Ricardian, 145 (1999), 490-505.

16. See

17. Stephen, L. & Lee, S. (eds). The Dictionary of National Biography (pp 147-148). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917, indicates that Jane began her association with Edward in 1470. However, it is much more logistically appealing to place this at a slightly later date in 1471 after his triumphant return to the throne. Irrespective of the actual date, both interpretations imply that Jane had been the king’s mistress for over a decade and surely this must argue for her appeal in more than just the sexual dimension alone.

18. And see Seward (1995), op. cit., especially pp 230-231.

19. This is More’s assertion that Hastings ‘lay nightly’ with her; however, there is the suggestion that immediately following Edward’s death she became the mistress of the Marquess of Dorset and only attached herself to Hastings following Dorset’s egress from London. Again, this is a suggestion rather than a known fact.

20. Gairdner, op. cit., pp 69-70.

21. Davis, M. A. ‘Lord Hastings dies.’ The Medelai Gazette, 13 (2) (2006), 26-32, reports that: ‘The Duke of Gloucester’s chivalry, especially toward women was legendary’ (p. 28). This may be over-eulogistic, but the general opinion and principle seem well founded.

22. More implied that Richard had his eyes on her goods and possessions, but Gairdner rightly dismisses this suggestion as both illogical and counter to the other ways in which More expressed approbation of Richard’s generosity. More’s slur can be taken as just another attempt to blacken Richard, but it may well be that he genuinely did not understand the reason for Richard’s action.

23. As we know from the controversy surrounding the execution of Hastings, the dating of this letter in respect of the writing of its content has been subject to considerable scrutiny. Here, I am adopting a consistent position by relying on the fact that the letter was not written after 21 June. This reliance does not negate the argument about Hastings’ execution presented in the accompanying Appendix II.

24. It is, of course, conceivable that Jane did penance on Sunday 22 June, in which case she may have represented the ‘opening act’ to Dr Shaa’s sermon, for which Richard may well have wanted the widest possible audience. Such a speculation, while a public relations dream, is most probably incorrect, since this conjunction would have most probably been commented on by one of the contemporary writers. It argues for 15 June as the date for Jane’s penance.

25 It is surely one of the most vitriolic of all of More’s comments when he mockingly offered up Richard as the paragon of virtue and so, by juxtaposition, implied he was completely the opposite, i.e. ‘as a goodly continent prince clene & fautles of himself, sent oute of heauen into this vicious world for the amendment of mens maners.’ And see the full quotation earlier in this chapter.

26. Secretary’s copy: British Library Harleian MSS 433 f 259.

27. See Barker, N. ‘Jane Shore: Part 1, the real Jane Shore.’ Etoniana, 125 (1972), 383-391.

28. And see Birley, R. ‘Jane Shore: Part 2, Jane Shore in literature.’ Etoniana, 125 (1972), 391-397.

29. The attribution is noted in Crossland (2006), op. cit., between pp 108-109. Crossland indicates that the figure to Jane’s left is her brother John Lambert and to her right is a portrayal of her own daughter. Whether the young lady was fathered by William Shore, Edward IV or Thomas Lynom is presently unknown.

30. See Crossland (2006), op. cit., p. 6.

31. Dictionary of National Biography (1917), p. 147.

32 See Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 550, n. 6.

Chapter 6: Robert Stillington: the Bishop of Bath & Wells

1.  See

2.  This was not the only reason and was essentially the last of three stated in the act. As Ramsay, J. Lancaster and York. Oxford, 1892, noted: ‘The grounds of invalidity assigned were that no banns had been published; that the service had been performed in a profane place; and that the King already stood married and troth-plight to Dame Eleanor Butler, daughter of the old Earl of Shrewsbury.’

3.  Edwards, R. The Itinerary of King Richard III 1483-1485. Alan Sutton, for the Richard III Society: London, 1983.

4.  Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘Edward IV’s uncrowned queen: The Lady Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler.’ The Ricardian, 139 (1997), 166-190.

5.  And see Markham, C. R. ‘Richard III: A doubtful verdict reviewed.’ English Historical Review, 6 (22) (1891), 250-283.

6.  For fuller details see also Jex-Blake, T. W. ‘Historical notices of Robert Stillington; Chancellor of England, Bishop of Bath and Wells.’ Proceedings of the Somerset Archeological and Natural History Society, 20 (Part II) (1894), 1-18.

7.  For example, Markham opined that, ‘Dr. Stillington thus becomes a very important personage in the history of King Richard’s accession; and it will be well to learn all that can be gleaned of his life.’ Markham (1906), p. 94.

8.  Kendall, P. M. (1955), op. cit., p. 260.

9.  Hammond, P. W. ‘Research notes and queries.’ The Ricardian, 52 (1976), 27-28.

10. It has been reported that he was the second son of Catherine Halthrop and John Stillington, ‘probably to the place of that name in Yorkshire who possess property at Nether Acaster, a short distance from York.’ See Foss, E. A Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England (p. 632), London, 1870. It interesting to note that the village of Stillington is only about three to four miles from Sheriff Hutton, just to the north of the city of York. It should be noted that Hampton (1977) opines, ‘That the bishop was a gentleman born, and of a family very well connected in the North, has been established …’

11. With this qualification, Stillington must have unequivocally understood the implications of the pre-contract between Edward and Eleanor. And see Jex-Blake (1894), op. cit.

12. Smith, G. The Dictionary of National Biography (pp 1265–1266). Ed. L. Stephen and S. Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1882.

13. Mowat, A. J. ‘Robert Stillington.’ The Ricardian, 53 (1976), 23-28.

14. And see Chrimes (1999), p. 242, note; and also Kendall (1955), p. 260.

15. Riley, J. C. Rising Life Expectancy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

16. And see Mowat (1976), p. 23.

17. Greensmith, L. T. ‘Coats of Arms of some Ricardian contemporaries.’ The Ricardian, 56 (1977), 20-22.

18. See Mowat, A. J. ‘Robert Stillington.’ The Ricardian, 53 (1976), 23-28, and also Hampton, W. E. ‘A further account of Robert Stillington.’ The Ricardian, 54 (1976), 24-27. See also Kendall (1955), op. cit., pp 254-264.

19. For an account of Stillington’s extended family and connections see, Hampton, W. E. ‘Bishop Stillington’s Chapel at Wells and his family in Somerset.’ The Ricardian, 56 (1977), 10-16.

20. Stillington later became Archdeacon of Berkshire in 1464 and he was succeeded in this position by both John Morton and Oliver King, whom we have also seen in our story.

21. Scofield, C. L. The Life and Reign of Edward IV (p. 94). London, 1923.

22. Smith, G. The Dictionary of National Biography (pp 1265–66). Ed. L. Stephen and S. Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1882. A slightly different set of dates is provided in Maxwell-Lyte (1937), op. cit., pp 1-2. Here the command to Nicholas Carent (dean) and Hugh Sugar (treasurer) of the cathedral was to allow Stillington ‘to have free administration of the bishopric in spirituals …’ was dated 11 January 1466 at Knoll. His confirmation as bishop by George Neville, Archbishop of York is dated 16 March 1466 ‘in the chapel of the Inn of the archbishop of York and others.’ It is possible this citation was to a later, and less formal ceremony. The two sources can be reconciled in this manner but further clarification is still needed.

23. Campbell, J. Lives of the Lord Chancellors (p. 329), John Murray: London, 1868.

24. DNB, op. cit. p. 1265.

25. We do not know exactly where Stillington retired to during the readeption of Henry VI. Intriguingly, he may just have been in sanctuary alongside Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey.

26. See Campbell, J. Lives of the Lord Chancellors. John Murray: London, 1868.

27. See Clive, M. The Son of York. Knopf: New York, 1974. And see also Jacob, E. F. The Fifteenth Century 1399-1485. Oxford, 1961.

28. The 1917 edition of the DNB says he resigned on 25 July 1475, as does Jex-Blake (1894) in an earlier reference. However, Campbell (1868), op. cit., p. 334 records that it was his inability to attend to the duties of his office which resulted in his 8 June resignation.

29. See Kendall (1995), p. 259.

30. See Mowat (1976), op. cit.

31. There is one other possibility, that being Warwick Castle. This comes from a faint hint in Polydore Vergil which occurs in a passage on the falling out of Edward and Warwick the Kingmaker. Vergil reported: ‘and it carryeth some color of truth, which commonly is reported, the King Edward should have assayed to do some dishonest act in the earl’s house; for as much as the king was a man who would readily cast an eye upon young ladies, and love them inordinately.’ Whether this refers to the pre-contract between Edward and Eleanor or some other dalliance of the King we cannot at present say. However, it is suggestive. And see Vergil, P. English History (p. 117) Ed. H. Ellis. Camden Society: London, 1849.

32. In contrast to the wedding with Elizabeth Woodville, there appear to have been no witnesses noted. Concerning the actual event, Kendall (1955) op. cit., notes: ‘He [Stillington] alone had witnessed, or transmitted, the King’s oath to the lady of his desire. Only then had she been willing to surrender to her sovereign, who, however, had sworn troth but to have his use of her.’

33. Ashdown-Hill (2009), op. cit.

34. See Hampton (1976), p. 15.

35. It has been suggested, e.g. Halsted (1844), p. 91, on the authority of Buck, that Eleanor was the first cousin to the Duke of Buckingham.

36. Sir George Buck. The History of the Life and Reign of Richard III (pp 175-176). 1646.

37. Seward, pp 122-123.

38. And see Smith, M. ‘Edward, George and Richard.’ The Ricardian, 77 (1982), 49-49.

39. Campbell (1868), op. cit.

40. There has been, and continues to be, much debate over George, Duke of Clarence and his various motivations and actions. Indeed, they make a prolonged story all of their own. And see: Hicks, M. A. (1981). ‘The middle brother: False, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence.’ The Ricardian, 72 (1981), 302-310; Wigram, I. ‘Clarence still perjur’d.’ The Ricardian, 73 (1981), 352-355; Hicks, M. A. ‘Clarence’s calumniator corrected.’ The Ricardian, 74 (1981), 399-401; Hicks, M. A. False, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence. Alan Sutton: Gloucester, 1980; Wigram, I. ‘False, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence: A further exchange, Clarence and Richard.’ The Ricardian, 76 (1982), 17-20; and Hicks, M. A. ‘False, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence: A further exchange, Richard and Clarence.’ The Ricardian, 76 (1982), 20-21.

41. Habington, T. History of Edward IV. 1640.

42. Sweeney (1996), op. cit., stated this in the following manner: ‘some have suggested that brother, George, Duke of Clarence, knew of the pre-contract and that he tried to use the information against Edward IV, thereby triggering his own execution. There is no proof.’ In respect of the latter statement I believe Sweeney is perfectly correct.

43. The legend of the butt of Malmsey wine might possibly be true if such a vessel had been used to store water. It implies the execution was by drowning.

44. It has been rather picturesquely suggested by Halsted that the Woodville marriage had ‘cast the Lady Eleanora Butler into so perplexed a melancholy, that she spent herself into a solitary life ever after.’

45. A letter from Elizabeth Stonor to her husband, dated 6 March 1478 reads: ‘Ye shall understand that the Bishop of Bath is brought into the Tower since you departed.’

46. De Commines (1855), Vol I p. 395, and Vol II p. 64.

47. And see Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 237.

48. Ross, C. Edward IV. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1974.

49. A passage in Scofield, C. L. The Life and Reign of Edward IV (p. 213). New York, Longmans 1923, reads: ‘bishop accused of violating his oath of fidelity by some utterances prejudicial to the king, but on being summoned before the king and certain lords spiritual and temporal, was able to prove his innocence and faithfulness.’ One wonders, the Duke of Clarence being now dead, how Stillington proved his innocence. Also, if the arrest was in relation to the precontract, such innocence would absolve the bishop of having revealed it.

50. And see Mowat (1976).

51. Hammond, P. W. ‘Stillington and the pre-contract.’ The Ricardian, 54 (1976), 31.

52. Levine, M. ‘Richard III – Usurper or lawful King?’ Speculum, 34 (1959), pp. 394-395.

53. De Commines is estimated to have written the first six of his books, including the material quoted here, between 1488 and 1494; hence a middle date for his writings, i.e. 1491, has been cited. And see de Comines, P. The Historical Memoirs of Philip de Comines. Ed. A. R. Scobie. H. G. Bohn: Covent Garden, London, 1855.

54. In the original French the term used is ‘decouvrit.’

55. Mancini. The Usurpation of Richard the Third. Ed. C. A. J. Armstrong.(commentary);

56. Lander, J. R. ‘Edward IV: The modern legend, and a revision.’ History, 61 (1956), 41. And also see Armstrong, op. cit.

57. Wood, C.T. (1975), op. cit., p. 273.

58. Hammond, P. W. ‘Stillington and the Pre-contract.’ The Ricardian, 54 (1976), 31.

59. The Year Book of the first year of the reign of Henry VII (App. No. 75). And see Lingard, J. The History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the Accession of William and Mary in 1688. 6th edn, 10 vols. Charles Dolman: London, 1855. Vol. I, p. 6.

60. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, Volume VI, p. 618; see also Kendall (1955), p. 554.

61. Mowat (1976), op. cit., p. 26.

62. Markham, (1906), op. cit., p. 93.

63. See, for example,

64. Markham (1906), op. cit., p. 97.

65. Grafton’s Chronicle, p. 126.

66. For example, Levine (1959) op. cit., takes this information and uses it in an interesting fashion, although he does correctly identify Richard as the person who brought in the depositions and materials, as opposed to attributing this act to Stillington.

67. Kendall (1955), op. cit., pp. 260-261.

68. DNB, op. cit., p. 1266.

69. Many motivations have been attributed to Stillington, among them, as we have seen, revenge on Edward and his Woodville relations. However, another even more strained motivation has been suggested as his abhorrence of a minority reign. As I have pointed out elsewhere, this minority reign would have been a rather brief one and thus this motive seems poorly supported, but it is one that must still be considered.

70. In support of such an opinion, Campbell (1868), op. cit., p. 331 wrote of Stillington that ‘He was a zealous legitmist.’

71. The one, very minor exception seems to be the approval of a petition from the masters of Stillington’s collegiate chapel at Nether Acaster to enclose forty acres of land the bishop had given them. This seems much more a mere passage of a request from others and can’t really be regarded as Stillington’s reward for so great a service to his king.

72. See Jex-Blake (1894), op. cit., p. 4 and note A, which cites Henry’s letter that reads: ‘Henry by the grace of God King of England, and of France, and Lord of Ireland, to our trusty and well-beloved Robert Rawdon gentleman, greeting. For as much as Robert Bishop of Bath and Sir Richard Ratcliff Knights, adherents and assistants to our great enemy Richard late duke of Gloucester, to his aid and assistance, have by diverse ways offended against the crown to us of right appertaining, we will and charge you and by this our warrant commit and give you power to attach unto us the said bishop and knight, and them personally to bring unto us, and to seize into your hands all such goods moveables and immoveables as the 22nd day of August the first year of our reign appertained and belonged unto them wheresoever they be found … Given under our signet at our town of Leicester the 23rd day of August, the first year of our reign.’ It must have been one of the very first documents signed by Henry as king and indicates the importance and celerity with which the bishop was sought.

73. Mowat (1976), op. cit.

74. And see Kendall (1955), op. cit., p. 555, note 16.

75. It has been noted by Campbell, W. Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII (p. 172). London: Macmillan, 1873, that the pardon was in ‘tender consideration of his great age, long infirmity, and feebleness, and that being a bishop.’

76. DNB, op. cit., (p. 1266).

77. Jex-Blake (1894), op. cit., p. 5, noted ‘but it [Stillington’s death] must have taken place before May 15th, for on that day the Deans and Canons of Wells, meeting at 4 p.m. in a great parlour at the Deanery, granted to Bishop Cornish … a license to perform the obsequies of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, lately deceased. The year Stillington died, Henry VIII was born.’ There is a real possibility that Stillington was not confined at Windsor but was resident at his own manor of Dogmersfeld (Hamphsire) some fifteen miles south-west of Windsor itself. The evidence for this comes from the entries in Stillington’s register (see Maxwell-Lyte (1937), op. cit., pp. 158, 167).

78. See Hampton, W. E. ‘Bishop Stillington’s Chapel at Wells and his family in Somerset.’ The Ricardian, 56 (1977), 10-16. and also the ‘Erratum’ in The Ricardian, 58 (1977), 8. See also Buckle, E. ‘On the Lady Chapel by the Cloister of Wells Cathedral and the adjacent buildings.’ Somerset Archeology and Natural History: Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archeological and Natural History Society, 40 (1894), 32-63.

Chapter 7: Return to the Tower

1.  Thomas Gray. ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard.’ In Williams, O. (ed.). Immortal Poems of the English Language (pp 187-190). Pocket Books: New York, 1952.

2.  Kendall asks this exact same question in one of his notes (p. 556, n. 16 contd). He enquires: ‘When did Richard decide, on the basis of Stillington’s revelation, to sound men’s opinions on the subject of him assuming the throne? The writ postponing Parliament, which was received at York on June 21st must have been dispatched during the weekend which began with the death of Hastings and ended with the delivery of little York from Sanctuary [June 13th-16th]. Richard’s decision to halt the sending out of these writs and to hold a parliamentary assembly probably coincided with his decision to sound men’s opinions, and would seem to have been made about Tuesday or Wednesday June 17-18th since apparently only a few writs of postponement were sent out.’ As is evident, I think this assessment fits reasonably well with the sequence of events I have suggested in this present text.

3.  And again see Wood, C.T. ‘The deposition of Edward V.’ Traditio, 31 (1975), 247-286, on the course of Richard’s desision to take the throne.

4.  There are other indirect indications of the pivotal nature of this very day. Entries for Edward V in the Harleian Manuscript 433 end on 11 June, while the last letters to pass the great seal were the routnine appointments of the Chief Baron of the Exchequer and two serjeants at law on the weekend of 14 and 15 June respectively. Horrox, from whom these observations are drawn, speculates that such a hiatus might be linked to the imprisonment of Oliver King, secretary to Edward V? However, the interruption of these official activities again points to the pivotal nature of events of the 13th and their effect on Richard’s actions (see Horrox, R. ‘Introduction.’ In R. Horrox and P. W. Hammond (eds). The British Library Harleian Manuscript 433 (p. xxii). Richard III Society: London, 1979.

5.  Wood, C.T. (1975), op. cit.

6.  In a recent article, Johnson has argued that Richard’s status as Protector was not in any doubt anyway. See Johnson, D. ‘The real reason why Hastings lost his head.’ The Ricardian Bulletin, Winter 2007, 38-41.

7.  See de Blieck, E. ‘Analysis of Crowland’s Section on the Usurpation of Richard III.’ 2003. Retrieved from

8.  Of course one of the mysteries of the traditional account is why More spent such time and effort in describing these events. Accounts of Hastings’ demise from more contemporary sources are much less detailed and florid. It suggests that More (and presumably his shadow Morton) had a special reason to use this particular event to promulgate disinformation and misinformation which seems to be one of their central objectives. In itself, this argues that events at the Tower that day were indeed pivotal.

9.  He was, after all, the reputed inventor of Morton’s Fork, of which modern-day governments still often use a form to tax their populace.

10. Richardson, G. In his article ‘The henchmen’ he notes that ‘one clearly discerns the guiding hand of the Master of Deceit himself, More’s patron, John Morton, adding – as always – a great lie to a basic truth.’ Here I believe Richardson’s assessment of Morton is indeed sound.

11. Thomas More was always very careful to insert many disclaimers in the form of phrases such as ‘it was generally thought’ or ‘as men say.’ These clearly referred to hearsay and rumour but served to reinforce the points made without asserting they were actually correct. Also, More often took both sides of any possibility. Thus on Catesby ‘whether he assayed him or he assayed him not’ on the burial of the princes ‘below the stair’ and ‘moved elsewhere.’ These combinations cover all possibilities and leave More indemnified against subsequent factual criticism (and see Hancock, P. A. ‘The Polarising Plantagenet.’ Ricardian Register, 26 (4) (2001), 4-7).

12. I can find no persuasive reason why reference to this incident should have forwarded anyone’s agenda or post hoc interpretation. Perhaps future research might reveal either of these. A recent suggestion is that the call for strawberries was actually a pre-arranged signal. Certainly, the prominence given to this abstruse observation argues for something more than just a desire for strawberries in the morning, but as yet no real persuasive case has been established; and see also Leach, C. A. ‘A mess of strawberries.’The Ricardian, 29 (1970), 21-22.

13. Perhaps these are the depositions referred to in Grafton’s speculative account?

14. This may be a faint reflection of Buck’s assertion that Eleanor informed her family. However, at present, I place little credence in such an unsupported observation.

15. See Shakespeare, Richard III, III. ii (1591/1597?).

16. Pronay, N. & Cox, J. (eds). The Crowland Chronicle Continuations: 1459-1486. Alan Sutton, for the Richard III and Yorkist History Trust: London, 1986.

17. Of course, if this assertion concerning Hastings’ omission is correct, his valediction in the Great Chronicle, ‘and thus was this noble man murdered for his troth and fidelity which he bare unto his master,’ is also technically correct. Hastings’ silence was evidence of his fidelity to Edward IV.

18. Seward’s (1995), p. 263, suggestion of Catesby’s double game does not seem likely in this context. However, the proclamation which quickly followed Hastings’ execution does seem to have something of the hand of a lawyer about it.

19. And see Hancock, P. A. ‘Kirby Muxloe Castle: The Embodiment of the Disembodiment of William, Lord Hastings.’ Ricardian Register, 36 (1/2) (2006), 4-13.

20. See Thomas More. History of Richard III, op. cit.

21. It was noted by Thomas More that on the morning of 1 May 1483, Elizabeth was reported to have repudiated Hastings to Archbishop Rotherham with the observation that Hastings was ‘one of them that laboureth to destroye me and my bloode.’ And see Smith, G. ‘Hastings and the news from Stony Stratford.’ Ricardian Bulletin, Summer 2006, 48-49.

22. And also see Potter, J. ‘More about More.’ The Ricardian, 89 (1985), 66-73.

23. T More, The History of Richard III, op. cit.

24. For extended discussion on the possibility of the actual deformity of Richard III see: Hammond, P.W. & Weeks, M. ‘The deformity of Richard III.’ The Ricardian, 61 (1978), 21-24, and Hammond, P. W. ‘The deformity of Richard III.’ The Ricardian, 62 (1978), 35.

25. Richard III, of course, founded the College of Arms in 1484, and see Anon. ‘Foundation of the College of Heralds.’ The Ricardian, 25 (1969), 9.

26. See also Sutton, A. F. & Visser-Fuchs, L. ‘Richard III’s books: XIII. Chivalric ideals and reality.’ The Ricardian, 116 (1992), 190-205.

27. For a more detailed view of Elizabeth Woodville see Sutton, A. F. & Visser-Fuchs, L. ‘A “Most Benevolent Queen” Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s reputation, her piety and her books.’ The Ricardian, 129 (1995), 214-245.

28. It is, for example, possible to use a selected quotation from Vergil that Richard said, ‘my blood little by little decreaseth,’ and use this for support, but it takes the phrase out of its full context (and see Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 265).

29. Hancock, P. A. ‘No Richard rhyme nor reason: Resisting the seduction of confirmation bias.’ The Medelai Gazette, 14 (3) (2007), 16-22.

30. The disaffection between Hastings and Elizabeth Woodville looks to have pre-dated her second marriage with Edward IV. Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 125, noted that before she became queen, she and Hastings signed an indenture concerning the finance for the marriage of her son and Hastings’ daughter or niece. Seward speculates that the associated ‘tough bargaining’ may have been partly responsible for the queen’s dislike of Hastings in later years.

31. With respect to this relationship, even More notes that the queen could not tolerate Jane Shore: ‘Whom of all women she most hated, as that concubine whom the king her husband most loved.’ And see Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 235.

32. A prime example, as I have noted, is his treatment of the widow of Lord Hastings as a relevant and contemporary example. 33. And see the discussion of this topic by Hammond, P. W. ‘The illegitimate children of Richard III.’ The Ricardian, 66 (1979), 92-96.

34. As More notes, ‘Catesby was of [Hastings] nere secret counsel … and in his most weighty matters put no man in so special trust …’

35. In this we must recall the treatment of John (Foster) Forster, and see Wheeler, G. ‘Who is Foster?’ The Ricardian, 40 (1973), 16-19.

36. And remember, Colyngbourne’s rhyme was supposed to have been nailed to the door of St Paul’s some twelve days after Richard’s coronation on 18 July (and see Richardson, G. 2003. Catesby was not yet Speaker of the House of Commons. What had he done to thrust himself before both Ratcliffe and Richard’s life-long friend Lovell. Was his position here just for rhyming’s sake and, even if this is so, he was still one of the three leaders of the realm two weeks after the coronation. But see Chapter III note 53 in the present text concerning the dating of the rhyme’s actual appearance in 1484.

37. Based on Vergil, some have argued that Richard, in pardoning Lord Stanley, might have been wary of the potentially disruptive influence of Stanley’s brother and son, Sir William and Lord Strange respectively, if Stanley himself had been executed alongside Hastings (and see McArthur, R. P. ‘Thomas Stanley.’ The Medelai Gazette, 7 (1) (2000), 22-26. The apparent near fatality of the attack on him and Richard’s expressed demeanour that day, however, seem to argue somewhat for Catesby’s influence in the sparing of Thomas Stanley on 13 June itself, and quickly restoring him to favour thereafter being part of Richard’s coronation. Stanley did, of course, provide some small reward to Catesby some time later.

38. See Payling (2007), op. cit.

39. The quotation is from Sylvester’s edition of More’s The History of King Richard III, and the interpretations in parentheses are from that editor. I do not agree with many of these. For example, curiously indicted does not mean elaborately composed but refers to the basis of the charges against Hastings. Process does not mean narration but rather the time to create a parchment document of the type cited. The comment of the schoolmaster is antithetical to the main allegation that More makes, i.e. that the ‘trick,’ presumably the false accusation and execution of Hastings, is undermined by haste. But haste is exactly what is repudiated by the elegance of the document, which presumes pre-meditation.

40. Seward (1995), op. cit., p. 266, reports that More indicated that the parchment was ‘prepared before, and [as some men thought] by Catesby.’ This, of course, adds strong circumstantial evidence to the case which is offered here.

41. The identity and thus the interpretation of what is said by the Croyland writer has been, and remains, the subject of much contention, and see Kelly, H. A. ‘Croyland Chronicle communications: 1. The Croyland Chronicle tragedies.’ The Ricardian, 99 (1987), 498-515. and Kelly, H. A. ‘The last chroniclers of Croyland.’ The Ricardian, 91 (1985), 142-177. and also Hanham, A. ‘Author! Author! Crowland revisited.’ The Ricardian, 140 (1998), 226-238. Baldwin, D. ‘The author of the ‘Second Continuation’ of theCroyland Chronicle: A Fifteenth-century mystery solved. Paper obtained by the Author from Croyland Abbey, April 2008.

42. Richard’s motto, ‘Loyaltie me lie’ (loyalty binds me), may well have been more than just the sort of soundbite we today take it for. It may well have been the principle by which he lived his life. And, of course, paradoxically, what eventually resulted in his downfall when he expected others such as the Stanleys to abide by the same ethos.

43. This argues that the execution warrants did not travel north with the 10/11 June package, and, indeed, if they did it is likely the executions would have been sooner, e.g. sometime in the week of the 16th. The later date of the 24th argues for a later decision, i.e. after Richard knew he was the king.

44. See, for example, Williamson, A. The Mystery of the Princes. Gloucester, 1978.

45. An issue that persists in its appeal as the many texts on the subject attest. And see Hicks, M. ‘Did Edward V outlive his reign of did he outreign his life?’ The Ricardian, 108 (1990), 342-345.

46. Colyngbourne had, for some years, been steward to Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, ‘the rose of Raby.’ Perhaps Richard saw his actions as a more personal form of family betrayal by an old retainer (and see Sweeney, J. ‘Cecily Neville: The rose of Raby.’The Medelai Gazette, 4 (1) (1997), 14-18)?

47. For a more detailed discussion of this proposition see Pollard, A. J. ‘North, south and Richard III.’ The Ricardian, 74 (1981), 384-389, and also Horrox, R. ‘Richard III and London.’ The Ricardian, 85 (1984), 322-329.

Chapter 8: Summary and Narrative

1.  There is a reasonable probability that Hastings may have met personally with Richard on his journey south since Hastings appears to have been at Ashby-de-la Zouche, near Leicester in April (see Hamilton-Thompson, 1913-1920 p. 214), op. cit.

2.  There is also the remote possibility that John Howard, Duke of Norfolk also knew of the Butler pre-contract through his previous association with Eleanor, and that this was one reason why he proved so loyal to Richard throughout his reign. See Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The go-between.’ The Ricardian, XV (2005), 119-121.

3.  A good complement to the present text is Geoffrey Richardson’s 1997 book The Deceivers, in which the actions of Cardinal Morton, Margaret Beaufort and Thomas, Lord Stanley are emphasised in the same way I have highlighted the actions of the referenced individuals in this work.

4.  And see Arthurson, I. ‘A question of loyalty.’ The Ricardian, 97 (1987), 401-413.

Appendix I: The Cely, York and Stallworth Letters

1.  From Hanham, A. (ed.). The Cely Letters 1472-1488 (pp 184-185). Oxford University Press: London, 1975.

2.  From Moorhen, W. E. A. ‘William, Lord Hastings and the Crisis of 1483: An Assessment. Part 1.’ The Ricardian, 122 (1993), 446-466.

Appendix II: On the Date of the Death of William, Lord Hastings

1.  Pronay, N. & Cox, J. (eds). The Crowland Chronicle Continuations 1459-1486 (p. 159). Richard III and Yorkist History Trust: Linden Gardens, London, 1986.

2.  Markham makes this case in his article: Markham, C. R. ‘Richard III: A Doubtful Verdict Reviewed.’ The English Historical Review, 6 (1891), 250-283. He repeats his concerns in: Markham, C. R. Richard III: His Life and Character. E. P. Dutton: London, 1906.

3.  See, for example, the comments in Kingsford, C. L. ‘The Stonor Letters and Papers.’ The English Historical Review, 36 (1921), 629-630.

4.  But see the argument made by Kingsford, C. L. ‘Corrigenda and addenda: The Stonor letters and papers.’ The English Historical Review, 36 (144) (1921), 629-630.

5.  Hanham, A. ‘Richard III, Lord Hastings and the historians.’ The English Historical Review, 87 (343) (1972), 233-248.

6.  Lyell, L., assisted by Watney, F. D. (eds). Acts of the Court of the Mercers’ Company, 1453-1527. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936. And see also: Lyell, L. ‘The Problem of the Records of the Merchant Adventurers.’ The Economic History Review, 5 (1935), 96-98.

7.  Wolfe, B. P. ‘When and Why did Hastings lose his head?’ The English Historical Review, 89 (1974), 835-844.

8.  Hancock, P. A. ‘Kirby Muxloe Castle: The Embodiment of the Disembodiment of William, Lord Hastings.’ Ricardian Register, 36 (1/2) (2006), 4-13. And see also: Hamilton-Thompson, A. ‘The building accounts of Kirby Muxloe, 1480-1484.’ Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society, 11 (1913–1920), 193-345.

9.  Hanham, A. Richard III and his Early Historians. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1975. 10. Wood, C.T. ‘The Deposition of Edward V.’ Traditio, 31 (1975), 247-286.

11. In this case sanctuary was disputed at the time using the argument that the young Duke was guilty of no crime and therefore could not legitimately claim sanctuary.

12. Hanham, A. ‘Hastings redivivus.’ The English Historical Review, 90, (357) (1975), 821-827.

13. Thompson, J. A. F. ‘Richard III and Lord Hastings - a Problematical Case Reviewed.’ Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 48 (1975), 22-30.

14. Sutton, A. & Hammond, P. W. ‘The problems of dating and the dangers of redating: the Acts of Court of the Mercers’ Company of London 1453-1527.’ Journal of the Society of Archivists, 6 (1978), 87-91.

15. Wolfe, B. P. ‘Hastings Reinterred.’ The English Historical Review, 91 (1976), 813-824.

16. Coleman, C. H. D. ‘ The execution of Hastings: A neglected source.’ Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 53 (1980), 244-247.

17. Wigram, I. ‘The death of Hastings.’ The Ricardian, 50 (1975), 27-29.

18. See P. W Hammond at

19. Atreed, L. ‘Hanham Redivivus - A Salvage Operation.’ The Ricardian, 65 (1979), 41-50.

Appendix III: The Manor of Great Dorsett

1.  But see Archer, R. E. ‘Microcosm or mere County? Greater Warwickshire in the Fifteenth Century.’ The Ricardian, 125 (1994), 60-65, and the associated reviewed text: Carpenter, C. Locality and polity: A study of Warwickshire landed society 1401-1499. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1992.

2.  There is, however, the intriguing possibility that Eleanor became pregnant by Edward IV. If this was so, and if the pregnancy could not be attributed to the late Sir Thomas, is it possible that she spent her confinement at Ashby St Ledgers, where the third child of Sir William and Joan Barre was actually Eleanor’s daughter? Sadly, we are told the latter child died during childhood and no further information is presently available.

3.  See O’Shaugnessy, F. The Story of Burton Dassett Church (p. 7). Coventry Printers (undated).

4.  This was presumably the outcome of the commission on the disposal of these lands on which William Catesby sat.

5.  Sir Edward Belknap of Weston-under-Weatherly was only interested in pecuniary return from the manor and consequently turned out twelve tenant farmers. Added to the previous decimation from the Black Death, this action reduced Great Dorsett and it has never since recovered from the effects.

6.  And see Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The inquisition post mortem of Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler, 1468 (Public Record Office, C 140/29/39).’ The Ricardian, 159 (2002), 563-573.

7.  See Bertram, J. The Catesby Family and their Brasses at Ashby St Ledgers. Monumental Brass Society: Burlington House, London, 2006.

8.  Phillips, G. The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant: The Discovery of the Treasure of Solomon. Bear & Company: Rochester, VT, 2004.

9.  And again see Ashdown-Hill, J. ‘The inquisition post mortem of Eleanor Talbot, Lady Butler, 1468 (Public Record Office, C 140/29/39).’ The Ricardian, 159 (2002), 563-573.

Appendix VI: The Offices and Lands of William Catesby

1.  Is it indeed true, as More asserted, that he ‘procured the protector hastily to rid of him … for he trusted by his death to obtain much of the rule which the Lord Hastings bare in his country’?

2.  Payling (2007), op. cit., p. 12.

3.  Grant: ‘To William Catesby, esquire, the office of chancellor of the earldom of March, and custody of the seal of the same earldom for the term of his life.’ See Horrox, R. & Hammond, P. W. British Library Harleian Manuscript 433. Vol. I (p. 67). Richard III Society: London, 1979.

4.  Comparisons here are primarily derived from the holdings cited in Dickson (2007), Payling (2007), Williams (1975) and Roskell (1959). Some other sources are derived from original holdings cited from the Public Records Office.

5.  Payling (2006), op. cit., p. 13.

6.  Williams (1975) op. cit., p. 51, has indicated that this was most probably John Revell.

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