Archive for February, 2012


George duke of Clarence is executed in the Tower of London, possibly drowned in his bath. He was convicted of treason against his brother, Edward IV.

On this day: 17 February

Posted: February 17, 2012 in 2nd St Albans


The forces of Margaret of Anjou, under the command of  Henry Beaufort duke of Somerset, defeat Richard Nevill earl of Warwick and his brother John at the battle of St Albans. Warwick makes his escape, travelling west to find Edward earl of March (duke of York since his father’s death at Wakefield, 30 December 1460). John (now lord Montagu) is captured and imprisoned in York, his life is spared as Somerset’s brother, Edmund, is bottled up in Guisnes Castle and, essentially, at Warwick’s mercy.

Sir Thomas Kyriell and William lord Bonville, who remained at their posts guarding the king, Henry VI, are executed.

from the Short English Chronicle

And a none after the quene reysed all the northe and all [other] pepull by the wey, compelled, dispoyled, rubbed and distroyed all maner of cattell, vetayll and riches to Seint Albones, where the Duke of Northefolke, the Erle of Warwyke and meny [other] lordis with Kynge Harrye and grete multitude of comynes and ordynaunce mett with hem with batayle, and slewe myche pepull on bothe the parties. And there Kynge Harry brake his othe and grement made be twene hym and his trewe lordis, and so wyckedly for sworne went to the contrary parte of the northe, and disseyved his trewe lordis that stode in grete jopardy for his sake, Northeffolke, Warwyke, with other moo, whiche were full fayne to scape with her lyves, and the Lord Bonvyle and Sir Thomas Kyryell, that bode with the kyng and trusted on him, for he graunted to save them; and they were be hedid evyn a for the quene and prince so called at that tyme. And so the kynge and quene purposed for to come to London and do excucion upon suche persones as was a yenes the quene, but the comynes of the cite wolde not suffer hem, nor none of herrys, to entyr in to London; and so they torned northewarde.


Birth of Mary of Burgundy to Charles duke of Burgundy and Isabelle of Bourbon. After the death of his wife Isobel Nevill in 1476, George duke of Clarence and his sister (Mary’s stepmother) Margaret duchess of Burgundy, discussed a marriage between George and Mary. Edward IV intervened and the proposed marriage didn’t go ahead.

In 1477, Mary married Maximilian archduke of Austria. She died in 1482.

Things you find when you’re looking for something else…

Letter from John Fastolf to John Paston, 5 February 1454:

Worshipful Sir and cousin, I recommend me to you, and like you to weet that I have a tally with my cousin Fenn of 500 marks and more, for to be changed upon such places as a man might have most speedily payment; and I pray you heartily to commune with the said Fenn, that I might be ensured of the said tally to be exchanged, and for what reward component to be given upon the same I will agree to it.

Item, I desire to know what be the residue, the remnant, of the co-executors of the Lord Willoughby, now the Lord Cromwell is deceased; for this cause it was so, that there was due to the Lord Willougbhy and to me 10,000 marks for a reward to be paid of my Lord Bedford’s goods, for the taking of the Duke of Alencon.

And the said Lord Willoughby had but 1000 marks paid, and I 1000 marks so 8000 remains yet to pay; of which sum, 4000 must grow to the executors of the said Lord Willoughby to dispose.

And therefore I desire that the executors, and such as most have interest in the Lord Willoughby’s goods, may be communed with; that they may make pursuit of payment of the said 4000 marks, for his part to be had, and I shall make for my part.

And if Master Nevile, the which has wedded my Lady Willoughby, have power or interest to receive the Lord Willoughby’s debts, then he to be laboured unto. And my Lord of Salisbury will be a great helper in this cause.

The king, which is supervisor of my Lord Bedford’s testament, has written and commanded by sundry letters that the said Lord Willoughby should be content for his part; and so much the matter is the forwarder.

And there is one Young, a servant of the Lord Willoughby, which pursued this matter; if he were in London he could give good information upon this matter.

I pray you write to me how my matters do, and of such novelties as ye have there, and our Lord have you in his keeping.

Written at Caister hastily, the 5th day of February, in the 34th year of King Harry VIth.

Your cousin, John Fastolf.

The ‘Lord Cromwell’ referred to in this letter is Henry Stanhope, Maud’s brother.

As I haven’t seen Lord Willoughby’s will, I don’t know how this amount might have been divided between his widow and his daughter. Given Maud’s straitened circumstances, I suspect that even half of 8,000 marks would have been most welcome. How much Thomas Nevill or his father might have pursued the matter if all (or even most) were to end up in Joan Welles’s hands is another matter. I have no idea how it all turned out, as there is no further reference to it in the Paston Letters.

On this day: 11 February

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Elizabeth of York


Birth of a daughter, Elizabeth, to Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Wydeville. On 18 January 1486, she married Henry VII. She was crowned in November 1487. She and Henry had seven children, four surviving to adulthood, including the future Henry VIII.


Death of Elizabeth of York, wife and queen of Henry VII.

What I thought I knew about Maud Stanhope when I began this piece of work

• she was pretty much the same age as her second husband, Thomas Nevill (extrapolated from Hick’s description of her, in Warwick the Kingmaker, as a ‘youthful widow’ and her possible age (mid teens) at her first wedding);

• she’d married Thomas because, as a widow, the choice of who (or if) to remarry was entirely hers;

• she married one sir Gervase Clyfton (a man I knew nothing about) some time after Thomas’s death;

• she died a rich old lady.

Not a lot to be going on, and 75% wrong! Still, historical novels have been written on less than this… And it wasn’t supposed to be Maud’s story, anyway. Thomas was the important one.

Well, now she’s muscled her way to the front, jumped up and down waving her arms just to make sure she has my attention. And boy, does she have it!

She hasn’t eclipsed Tom, but now her story carries him as much as his carries her.

Every source I got my hands on led me to at least one more. And every piece of information I got blew my preconceptions, neoconceptions and quasiconceptions out of the water. Now I have the last piece of the puzzle in my hand … there’s no stopping me!

I’ve written quite a lot already, covering 1453-8, but it needs work and it needs finishing.

The Feast will be a little quiet for a while. I’ll be uploading some On this day posts to keep things ticking over, but no new big posts.

Just before I go, I want to share one last little thing. Trying to sum up Maud’s story in a single sentence, I came up with this:

Beside every disaster in her life, every change of fortune, every act of folly
was written the name of a man.


On this day: 2 February

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Mortimers Cross


Battle of Mortimer’s Cross. Edward, earl of March, has learned of the deaths at the battle of Wakefield and prepares to return to London with troops raised in the Welsh marches. He met the forces of Jasper Tudor earl of Pembroke, and his father Owen at Mortimer’s Cross, some 30km north of Hereford.

A parhelion was seen in the sky, which caused Edward’s troops some concern. Being reassured that this was a sign that God was on their side, Edward’s small army defeated the Tudors. Jasper made his escape but Owen, widower of queen Catherine de Valios, was executed.

Edward later took the sun in splendour as his personal badge.

(This image is from a commercial website. I have no connection to the site or the business.)