Archive for the ‘Thomas Nevill’ Category

I thought I’d share part of my research and writing process, using Richard Welles as an example. It goes something like this:

• There’s this person whose name crops up from time to time in connection with one or other of the Nevills;

• I know nothing or next to nothing about them;

• I think ‘Oh, well, they’re not really all that important at this point, so long as I get the bits I do know right”.

• They keep cropping up in more and more contexts, until finally…

• I find myself asking awkward questions I can’t answer.

In Welles’ case the current awkward question is: “If, as they did, Welles and his wife, Maud Stanhope’s stepdaughter, harried her out of her dower lands, and as this affected her second husband, Thomas Nevill, how on earth did the Nevills and the Welles’ end up being so close?” Close enough for Welles to have a substantial role in the Archbishop of York’s enthronement feast; and close enough for Welles and his son, Robert, to lead the Lincolnshire rebellion on Warwick’s behalf and, sadly, both lose their lives as a result.

Maud did get her dower lands back and she and Thomas both lived there for a time (as she did with her third husband, Gervase Clyfton). The only thing I can find that tells me this is a reference in official records that mentions Thomas as ‘Sir Thomas Nevill of Eresby’ in 1459. (Eresby being where Maud’s dower lands were.) In 1460, Richard Welles, up until then a staunch supporter of Henry VI, swore himself to Edward IV. Five years after that, he was acting as carver at George Nevill’s big feast. Four years after that, he was executed after confessing his part, Warwick’s and Clarence’s in the Lincolnshire rebellion.

I don’t know anything about the state of Maud’s relationship with her stepdaughter, beyond Maud being forced from her dowerlands. While that might suggest that the two weren’t particular friends, it could also have been a case of  ‘nothing personal’. I recently came across an intriguing few snippets referring to an ongoing property dispute between Henry Fitzhugh and his sister Joan, wife of lord Scrope of Bolton. Seems there was a garden in York that each swore their father had given, bestowed upon or left them. I’ve found nothing that suggests any ill feeling between the Fitzhugh siblings, or between Henry and John Scrope. I haven’t followed the story through to whatever the outcome might have been. That’s a task for another time.

Maud’s first husband, Robert Lord Willoughby, died in July 1452. In January the following year, Maud was granted her dower lands. From the relevant Privy Council Proceedings:

To the escheator in Lincolnshire. Order to take of Maud who was wife of Robert Wylughby knight an oath, etc., and in presence of Joan daughter and heir of the said Robert, or of her attorneys, to assign dower to the said Maud.

To Geoffrey Fyldyng mayor of the city of Lincoln and escheator therein. Order to assign dower to the said Maud, of whom the king has commanded the escheator in Lincolnshire to take an oath etc.

Some little while after this, Maud was forced to flee Eresby for sanctuary with her uncle, Ralph Lord Cromwell, at Tattershall.

The best I can say at the moment is that some time between her marriage to Thomas Nevill in August 1453 and 1459, Maud did enter into her dower lands and from then until his death in December 1460, that was Thomas Nevill’s principle place of residence.

In December 1454, Maud’s mother died at Tuxford in Nottinghamshire. Though I don’t have a firm record of this, Maud and her husband may have attended the Inquisition Post Mortem. As subsequent events would show, Thomas wasn’t known for sitting back and waiting for officials and executors to sort things out. He tended to take a more proactive approach. So I’m left, failing any firm evidence, with conjecture to fall back on: a meeting between the two men, the tentative beginnings of a friendship, a level of rapprochement between Maud and her step-son-in-law, steps taken towards getting the property at Eresby back into Maud’s hands. And the foundations of a friendship between the two men that, after Thomas’s death and Welles coming to terms with the new Yorkist king, was easily transferred to the earl of Warwick. Given Maud’s later dealings with John Nevill (which I’m not going to tell you about here – I have to hold something back!), any connection forged between her and Welles during her second marriage could have possibly acted as a layer of glue holding the two families together. Of course, Maud alone couldn’t have been responsible for the closeness of the ties between Welles and Warwick that allowed, at great peril to himself, Richard Welles Lord Willoughby and his son, Robert Lord Welles, to stir and lead a rebellion on Warwick’s behalf.

What I’d really like to find (and I’ve hunted for it, trust me!) is a clear reference to when Maud and Thomas got control of the Eresby lands. I don’t mind Making Crap Up if I have no choice, but I’d rather not have to. So, until I don’t have to, I’ll be doing the best I can with what little I have.


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.

In Sir Richard Roos: Lancastrian poet, Ethel Seaton deciphers anagrams in Roos’s poems in order to piece together just who and what the poems were about. Now, I’m not at all sure I fully understand the process, nor am I entirely sure how sound this process is, but using these clues, she has attributed two poems (one in the Devonshire ms and one in the Egerton ms) to Roos; the first written for Thomas Nevill and the second for Gervase Clyfton. (Both have also been attributed to sir Thomas Wyatt.) I linked to both of these in my last blog, but I thought it might be worth including them here in full:

Thomas’s poem

Ye know my herte my ladye dere
that sins the tyme I was  yor thrall
I have bene yors bothe hole and clere
tho my rewarde hathe bene but small
so am I yet and more then all
And ye kno well how I haue serued
as yf ye prove it shall apere
howe well / how longe
how faithefulye
and soffred wrong
how patientlye
then sins that I have neuer swarfde
let not my paines be ondeserude

Ye kno also though ye saye naye
that you alone are my desire
and you alone yt is that maye
asswage my fervent flaming fire
Soccor me then I you require
Ye kno yt ware a Iust request
sins ye do cause my heat I saye
yf that I bourne
that ye will warme
and not to tourne
all to my harme
sending soch flame from frossen brest
againste nature for my vnreste

And I kno well how scornefullye
ye have mistane my true entente
and hidreto how wrongfullye
I have founde cause for to repente
but if yor herte doth not relente
sins I do kno that this ye kno
ye shall fle me all wilfullye
for me and myne
and all I have
ye maye assine
to spill or save
whye are ye then so cruell foo
vnto yor owne that lovis you so.

from The Devonshire Manuscript

This poem need not suggest that Thomas was in love with his wife. It may have been commissioned for the wedding celebrations as an honour to the bride. It certainly celebrates the ideals of courtly love  – the faithful lover, the disdain of his lady love – and one suspects a man hostile, or even indifferent, to his bride might not have thought to have such a poem written. I’ve said before that the Nevills seems to have had remarkable luck with their marriage partners, or perhaps wise parents who cared enough about their children’s happiness to choose well, or maybe they were just determined not to spend their lives in marital misery and worked at it. Whatever the reality of it, I have a sense that, at the very least, their marriage began with hope, and perhaps the promise, of lasting affection. Whether that was sustained and sustainable is another matter.

Gervase’s poem

To seke eche where, where man doth lyve,
The See, the land, the Rock, the clyve,
Fraunce, Spayne and Ind and every where
Is none a greater gift to gyve,
Lesse sett by oft and is so lyff and dere,
Dare I well say than that I gyve to yere.
I cannot gyve browches nor Ringes,
Thes goldsmythes work and goodly thinges,
Piery nor perle oryente and clere,
But for all that is no man bringes
Leffer Juell vnto his lady dere,
Dare I well say, then that I gyve to yere.
Nor I seke not to fetche it farr,
Worse is it not tho it be narr,
And as it is it doeth appere
Vncontrefaict mistrust to barr,

Left hole and pure withouten pere,
Dare I well say the gift I gyve to yere.
To the therefore the same retain;
The like of the to have again,
Fraunce would I gyve if myn it were;
Is none alyve in whome doeth rayne
Lesser disdaine; frely, therfore, lo here,
Dare I well gyve, I say, my hert to yere.

from Collected Poems of Thomas Wyatt

This poem is to my ear much more straightforward than the first. Clyfton didn’t need to have the words dressed up in the imagery of courtly love, though there is certainly some there. He isn’t a poor man, exactly, nor without honour and position, but he is poorer than his wife. She is the one endowing him with wordly gifts, all he has to give her is his heart.

Guesswork based on very little information can be fun… It can also lead you down totally erroneous pathways, but if you don’t have the information, how do you know?

So, I have the information now and travelling the right path is going to be so much more rewarding than anything mere guesswork can provide – for me and everyone else. There’s still a little of that, mind you…

So, I’ve talked a little bit about Maud and Thomas’s marriage (and here) and about Gervase Clyfton before. Not quite totally wrong, but close enough. There are times when being wrong can be bitter and close to unbearable. This is not one of those times. I’ve linked both those posts to this one, coz this one is definitive! Um, well… As close to it as I can get, and that’s a good deal closer than I was at the start of all this.

Near the end of my Gervase Clyfton post, I suggested three possible reasons why Maud married him. I can now say, with very little uncertainty, that it was reason #1. She loved him.

Pretty much the whole of this post is based on two articles by Dr Rhoda Friedrichs: The Remarriage of Elite Widows in the Later Middle Ages and Rich Old Ladies Made Poor: The vulnerability of women’s property in late medieval England. The first one I stumbled upon, the second I knew about but couldn’t access. I got in touch with Dr Friedrichs, who very kindly sent me a copy. In the meantime, the Article Fairy blessed me once more and I now have a two copies! (Thanks, Susan!) As with many much anticipated events, the arrival of the article was tinged with a little ‘what if I’ve set so much store by this and it’s not what I hoped for?’. But it was… and more! So, from those two articles, some bits and pieces from the Patent Rolls of Henry VI and Edward IV, as well as Edward IV’s Close Rolls, and some flavour courtesy of Richard Roos, I present to you:

Marriage & the Nevills: Robert, Thomas, Gervase and Maud – the director’s cut


Maud Stanhope’s life was turbulent and tumultuous to say the least. It didn’t begin that way, though. The oldest of three children born to Richard Stanhope and Maud Cromwell, she was probably destined to marry into comfortable and safe Nottingham gentry. Her father had children from a previous marriage, and her full brother Henry was set to inherit both their mother’s property and that of their uncle, Ralph Lord Cromwell. (Cromwell was a large figure in Maud’s life, both during his lifetime and after his death.) Apart from her brother, Maud had a sister Jane, who was two years younger than her. At the time of Maud’s first marriage, neither she nor Jane had much to recommend them as brides of noblemen – they preferred wives who could bring them wealth or, particularly for younger sons, titles. Maud had neither.

Before, and for some time during, her first marriage, Maud held a position in the household of the duchess of Gloucester. Here she met, among others, Gervase Clyfton (Gloucester’s treasurer) and William Nevill lord Fauconberg. What her relationship with the former might have been isn’t known, but she seems to have carried on a ‘courtly’ love affair with Fauconberg before being replaced in his affections by Barbelina Herberquyne, a member of Margaret of Anjou’s household. In Roos’s poetry, Maud is consistently associated with Mercury’s gift of eloquence and a fondness for argument. It would seem that she was a woman of some intelligence and not a little learning. In later life, her willingness to argue her case deserted her only once. After the downfall of first the duchess of Gloucester and later the duke, Maud left court to live with her husband in Lincolnshire.

Around 1448, Uncle Cromwell found Maud a husband. He was a widower of mature years with a grown up daughter of his own. On her marriage to him, Maud would gain herself a title – Lady Willougbby – but little by way of wealth. Robert Willoughby was not a rich man. He owed Cromwell money and wasn’t in a position to pay up. So the two men struck up a deal. Cromwell’s niece, Maud, would marry Lord Willoughby, with the debt written off against her dowry. Maud gave her consent to this, but whether she was happy in her marriage, we don’t know. It would seem that there was some resentment from her step-daughter Joan, then married to Robert Lord Welles. Joan no doubt feared that her father’s new bride, who was just a year older than her, would do something stupid like have a son, thus depriving Joan of an inheritance she’d have been counting on for most of her life. She needn’t have worried – the Willoughbys had no children.

When Robert died in July 1452, Joan Welles and her husband immediately took steps to secure her late father’s property, including Maud’s dower. Maud was forced to flee Eresby for the sanctuary of her uncle’s castle at Tattershall. Though her mother was still alive, and living at Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, Maud didn’t seek shelter with her. Maybe there was more room at Tattershall for Maud and her household.

By this time, Henry Stanhope had died, leaving Maud and Joan as Cromwell’s joint heirs. As the expected practice was for a rich man to leave one third of his property to his wife, one third to his heirs and one third for the salvation of his soul, and as Cromwell was a very rich man indeed, suddenly Maud became a much more attractive marriage prospect. She should have had both social and financial independence, and the right to choose who (or whether) to remarry. In reality, she was in need of a protector, someone who could secure and safeguard her current and potential property. Like, say, young Richard Nevill had done when his wife came into her sudden and unexpected inheritance. The Nevills were good people for Cromwell to turn to, and not only for Maud’s sake. Cromwell had troubles of his own and was in need of powerful support. Allying himself to the Nevills, and giving Maud into the hands of an energetic young man like Thomas, the earl of Salisbury’s second son, might just be the answer to both their problems. In May 1453, the marriage contract was sealed. In August, the wedding took place at Tattershall castle.


In December 1454, Maud’s mother died. In Lady Stanhope’s Inquisition Post Mortem, Maud is said to be 30. I had been working on the premise that she and Thomas were the same age, but she was some 5 years older than him. Clearly, this age difference bothered neither of them, as both were quick to consent to the match. For Maud, it offered a way out of what must have been a most embarrassing poverty and an imposition on her uncle and aunt. That it was an imposition is borne out by the fact that Cromwell billed her for her household’s expenses during her months at Tattershall. Maud hadn’t been expecting this and it’s likely it distressed her on two counts: she didn’t have any money, and he was the one she’d turned to in her time of need – family are supposed to cheerfully help out under such circumstances. (Judge Judy, I’m sure, would have made mincemeat of Uncle Ralph – one suspects that he would have got an iconic “You’re an idiot!” or two.)

A poem in the Devonshire ms, often attributed to Thomas Wyatt, may have been written by Richard Roos for Thomas Nevill, possibly to be recited during the wedding festivities.

I can make few guesses about the state of Thomas and Maud’s marriage. They had no children, and the birthplaces of children can be a very useful guide as to how much time a couple spent together. Where they lived, either together or separately, during their seven year marriage is pretty much a matter of guesswork. They started their married life at Middleham Castle and I suspect they stayed there for the last three months of 1453 and much, if not all, of 1454. Thomas was, at this time, up to his eyeballs in Percy and Maud was homeless.

Late in 1453, a ‘Lady Willoughby’ is listed amongst the guests attending Margaret of Anjou’s churching. Now, Maud used this title right up until she inherited the Cromwell title from her sister, but it could refer to her step-daughter, Joan Welles. They may both have been there, which might have been awkward had Maud not been surrounded by the dazzling display that was the Nevill women, which included the most dazzling of them all – the Countess of Warwick; and had there not been other, more pressing and more prominent examples of bad blood on display. In the interests of not bombarding the reader with too many minor characters, I have chosen to leave the step-daughter out of the picture altogether, except when Maud allows a stray thought about the bitch Joan to pass through her mind.

In February 1456, Jane Stanhope married Humphrey Bourchier, a nephew of the Duke of York. Thomas and Maud may well have attended the wedding, which was probably, like Maud’s, celebrated at Tattershall. The next time they were there was later in the year when they, along with Jane and her husband, attended Cromwell’s funeral.

Of Cromwell’s funeral, and the revelation of the terms of his will, Friedrichs has this to say: “The Nevilles may or may not have had detailed information about the extent of Cromwell’s wealth, but they certainly had the evidence of their eyes: well over a hundred manors and buildings in over a dozen counties, with a solid core in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, palatial manor houses, three of them newly built, costly furnishings and adornments, over a hundred horses in the stables, and a reputed annual expenditure of over £5,000. There was also the presumption that one of them would acquire the title of Lord Cromwell.”

Thomas was about to get his reward for rescuing Maud from financial embarrassment. One third of Cromwell’s wealth, shared between the two sisters and their husbands, would have represented a great deal. Given that Lady Cromwell predeceased her husband, that should have risen to two thirds. Cromwell, however, had changed his will. Maud and Jane were to get property to the value of 500 marks per annum each – a tiny fraction of what they were expecting. Their husbands tried everything they could to change this state of affairs, from attempting to negotiate with the executors to seizing goods and property by force. Thomas must have been bitterly disappointed and I can only think that Maud must have felt deeply let down by her uncle. But a will is a will and there was nothing to be done. Thomas Nevill was certainly better off than he might otherwise have been, but that wouldn’t have been much consolation. No decision at that time seems to have been made regarding the Cromwell title.

The sisters did get the plum property – Tattershall was theirs to share, though not its contents. Until Jane’s death in 1481 it doesn’t seem to have been Maud’s principle place of residence. Where she and Thomas lived, I don’t know, but I was most gratified to find that my carefully worked out premise that they lived in a Cromwell manor at Bleasby in Nottinghamshire has turned out to be at least plausible – it was one of the manors Maud was forced to turn over to Anthony Wydeville in 1465 (see below). I’ve put them there because it’s nice and central – not too far from Tuxford (which Maud also inherited), Tattershall and Nottingham. Maud’s third husband styled himself ‘of Eresby’, and Eresby was where Maud’s once lost dower property was. Though I haven’t found any record of how and when she got this back, it does seem that she did and that was where she lived while married to Gervase Clyfton.

Another thing I don’t know is what comprised her jointure and what property Thomas owned in his own right, so what she may have inherited from her second marriage is a mystery.

After John Nevill’s marriage to Isobel Ingoldisthorpe in May 1457, and Warwick’s departure for Calais, Thomas served as his brother’s lieutenant in the West March. This may have precipitated a move north, but again I don’t know that for certain. I’ve put them temporarily in Carlisle, for plot reasons more than anything else, but if they were there, it wasn’t for long.

In 1459, the Nevills and their ally, the Duke of York, were starting to feel the heat. York was, at the time, Henry VI’s chief councillor, but the King’s confidence in him wasn’t shared by his Queen. Three parties set off for York’s castle at Ludlow – Warwick coming from Calais and the Nevills from Middleham. On the way, the earl of Salisbury and his sons, Thomas and John, (and possibly in company with his countess) engaged the forces of Lords Audley and Dudley at Blore Heath. Salisbury won the day but lost his sons. Though the details are sketchy, it seems they were separated from the main Nevill force, either chasing the defeated enemy or held up due to an injury to one of them, and were captured. They spent the next year or so in Chester Castle. The rest of the Yorkists, including the countess of Salisbury, fled England, having been attainted for treason.

Where was Maud? I’ve not come across a suggestion that she shared her husband’s captivity. Like the other wives of the missing Yorkists, with the exception of the countess of Salisbury, she was specifically excluded from the charges against her husband. Though Thomas’s property was subject to forfeit, hers was not. It must have been a worrying time for everyone.

Thomas and John were released after the Yorkist victory at Northampton. He and Maud would have been reunited at some point. Maud was clearly not a diehard Yorkist, and she may have been uncomfortable with the actions of her husband’s family. She might even have shared the political views of her third husband and begun to distance herself from the Nevills. Thomas was killed the following year at the battle of Wakefield. Maud had been his wife for seven years. Their marriage had rescued her from financial distress and they had shared the disappointment of her curtailed inheritance and the struggle to win a larger share. However she felt about him, and whatever the state of their marriage, his death must have come as something of a blow. She didn’t, however, spend much time in mourning.


Just when and how Maud and Gervase Clyfton became reacquainted I don’t know. It would seem that she knew him from her days at court, when he was Duke Humphrey of Gloucester’s treasurer. She may have had contact with him while he was treasurer of Calais, a post he held from 1450 to 1460. He was an odd choice for her for a number of reasons. Friedrichs says that their marriage “flew in the face of all prudence and common sense”. He was illegitimate, of considerably lower social status and, worst of all, a committed Lancastrian. From the point of view of Maud’s in-laws, he’d fought on the wrong side both at Wakefield and Towton. The Countess of Salisbury named him as one of the men responsible for the wrongful death of her husband. A marriage licence was granted them on 10 August 1461 by Archbishop Booth of York. The Nevills must have been outraged. Any hope she had of their ongoing support vanished. Maud was on her own.

According to Seaton, Richard Roos wrote a poem for Gervase, in celebration of his new wife. (As a frequent subject, or at least inhabitant, of Roos’s poetry, and as an old friend from her days at court, Maud became a caretaker for his work. It is thanks to her passing them on to her Stanhope cousins that many of them are still in existence.)

Gervase was some years older than Maud. He owned land in Kent, courtesy of his first wife, and served in the commons. So far, I’ve come across four sources that have different opinions on the number of children he had from his first marriage. An extremely useful RootsWeb discussion says that he was married first to Isabel Scott and they had  a daughter, also Isabel, who married John Jernyngham. It also states that Isabel Scott had been married before, so this daughter may have in actuality been a step-daughter.  The Peerage makes no mention of a first marriage or children. Friedrichs says he was a ‘childless widow’. Malcom Mercer’s The Strength of Lancastrian Loyalism, in The Journal of Medieval Military History, vol V, mentions a step-son, Sir John Scott, a close supporter of Edward IV. (Thanks again, Susan.)

Clyfton’s tenure as treasurer of Calais ended in 1460. Given his activities at the time, he was probably dismissed. There’s no mention of him in connection with Ludford, but he might have been one of the men who deserted York and Warwick. His tenure as treasurer could not have continued after that. He was succeeded by the Blounts, father (briefly) and son, Walter Lord Mountjoy,

It makes no sense to me that Gervase Clyfton was a stranger to Maud when they married, or even a recently renewed friend. Their paths must have crossed many times, given the Calais connection. He continued in his post when Warwick became Captain of Calais and, until 1460, there’s nothing to suggest any difficulties between the two men. Warwick certainly kept him on (or recommended to whoever it was in charge of such posts that he stay on, or at least not requested that he be replaced). Whatever the story, and whatever the relationship at the time between her and Gervase, Maud had a husband fighting on one side at Wakefield and at least an old friend on the other. Whatever grief she suffered at the news of Thomas’s death, it was shortlived. Some four months after the battle of Towton, she and Gervase were married.

Maud didn’t attend Thomas’s funeral at Bisham in 1462. Perhaps she was neither welcome nor invited.

She also, by her marriage to a man committed to the Lancastrian clause, forfeited her chance of gaining the Cromwell title. In 1461, it was Jane’s husband, Humphrey Bourchier, the new king’s cousin, who was summoned to parliament as Lord Cromwell. It seems odd to me that during their various periods of political ascendancy before that time, the Nevills didn’t manage to secure the title for Maud and Thomas. It was certainly one of the incentives for the marriage.

Maud and Gervase didn’t have a comfortable life. Gervase was specifically excluded from the pardons in March 1461 and there was no lasting reconciliation with the new king, Edward IV.

From the Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward IV:

And that whatsoever person holding the party of the said adversary [Henry VI], that within ten days after this proclamation would depart from them, shall have grace and pardon of his life and goods, except Andrew Trollopp, William Grymsby, Edward Digby, William Feldyng, Thomas Fitzharry, Ellis Cornewayll, Doctor Moreton, Gervase Clyfton, Thomas Tunstall, Henry Lowys knight, Thomas Parker of the Forthe, Thomas Everyngham, John Devet, both bastards of Exeter, Master Hugh Payn, Thomas Langton, Henry Beaumont, William Belyngham, Alexander Hody, Henry Tudnam – Clapham the younger…

He wasn’t included in the list of men the people of England were invited to “actually destroy and bring out of life”. That was limited to Trollop, the bastards of Exeter, and a handful of others. As I alluded to earlier, I haven’t seen him mentioned in connection with Trollop’s actions at Ludford – and that doesn’t mean he isn’t mentioned somewhere, just that I haven’t seen it. It seems likely that he was one of Warwick’s Calais men who slipped away, thus precipitating the flight. The ending of his tenure as treasurer of Calais in 1460, coupled with his exclusion from the pardon, make me think that might have been the case. Maud was walking a dangerous path. If she and Gervase weren’t already lovers in 1459/60, and it’s entirely feasible that they were, she was at least on friendly terms with a man seen by the new government – which included her late husband’s brothers – as a traitor. This was how he continued to be seen for the bulk of their marriage.

Clyfton continued to work for the restoration of Henry VI, taking the field against John Nevill at Hexham. In 1465, in order to secure him a pardon, Maud handed over 16 manors to the king’s new brother-in-law, Anthony Wydeville. From the Close Rolls of Edward IV, 1465:

Gervase Clyfton knight and Maud his wife, late the wife of Robert lord Willoughby, to Anthony Wydevyle lord Scales and lord of Newsels and his assigns. Gift with warranty during the life of the said Maud of the manors of Candlesby, Halom, Lamley, Snawdon, Boston, Bleeseby, Gyppesmere, Goureton, Drainsfeld, Baseford, Quynton, Rasyn, Lufton, Belcheford and Tusfford with Denynecourt’s rent etc, cos Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby and Warwick, and the manor of Tumby co Lincoln except a great wood called ‘Tumby wodes’ otherwise ‘Tumby chace’, all late of Ralph lord Cromwell or of another to his use at his death, with advowsons of churches, chapels and chantries thereto pertaining, and all other lands, rents, reversions and services there wherein the grantors or others to their use or to the use of the said Ralph had any estate or interest, and request that all feoffees shall make the said Anthony an estate thereof during the life of the said Maud, with the exception aforesaid. Dated 24 November, 5 Edward IV.

Gervase Clyfton knight to Anthony Wydevyle knight lord Scales and lord of Newcelles. Bond in 1,ooo/ payable on the feast of the Purification next. Dated (as the last).

Condition, that if the manors etc above mentioned, except a wood of Tumby called the ‘Chace’, which the said Gervase and Maud his wife have given during her life to the said Anthony and his assigns, be before the Purification next found by two auditors by the parties appointed not to amount to the yearly value of 400 marks over and above charges and reprises, the said Gervase and Maud shall within one month likewise give other manors and lands to the amount lacking, and meantime shall suffer the said Anthony and his assigns without let to take all issues and profits of those already granted.

Gervase Clyfton knight to the king. Bond in 5,000/ payable on Easter day next. Dated 20 November, 5 Edward IV.

Condition, that he and Maud his wife shall observe and fulfil all things contained in a charter of divers manors and lands by them made to the said Anthony, and in a bond by him given to the said Anthony, both dated 24 November, 5 Edward IV, and in keeping of John earl of Worcester by assent of the said Gervase and Maud.

Memorandum of the acknowledgement of the foregoing writings by the said Gervase, 9 December.

These grants to Anthony Wydeville represented 80% of Maud’s wealth and property – an enormous price to pay for marrying a man of ‘inconvenient political loyalties’ (Friedrichs, Rich Old Ladies Made Poor, 221).

In 1468, Gervase was rumoured to be plotting on behalf of Henry VI. During the Readeption government, with Humphrey Bourchier  in prison (as diehard a Yorkist as Clyfton was a Lancastrian), Maud and Gervase were mistress and master of Tattershall. Maud’s at-a-distance reconciliation with the Nevill brothers must have felt a little strange. She’d been abandoned by them after her third marriage, and now her husband was a firm part of Warwick’s government – though quite what part I’ve yet to find out. Maud may have made her sister feel as unwelcome in their shared property as she no doubt did when it was a focus of Yorkist activity during the years leading up to the restoration of Henry VI.

Records of Warwick’s brief Readeption government are scarce, as is correspondence to and from Warwick. Maud would seem to have been a forceful personality and I wonder if she wrote to her once brother-in-law asking for his help to restore the properties previously granted to Lord Rivers, then in exile with Edward IV (and others) in Burgundy. Warwick had a good deal of fence mending to do, and if any steps were taken in this regard it would be for Clyfton’s sake, not Maud’s. As she didn’t give up trying to secure a fairer share of her uncle’s estate until almost the end of her life, it is entirely within the bounds of possibility that she made overtures to Warwick in order to restore her previously relinquished lands.

Humphrey Bourchier died fighting for his cousin, Edward IV, at Barnet. Gervase Clyfton was executed after the battle of Tewkesbury. Maud was a widow for the third time, and in the most dire financial straits.


Maud remained a widow for the rest of her life. With no money to recommend her, and at 47 no longer in the first bloom of youth, she wasn’t much of a catch. With three husbands dead, two by violence, and nothing to show for any of her marriages except the memories of a better life, she may well have felt it better not to tempt fate for a fourth time. She should have been looking forward to a more than comfortable old age. In 1472, she had to borrow money to hold Christmas. The following year, she sold (or lost in default of the loan) two of her remaining manors. But that wasn’t to be the end of her troubles. It was now William Lord Hastings’ turn to take from her what little she had left. Hastings was married to Thomas Nevill’s sister, Katheryn. But once again, no residual family feeling remained, and Hastings got what he wanted, not only from Maud but from her now remarried sister, Jane.

In 1476, a deal was made with bishop Wainflete (who’d been involved in the Cromwell inheritance from the start) over Tattershall Castle. I’m still trying to make sense of this. Wainflete wanted the Cromwell lands “for his college, but he was prepared to make what he considered appropriate provisions for the two ladies [Maud and Jane], rather than leave them utterly impoverished, a prospect that did not evidently trouble Lord Rivers or Lord Hastings” (Friedrichs, 224). In any event, the sisters were to hold Tattershall for the bishop. They may have had difficulty with its upkeep, for in 1476 Maud was trying to get the money together to build herself a house on the grounds.

In 1487, Margaret Beaufort got her hands on Tattershall. Maud, now living in her house on the castle grounds, “asserted herself one last time by issuing ordinances for observations at Tattershall College, indicating that she was still the patron of the college and the heiress of the founder. But in fact it was Lady Margaret who now held Tattershall and the real patronage of the college, although she was courteous about Lady Willoughby’s status as co-founder. Perhaps she was courteous about her daily life as well; we do not know, for Lady Willoughby, of course, had scarcely any property left to leave records, and her last ten years are silent. We can safely assume that Margaret Beaufort made sure she was indeed “honourably brought to earth” when she died on 30 August 1497, with no funeral image but with an inscription at the foot of her uncle’s prominent gravestone” (Friedrichs, 226-7). In this inscription, Maud is named as Lady Willoughby, through her first husband, and Lady Cromwell, through her uncle.

The Wars of the Roses left many women widowed by violence. Some, like Maud after the death of Thomas, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and got on with the next phase of their lives with new husbands. Others, like Maud after the death of Gervase, chose to remain widows (or had the choice made for them) and did the best they could with what little they had. The more I read about Maud, the more interesting a person she becomes. A woman, one suspects, of great dignity and strong personality, she faced each of life’s difficulties, fighting when she could, surrendering when she had no choice. She married twice for good and sensible reasons, and once for very personal ones. Though there’s no way of telling if her marriage to Thomas Nevill was a happy one, I can imagine them forming a strong partnership in the matter of her inheritance. I can picture them in a room at Tattershall, Jane and Humphrey Bourchier with them, leaping to their feet when Cromwell’s executors give them the bad news, demanding their rights and deciding to do whatever it took, by use of force if necessary, to secure what belonged to them. I can also see her with Gervase, faced with an impossible choice – lose the bulk of her property and wealth or lose the man she loved.

At the time of her death, Maud had secured the Cromwell title. Sadly, from her three marriages she had no children to pass this to. What was left of her inheritance, and her sister’s, passed to distant cousins. I wonder sometimes what the children of Thomas and Maud would have been like – I suspect they would have been a force to be reckoned with. Certainly a Nevill son would have been a useful addition to Maud’s arsenal in her fight to retain something of her uncle’s wealth.

I refuse to see Maud as sad and defeated, though she must have been close to both at times. She occupies the same place in my heart as her sisters-in-law, Katheryn lady Hastings and Margaret countess of Oxford. All three were tied by marriage to politically active men who led their wives to the heights of power and prestige and into the depths of poverty and ignominy. Only one of them predecased her husband. Katheryn buried two and Maud three. Capturing her spirit and personality isn’t an easy task, but I feel I owe it to her to try.


Battle of Wakefield.

Richard duke of York and his son Edmund, earl of Rutland are killed. Thomas Nevill, son of Richard Nevill earl of Salisbury is killed, as are William Bonville lord Harrington, husband of Salisbury’s daughter, Katheryn, and Edward Bourchier, son of York’s sister Isabel.


Skirmish on Heworth Moor between the Thomas Percy lord Egremont and the Nevills.

The Nevills were returning from the wedding of Thomas Nevill to Maud Stanhope at Tattershall castle in Lincolnshire when the Percies attempted an ambush. Accounts of this skirmish wildly vary, with some saying there were many casualties and others that there were none. Judging by the charges laid against the principle (Percy) movers and shakers, I tend to think there were very few, if any.

This was one of the most eagerly awaited books in my collection, as real, careful, scholarly work on the battle of Wakefield is very thin on the ground. For a battle with such profound consequences, there is very little in primary sources and most of the secondary sources can’t be taken at face value. Cox had done a good job sifting through all. Her greatest achievement in this book is addressing the various myths surrounding the battle. Her own conclusions about the battle cover a disappointing sixteen pages and, unfortunately, left me unconvinced. Not, I hasten to add, the substance of it, but rather some of the speculative detail. (I want to stress that Cox herself sets out her conclusion in terms of “conjecture, theory and speculation” (p74).)

It’s a slim volume, almost more a long journal paper than a book, but it packs quite a wallop for its size. The first two chapters are given over to a brief account of the background to the Wars and, more specifically, the lead up to Wakefield. It left me a little breathless, but certainly did its job! As the likely readers of this book would fall into two camps – WoR tragics like me and battle tragics – there was certainly no need to go into excruciating detail here. The first group of readers should be assumed to have at least a working knowledge and the second group might be assumed to want to get straight into the meat of it – the battle itself. Either way, the introductory chapters are quite sufficient in this regard.

Chapter 3 was, for me, by far the most interesting, useful and valuable. Cox takes the myths surrounding the battle – the various purported reasons for York’s catastrophic defeat – and knocks them down one at a time. She takes as her starting point the idea that York was no fool militarily and builds from there, making extensive use of both primary and secondary sources, as well as taking into account the topography of the battlefield and the (scant) archaeological record. My own preferred hypothesis was demolished along with the rest! This is something I have surprisingly few regrets about.

One mystery snippet – the so-called battle of Worksop – was very nicely cleared up in this chapter as well. When I first heard mention of it, I was puzzled, thinking that something so important as an actual battle slipping through my radar unnoticed was a sad indictment on me and my powers of perception. Detail about this event is so limited that that in itself is a clue Cox uses to put it into perspective. All told, chapter 3, Dispelling the myths, does exactly that, clearly and concisely.

Briefly, Cox credits the Lancastrian victory to the treachery of lord John Nevill (Salisbury’s nephew). This isn’t a startling new theory and, of those considered in the chapter on myths, is by far the most convincing. What I had questions about, as I read, was more precisely how this was carried out. With bad blood between lord John (one of the Wrong Nevills) and his uncle, it seems to me that, had Nevill turned up at Sandal days before the battle pledging his support (through York) to Henry VI (it shouldn’t be forgotten that, since the Act of Accord, rightly or wrongly, Margaret of Anjou and her armies were now the rebels and York was the upholder of the king), it would be Salisbury who needed convincing rather than York.

Another important consideration in this is that Cox quite clearly states that John Nevill, lord Montagu, was present at the battle and (needless to say) survived. Few others do, and I think there’s very good reason for that. Had such a high profile Yorkist fought and survived, we’d know a great deal more about Wakefield than we do. While I don’t quibble at all with the core of Cox’s conclusion – it’s by far the most likely – I do have questions about some of the detail. Treachery the depth of lord Nevill’s (rather than an in the field change of sides, akin to Grey of Ruthyn’s at Northampton, or even Stanley’s at Bosworth) would not have gone unremarked by Montagu, had he been there. While (most likely) Grey and (definitely) Stanley  communicated their intentions ahead of time, the conspiracy espoused by Cox is, I think, rather unnecessarily complicated. The closer to the actual battle Nevill appeared, the less time Salisbury would have had to question or challenge his presence. In fact, the longer Nevill was around, the more likely tension or conflict would develop between him and Salisbury. The bitterness between the two branches of the family cannot easily be overstated. Cox quite rightly states that if he was issued a commission of array from Sandal, it would have left him with no time to raise troops, and therefore he already had his men with him. York would also have been able to work this out. I think it’s more likely that Lord Nevill showed up some time very close to 30 December, when York was no doubt aware that he was outnumbered. Salisbury may have expressed doubts, but there wasn’t sufficient time to inspect the teeth of this particular gift horse and whatever pledges he might have made, to Henry VI or otherwise, Nevill was welcomed, perhaps over Salisbury’s doubts and protestations.

The remainder of the book deals with the aftermath of the battle, the fates of various surviving participants and a last word about history’s view of various dukes of York.

Lastly (and I don’t want to be overly critical of this book) there’s what might be considered a fairly minor point but one which, given my focus on the Nevills, is a little perplexing. In all the texts in which they’re mentioned (and they’re by no means mentioned in all of them) the William Bonvilles (father and son – who both lost their lives in the battle) are listed with the Yorkists. Cox has them fighting for the Lancastrians. For purely personal reasons, I really do need to pin this down!

All in all, this is a very useful book and an important contribution to our understanding of a battle about which so little is known. The myth demolition chapter alone is worth the price of admission! Cox’s exploration is holistic and thorough. While I’ve been deeply disappointed in the past with eagerly awaited books, I wasn’t disappointed with this one, though I hoped for a little more about the battle itself. Given the scant information available, I was probably asking for too much! A Wars of the Roses collection without this book is incomplete.

This is quite a sketchy post, more a commemoration than anything particularly useful, as I have yet to undertake the required deep research into this battle.

The battle of Wakefield, 30 December 1460, like the first battle of St Albans some five years earlier, both helped to change the nature of the conduct of the Wars of the Roses and escalated the violence, both in and post-battle. One of the overriding images, for a lot of people, is that of the row of heads on Micklegate Bar in York, the duke of York’s wearing a paper crown.

No-one knows why York engaged the larger Lancastrian force that day and it seems sometimes that individual interpretations of events are based on partisanship and – in one case at least – on perceptions of York coloured by perceptions of his son, Richard duke of Gloucester, later Richard III.

In his video presentation of Sandal Castle, John Fox suggests that York would never have made such a fundamental mistake as riding out to rescue stranded foragers because he was a seasoned soldier who didn’t make fundamental mistakes.  As Fox is a strong advocate for the rehabilitation of Richard III, and as it would seem he is of the school of thought that identifies the young Richard strongly with his father, his reluctance to allow York to be fallible may be based in this. Fox prefers the hypothesis that York was betrayed by one of his men.

Others, who are not particularly fond of the duke of York, subscribe to the idea that he was lured out of the castle by taunting Lancastrians.

In the only detailed exploration of this battle that I currently have (Dockray and Knowles articles in the Richard III Society offprint The Battle of Wakefield) each scenario is discussed but no firm conclusion is reached.

For me, the story of the stranded foraging party makes by far the most sense.

However it happened, York, his son Edmund, earl of Rutland, sir Thomas Nevill, the young lord Harrington, William Bonville, (husband of Thomas’s sister Katheryn) and his father, also William Bonville, amongst many others, fell in battle. The earl of Salisbury survived the day and was taken to Pontefract castle where he was, the following day, beheaded.

York’s widow, Cecily Nevill, never remarried, dying in 1495. The countess of Salisbury, Alice Montacute, died in 1462. Maud, lady Willoughby, widow of Thomas Nevill, married sir Gervase Clifton the following year, only to lose him to a violent death in 1471. He was executed after the battle of Tewkesbury. Lady Harrington, Katheryn Nevill, mother of Bonville’s only child, married William lord Hastings in 1462. He was beheaded by Richard duke of Gloucester in 1483.

23 September 1459 – Battle of Blore Heath

Here’s my notes for this battle:

• Salisbury on his way to Ludlow;

• Lancaster led by Audley and Dudley

• Salisbury chose a position at Blore Hill

• Lancster had to cross stream to attack

• Salisbury pursued them

• Dead – Audley;

• Taken – Dudley

– Thomas Nevill, John Nevill (& Harrington ?) possibly while seeking shelter/help for injuries

• Augustinian friar covers Salisbury’s withdrawal by firing cannon all night; when found next day, claims he did it to keep his spirits up.

And THAT’s why I’m a day late and getting later blogging this battle! Sometimes I think I should fire myself and hire a research assistant!

So, what I thought I’d do, rather than reach for my books and give you something more comprehensive and sensible about the battle itself, is talk about the involvement of Alice Montacute, countess of Salisbury.

I’ve mentioned before that she was attainted at the so-called Parliament of Devils, along with York, Salisbury, Warwick, Thomas and John Nevill, the earls of March and Rutland and a whole bunch of other people. The other wives were explicitly exempted from this, their personal wealth untouched and their safety not in question. They remained in England (or in the countess of Warwick’s case, Calais) able to get on with their lives, so far as anyone can whose husband and sons have been forced to flee the country or have been captured and imprisoned. Alice had to get herself gone fast.

Here’s the relevant section from the parliamentary rolls dealing with Alice.

And forasmoch as Aleyse the wyf of the seid Richard erle of Salesbury, the first day of August, the yere of youre moost noble reigne xxxvij at Middleham in youre shire of York… falsely and traiterously ymagyned and compassed the deth and fynall destruccion of you, soverayne lord; and in accomplisshment and executyng therof, the seid Aleise, at Middleham aforeseid the seid first day of August… traterously labored, abetted, procured, stered and provoked the seid duc of York, and the seid erles of Warrewyk and Salesbury, to doo the seid tresons, rebellions, gaderynges, ridynges and reryng of werre ayenst youre moost roiall persone, at the seid toune of Blore and Ludeford: to ordeyne and establissh, by the seid auctorite, that the same Aliese… for the same be reputed, taken, demed, adjugged and atteinted of high treson.

What she actually did is almost impossible to glean from this, though it’s likely that she was raising troops in the north of England. One fairly recent fictional portrayal of her has her swooning at news that her husband is in danger and falling into a state of catatonia at the news of his death. (And, incidentally, not being attainted at the Parliament of Devils.) This does the real countess of Salisbury a huge disservice.

The Duke of York went to Ireland with his son, Edmund earl of Rutland. Salisbury went to Calais with Warwick and the earl of March. Ireland is where Alice ended up, fetched back to Calais and reunion with her husband the following year by her son, Warwick. Why she went to Ireland and not Calais is a question I’ve been trying to unravel.

Though it’s not mentioned in reports of the battle, she may have been with her husband and sons as they travelled to Ludlow, Salisbury being reluctant to leave her behind in Yorkshire when things were so unsettled. While York had an easier journey ahead of him, and as his welcome in Ireland was almost guaranteed, Salisbury, March and Warwick had a much more difficult time getting to Calais. If Alice was at Ludlow, her taking the safer option makes a great deal of sense. If she travelled later, on her own, then Ireland would seem an odd choice. On the balance of probability then, I’m putting Alice at Ludlow in 1459 and in the vicinity of Blore Heath during the battle.

Though Salisbury’s victory would have heartened them, the disappearance of their two sons would have been cause for worry. How and when the Salisburys heard that Thomas and John had been captured and were on their way to imprisonment in Chester Castle is also unclear, but the news may have been waiting for them at Ludlow, though their sons’ fate would still have been very unclear at that point. However, it is possible that they heard a number of confused and confusing reports after the battle, including the possibility that one or both of their sons had been killed.

This must have been a particularly difficult time for Alice. She left the country in the company of the duke of York and the earl of Rutland, not knowing where her husband and Warwick were going to end up, not knowing what was going to happen to Thomas and John, an attainder for treason hanging over all their heads, including hers. She left behind in England her son George and all of her daughters and grandchildren. Though she no doubt had great faith in the men in her life, and believed in their cause, she couldn’t have been sure she’d see them again or, indeed, return to England.

When Warwick came to Ireland the following year for talks with the duke of York, and to fetch his mother back to Calais, I imagine a low key but emotional reunion, both with her son and later her husband.

Alice Montacute was, I think, an amazing woman of enormous courage and heart. She grew up ten children who all had a strong presence in the world and an impact either on a national level or on their own families. She very much deserves to be recognised, not as a proto-feminist figure, but as a woman who dealt with a greater than usual burden of both political and personal drama by wiping her hands on her skirts and getting on with it.

“When Edward moved the remains of his father and brother from Pontefract and reburied them in a splendid ceremony at Fotheringhay Castle in 1463, Warwick bore his father and brother to Bisham Abbey two weeks later in an even more splendid ceremony.” (It gets worse.)

I’ve developed a strong feeling that this particular blogger and writer really really doesn’t like Warwick, but she’s not alone in her view that a driving philosophy in his life was to outdo his king and cousin, Edward IV. Affection for his father, mother and brother – all buried at Bisham that day – isn’t even considered to be a possible motive.

This is the same person who had Warwick ‘bristle’ to his brother John (while ‘squaring his shoulders’): “Who are you to question my judgment, I, the hero of England?”, bellowing “I am the kingmaker!” before destroying his London home, and, incidentally, has him fleeing to Calais after the defeat at St Albans. A few pages earlier, in reference to these letters: “I heard him [Warwick] refer to the deaths of his father and brother as “the murder of my kin.” Shocked I halted in my steps. The earl and Thomas – how could they be mere ‘kin’? They were his father, his brother! But this I knew I would never forget.”

In a few scant paragraphs immediately following: “But then he’d [Edward IV] turn his gaze thoughtfully on Warwick, who was richer than any king, and I felt that cold shiver run down my spine again,” this author deals with the funeral at Bisham of the countess and earl of Salisbury and their son, Thomas. Salisbury had stated a desire to be buried here with previous earls of Salisbury (not, incidentally with his “Neville ancestors”). The king’s absence is noted (“Again I felt that cold shiver of warning that told me something was amiss”), and his brother George’s presence. The Suffolks were there, as were lord and lady Hastings, both with close ties to the king through either blood or deep friendship – William Hastings may well have wished to attend his father-in-law’s funeral, at the very least for his wife’s sake, but would hardly have defied the king to do so. Edward’s absence might have been deliberate, but he was well represented (as he was at another Nevill celebration, the enthronement of the archbishop of York.) Reading backwards from Barnet (all those ‘cold shivers’) skews the story and misrepresents the characters and their motivations.

It may have been a funeral designed to advertise Warwick’s wealth, but hardly at the expense of his parents’ and brother’s honour and memory. The earl and countess of Salisbury were centre stage that day. The countess of Warwick wasn’t in attendance and neither was Thomas’s widow, the newly remarried Maud Stanhope. Also missing were the earl of Arundel, lord Stanley and Salisbury’s surviving sisters. Perhaps there wasn’t sufficient notice for them to attend, which suggests that the funeral was fairly hastily organised. If a conspicuous show of wealth, power and influence was the primary aim, more time and attention would have surely been spent on it (such as making sure as many dukes, duchesses, earls and countesses as possible were in attendance).

Like the archbishop’s feast, the funeral was undoubtedly first and foremost an occasion to honour family members who had achieved much in their lives; Warwick had wealth to lavish on both and he certainly did that. To do otherwise would have, no doubt, prompted charges of meanness and miserliness from the same writers who now charge him with doing all he could to outshine his cousin and king.

Just in case I’m accused of picking on people, here’s another random sampling from the blogsphere:

“In 1463 Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (a.k.a. Warwick the Kingmaker) staged a showpiece service here for the reburial of his father and his brother, killed at Pontefract. It was designed, perhaps, as a challenge to Edward IV, who had recently held a memorial service for his father and brother, killed at Rutland.”

It’s going to take a lot of work to change the perception that <Warwick + money + funeral != love for family> is a false equation. (I’m putting aside the inaccuracies because I have a big heart.)

The second funeral at Bisham was Warwick’s own. He was buried, along with his brother John, after Barnet. The bodies of the brothers were first put on display outside St Paul’s in London so that there would be no doubt that both were dead. It is sometimes stated that they were stripped naked, or dressed only in loincloths but a more sensible interpretation is that their armour was removed and they were displayed fully clothed. After this, both were removed to Bisham for burial.

Warwick had stated a preference to be buried at the Beauchamp chapel at Warwick Castle. Considering the circumstances of his death, and the lack of a voice to speak on his behalf (his wife was in sanctuary and neither of his daughters were in a position to speak up for him), such a request was unlikely to even be considered. Burial at a family mausoleum was more than most people could have hoped for in similar circumstances.

The funeral, though far less lavish than that of their parents and brother, Thomas, was neither hurried nor improperly carried out. Some shred of affection, and perhaps a strong sense of what he had once owed the Nevills, seems to have prompted Edward IV to ensure his cousins had a burial that was far removed from what might be expected either for fallen foes or traitors.  I’ve been hunting for more detail on this funeral, including who may have attended, though I can say that neither of the widows was there.

Not the funeral usually expected for 'traitors'

There is no trace now of any Nevills at Bisham. The priory was sacked during the dissolution of the monasteries and the effigies and bones either removed or destroyed. Salisbury’s effigy can be found at Burghfield church.