On this day: 8 June

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Earl of March/Edward IV, George Nevill, Archbishop of York, On this day...


Edward IV of England sacks George Nevill, archbishop of York, as chancellor of England. He personally goes to Nevill’s house and removes the Great Seals. Some days earlier, Nevill had sent word that he won’t be attending parliament due to illness. Nevill’s brother, Richard earl of Warwick, was in France at this time. It has been speculated that the king sacked Nevill in order to curb his older brother’s ambitions, but it is also possible that, in Warwick’s absence, George Nevill was causing Edward a good deal of irritation with his constant lecturing.


The earl of Warwick meets with Louis XI of France, where the seeds are sown for Warwick’s reconciliation with Margaret of Anjou, his daughter’s marriage to her son and Henry VI’s (brief) return to his throne.


Death of George  Nevill, archbishop of York and three times chancellor of England.

George was born c 1432 and was the youngest son (and 7th child) of Richard Nevill and Alice Montacute, earl and countess of Salisbury. George studied at Oxford and later became a benefactor of the university. He was given the vacant bishopric of Exeter in 1455 and was enthroned as archbishop of York on 15 March 1465.

George was inextricably entwined in his brother Richard Nevill earl of Warwick’s plotting and rebellion against the king, 1468-1471, capturing Edward at one point and holding him prisoner at Middleham castle.

In July 1469, George officiated at the wedding of his niece, Isobel, with George duke of Clarence.

He was reappointed chancellor during Warwick and Clarence’s government (the Readeption of Henry VI) 1470-1. When Warwick and his brother John marquis Montagu went to meet Edward IV’s army, George was left in charge of London, with strict instructions to prevent Edward’s entry. The practical George, however, could see the impossibility of this and opened the gates of the city to Edward and his followers. He was pardoned after his brothers’ deaths at Barnet, but was arrested for treason in April 1472 and sent to a prison in France. He was allowed to return to England in November 1474, but his health was broken, if not his spirits. He was no more than 44 when he died.

John Sherwood, later bishop of Durham, visited George in France where he taught him the mathematical game rithmomachia, later writing a manual of the game at George’s request. This book was eventually published in 1482.

(The philosophers’ game: rithmomachia in medieval and renaissance Europe, Ann E Moyer)


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