Friday, 30 April 2010

A New Government is Formed

Although King Henry was in Yorkist hands, Margaret of Anjou and Prince Edward were still inconveniently at large, and were (eventually) to form a focus of Lancastrian opposition, thus becoming even more inconvenient. The Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde had fled from Nothampton, as had Bishop Wayneflete and Bishop Booth. Somerset was still besieged in Guisnes and Northumberland was in the north. Devon (at one time a Yorkist but now firmly Lancastrian) was in his own shire.

It was necessary to form a new government and it was more or less as narrowly based as the last Yorkist administration, heavily reliant on Nevilles and Bourchiers. George Neville (Warwick's brother) became Chancellor. Viscount Bourchier (York's brother-in-law) was made Treasurer.A certain Robert Stillington was made Keeper of the Privy Seal. Parliament was summoned with a view to achieving a new settlement, Richard Duke of York naturally receiving a summons even though technically still under attainder.

The Tower (18 July) was taken. It was on this occasion that for some reason Warwick had certain members of Exeter's household executed, though most of the garrison - including Scales - were allowed to toddle off where they would. Scales was subsequently murdered by a mob, but this was not Warwick's fault.

Most of Henry's jewels and ready cash had been stolen during July, so the government was even more penniless than usual. Warwick negotiated the surrender of Guisnes - which involved letting Somerset go free but at least secured Calais and thus London's trade with the continent. However the regime remained weak pretty much everywhere outside the South East and its control over the far West, the North and most of Wales was more nominal than actual.

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