About JuliaH

I teach history courses for the Workers' Educational Association as well as giving talks on various history topics across Yorkshire and the Midlands as well as talks about the history and creation of cross stitch samplers and blackwork embroidery.

George Neville – who was required to stay alive but didn’t!

Middleham Castle

In the aftermath of the Battle of Barnet in 1471 the Earl of Warwick’s estates were divided up. The Warwick Inheritance which included Beauchamp lands and Despenser lands legally belonged to the Countess of Warwick but this problem was negated by having her declared legally dead. Her daughters then inherited and Edward IV’s brothers took control of sizeable chunks of land by right of their respective wives. The Neville Inheritance was trickier to deal with – setting aside the fact that the Earl of Warwick had rebelled against King Edward IV, who by May 1471 was secure on the throne.

The Neville estates were entailed. An entail limits by law who can inherit property. Medieval entails could be quite complicated. When John of Gaunt made his will he ensured that his Beaufort children were well provided for by issuing some very specific instructions in his will. More usually, an entail ensured that only male heirs could inherit.

The Earl of Warwick’s Neville inheritance was entailed to a male heir. The earl’s heir presumptive was his brother John Neville, Lord Montagu. John like his brother died at Barnet in the thick of the fighting rather than in the rout that followed if the chroniclers are to be believed. John’s ten-year old son, George Neville was the next male heir. Whilst the Nevilles supported the Yorkist regime George was likely to inherit vast estates and in 1470 he was elevated to the Dukedom of Bedford to make him an appropriate husband for King Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York. However, when George’s uncle and father rebelled the following year George’s potential inheritance declined rather steeply.

The king could have passed an Act of Attainder against Richard and John Neville. A commission of Oyer and Terminer found them guilty of treason in 1472 – without an act of attainder to follow George Neville still stood to inherit the Neville estates. Instead an Act of Parliament of 1475 decreed that the Neville inheritance in the North of England including Middleham, Sheriff Hutton and Penrith Castle should pass to Richard, Duke of Gloucester whilst George and his heirs survived. Edward IV, according to Michael Hicks, preferred not to use an attainder or to divide the lands equally between his two brothers as George, Duke of Clarence was not known for his reliability whereas Richard of Gloucester, young as he was, had demonstrate his loyalty to his brother and was just the man to help keep all those troublesome northerners in line. The wording of the act proved unfortunate.

In the meantime George Neville was deprived of his titles and his wardship was passed to Richard of Gloucester after the death of George’s mother in 1476. By 1480, George was being raised in one of the Yorkshire castles which rightfully, since there was no attainder, belonged to him.

But then on the 4 May 1483 the young man died. He was unmarried so his sisters became co-heiresses and Richard of Gloucester who might reasonably have expected to leave his father-in-law’s northern power base to his own son Edward of Middleham was left as the tenant of the Neville inheritance of this life time only, thanks to the wording of the 1475 Act of Parliament. Even worse, King Edward IV was only recently dead and Gloucester was involved in a power struggle with the Woodvilles.

Hicks, Michael,  ‘Descent, Partition and Extinction: The ‘Warwick Inheritance’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research lii (1979

The Welles Uprising and subsequent brushes with royalty…

Lionel Lord Welles

In the Spring of 1470, England was facing a fresh round of the intermittent warfare that punctuated the Wars of the Roses. The Earl of Warwick’s relationship with King Edward IV had been strained to breaking point the previous year and although the Kingmaker had captured and imprisoned his cousin he had been forced to let him go. There had been an apparent reconciliation. In reality Warwick plotted to overthrow the king and replace him with his son-in-law, George Duke of Clarence. He method for bringing this about involved the Welles family and the men of Lincolnshire.

Lord Richard Welles was the seventh Lord Welles descended from a family of Lincolnshire magnates. He was the son of staunch Lancastrian, Lionel. The sixth Lord is best remembered for his second wife, Margaret Beauchamp, the mother of Lady Margaret Beaufort. Lionel was killed at the Battle of Towton.

Lionel was born in 1410 and was knighted in 1425 at Leicester by the Duke of Bedford who knighted King Henry VI at the same time. In 1446 he received a licence to marry Margaret Beauchamp, the Duke of Somerset’s widow. His loyalty to the Lancastrian cause was absolute. His heir, Richard and his sons-in-law were attainted by Parliament for their support of the Lancastrian cause but as the Yorkist king became reconciled to former Lancastrian supporters the Welles family land and titles were returned.

However by the ninth year of Edward’s reign relations between the Welles and the Yorkist king of England nose dived. Richard and his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Dymmock either became involved with a private feud with Sir Thomas Burgh who was the king’s Master of Horse or they were inveigled to rebellion by the Earl of Warwick who was also a kinsman ( Richard’s wife was a granddaughter of the 3rd Earl of Salisbury as well as being suo jure Lady Willoughby.) In either event, they attacked Gainsburgh Old Hall which was Burgh’s property and the Master of Horse was forced to flee the county whilst his property was looted or destroyed. King Edward summoned both men to London. Initially pleading illness, the pair then took sanctuary in Westminster Abbey only emerging with a royal promise of a pardon – which was granted on 3 March 1470. The pardon did not give them their freedom. Edward marched north and took the two men with him as collateral.

In Lincolnshire, Sir Richard’s son, Robert raised an army calling the men of Lincolnshire to defend themselves against the king, who is was said was determined to punish the county for supporting Robin of Redesdale’s rebellion the previous year (1469). If he had done this it would have meant that he intended to go back on the pardon he granted the rebels the previous year. Robin of Redesdale is a shadowy figure. Most historians believe that the rebellion was fermented by the Earl of Warwick for his own ends. In 1470, the Earl of Warwick was plotting the overthrow of the king who was marching north. The earl planned to trap Edward between Welles’ army and his own.

King Edward was not so easily outmanoeuvred. He marched out of London along the Great North Road in the direction of Lincolnshire but he threatened to have Robert’s father and uncle executed if Welles did not submit to the king’s will. By then Robert and his men were on course to render-vous with Warwick’s army. On hearing the king’s threat, Robert turned back, the king catching up with him just outside Stamford. The two armies drew up opposite one another on the 12th March 1470 at Empingham. Edward gave orders for Lord Welles and his brother-in-law to be summarily executed in the space between the two armies. Other sources state that Edward had the two men executed in Stamford.

The battle became a rout with rebels fleeing the field. Hoping to avoid capture and punishment they shed their jerkins which bore the insignia of Warwick and Clarence. This resulted in the battle being renamed Losecoat during the nineteenth century. As a direct consequence of Welles failure to win the battle the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence were forced to flee the country.

Sir Robert was captured and confessed the involvement of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence on the 14 March. Further incriminating evidence was found amongst Welles’ documents. It appeared that Warwick intended to make his son-in-law the King of England and Wales in Edward’s place. Sir Robert was executed on 19 March and his only surviving sibling Joan became heiress to her brother’s estates. Strictly Welles’ land was forfeit to the Crown, and it was confiscated a month after Sir Robert’s execution but it was returned to Joan in June that year. Joan died sometime in 1474/1475 and a formal act of attainder was passed against Lord Welles and his son in order to prevent Joan’s inheritance going back into the Welles family. Joan was married to Richard Hastings, the brother of Edward’s drinking buddy and Chamberlain of the Household circa 1470. Hastings ensured the king provided Joan, now suo jure 9th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby with her father and brother’s estates. After her death the regime ensured that Hastings didn’t lose out. It also meant that a large chunk of Lincolnshire was held by a loyal Yorkist.

It was only on the accession of King Henry VII that the attainder against the Welles family was reversed and John Welles, Joan and Robert’s uncle from their father’s second marriage inherited the titles and estates along with their cousin Christopher Willoughby. Even so, Sir Richard Hastings, who died in 1503 continued to be known as Lord Willoughby, a title which should have more properly belonged to Christopher Willoughby whose mother Cecily was a daughter of Lionel, 6th Lord Welles, who died at Towton.

Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk by Hans Holbein

And before I finish… if the name Willoughby is ringing bells its because Christopher’s son married Katherine of Aragon’s loyal lady in waiting Maria de Salinas. The couple had only one child, Katherine, who was a sole heiress to the Willoughby title and estates. She was supposed to have married the Duke of Suffolk’s son but instead found herself married to the duke, Charles Brandon, who was significantly older than she was. In 1546, after she was widowed there were rumours that King Henry VIII wanted to make her wife number seven, even though wife number six was alive and well at the time.

Sheriff Hutton, the Nevilles and a case of follow the lady.

Sheriff Hutton Castle

The castle at Sheriff Hutton, a few miles from York, was not always in the hands of the Neville family. It lay originally in the hands of the Lord of Bulmer who became the Sheriff of York during the reign of King Stephen. The family was also responsible for the building of Brancepth Castle. Sheriff Hutton passed out of the possession of the Bulmer family in 1166 and into the hands of the Neville family when Emma de Bulmer became its sole heiress after the death of her brother William. It is believed – though I will have to check more thoroughly- that the bull element of the Neville family crest is a reference to the Bulmer family.

A generation later Emma’s daughter, Isabella, became heiress in her turn after her brother Henry died without any heirs. She was married to a member of the FitzMaldred family which held Raby. When Isabella’s son inherited his parents property which included Raby castle he changed his name to Neville – becoming the first Neville owner of Raby Castle. Marriage also saw the Neville family acquire Middleham Castle.

The stone castle at Sheriff Hutton was built by John Neville during the fourteenth century and in 1377 he attained a charter to hold a regular market. John’s son Ralph became the first Earl of Westmorland. In 1425 land holdings which had been built up across Yorkshire and Durham by the Nevilles thanks to several centuries of judicious marriages was split. The earldom of Westmorland was inherited by Ralph’s eldest son from his first marriage whilst the Yorkshire properties were retained by his eldest son, Richard, from his second marriage to Joan Beaufort, the youngest of the four Beaufort children born to John of Gaunt and his long term mistress (not to mention third wife) Katherine Swynford.

The Neville Bull

Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by right of his wife, lost his life at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. The Yorkshire estates were inherited by his son, Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, once Edward IV ascended to the throne after the Battle of Towton the following year. He retained his Yorkshire castle inheritance until he was killed at the Battle of Barnet fighting against the Yorkists. The properties then passed by right of his younger daughter Anne Neville in the the hands of her husband, Richard Duke of Gloucester whose power base in the north was based on the old Neville affinity. Edward IV had no wish to hold the castles as Crown property. Richard was his loyal lieutenant in the north.

Senior, Janet, Sheriff Hutton and its Lords, (Leeds: Rosalba Press, 2000)

‘Parishes: Sheriff Hutton’, in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1923), pp. 172-187. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp172-187 [accessed 21 January 2022].

William Beauchamp – providing for a younger son and tracking inheritances

1st Baron Abergavenny

William Beauchamp was the 3rd surviving son of the 11th Earl of Warwick and his wife Katherine Mortimer, a daughter of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. William’s eldest brother Guy died in battle, his second brother became the 12th earl. Another brother died young. William who had been destined for the church found his career path changing. Ordinarily if not a clerical career he might have been expected to make his own way in the world either as a warrior or by a judicious marriage to an heiress. He served during the Hundred Years War when younger sons could bag considerable amounts of booty as well as establishing a reputation up on the field. By 1383 he was the Captain of Calais. And then his first cousin once removed died – conveniently.

John Hastings, 3rd Earl of Pembroke died at the end of December 1389. This earl had been married as a child to John of Gaunt’s daughter, Elizabeth. She had been seventeen at the time and decided that marriage to a child was not for her, was seduced by Richard II’s half brother John Holland and John of Gaunt had to unravel the marriage so that his daughter could marry her lover. Hastings, despite the embarrassment was something of a catch so ended up married to Philippa Mortimer who was the daughter of the 3rd Earl of March (making Philippa the great great grand daughter of the treasonous 1st earl). When Hastings was seventeen he took part in a joust and was struck by his opponents lance. He died from his injuries.

The earldom of Pembroke was allocated elsewhere but the baronage of Abergavenny had come into the Hastings family via the Cantilupe family. William de Cantaloupe died in 1254 and his claim to the barony was by right of his wife Eva de Braose. Hastings in his turn claimed the barony from his childless uncle’s estate, by right of his mother Joan. No clearer? Well if nothing else it shows that following the female line demonstrates the way families and power bases were knitted together throughout the medieval period.

But back to the Beauchamps. Young John Hastings grandmother was Agnes Mortimer, a sister of William’s mother Katherine. So there’s the relationship – 1st cousin, once removed. Parliament named him Baron Bergavenny by writ in 1392.

William made his healthy marriage to Joan FitzAlan the daughter of the executed Earl of Arundel in 1392. Like the Earl of Warwick, Arundel was a Lord Appellant. The groom was more than 30 years older than the bride. Joan was her brother’s co-heiress, when he died without children Joan received a substantial share of the estate.

When her husband died Joan retained dower rights to Abergavenny throughout her life time. Her son was never recognised as Baron Bergavenny in her lifetime. She died in November 1435.

Right – I think I need a strong coffee after all that!

Shouldham Priory

Shouldham village sign

Guy Beauchamp died in 1360 leaving two young daughters by his wife Philippa Ferrers who was descended from King Edward I. He predeceased his father by almost a decade. Rather than the Warwick estates and earldom passing to Katherine Beauchamp – Guy’s daughter the estate passed to Guy’s brother Thomas who became Earl of Warwick after his father’s death. It’s possible that Guys daughters were forced to become nuns so that their uncle could inherit. One daughter died during infant whilst the other, Katherine, had become a nun at Shouldham by 1369. At that time she was just sixteen.

Shouldham in Norfolk was a Gilbertine priory – a double house containing both monks and nuns separated down the middle of the priory church. It’s founder was Geoffrey FitzPiers – an earl of Essex who made his settlement upon the house circa 1197 during the reign of King Richard I. As well as a large manor and lands he also arranged for the new priory to receive a number of shops in London (Blomefield, An Essay, vol 7, pp.414-15 in Elkins, Holy Women, p.122). FtizPiers was buried there in 1212 with his first wife, Beatrice, who whose body was moved to Shouldham from Chicksands. FitzPiers’ son, William de Mandeville continued to patronise the foundation and was also buried there – it was this Earl of Essex who was noted for siding with the barons against King John . By 1248 Henry III granted a weekly market to the foundation.

A licence paid in 1386 to King Richard II revealed that the Beachamp family gave the priory lands in order for its inhabitants to pray for Guy Beauchamp who died in 1360, for his wife Philippa Ferrers and for Katherine their daughter who was still alive at the time. Katherine was not alone, her aunt Margaret was also a nun at Shouldham. Tilotson described Shouldham as ‘a convenient repository for embarrassing members of the family’ (Tillotson:p.4).

The link to the Beauchamp Earls of Warwick had been created when William Beauchamp, the 9th earl (who was a personal friend of King Edward I and noted for his military campaigns in Wales) married Matilda FitzJohn who was a great-great grand daughter of Geoffrey FitzPiers. Two of the couple’s daughters became nuns at Shouldham. The family continued to be associated with the priory until the reign of Henry VII.

Shouldham became associated with the imprisonment of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March’s daughters Margaret and Joan in 1324 but had been notorious before when Richard Mail bought a case against the prioress and the sisters claiming that they had assault him and ransacked his house.

The priory was dissolved during the reign of King Henry VIII having found to be worth £138, 18s, 1d and was the second wealthiest nunnery in Norfolk which is why it was saved from the first round of dissolution. Its respective wealth was in part because of the earlier patronage of the Beauchamp family. The priory’s Cromwellian visitors were Thomas Legh and John Ap Rice who described impropriety by two nuns. None-the-less the prioress received a pension in 1539 when the house was eventually dissolved. The priory manor remained in Crown hands until the reign of King Edward VI. It was sold in 1553 to Thomas Mildmay.

Blomfield, Francis, An Essay Towards the Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, volume 7, (London, 1807)

Ellins, Sharon K, Holy Women of Twelfth Century England, (1988)

Tillotson, John, H. Marrick Priory, A Nunnery in Late Medieval Yorkshire, (York, University of York, 1989)

‘House of Gilbertines: The priory of Shouldham’, in A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1906), pp. 412-414. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/norf/vol2/pp412-414 [accessed 12 January 2022].

Margaret Ferrers of Groby, Countess of Warwick

Illustration of funeral effigies of Margaret and her husband at St Mary’s Church, Warwick

Yesterday I explored the Beauchamp link to the Mortimer family. The Beauchamps allied themselves to the Mortimer claim to the Crown in 1405. Katherine Mortimer’s second son Thomas became the 12th Earl of Warwick. This earl was a Lord Appellant who acted against Richard II. In 1397 he was charged with treason having been lured to London. The Beauchamp Tower gets its name from his incarceration there. It was a bit of a tricky time as he lost his estates, spent a year on the Isle of Man and then returned to the Tower. He was released when Richard II was deposed. Perhaps unsurprisingly he was not a huge fan of Richard and his was one of the voices urging King Henry IV to rid himself permanently of his cousin.

However, I’m supposed to be posting about the earl’s wife. Margaret Ferrers of Groby who came before Richard II on October 13 1397 to plead her husband’s case. The king was at Westminster and it was recorded that he was so incensed that he threatened to have her executed. Margaret’s father, William 3rd Baron Ferrers of Groby, was a descendent of King Edward I and her mother, Margaret d’Ufford, was a daughter and co-heiress of the Earl of Suffolk.

Margaret was not an heiress, she was younger than her husband and they were married by 1380. Her husband became earl because his elder brother Guy predeceased their father. Guy had been married to Philippa de Ferrers.She joined a confraternity at St Albans in that year as the Countess of Warwick. Although the marriage did not bring wealth it did bring closer ties to the Warwickshire gentry. William Lord Groby had consolidated his land holdings in the county. In addition to the benefits of local politics, Margaret was related not only to the earls of Suffolk but through her father’s second marriage to the Percy family. Somewhat ironically, the Ferrers of Groby would be replaced by the Grey family when Elizabeth Ferrers became the heir to the family lands including those at Stebbing in Essex which came into the family with Margaret d’Ufford.

Margaret was widowed in 1401 but did not outlive Thomas by many years, dying in 1407 having provided her husband with a son Richard who inherited his father’s title.

Katherine Mortimer, Countess of Warwick

Illustration of tkatherine Mortimer’s tomb in the quire of St Mary’s Church, Warwick

Ann Neville and her sister were descended through their mother from Roger Mortimer 1st Earl of March – the one who rebelled against Edward II, escaped for the Tower, came to an arrangement with Edwad’s wife Isabella of France , deposed the king, became regent and was finally executed for treason – it’s quite a resume when all’s said and done.

Suffice it to say that for a short while he was the most powerful man in England but Katherine’s marriage had taken place before her father became the focus for rebels angry with the king and his favourites. He was very much in the king’s camp on the side of Edward, the king’s cousin and rival Thomas of Lancaster being a rival of the Mortimers in the Marches. It helped that Mortimer had once been the ward of Piers Galveston, the king’s murdered favourite.

Mortimer went to Ireland and following the Scottish victory at Bannockburn in 1314 faced Robert the Bruce’s brother Edward. In December 1315 he lost the Battle of Kells before returning to the marches where he was required to put down a Welsh uprising.

As a consequence Mortimer’s star began to rise at court and he set about consolidating his own inheritance as well as the lands he acquired by his marriage to Joan de Geneville. One such consolidation involved settling a dispute with the Beauchamp family over the lordship of Elfael. The dispute arose when one of Mortimer’s vassals died in 1315. The argument lived on even after the Earl of Warwick who claimed the land for his own died the following year. The matter was concluded with the marriage of his young daughter Katherine to Thomas Beauchamp, who had become the earl of Warwick at the age of two, and who was just three years old at the time the agreement was made. Warwick became Mortimer’s ward so young Katherine did not need to leave her home at Ludlow Castle when she was initially married. A papal dispensation as required as the young couple shared a common ancestor within the prohibited degree. A similarly advantageous marriage was made by Mortimer for another daughter Joan to James Audley, the grandson of another marcher lord. As one of eight daughters and four sons Katherine was part of Mortimer’s plan to secure his role in the marches.

Katherine escaped the wrath of Edward II when her three older sisters Margaret, Joan and Isabella were sent to a nunnery in 1324. Unlike Despenser’s daughters they were not forced to take the veil and they were released when Mortimer assumed power with Isabella in 1327. And already being married to an earl, Katherine was not part of her father’s plans to marry off his children to arrange marriages into the royal family and to other rich and powerful men. Beatrice Mortimer found herself married to Edward I’s grandson.

Katherine, who was just sixteen when her father was executed, had a large family of some fifteen children with her husband. Nor did Edward III hold a grudge against the daughter of his father’s enemy. She rose to become a significant part of the royal household whilst her husband became a military commander of the Hundred Years War as well as being one of the founding members of the Order of the Garter. She died on August 4th 1369 having made her will leaving £20 to the friars of Shrewsbury. Three months later her husband died in Calais from the Black Death. His body was transported home and the earl was buried beside Katherine in St Mary’s Church, Warwick. The church was rebuilt by the earl using loot from his victories in France. It was said that rebuilding began with the payment of a ransom from the Archbishop of Sens. Their tomb shows the couple holding hands.

Ian Mortimer (2004) The Greatest Traitor: the Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330

Jean de Wavrin, Lord of Forestel

De Wavrin’s Chronicle – The British Library Board: Royal 15 E iv vol 1, f. 14

De Wavrin was born at the turn of the fifteenth century. Jean’s father was killed at Agincourt as was his brother. Jean having lost his family, and being an illegitimate descendent of the house of Artois, continued to fight alongside the French army until 1435 when he entered into the employment of the Duke of Burgundy who was an ally of the English. Eventually de Wavrin retired from a career as a professional soldier, married and settled down with a wife in Lille. It helped that she was a rich widow.

He was an avid book collector and amateur chronicler. In effect history was one of his hobbies. From 1445 onwards he began to write a chronicle of English history in four volumes which he finished in 1455 with the death of King Henry IV. Before long he commenced a fifth volume and continued writing about the history of England until 1471 by which time he was on his sixth volume.

Wavrin’s work was not undertaken for patronage and as such the work is not only extensive it is also uncritical. The period covering the Wars of the Roses is not so disinterested. It should be remembered that de Wavrin favoured the House of York because of his association with Burgundy and its alliance with the Yorkist kings. He even presented a copy of his history to Edward IV which can, today, be found in The British Library.

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Royal_MS_15_E_IV

What makes the chronicle unique is that he knew the people that he was writing about and presents the Wars of the Roses from a European perspective. What’s not helpful is that he is not always accurate- perhaps in part because he was not a fan of the Lancastrians. My current interest comes from his description of the relationship between Edward IV, his brother George and the Earl of Warwick and the role played by the Woodville family in the breakdown of the family relationship.

Robin of Redesdale or Robin Mend-all

In April 1469 parts of the north rose in rebellion against Edward IV. John Neville, the Earl of Northumberland – the Percy family having been displaced for a time – put down the rebellion killing Robin, if Polydore Vergil is to be believed. A second leader took on Robin’s authority and name and the rebellion continued. it’s worth pointing out that John was the Kingmaker’s brother and that the Kingmaker, a.k.a the Earl of Warwick, orchestrated the uprising. Amongst the rebels demands was the removal of the Woodville family from power.

The real identity of Robin is unknown. He may have been Sir John Conyers or his brother William. Sir John was Middelham’s steward, related by marriage to the Nevilles and would fight alongside the kingmaker at the Battle of Edgecote in July 1469. Conyers was one of the casualties of the battle. Equally, it seems unlikely that Warwick’s brother would put down a rebellion fermented by the Kingmaker. An alternative source for the uprising might be the Percy family who had suffered a serious setback at Towton when their rivals the Nevilles emerged victorious and the Lancastrian king was toppled from power. The north became a Neville stronghold and in 1464 Neville became the Earl of Northumberland – which did not go down well with the locals. It should also be added that the rebels weren’t keen on the tax situation. None-the-Less the Warkwarth Chronicle places the blame for the rebellion squarely on the shoulders of Warwick.

Part of the problem in terms of understanding the rebellion, or even rebellions, and its participants is that the chronicles are often written at a later date and/or by writers living in the south. The Croyland Chronicler was not a fan of anyone who lived north of the River Trent – which isn’t even the north in He-who-is-occasionally-obeyed’s opinion but then he comes from Cumbria and most of the country is the south so far as he’s concerned. The other problem is that there’s no record of trials – there is a set of records sent to Calais (remember Warwick was the Captain of Calais)

The Dacre beasts

The Dacre beasts on display at the V & A

Not royal but impressive none-the-less standing at 6ft tall. Thomas Lord Dacre fought at Bosworth. Fortunately for him he backed Henry Tudor. Three years later he eloped with the heiress Elizabeth Greystoke. Think I might want to do a bit more research about that – one person’s elopement is another person’s kidnap and abduction of an heiress. Anyway, Henry VII didn’t seem bothered about the abrupt nature of the union and in 1503 Thomas was knighted. Henry VIII made him a knight of the garter after the Battle of Flodden.

Dacre died in 1525 and the Dacre beasts were used for his funeral. All four of the animals were carved from a single piece of oak and its speculated that they were created before 1525 for a tournament of some description. They avoided disaster in 1844 when Naworth Castle went up in flames.

The creatures are the so-called Dolphin of Greystoke; a ram which is probably the Multon lamb; the red bull of Dacre and the de Faux griffon.