Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Death of Edward of Lancaster

As I'm feeling not so rushed today, by popular demand (or at least, by one person's polite request), here are some of the various accounts of Edward of Lancaster's death. As I said earlier, a detailed discussion of the various accounts can be found in P. W. Hammond's very thorough The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.

Anonymous, History of the Arrival of Edward IV in England and the Final Recovery of His Kingdoms from Henry VI (online at the Richard III Society's American Branch site):

In the wynnynge of the fielde such as abode hand-stroks were slayne incontinent; Edward, called Prince, was taken, fleinge to the towne wards, and slayne in the fielde.

The Croyland Chronicler (online at the Richard III Society's American Branch site):

Upon this occasion, there were slain on the queen's side, either in the field or after the battle, by the avenging hands of certain persons, prince Edward, the only son of king Henry, the duke of Somerset, the earl of Devon, and all and every the other lords above-mentioned.

Sforza di Bettini Of Florence, Milanese Ambassador in France to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan. June 2, 1471 (In Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in the Archives and Collections of Milan - 1385-1618--online here):

Yesterday his Majesty here heard with extreme sorrow, by clear and manifest news from England, so it appears, that king Edward has recently fought a battle with the Prince of Wales, towards Wales, whither he had gone to meet him. He has not only routed the prince but taken and slain him, together with all the leading men with him.

George, Duke of Clarence, to Henry Vernon, May 6, 1471 (in The Manuscripts of the Duke of Rutland Preserved at Rutland Castle, Vol. 1: Historical Manuscripts Commission, Twelfth Report, Appendix, Part IV).

Right trusti and welbeloved we grate you wele, lating you wite that my lord hath had goode spede nowe in his late journey to the subduyng of his enemyes, traitours and rebelles, of the which Edward late called Prince, the late Erl of Devon with other estates, knightes, squiers, and gentilmen, were slayn in playn bataill, Edmund late Duc of Somerset taken and put to execucion, and other diversee estates, knightss, squiers, and genlihnen taken.

Yorkist Notes: 1471 (From Charles Kingsford, English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century):

Eodem anno mensis Maii die iiijo Bellum iuxta Tewkysbury, vbi occisi fuerunt Edwardus, dictus princeps, filius Henrici sexti

Warkworth's Chronicle (online at the Richard III Society's American Branch site):

And ther was slayne in the felde, Prynce Edward, whiche cryede for socoure to his brother-in-lawe, the Duke of Clarence.

Chronicle of Tewkesbury Abbey (From Charles Kingsford, English Historical Literature in the Fifteenth Century)

Lord Edwarde, prince of Kynge Henry, in the felde of Gastum besyde Tewkesbery, slayne and buryed in ye mydste of y covent quiere in y e monastery ther : for whom god worketh.

Letter from the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London to the Bastard of Fauconberg, May 9, 1471 (R. R. Sharpe, London and the Kingdom, Vol. 3):

Also Sir the saide Edward late called Prince Therle of Devynshire lord John of Somerset lord Wenlok Sir Edmund Hampden Sir Robert Whityngham, Sir John Lewkenore, John Delves w1 other moo were sleyne upon Saturday last passed at Tewkesbury.

A handwritten addition by Robert Cole in manuscript entitled Rental of all the houses in Gloucester (Robert Cole, Rental of all the Houses in Gloucester). Hammond suggests that the addition was made in 1472, hence the incorrect year of the battle:

This Kyng tooke to his wyfe Margarete, the Kyngus doujtur of Cicile,whit wham he had his sone Edward, Pryns of Wales, bat aftur bat he come from Fraunce with his modur with a gret ost was sley at be Batel by syde Tewkesbur[y], be yere of Oure Lord M1 CCCC. LXXII. [sic]

An entry in the Norwich register for 1470/71, cited by James E. Thorold Rogers in A History of Agriculture and Prices in England. As Rogers pointed out there and on a couple of occasions in Notes and Queries in the 1880's, the wording suggests that the prince did not fall in battle, but was tried before a military tribunal:

Ad guerram Tewkesbury, ubi adjudicatus fuit Edvardus filius Henrici nuper regis Anglix, et mater ejus capta.

Except for the Norwich account, which suggests that Edward of Lancaster was executed after a trial, all of these contemporary and near-contemporary sources (as well as Benet's Chronicle, which is in Latin and which I don't have access to at the moment) simply report that Prince Edward was slain; none implicates a particular person. (Even Warkworth simply says that Edward cried out for succor to the Duke of Clarence; it doesn't say that Clarence did the deed, and Clarence himself did not take credit for it in his letter.)

As Hammond points out, though, not long after the battle, another tradition began to develop: one where the prince, taken alive, is haled into the presence of Edward IV and killed. In 1473 in the "Histoire de Charles, dernier du de Bourgogne," for instance, the victorious Edward IV orders that the prince be disarmed, demands his sword, and strikes him across the face with it, after which everyone present joins in murdering the unfortunate prince. According to Hammond, other continental sources, long predating the Tudors, have Edward IV questioning the prince, who replies defiantly and is promptly killed by those present.

In the sixteenth century, the story of Edward of Lancaster being killed in the presence of Edward IV infiltrated the English accounts. As rendered in modernized English by Keith Dockray in Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and the Wars of the Roses: A Source Book, The Great Chronicle of London reports that both the prince and his mother, Margaret of Anjou, were taken to the king: "after the king had questioned a few words of the cause of his so landing within his realm, and he gave unto the king an answer contrary to his pleasure, the king struck him on the face with the back of his gauntlet, after which stroke so received by him, the king's servants rid him of his life forthwith."

With Polydore Vergil (whose account is available here), the Dukes of Gloucester and Clarence, as well as William Hastings, do the deed:

Two days later all these, save for Margaret and her son, paid with their heads in that same village. A little later Prince Edward, a very excellent young man, was taken to meet Edward, and was asked why he had dared invade his kingdom and trouble it with arms. He had the presence of mind to reply he had come to claim his ancestral realm. Edward made no response this, he only waved the lad away, and immediately those who stood around him (these were Dukes George of Clarence, Richard of Gloucester, and William Hastings) cruelly butchered him.

Edward Hall in Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster nd York adds Dorset, who was Elizabeth Woodville's eldest son, to the murderers:

After the felde ended, kyng Edward made a Proclamutio, that who so euer could bring prince Edward to him alyue or dead, shoulde haue an annuitie of an. C. 1. duryng his lyfe, and the Princes life to be saued. Syr Richard Croftes, a wyse and a valyaut knyght, nothing mistrusting the kynges former promyse, brought furth his prisoner prince Edward, beynge a goodly femenine & a well feautered yonge gentelman, whome when kynge Edward had well aduised, he demaunded of him, how he durst so presumptuously enter in to his Realme with banner displayed. The prince, beyng bold of stomacke & of a good courage, answered sayinge, to recouer my fathers kyngdome & enheritage. from his father & grandfather to him, and from him, after him, to me lyneally diuoluted. At which wordes kyng Edward sayd nothyng, but with his [hand] thrust hyin from hym (or as some say, stroke him with his gauntlet) whom incontinent, they that stode about, whiche were George duke of Clarence, Rychard duke of Gloucester, Thomas Marques Dorset, and Willia lord Hastynges, sodaynly murthered, & pitiously manquelled. The bitternesse of which murder, some of the actors after in their latter dayes tasted and assayed by the very rod of Justice
and punishment of God.

Ralphael Holinshed's version is similar to Hall's. It's interesting to note that none of the Tudor histories has Gloucester alone murdering Edward of Lancaster, but implicate Hastings (executed by Richard in 1483) and Dorset (a Woodville) as well, so while these accounts may be fanciful, they cannot be dismissed simply as Tudor attempts to blacken Richard III's name.

According to a Mr. Marshall who commented in Notes and Queries in 1882, Samuel Rudder in his 1779 New History of Gloucestershire writes, "The Prince of Wales is supposed to have been murdered in the house belonging to, an in the possession of, Mr. Webb, an ironmonger." I will have to take a look for that next time I am in the library.

The most peculiar version of the death of Edward of Lancaster, however, appears in a Flemish chronicle cited by Sir George Buck in his History of King Richard the Third. After recounting the scene where the prince mouths off to Edward IV, and Clarence, Dorset, and Hastings move in for the kill, Buck (per the edition edited by Arthur Noel Kincaid) adds,

And whereas it is said by the adversaries of the Duke of Gloucester that only he slew this prince with his sword, the contrary hereof is true. For I have read in a faithful manuscript chronicle written of those times that the Duke of Gloucester only, of all of those great persons, stood still and drew not his sword. And for this his forbearance there my divers good reasons be given. And first that it grew out of the mere conscience of honour and out of this heroical and truly noble detestation of base murders. And secondly because there was no need of any more swords, there being too many already drawn. For where there was need of his sword to defend the king his brother, there was no man's sword more ready. And chiefly, he abstained to be a fellow homicide in this act in regard of this prince's wife, who (as Johannes Meyerus saith) was in the room with him and was near akin to the Duchess of York, his mother, and whom he loved very affectionately, though secretly.

This account seems highly unlikely, as the contemporary sources that mention the matter are agreed that Edward of Lancaster's wife, Anne Neville, and his mother, Margaret of Anjou, were not found until several days after the battle and were brought to Edward IV at Coventry. It also seems rather implausible that Edward IV would allow Edward of Lancaster to be murdered in the presence of the 14-year-old Anne.

So how did Edward of Lancaster die? I'm inclined to believe the overwhelming majority of contemporary or near-contemporary accounts, which state that he met his death in battle, though it's rather a pity to sacrifice the story of the prince defiantly responding to the king before meeting what was certainly an inevitable death (had he not been killed in battle or while standing before Edward IV, he certainly would have been among the Lancastrian leaders beheaded on May 6, 1471). The stories of the prince being murdered in the king's presence, even if apocryphal, do, however, supply a useful moral to take through our lives: Don't Sass the King, or, alternatively, If You're Going to Die, at Least Speak Your Mind First.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Search Terms!

I was going to do a post about the different accounts of the death of Edward of Lancaster, but then I realized that there was a very comprehensive account of them in Appendix 2 of P. W. Hammond's The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. So I'll refer you to that and, instead, turn to the more frivolous subject of search terms. Here's how people have been reaching my website and Historical Fiction Online lately:

edawrd ii long term causes

It's strongly believed that Edward II was caused by his parents, Edward I and Eleanor of Castile.

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You read it here first (and possibly last): Shakespeare was actually one of Richard III's nephews in disguise.

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Well, I can only hope so.


Keep on typing . . . You can do it . . .

how to become a royal minstrel in edward ii

Practice, my dear boy. Practice.

historians admit to inventing ancient greeks

We knew it all along, didn't we?

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did elizabeth woodville have hair

No. Her shame about being bald, not anything to do with Richard III, is why she fled to sanctuary in 1483.

long hair gets wrapped around vacuums

Well, at least Elizabeth Woodville was spared that.

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He's a big boy. He can take care of himself.

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Anything to take one's mind off Wiliam de Forz.

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Get away from your computer and mingle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Duke of Northumberland's Seized Goods

First, sorry for the long absence! I went on a short trip with the family to San Francisco and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Didn't get much work done at all, which was probably a good thing! I'll try to put some pictures up on Facebook soon.

To get back into the blogging swing of things, here's some selected items from an inventory of goods seized from the residences of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, after his downfall and arrest in 1553. Some of the goods were turned over to Queen Mary; some were given to the young Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and the old Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who had been released from prison by Mary; others were sold or given to persons of various degrees; and some were given to the Duchess of Northumberland. The complete list, which can be found in the UK National Archives at E 154/2/39, gives a fascinating glimpse of the type of goods that could be found in the wealthiest Tudor households. Note the intrusion of a lone fork into the duke's stock of knives, the duchess's many sleeves (plus a special chest just to carry them in), the elaborate clocks, the lavish tapestries, and the intrusion of the humble moth into even the grandest of households.

Item an other stocke of knyves w[i]th Iron haftes wherin is a dosen and a forke

Item a stocke salte of golde w[i]th iiij pillers having a faire rocke Rubie upon the cover and garnisshed w[i]th viij diamondes vj and Rubies ij poiz. xxxj oz

Item oon dosen napkins of crosse diamondes

Item a quilte of yelowe seye mottheaten

Item [the duke's] Cloke of felte w[i]th a cape of blacke vellut w[i]th buttons and lace of silke and golde

Item a purse of grene bruges saten wherin is an hawkes glove garnisshed w[i]t[h] crimsen saten and a lure of purple vellut garnisshed w[i]th golde and perle

Item a Caparison of white vellut for an horse

Item a Cace of a perfumepan of Alablaster finelie wrought

Item an upright deske covered w[i]th grene vellut w[i]th a doble standisshe covered with the same standeng upon a frame

Item a writeng deske of Walnottre wherin ar diverse Instrumentes of silver an Inkehorne, a Staundisshe w[i]t[h] a dustboxe with divers oother Instrumentes of silver in the same

Item the dukes Robes for the Parliament of Scarlet [this went to the Duke of Norfolk]

Item his Robes of purple and crimsen vellut for the garter w[i]th the hood for the same [this also went to the Duke of Norfolk]

Item a Clocke of Cristall garnisshed w[i]th silver and gilte belonging to a great salte of cristall poiz. xij oz

Item a faire Clocke of copper and gilte w[i]th vj belles in a chyme the clocke being iij quarters high

Item an other Clocke standeng in a frame of wood gilte

Item a faire Astrolabie

Item iij olde hattes of crimsen silke fringe motheaten

Item a Table of the picture of King Henrie theight and another of Quene Jane Seymo[ur] solde to S[i]r Thom[a]s Pope

Item a lowe Chaier w[i]th the seate and backe of nedilworke w[i]th ij l[ett]res T. and D.

Item [the duchess's] loose gown of lozenges of the one side and ruffed vellut on thother side [most of the duchess's wearing apparel was delivered to her]

Item iiij paire of sleves of purple vellut wherof oon paire edged with luserdes

Item v paire of blacke vellut sleves of sondrie sortes edged w[i]t[h] luserdes

Item ij paire of sleves of blacke vellut edged w[i]th Sables

Item v paire of sleves of blacke vellut of sondrie sortes edged w[i]t[h] blacke Jennettes

Item a paire of blacke sleves of vellut edged w[i]th conye

Item a Partelet and a paire of sleves of blacke damaske edged w[i]th Swanne

Item xiij paire of blacke vellut sleves of sondrie sortes

Item a litell square Chest for cariage of the duches sleves

A Testo[ur] of a standeng bed of clothe of Tincell and purple Taphata w[i]th fringes of golde verie riche

Item a Cussheon of purple vellut embrodred richelie w[i]th golde w[i]th iiij Tassels w[i]th the kinge and the quenes Armes

Item a doblet of crane colored Taphata pinked solde to Mr White [the duke wore a "crane-colored" gown to his execution]

Item v nightcappes of velvet

Item ij shaving clothes garnisshed w[i]th golde solde to therle of Devonshire

Item ij large bookes faire written w[i]th armes covered with velvet garnisshed with silver conteyneng the Armes of Germanie

Item a Cace of combes gilte wherin ar v blacke combes a Glasse and certaine oother Instrumentes and a blacke cace of combes of Ibonie wherin ben two combes with certaine other Implementes solde to S[i]r Thomas Pope

The dukes Coronet of golde w[i]th a border of mynifer and the cap of crimsen vellut the Coronet wayeng xxiij oz [delivered to the Duke of Norfolk]

Item a close stoole with a bucket of pewter covered w[i]th black lether worne solde to Sir Robert Sothwell

Item a paire of playeng Tables paynted in a Cace

Furst a large Coller of the order of the garter with a George with the Armes of the George made of diamondes [delivered to the Duke of Norfolk]

w[i]th the duke at the Tower: Item a Gowne of blacke saten with a cape and face of sables with ij dosen paire of aglettes

Item a Gown of crimsen Capha and a kirtell of white damaske for a childe [Was this a garment that had belonged to one of duke's children who predeceased him?]

Furst a Tonne of beir spent

Item a booke w[i]th viij leaves of slate covered w[i]th vellut garnisshed w[i]th silver with claspes locke and keye of silver

Item ix pecis of countrefaict arras of the storie of Hester conteyning cclx elles at ijs thell solde to Mr George Tirrell

Item a counterpoincte of Tapestrie w[i]th burdes and flowers

Item a Turkie carpet for a Windowe solde to Michaell Plowman

Item a framed chaier of Walnottree the seate and backe of crimsen vellut paned with clothe of golde solde to Mr Peckeham

v peces of Imagerie of the storie of Diana single [delivered to the duchess]

Item v peces of Tapestrie of the storie of David and Salomon [delivered to the duchess]

Item vj peces of Tapestrie unlyned of the storie de filio prodigo [delivered to the duchess]

Item vj single peces of hanginges of Imagerie of the storie of David [delivered to Ambrose Dudley, who was imprisoned along with the rest of the Dudley sons in the Tower]

Item ij quiltes for the sides of the bed covered with purple vellut

Item oon Counterpoincte belonging to the same bed of purple and crimsen saten embrodred rounde aboute with golde and in the middes and oother places with the Rose and l[ett]res of H and R and lyned with white fustian

Item a barehide

Item a Celer and Testo[ur] of crimsen saten embrodred with white silver with the dukes armes in the middes of a Garlande richelie enbrodred with the Valaunce in vj peces belongeng to the same being embrodred with silver the Lion, the ragged staf and the fierbronde fringed with red silke and golde with iij peces for the bases of the same bed likewise embrodred with the ragged staffe and the fierbronde

Item ix hoggesheddes of Gascoign wine

Item ij hoggesheddes and a puncheon of Frenche wine

Item parte of a butte of Reynisshe wine

Item parte of a Butte of Muskadell

Item oon Cowe [delivered to the duchess]

Item certaine Remnauntes of spices, as Suger Peper Cloves and maces

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Birth of Edward of Lancaster

On October 13, 1453, Margaret of Anjou gave birth at Westminster Palace to the boy who would prove to be her only child: Edward. At age twenty-three, Margaret had been married to Henry VI for eight years and must have despaired of ever producing an heir to the throne.

The eight-year wait has been taken as proof by some that Margaret must have resorted to another man to father her child, but then and now, women have gone for years without conceiving only to finally find themselves pregnant. (To take a contemporary example, Cecily, Duchess of York, was born in 1415 and had married before October 1429, but did not give birth to her first child until ten years later.) It is also possible that Margaret had conceived at earlier periods during her marriage, but had miscarriages that occurred so early that she never knew she was pregnant in the first place.

Edward would have been conceived during the Christmas/New Year's season of 1452-53, when Henry VI is known to have resided at Margaret's palace of Greenwich. This holiday season appears to have been a particularly festive one for the royal couple. Margaret paid Richard Bulstrode more than 25 pounds for his expenses incurred in connection with a disguising made before the king and queen at Greenwich. The festivities continued on January 5, 1453, when Henry VI knighted his younger half-brothers, Edmund Tudor and Jasper Tudor, who had recently been made Earl of Richmond and Earl of Pembroke. Perhaps this relaxed atmosphere at the court, following on the heels of what had been a period of political recovery for the king, had a beneficial effect on the king and queen in the bedchamber.

Unfortunately, Henry VI lapsed into madness in August 1453, leaving Margaret to face her pregnancy by herself. In the midst of this crisis, Margaret observed the usual rituals associated with a royal pregnancy. On September 10, 1453, the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, along with the mayor and aldermen of London, conducted her by barge to Westminster for her lying-in. J. L. Laynesmith, citing an exchequer record, writes that the canopy for Margaret's bed was of crimson satin embroidered with gold crowns and that the room contained two cradles, the smaller of which bore an image of St. Edward.

Margaret gave birth on October 13, after which her butler, Giles St. Lo, brought the news to London. He received 10 marks from the common council for doing so. Bale's Chronicle reports the reaction to the birth: "Wherefor the belles rang in every chirch and Te Deum solempny song." The next day, the boy was christened by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. His godparents were John Kemp, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, and Anne Stafford (nee Neville), the Duchess of Buckingham. Margaret was later reimbursed for an embroidered cloth called "crisome" for the baptism, for 20 yards of russet cloth of gold, and for 540 brown sable backs. She, of course, would not have been at the christening, but kept her chamber until her churching, the ceremony marking a new mother's purification and return to society.

The cloth of gold and the sable backs probably were purchased for Margaret's use at her churching, which took place on November 18, 1453, at Westminster. The great ladies of the land were duly summoned to attend: the Duchesses of Bedford, York, Norfolk the elder, Norfolk the younger, Buckingham, Somerset the elder, Somerset the younger, Exeter the elder, Exeter the younger, and Suffolk; the Countesses of Warwick, Arundel, Northumberland, Salisbury, Wiltshire, Shrewsbury the elder, Shrewsbury the young, and Oxford; the Viscountess Bourchier; and the ladies Grey, Ruthin, Roos, Lovel, Cromwell, Berners, Ferrers of Groby, Hastings, Bergavenny, Fitz Waren, Willoughby the younger, Latimer, Fitz Walter, Roos the elder, Botrcaux, and Souch. Many of these ladies would lose husbands and sons to war in the years to come; some, like Margaret herself, would lose both.

Some time before January 19, 1454, Margaret, accompanied by the Duke of Buckingham, brought Edward to his father in hopes of receiving the king's blessing. They met with only the slightest response: "but alle their labour was in veyne, for they departed thene without any answere or countenance savyng only that ones he loked on the Prince and caste doune his eyene ayne, without any more." A year later, however, Henry VI, restored to sanity, had a very different reaction to his son, as reported by Edmund Clere to John Paston on January 9, 1455:

Blessed be God, the King is wel amended, and hath ben syn Cristemesday, and on Seint Jones day comaunded his awmener to ride to Caunterbury with his offryng, and comaunded the secretarie to offre at Seint Edwards.

And on the Moneday after noon the Queen came to him, and brought my Lord Prynce with her. And then he askid what the Princes name was, and the Queen told him Edward; and then he hild up his hands and thankid God therof.


Bale's Chronicle (in Ralph Flenley, ed., Six Town Chronicles of England).

Frederick Devon, ed., Issues of the Exchequer (on Google Books).

James Gairdner, ed., The Paston Letters.

R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI.

Joseph Hunter, Three catalogues; describing the contents of the Red book of the Exchequer (on Google Books).

P. A. Johnson, Duke Richard of York: 1411 - 1460.

Ian Lancashire, Dramatic Texts and Records of Britain: A Chronological Topography to 1558.

J. L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens.

Helen Maurer, Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England.

Bertram Wolffe, Henry VI.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Letters from Koeur to Portugal: 1464

Here are two letters written from Margaret of Anjou's court in exile in December 1464: one by John Fortescue, the other by Edward of Lancaster. Fortescue, Henry VI's chancellor in exile, was about sixty-seven when he wrote his letter and was living in Margaret's household at Koeur Castle, near St Mihiel in the duchy of Bar. Edward of Lancaster, born on October 13, 1453, had recently turned eleven at the time he wrote his letter, and likely had some help in composing it. (Note the rather endearing boast at the end: "Writen at seynt mychacl, in bare, w' myn awn hand, that ye may se how gode a wrytare I ame.") The letters were addressed to John Butler, the sixth Earl of Ormond, the younger brother of James Butler, first Earl of Wiltshire and fifth Earl of Ormond. (James Butler had been captured and executed after the Battle of Towton.) John Butler was then in exile in Portugal, and Margaret was hoping to gain aid from its king, Alfonso V.

As Fortescue's letter notes, Margaret of Anjou and Edward of Lancaster each wrote letters to the King of Portugal, though no one in Margaret's court could remember the king's name! Edward's letter to the king, written in Latin, survives and can be found in Thomas, Lord Clermont's The Works of Sir John Fortescue (available on the Internet Archive).

Fortescue's letter to John Butler gives a poignant picture of the poverty of Margaret of Anjou's court in exile. 1464 had been a particularly bad year for Margaret's cause: in May, the Lancastrians had been defeated at the Battle of Hexham, after which Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and thirty others had been executed. (The Duke of Somerset and his brother referred to in the letter below are Edmund Beaufort and John Beaufort, Henry Beaufort's younger brothers, who were to meet their own deaths at Tewkesbury in 1471). Henry VI himself was a fugitive, who would be captured the following year and imprisoned in the Tower.

Ironically, unlike young Edward of Lancaster and many of the other men named by Fortescue in his letter, both John Fortescue and John Butler were to survive the Lancastrian defeat in 1471. John Butler was pardoned by Edward IV and restored to his earldom; he is said to have died before June 15, 1477, on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Fortescue was put to work by Edward IV writing the Declaration upon certayn wrytinges sent oute of Scotteland ayenst the kynges title to the roialme of Englond, a refutation of his prior pro-Lancastrian works, and died in 1479, having reached his early eighties.

Probably none of the letters made it to Ormond in Portugal, but were intercepted on the way, as they ended up in the French archives, thereby justifying John Fortescue's worries about whether Butler could make it safety to Koeur. The letters can be found in Clermont's Works of John Fortescue, volume I, pp. 22-28, and in Mrs. Everett Green's "Original Documents Preserved in the National Library at Paris" in the Archaeological Journal, Volume 7 (1850), available on Google Books. I have taken the letters from the Archaeological Journal


Letter Of Sir John Fortescue, Addressed — To The Right Worshipfull And Singulerly Belovid Lord, The Erle Of Ormond. (Biblioth. Nationale, Paris, Baluze MS., 9047, 7, art. 175, Holograph.)

Right worshipfull and myne especially belovyd lord, I recommande me to you, and it is so that in feste of the conception of oure lady, I resceyved at Seyntc Mighel in Barroys frome you a lettre writyne at porto in portingale, on monday nexte before the feste of seynte Mighel, to my right singuler comfort, god knowith, of whiche lettere the quene, my lord prince and all theire servants were full gladde, and namely of your welfare and (?) escapynge the pouer of youre ennymies. And it is so that the quene nowe desireth you to do certayne message frome here to the Kynge of portingale, of whiche ye mowe clerely understande here entente by an instruction, and also by here letteres, whiche here highnesse nowe sendeth to you by the borer thereof. Wherefore I writhe nowe nothynge to you of tho (sic) maters. And as touchyngo the sauf-conducto whiche ye desire to have of the kynge of Fraunce, it were god that ye hadde it, and yet yf his highnesse do to us nothynge but right, the quenes certificat, whiche we sende to you herewith, shull be to you siwerte sufficiant. Northelesse I counseille you not to truste fermely thereuppone, and therby to aventure you to passe thorgh' his lande. For he has made many appoyntcmentes with oure rebelles, by whiche it semyth he hath not alway intended to kepe the peace and triwes, whiche he made with us, but yet I knawe no cause that he hathe to breke it, nor hetherto he hath not taken or inprisoned any man of oure partie by any soche occasion. And Thomas Scales hathe sente me worde that he hopithe to mowe gete by the meanes of my lord senycshall a sauf conducte for you, and elles my lord of Kendale canne fynde the meanes howe ye mowe passe soche parties of Gyawne, Langdok and other where, as most (in parte ?) is as ye shull be in no perille : my lord of Somerset that nowe is and his brother come frome Britayne by Parys through Fraunce unto the quene with xvj horses, and no man rescuyded (?) ham in there way. And so didde I frome Paris into Barroys, but yet this is no verrey surete to you. Wherefore youre aune wysdome most gyde you in this case, not trustinge myne advise that knawe not the manner of this countrey as ye do. But yet I wote welle that a bille, signed withe my lord senyschall is hand, shalle be sufficiant unto you to passe thorough oute alle Fraunce. My lord, here buthe withe the quene the dukes of Excestre and Somerset, and his brother, whiche and also sir Johne Courtenay buthe discended of the house of Lancastre. Also here buthe my lord prive seale, M(aster) John Morton, the bischop of Seynte asse [St. Asaph] Sire Edmond Mountford, Sir Henry Roos, Sir Edmond Hampdene, Sir William Vane [William Vaux], Sir Robert Whityngham and I, Knyghtes; my maistre, youre brother, William Grinmesby, William Josep', Squiers for the body, and many other worshipfull squiers, and also clercqs. We buth all in grete poverte, but yet the quene susteyneth us in mete and drinke, so as we buth not in extreme necessite. Wherfore I counsaill you to spende sparely soche money as ye have, for whanne ye come hether, ye shall have nede of hit. And also here buth maney that nede and woll desire to parte with you of youre awne money and in all this contrey is no man that woll or may lene you any money haue ye neuer so grete nede. We have here none other tithyngs but soche as buth in youre instruccion. Item, yf ye fynde the kyng of Portingale entretable in oure materes, sparith not to tarie longe with hym, and yf ye fynde hym all estraunge, dispendith not youre money in that contrey in idill, for after that ye come hither, hit is like that ye shull be putte to grete costes sone upon, and peradventure not longe tarie there. Item, my lord prince sendith to you nowe a letter writyn with his awne hande, and another letter directed to the king of Portingale, of whiche I sende nowe to you the double enclosed hereyn. I write at seynte Mighel in Barroys, the xiij. daye of Decembre. —Your servant, J. Fortescu. [Postscript.)

My lord, bycause we knewe not verrely the kynge of Portingale is name, the Quene is letter hath no superscripteon, nor the letter fro my lord prince, but ye mowe knawe ham also well by the seales as by this, that in the syde where the seale is sette of the Quene's lettre is writyn these words—pro regina, and in like weyse in my lord's lettre is writyn—pro principe. And I sende to you hereyn soche words of superscripsion as ye shall sette upon both lettres ; which wordes buth writyn w' the hande of the clerke that hath writyn both lettres.

Item, the berer hereof hadde of vs but iij. Scuts [French crowns] for all his costs towards you, by cause wee hadde no more money.

Letter From Edward, Prince Of Wales, Son Of Henry VI., To The Earl Of Ormond. (Baluze MS., 9037, 7, art. 173, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Holograph.)

Cousin Ormond, I grete you hertly well, acerteynyng yow that I have horde the gode and honorable report of your sad, wise, and manly gyding ageynst my lordis rebellis and your aduersaries, in the witche ye have purcheascd unto yow perpetuall lawd and wosship. And I thank God, and so do ye allso, that ye at all tymes vndcr his proteccione haue escaped the cruell malise of your sayd aduersaries ; and for as motch as I vnderstand that ye ar nowe in portingale, I pray yow to put yow in the vttermost of your deuoir to labore vnto the kyng of the sayd royalme, for the forderance and setyng forthe of my lord, in the recuvering of his ryght, and subduing of his rebellis. Wherin, yf ye so do, as I haue for vndowted that ye wyll, I trust sume frute thall folue, w' godis mercy, witche spede yow well in all your workes. Writen at seynt mychacl, in bare, w' myn awn hand, that ye may se how gode a wrytare I ame.

Additiional Sources:

Steven G. Ellis, ‘Butler, John, sixth earl of Ormond (d. 1476/7)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 11 Oct 2010]

E. W. Ives, ‘Fortescue, Sir John (c.1397–1479)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 [, accessed 11 Oct 2010]

Friday, October 08, 2010

Giveaway Winners

I'm finally announcing the giveaway winners: Blodeuedd (international winner) and Pricilla (US winner). I've e-mailed both of you. Thanks to everyone who entered!

I'll have a post of substance coming up soon, I hope, but I don't think I've mentioned here that The Stolen Crown is now available on Kindle. So if you're a Kindle Karrier, check it out!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Elizabeth Woodville's Purported "Journal."

A very silly nonfiction book featuring Lady Jane Grey (among other things, it has her waltzing, playing the pianoforte, and being made to wear "hunting outfits . . . similar to those of jockeys") put me in mind of this equally silly "journal" of Elizabeth Woodville. This is not my invention, but was presented in Thomas Russell Potter's 1842 book, History and Antiquities of Charnwood Forest, as being an extract from an authentic document. According to David Baldwin in his biography of Elizabeth Woodville, a newspaper clipping pasted inside a 1914 book also reproduces this extract, with a few additions, and claims that the original "journal" could be found at Drummond Castle. Not surprisingly, Baldwin was unable to find such an original document. This "journal," with its portrayal of Elizabeth Woodville as a proper Victorian miss, therefore, is likely entirely bogus, but it makes for fun reading, and for far more pleasant reading than some of the modern slurs against Elizabeth Woodville.

Thursday Morninq (May 10, 1451).—Rose at four o'clock, and helped Katherine to milk the cows: Rachael, the other dairy-maid, having scalded one of her hands in a very sad manner last night. Made a poultice for Rachael, and gave Robin a penny to get her something comfortable from the apothecary's.

Six o'clock.—Breakfasted. The buttock of beef rather too much boiled, and the ale a little the stalest. Memorandum to tell the cook about the first fault, and to mend the second myself, by tapping a fresh barrel directly.

Seven o'clock.—Went out with the Lady Duchess, my mother, into the court-yard; fed five and thirty men and women; chid Roger very severely for expressing some dissatisfaction in attending us with the broken meat.

Eight o'clock.—Went into the paddock behind the house with my maiden Dorothy: caught Stump, the little black pony, myself, and rode a matter of six miles, without either saddle or bridle.

Ten o'clock.—Went to dinner. John Grey one of our visitants—a most comely youth—but what's that to me? A virtuous maiden should be entirely under the direction of her parents. John ate very little—stole a great many tender looks at me—said a woman never could be handsome, in his opinion, who was not good-tempered. I hope my temper is not intolerable; nobody finds fault with it but Roger, and Roger is the most disorderly serving man in our family. John Grey likes white teeth—my teeth are of a pretty good colour, I think, and my hair is as black as jet, though I say it—and John, if I mistake not, is of the same opinion.

Eleven o'clock.—Rose from table, the company all desirous of walking in the fields. John Grey would lift me over every stile, and twice he squeezed my hand with great vehemence. I cannot say I should have any aversion to John Grey: he plays prison-bars as well as any gentleman in the country, is remarkably dutiful to his parents, and never misses church of a Sunday.

Three o'clock.—Poor farmer Robinson's house burnt down by an accidental fire. John Grey proposed a subscription among the company, and gave a matter of no less than five pound himself to this benevolent intention. Mem. Never saw him look so comely as at that moment.

Four o'clock.—Went to prayers.

Six o'clock.—Fed the poultry and hogs.

Seven o'clock.—Supper at the table; delayed on account of farmer Robinson's fire and misfortune. The goose pie too much baked, and the loin of pork almost roasted to rags.

Nine o'clock.—The company almost all asleep. These late hours are very disagreeable. Said my prayers a second time, John Grey disturbing my thoughts too much the first. Fell asleep about ten, and dreamt that John had come to demand me of my father.