Monday, 9 November 2009

More chaos

The events of the next few months are hard to describe, at least in a blog post. If I am guilty of over simplification I trust you will forgive me. (The main source I am using here is Duke Richard of York by P A Johnson, with a little help from the Ralph Griffiths tome.)

We are now in the summer of 1456. There were invasion scares at both ends of the country. Duke Richard's main response seems to have been to write rude letters to James II of Scots from his northern home, Sandal. Warwick, after some issues had been settled, was firmly settled at Calais. As for Salisbury it's a sign of the times that he was one of only three (!) peers to turn up for a supposed Great Council in June.

Oh, and at round about this time Anne Neville was born, by the way. Her future husband was presumably cutting the heads off his toy soldiers in the nursery at Sandal. (He certainly wasn't at St.Albans, whatever Shakespeare may say!)

York was actually in receipt of some cash during this year, presumably because the King was trying to conciliate him. Unfortunately disorder continued in the country, notably in London, Kent and the West Midlands. In the last named case, at least, York's men were involved in the violence, seizing disputed lands and attacking one of the Earl of Wiltshire's manors. (This Wiltshire, the Irish Earl of Ormonde, was the latest bete noire of the Yorkist party. He had become influential at court.)

The Yorkists in question Sir William Herbert (later Earl of Pembroke) and Sir Walter Devereux, then went on to attack the Earl of Richmond (Edmund Tudor, husband to the sainted Margaret Beaufort) at Carmarthen Castle. Tudor died soon afterwards, likely in consequence. If these 'supporters' did all this without Duke Richard's knowledge and consent, then they really weren't helping him. It seems more likely they acted with his leave. Herbert also allegedly raided Glamorgan, including Llandaff. What they were doing there in Warwick's territory is anyone's guess, unless they were having a bash at specific pro-Beaufort elements. It all seems a terrible muddle.

Queen Margaret and the Prince of Wales were in the Midlands, and Henry joined them. The capital was in effect moved to Coventry, although the bureaucrats remained in Westminster. It's hard to see that this was a good idea, although it probably shows that London was now too hot for Lancastrian comfort.

Queen Margaret was now pretty much in command. In fairness, someone needed to be and it's hard to blame her for trying to take control when her husband clearly - for whatever reason - wasn't up to it and York, from her viewpoint, was not to be trusted. At a Great Council held in October at Coventry, the Chancellor, Treasurer, and Privy Seal were all replaced. York was present, but could not prevent the change - he probably didn't even try. For the time being, he was politically out-gunned.

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