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• Page 1 Introduction & Origins •  2 Origins continued •  3 The Battle and After •  4 Duke of York's Monument •  5 Warwick The Kingmaker •  6 The Plantagenets 

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Warwick the KingmakerRichard Neville - 16th Earl of Warwick (The Kingmaker)
6th Earl of Salisbury, 8th & 5th Baron Montagu, 7th Baron Monthermer, KG (22 November 1428 – 14 April 1471).

During the 1460s, the Nevilles were the most powerful family in England.

Richard was the eldest son of the Earl of Salisbury and, by marriage, nephew to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. After the death of his father and Richard Plantagenet at the Battle of Wakefield, Richard Neville was at Edward

Later that month, the Yorkists triumphed at the Battle of Towton. Although Edward had become king through his own actions and leadership, the support of the Nevilles was undoubtedly crucial in keeping him in power.

The Nevilles had been fortunate in acquiring wealth and influence, Richard Neville's father had married the heiress to the earldom of Salisbury, and he himself married the heiress to the earldom of Warwick. By the age of 33 years in 1461, Richard Neville had extensive lands in Yorkshire, the West Midlands, the South and South Wales. He was the wealthiest and most powerful of all the earls. His net annual income was estimated to be almost £4,000 - a very large amount in those distant days.

Neville had no sons although he had two daughters, Isabel aged 10 and Anne aged 5 years in 1461. On his death the estates would be split between the two girls, so he decided that he would look for suitable husbands even though his daughters were still of tender age.

However, when Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville in 1461, the most eligible bachelors were being reserved for the sisters of the new Queen Elizabeth. This state of affairs caused friction between the king and Warwick, leading, eventually, to Warwick deserting the ranks of the Yorkists.

Warwick and Edward IV also diagreed over the choice of allies, the king wanting a treaty with Burgundy, whilst Warwick favoured a treaty with Louis XI of France. By 1469, things between Warwick and the king had deteriorated to the point where Warwick led a rebellion at the time that the king was marching north to quell uprisings led by Robin of Redesdale and Robin of Holderness.

Richard Neville was in league with Edward IV's younger brother George the Duke of Clarence, who had secretely married Isabel. Although initially successful in defeating the king at Edgecote and imprisoning him, Warwick could not keep his hold on power and had to release the king. A subsequent uprising was crushed and Richard Neville fled to France and joined the Lancastrian camp where he began plotting with Margaret of Anjou.

Edward IV was forced to flee to Flanders to seek refuge with his brother-in-law, Charles the Duke of Burgundy. Henry VI was released from imprisonment in the Tower of London and reinstated as king. His mind was still more frail than his body and Warwick became Lieutenant of England - the real power in the land.

In 1471, Edward IV returned to Yorkshire by sea with an army. He was well received by the people and made good progress towards London. With him was his brother George the Duke of Clarence (now his ally). Warwick was defeated and killed at Barnet on Easter Sunday 14/04/1471and Margaret of Anjou was defeated at Tewkesbury on 04/05/1471.

Henry VI was killed in the Tower of London in May 1471. The House of York was once again in power. In 1478, George Duke of Clarence, who had always been a thorn in the side of his brother Edward IV, was imprisoned as a traitor in the Tower and secretly killed by being drowned in his bath on 19/02/1478.

More about the Nevilles on Battle of Wakefield - Page 1.


Sandal Castle, The Plantagenets, The Wars of the Roses and The Battle of Wakefield: Reference Sources & Further Reading
1. The London Chronicle for 1446-52.
2. The Battle of Wakefield 30th December 1460, P.A. Haigh, Sutton Publishing Ltd., 1996.
3. The Battle of Wakefield, Keith Dockray and Richard Knowles, from the The Ricardian, the Journal of the Richard III Society, June 1992. Reprinted 1999 for Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.
4. The Plantagenet Chronicles, General Editor: Elizabeth Hallam, Colour Library Books Ltd., 1995.
5. The Chronicles of The Wars of the Roses, General Editor: Elizabeth Hallam, Bramley Books, 1996.
6. From Wakefield to Towton, Philip A. Haigh. In the series: Battleground England, The Wars of the Roses. Lee Cooper, 2002.
7. The English Chronicle 1458 - 1461 (anonymous) edited in 1856 by JS Davies for the Camden Society.
8. Annales Rerum Anglicarum (anonymous Latin compilation ending in 1468).

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