Post-classical history


Beaumont, Viscount: William Beaumont (d. 1508), whose father John, Viscount Beaumont, was killed at Northampton in 1460. He fought at Towton, after which his estates were confiscated and given to Lord Hastings. He fought at Barnet in 1471 and occupied St Michael’s Mount with Lord Oxford in 1473. Restored to his estates in 1485, he went mad two years later, spending the rest of his life as Oxford’s guest. His widow (born Elizabeth Scrope) married Oxford as his second wife.

Bourchier, Cardinal Thomas (1404?–86): Archbishop of Canterbury 1454; Lord Chancellor 1455–56; officiated at the coronations of Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII.

Buckingham, 1st Duke of, Humphrey Stafford (1402–60): created duke 1444; Lancastrian peacemaker; m. Anne Nevill, sister-in-law of the Duke of York; fought at the first Battle of St Albans and killed at the Battle of Northampton in 1460.

Buckingham, 2nd Duke of, Henry Stafford (1454?–83): grandson of above; Yorkist rebel; m. Catherine Woodville, sister of Queen Elizabeth Woodville; supported usurpation of Richard III, but turned against him and was executed in 1483.

Catesby, William (1450–85): of Ashby St Ledgers, lawyer and member of Lord Hastings’ council; secret agent of the Protector during coup of June 1483; Chancellor of the Exchequer and Esquire of the Body to Richard III, 1483; MP for Northampton and Speaker of the House of Commons in the parliament of 1484; fought at the Battle of Bosworth, being captured and executed.

Charles VII, King of France 1422–61: potential ally of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou – hoped to recover Calais.

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy 1467–77: pro-Lancastrian since his aunt had married Henry VI’s uncle, the Duke of Bedford, but married Edward IV’s sister Margaret of York and sheltered and aided Edward 1470–71; killed in battle against the Swiss.

Chastellain, Georges (1404–75): Burgundian chronicler and herald; member of Charles the Bold’s council; killed in battle against the Swiss at the siege of Neuss.

Clarence, Duke of, George Plantagenet (1449–78): third son of the Duke of York; m. Isabel Nevill, daughter of the Earl of Warwick; plotted with Warwick against his brother, Edward IV, in 1469–70; rejoined Edward in 1471, fighting by his side at Barnet and Tewkesbury; plotted against Edward again during the mid-1470s; condemned to death and murdered.

Clifford, 13th Baron, John de Clifford (1435?–61): Lancastrian commander, whose father had been killed at the first Battle of St Albans; fought at Wakefield in 1460 and, according to tradition, butchered York’s second son, the Earl of Rutland; killed at Ferrybridge in a skirmish before the Battle of Towton.

Commynes, Philippe de (1447?–1511): Burgundian statesman and chronicler; chamberlain to Charles the Bold but entered the service of Louis XI of France in 1472, working closely with the King; although surprisingly modern and invaluable for glimpses of Edward IV and Hastings, his memoirs are biased in favour of King Louis – he believed that the Wars of the Roses were divine retribution for the miseries inflicted by the English on the French during the Hundred Years’ War.

Cook, Sir Thomas (d. 1478): victim of the Woodvilles; warden of the Drapers’ Company, 1439; MP for London 1460–61 and 1470–71, Mayor, 1462; in 1468, although a staunch Yorkist, he was wrongfully accused of treason and despite his eventual acquittal his goods were seized by the Queen’s father, Lord Rivers, while he was unjustly fined by Queen Elizabeth herself; in 1470 he turned Lancastrian, supporting the restored Henry VI.

Donne, Sir John (c. 1430–1503): Yorkist civil servant and diplomat. The son of a Welsh adventurer but born in France, he married Hastings’ sister Anne. Fought at Tewkesbury, being knighted on the field of battle. He is best known as the patron of the Flemish painter Hans Memling.

Dorset, Marquess of, Thomas Grey (1451–1501): son of Queen Elizabeth Woodville by her first marriage; fought for his stepfather, Edward IV, at Tewkesbury and was created Earl of Huntingdon in 1471; Marquess of Dorset and Knight of the Garter, 1475; m. Cecily Harington, stepdaughter of his enemy, Lord Hastings – his rival in many love affairs, notably with Jane Shore. Fled from Richard III to join Henry Tudor in France but later intrigued with King Richard. Under suspicion of plotting with Yorkists in 1487.

Edward IV (1442–83): Earl of March, eldest son of the Duke of York and Cecily Nevill, Warwick’s aunt. King of England 1461–70 and 1470–83.

Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales (1453–71): only son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, he married Warwick’s elder daughter and was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury.

Egremont, Lord, Thomas Percy (1422–60): younger son of 2nd Earl of Northumberland, created Lord Egremont, 1445. A Lancastrian thug, killed at the Battle of Northampton.

Elizabeth of York (1466–1503): eldest daughter of Edward IV and Yorkist heir to the throne after the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower. Wooed by her uncle, Richard III, she married Henry VII in 1486.

Essex, 1st Earl of, Henry Bourchier (1404?–83): the son of a granddaughter of Edward III, he married the Duke of York’s sister Isabel, while his brother was Cardinal Bourchier. A veteran of the French wars, where he had served under York as Lieutenant-general of France, he was appointed Lord Treasurer of England by Henry VI in 1455 but was dismissed the following year and fought on the Yorkist side at Northampton. He was created Earl of Essex in 1461 and again served as Treasurer from 1473–83, dying just before Edward IV.

Exeter, 3rd Duke of, Henry Holland (d. 1475): descended from John of Gaunt in the female line, he was Henry VI’s closest legitimate cousin and married the Duke of York’s eldest daughter, Anne – who later deserted him – but became an irreconcilable Lancastrian. Cruel and violent, he fought at Blore Heath, Wakefield, second St Albans, and Towton, then in the Welsh mountains. He became a beggar in Flanders, returning to fight at Barnet where he was severely wounded. After spending four years as a prisoner in the Tower, he was murdered.

Fabyan, Robert (1455–1513): draper and former apprentice to Sir Thomas Cook, he compiled The New Chronicle of France and England (1504) and The Great Chronicle of London (1511).

Fauconberg, Lord, William Nevill (d. 1463): a younger son of Ralph, 8th Earl of Westmorland, he became Baron Fauconberg in right of his wife Joan Fauconberg (an ‘idiot from birth’). A veteran of the French wars, nicknamed ‘Little Fauconberg’, he commanded the Yorkist vanguard at Northampton and Towton.

Fauconberg, Bastard of, Thomas Nevill (d. 1471): son of the above. A ‘rover’ (pirate), in 1471 he raised the Kentishmen in Henry VI’s name and attacked London. Surrendering in return for a pardon in May, he was hanged, drawn and quartered in September.

Fisher, Cardinal John (1461–1535): friend and confessor of Margaret Beaufort, Bishop of Rochester, 1504. A supporter of the Pope, he was beheaded in 1535 – and canonized in 1933.

FitzGerald, Sir Thomas, of Lackagh (d. 1487): Chancellor of Ireland and younger brother of the Earl of Kildare, Lord Deputy, he was killed at Stoke fighting for Lambert Simnel.

Fogge, Sir John, of Ashford in Kent (1425–90): MP for Kentish constituencies; Treasurer of the Household and Keeper of the Wardrobe 1461–68; m. Alice Haute, first cousin of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, and as a Woodville supporter took sanctuary in 1483. Pardoned by King Richard, he joined Buckingham’s rebellion, but was pardoned again in 1484.

Fortescue, Sir John (1394?–1476): Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, 1442. Helped to draft the attainders at the Parliament of Devils in 1459. Fled to Scotland and then Lorraine with the Lancastrian court; returning to England in 1470, he was captured at Tewkesbury but pardoned by Edward IV, who made him a member of the council. Author of De Laudibus Legum Angliae and On the Governance of the Kingdom of England.

Gregory, William (d. 1467): a rich citizen and merchant of London, a member of the Skinners’ Company and Mayor 1451–67, he was probably – though not definitely – the author of the chronicle generally known as Gregory’s Chronicle.

Gruuthuse, Seigneur de, Louis de Bruges (1427–92): a Burgundian nobleman and diplomat, he was the governor of Holland who in 1470 sheltered the exiled Edward IV. Made a Knight of the Golden Fleece in 1461 by Philip of Burgundy, he was created Earl of Winchester in 1472 by King Edward.

Hall, Edward (d. 1547): author of The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Houses of Lancaster and York (1548). Although this Tudor chronicler largely depends on Vergil and More, he gives details found nowhere else and had access to sources since lost.

Hastings, Sir Ralph (1440–95): younger brother of Lord Hastings. Esquire and then Knight of the Body to Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII; Keeper of the King’s Lions and Lionesses 1461–63; fought at Barnet and Tewkesbury, being knighted on the battlefield; Captain of Guisnes 1474–83 and 1484–85.

Hastings, Sir Richard (d. 1503): another younger brother of Lord Hastings. Knighted on the field at Tewkesbury; summoned to Parliament as Lord Welles in 1482, having m. Joan, daughter and heiress of Richard, Lord Welles, but later styled Lord Willoughby.

Henry VI: King of England 1422–61 and again 1470–71. Son of Henry V and head of the House of Lancaster; m. Margaret of Anjou, 1445; murdered at the Tower of London.

Henry VII: King of England 1485–1509. Son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and Lady Margaret Beaufort; m. Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV.

Howard, Lord, John Howard (1430?–85): served in France; MP for Norfolk, 1455; fought for Yorkists at Towton and knighted, 1461; Lord Howard, 1469?; Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal, 1483. Richard III’s most loyal supporter, he was killed at Bosworth.

Howard, Sir Thomas (d. 1524): son of the above, fought at Barnet and knighted, 1478; key man in Gloucester’s coup against Lord Hastings; Earl of Surrey, 1483; fought at Bosworth and subsequently imprisoned; defeated Scots at Flodden, 1513, and made Duke of Norfolk; ‘Guardian of the Kingdom’, 1520.

King, Dr Oliver: King’s Secretary to Edward IV 1480–83, to Edward V, 1483, and to Henry VII 1487–95; Bishop of Exeter, 1492, and Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1495. Accompanied John Morton to Rome in 1484–85.

Lincoln, Earl of, John de la Pole (1464–87): son of John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and of Elizabeth Plantagenet, sister of Edward IV; President of the Council of the North, 1483; Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and heir to the throne, 1484. The man behind Lambert Simnel’s conspiracy, he was killed at Stoke.

Louis XI: King of France 1461–83, the ‘Spider King’. Aided Lancastrians in order to weaken England; bought off Edward IV with a pension when he invaded France; outwitted Edward at the Treaty of Arras in 1482, allying with Maximilian of Austria, husband of the Duchess of Burgundy.

Lovell, 1st Viscount, Francis, 9th Baron Lovell (144?–87): one of Richard III’s foremost servants, created Viscount, Lord Chamberlain and KG, 1483; fought at Bosworth but escaped; tried but failed to start a rebellion in Yorkshire against Henry VII in 1486; fought for Lambert Simnel at Stoke and disappeared, either drowned trying to ford the River Trent or starved to death in a cellar beneath his house, Minster Lovell.

Mancini, Domenico (1434?–1500): Roman scholar. A visitor to England from late 1482 or early 1483 to just before Richard III’s coronation, he wrote an account in Latin of King Richard’s usurpation which only became known to English historians when it was published in 1936.

March, Earl of – see Edward IV.

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England: daughter of Réné, King of Naples and Duke of Bar; m. Henry VI, 1445; gave birth to Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales, in 1453, and became the real leader of the Lancastrian party in exile in Scotland, Flanders and Lorraine 1461–70; returned to England and captured at Tewkesbury, 1471; imprisoned in the Tower till 1475; lived in Anjou until her death in 1482.

Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy (1446–1503): sister of Edward IV and Richard III; m. Charles the Bold of Burgundy, 1467, widowed, 1477; after Richard III’s death financed Yorkish intrigues against Henry VII for the rest of her life.

Montagu, Marquess, John Nevill (d. 1471): brother of Earl of Warwick, fought at Blore Heath, captured at second Battle of St Albans, destroyed the last Lancastrian army at Hexham in 1464; Lord Montagu, 1461, KG, 1462, Earl of Northumberland 1464–69 and Marquess Montagu, 1470. Abandoned Edward IV in favour of Henry VI and killed at Barnet.

More, Sir Thomas (1478–1535): statesman, scholar, author and martyr. In Archbishop Morton’s household 1491–92. Speaker of the House of Commons, 1523, Lord Chancellor 1529–32, imprisoned in Tower, 1534, and beheaded, 1535. Canonized by Catholic Church in 1933. His history of Richard III, probably written at various times between 1518 and the early 1530s, is sometimes claimed as the first English biography and provided the portrait for Shakespeare’s Richard. Although often inventive and fanciful, it is basically accurate and contains details known from no other source.

Morton, Dr Robert: succeeded his uncle, John Morton, as Master of the Rolls, 1479; relieved of office by Richard III in 1483; accompanied his uncle to Rome 1484–85; Master of the Rolls again, 1485; Bishop of Worcester, 1487.

Norfolk, 3rd Duke of, John Mowbray (1415–61): nephew of Duke of York, fought for Yorkists at second St Albans and Towton – his troops’ arrival won the battle.

Norfolk, 4th Duke of, John Mowbray (1444–76): the last Mowbray duke, his heir male was his first cousin, Lord Howard, but the title and estates went with his daughter when – aged five – she married the five-year-old Duke of York, Edward IV’s son.

Northumberland, 2nd Earl of, Henry Percy (d. 1455): killed by Yorkists at first Battle of St Albans.

Northumberland, 3rd Earl of, Henry Percy (d. 1461): Lancastrian leader, fought at Wakefield and at second Battle of St Albans, killed at Towton.

Northumberland, 4th Earl of, Henry Percy (d. 1489): attainted and imprisoned in the Tower, 1461; released and restored to the earldom, 1469; did not fight at Barnet or Tewkesbury; brought troops to Bosworth but took no part in battle; imprisoned, 1485; Warden of the East March and Middlemarch, 1486; murdered by a Yorkshire mob when explaining need for new taxes, 1489.

Oxford, 12th Earl of, John de Vere (1408?–62): veteran of French wars and Lancastrian, arrived a day too late for first Battle of St Albans; plotted against Edward IV in 1462 and beheaded.

Paston, Sir John (1442–79): Norfolk gentleman, courtier and letter writer; served under Hastings in Northumberland, 1462; knighted, 1463; fought for Warwick – probably under Oxford – at Barnet where he was wounded; employed at Calais by Hastings.

Paston, John: brother of the above though with the same Christian name; country gentleman and letter writer; often in contact with Lord Oxford after 1485; in Henry VII’s army on Stoke campaign of 1487 and knighted after the battle.

Pembroke, Earl of, Jasper Tudor (1431–95): son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of France, widow of King Henry V; created Earl of Pembroke, 1452; fought at first St Albans, Mortimer’s Cross and Towton; tried to relieve Harlech, 1468; fled to Brittany with his nephew, Henry Tudor, in 1471; probably landed with Henry at Milford Haven in 1485 and fought at Bosworth; Duke of Bedford, 1485; m. Catherine Woodville, widow of Henry, Duke of Buckingham.

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy 1419–67: cautious supporter of his nephew, Henry VI.

Richard III: King of England 1483–85; Duke of Gloucester and youngest son of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Nevill; fought at Barnet and Towton; m. Anne, younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick; defeated the Scots and occupied Edinburgh, 1482; Lord Protector, April–June 1483; usurped the throne, June 1483; defeated and killed at Bosworth.

Richmond, Earl of, Edmund Tudor (1430–56): son of Owen Tudor and Catherine of France, widow of Henry V; created Earl of Richmond, 1452; m. Margaret Beaufort, 1455, and father of Henry Tudor; died of the plague.

Rivers, 1st Earl, Richard Woodville (d. 1469): father of Queen Elizabeth Woodville; courtier son of a squire; made his fortune by marrying Jacquetta, widow of the Duke of Bedford; created Lord Rivers, 1448; fought on Lancastrian side at Towton; appointed Lord Treasurer and promoted to earl, 1466; captured by Warwick at Battle of Edgecote and beheaded 1469.

Rivers, 2nd Earl, Anthony (1442–83): eldest son of above; Lord Scales, 1460, in right of his wife; fought at Barnet and Tewkesbury; ‘governor’ of Edward, Prince of Wales, the future Edward V; seized by the Duke of Gloucester in coup, April 1483, and beheaded in June.

Rotherham, Dr Thomas (1423–1500): keeper of Privy Seal, 1463; Bishop of Ely, 1468; Bishop of Lincoln, 1471; Archbishop of York, 1480; Lord Chancellor 1474–83.

Russell, Dr John (d. 1494): churchman, statesman and probable author of the ‘second continuation’ of the Croyland Chronicle. Keeper of the Privy Seal 1474–83, Bishop of Rochester, 1476, Bishop of Lincoln, 1480, Lord Chancellor 1483–85, and Chancellor of Oxford University 1485–94.

Salisbury, Earl of, Richard Nevill (1400–60): son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland, and father of the Earl of Warwick; m. heiress of the last Montagu Earl of Salisbury; Earl of Salisbury, 1429, in right of his wife; Lord Chancellor 1453–55; fled from Ludlow to Calais with Warwick and March, 1459; defeated at Wakefield and murdered next day. Simnel, Lambert (d. 1525): son of an Oxford organ-builder; impersonated Earl of Warwick 1486–87 and proclaimed ‘Edward VI’ at Dublin; captured after his followers were defeated at Stoke in 1487; pardoned, employed as scullion in the royal kitchens and then as a falconer.

Somerset, 1st Duke of, John Beaufort (1403–44): elder brother of 2nd Duke and father of Margaret Beaufort, his only child and heiress; Captain-General of France and Guyenne, he led a disastrous campaign through Maine and Brittany in 1443; suspected of committing suicide in the following year.

Somerset, 2nd Duke of, Edmund Beaufort (d. 1455): Lieutenant-General of France, 1447; favourite of Henry VI and leader of court party, rival of the Duke of York; killed at the first Battle of St Albans.

Somerset, 3rd Duke of, Henry Beaufort (1436–64): eldest son of above, favourite of Margaret of Anjou and Lancastrian leader; wounded at first St Albans; fought in Battles of Blore Heath, Wakefield, second St Albans and Towton; attainted, 1461; surrendered at Bamborough, 1462; pardoned, 1463, but rebelled; defeated and killed at Hexham, 1464.

Somerset, 4th Duke of – de jure – Edmund Beaufort (1438–71): returned from exile, 1471; defeated at Tewkesbury and beheaded the day after the battle.

Stafford, Sir Henry (d. 1471): younger son of 1st Duke of Buckingham and third husband of Margaret Beaufort; fought on Lancastrian side at Towton but pardoned by Edward IV; fought for Yorkists at Barnet and wounded – probably dying from his wounds.

Stanley, 2nd Lord, Thomas Stanley (1435–1504): magnate in north-western Midlands and fourth husband of Margaret Beaufort. An opportunist, who usually avoided taking sides; one of the four pillars of Richard III’s régime, he intervened and destroyed him at Bosworth; created Earl of Derby, 1485.

Stanley, Sir William (d. 1495): younger brother of above and ‘the richest commoner in England’; went over to Henry Tudor before Bosworth and led the Stanley affinity’s charge to rescue him; plotted to put ‘Richard IV’ (Perkin Warbeck) on the throne and attainted, 1495 – leaving £9,062 in cash and jewels alone. Beheaded.

Suffolk, 1st Duke of, William de la Pole (1396–1450): fought in France, later unpopular favourite and chief minister of Henry VI; impeached, 1450, and beheaded at sea.

Suffolk, 2nd Duke of, John de la Pole (1442–91): son of above; first husband of Margaret Beaufort and father of John, Earl of Lincoln; m. Elizabeth Plantagenet, sister of Edward IV; fought on Yorkist side at second St Albans but not in other battles.

Trollope, Sir Andrew (d. 1461): Master Porter of Calais and a famous veteran of the French wars; Yorkist turned Lancastrian; tricked the Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury at Wakefield; fought at second St Albans; killed at Towton.

Urswick, Dr Christopher (1448–1522): secret agent, diplomat and churchman; confessor to Margaret Beaufort and Henry VII; Master, King’s Hall, Cambridge 1485–88; Dean of Windsor 1495–1522.

Vere, Sir Aubrey de (d. 1462): elder brother of Lord Oxford; favourite of Queen Margaret of Anjou; plotted to restore Henry VI in 1462 – hanged, drawn and quartered.

Vergil, Polydore (1470–1555?): churchman, papal official and historian. Born in Urbino, he began his career as secretary to the Duke of Urbino. First came to England in 1502 and three years later was invited by Henry VII to write a history of the English, which he published in Latin in Basle in 1534. Archdeacon of Wells 1508–54, naturalized, 1510, but spent long periods abroad, eventually returning to Italy.

Warbeck, Perkin (1474–99): son of a bourgeois of Tournai; impersonated the younger of the Princes in the Tower and accepted as nephew by Margaret of York, 1492; recognized as ‘Richard IV’ by Emperor Maximilian, 1493; welcomed to Scotland by James IV, 1495; accompanied Scots raid on Northumberland, 1496, when he was proclaimed ‘Richard IV’; landed in Cornwall, failed to take Exeter and captured, 1497; imprisoned in the Tower – hanged, but spared drawing and quartering, 1499.

Warkworth, Dr John (d. 1500): academic and chronicler; a Northumbrian from his name, he was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, but moved to Cambridge where he became Master of Peterhouse in 1473.

Warwick, Earl of, Richard Nevill (1428–71): the ‘kingmaker’; son of the Earl of Salisbury and nephew of the Duke of York; Earl of Warwick, 1449, in right of his wife; fought at first St Albans and Captain of Calais, 1455; retired to Calais after attempt to murder him, 1458; fled from Ludlow to Calais with his father and the Earl of March, 1459; victorious at Northampton, 1460; defeated at second St Albans and fought at Towton, 1461; confirmed in all his offices, 1461; withdrew from court, 1467; defeated Edward IV’s troops at Edgecote, imprisoning but then releasing him, 1469; deposed Edward IV and restored Henry VI, 1470; killed at Barnet.

Warwick, Earl of, Edward Plantagenet (1475–99): only son of George, Duke of Clarence, ultimate Yorkist heir to the throne and last male Plantagenet; imprisoned in the Tower for life, 1485; tricked into plotting against Henry VII – beheaded.

Waurin, Sieur de, Jean, Bastard de Waurin, Sieur de Forestal (d. 1474): Burgundian soldier and chronicler.

Wenlock, Lord (c. 1400–41): veteran of French wars; chamberlain to Queen Margaret of Anjou; Speaker of the House of Commons, 1456; fought for Yorkists at Mortimer’s Cross and Towton; Lord Wenlock and KG, 1461; Lieutenant of Calais; supports Warwick, 1470 – killed at Tewkesbury.

Woodville, Elizabeth (1437–92): daughter of the Lancastrian Richard, 1st Earl Rivers, and widow of the Lancastrian Sir John Grey of Groby – mortally wounded at the second Battle of St Albans – she married Edward IV secretly in 1464. Despite intriguing with Henry Tudor after the disappearance of her sons in the Tower, she was formally reconciled to their murderer, Richard III, in 1484. Suspected of intriguing with the Yorkists in 1487, she spent what was left of her life in Bermondsey Abbey. A cold, grasping woman, her attempts to promote the Woodville family fatally undermined the Yorkist dynasty.

Worcester, Earl of, John Tiptoft (d. 1470): the Yorkist ‘Butcher’, Constable of England 1462–67 and 1470 – beheaded 1470.

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