Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

1471 - the Yorkist triumph assured

The latest post from the Tewkesbury Battlefield Society covers the visit to King Edward IV of the Earl of Northumberland to assure the monarch that all was quiet in the north. 

May 15th 1471: Northumberland Arrives at Coventry

Henry Percy. 4th Earl of Northumberland  ( Picture Source )

Henry Percy. 4th Earl of Northumberland

(Picture Source)

In Coventry, King Edward’s options had become much clearer. He was preparing to leave for London. 

On the previous day, he had sent a force of 1,500 troops to London, to help counter the threat of Fauconberg; too late and unneeded as it transpired. The good news continued, with the arrival of the Earl of Northumberland. The Arrivall explains: 

And so, by the xiiij. day of May, it was known clearly, by such as were sent unto the King from the Earl of Northumberland, from the city of York, and other diverse places in the north, that there was no rebellion in all the north begun, but that it was so pacified that it ne might ne should annoy the King, in any wise. 

Wherefore it was to him thought, and to all his council, that for to go into the north for any pacification, or punishment of such persons, it was not needful as at that time; and so it was most clearly declared, the same day, by the Earl of Northumberland, who came straight to the King to Coventry, out of the north country; as his departing well assured that the country was in good and sure tranquillity, without any commotions, or unlawful gatherings. Which Earl came not accompanied greatly, but with a few folks, and not arrayed in manner of war, for he had no manner knowledge but that the King, after this his great victories achieved, should have good pax, everywhere in his realm.

He was not to know yet, but on the same day the last of the rebel risings had been subdued in London, and all his problems of Lancastrian risings were at an end and England was his.

Northumberland who was just about 22 is another instance of the relative youth of virtually all engaged in the events of the time, yet he and others of the nobility were in a position due to their estates and retinues to bring force to bear and to decide policy. Despite the traditions of his family the Earl was pragmatic and put himself under the authority of King Edward. That pragmatism was to be a significant aspect of his life until his murder in 1489 - itself possibly a consequence of being seen as someone who had abandoned King Richard III at Bosworth. There is an account of Northumberland’s life at Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland

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