On 25 October 1460 a compromise Act of Accord entered into law. An attempt to bring an end to grievances held by the Duke of York, it had immediate ramifications for Royal Succession through naming the Duke of York as rightful heir. The Act, if intended to bring about a peaceful resolution to issues, was a failure. It led to the raising of a large Lancastrian force at York, in turn resulting in the Battle of Wakefield, advance on London by the victors, and the subsequent flurry of battles that culminated in the Yorkist vuctory in the Battle of Towton.
The Duke of York claims the crown
On 10 October 1460, Richard 3rd Duke of York had entered Parliament brandishing a sword and claimed the throne.
Richard put forward his claim to the throne, a scenario that remains unique in English parliamentary history. The stunned Parliament had to quickly diffuse the situation.
A delegation had persuaded Richard not to proceed with an immediate coronation. The baronial Council considered Richard’s claim. They accepted that he did have a better claim to the throne than King Henry VI but also agreed that it was not right to use the legal process to remove Henry in favour of Richard.
Act of Accord: a hasty compromise
The compromise that the barons came up with was the Act of Accord.
This Act retained Henry as King until his death. It then stated that succession would pass not to the Prince of Wales but to Richard or his heirs.
Richard and his eldest son, the Earl of March, agreed to the compromise.
Response to the Act of Accord
The Act of Accord was duly passed on 25 October 1460. It led to an immediate call to arms from Queen Margaret, who was willing to fight for her sons right to succeed.
On 31 October, the Act of Accord was extended and created Richard the Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall and Lord Protector of England.
Richard 3rd Duke of York’s ‘progress’ from Ireland to London.
The Duke of York claims the crown.
The Act of Accord
The Battle of Wakefield
Battle of Mortimer’s Cross
Second Battle of St. Albans
Edward, son of Richard 3rd Duke of York, proclaimed King Edward VI.
The Battles at Ferrybridge, Dintingdale, and Towton.
Links relating to the Act of Accord
History of Parliament blog. The brief triumph of Richard, duke of York: the Parliamentary Accord of 25/ 31 October 1460.
History of War. Act of Accord, 1460.
JSTOR. The Right to Rule in England: Depositions and the Kingdom’s Authority, 1327-1485. William Huse Dunham, Jr. and Charles T. Wood. The American Historical Review. Vol. 81, No. 4 (Oct., 1976), pp. 738-761 (24 pages)
The Act of Accord
Text of the Act of Accord obtained from An English Chronicle of the Reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI, by John Silvester Davies [Public Domain].
” Item, It ys accorded, appoynted, and aggreed, that the sayde Rychard duke of York shalle be called and reputed from hensfoorth verray and ryghtefulle heyre to the corounes, royalle astate, dygnyte and lordeshyp abouesayde: And after the decees of the sayde king Harry, or whenne he wolle laye from hym the sayde corounes, astate, dignite and lordshyppe, the sayde duke and hys heyres shalle immediately succede to the sayde corones, royalle astate, dygnyte and lordshyppe.
” Item, The sayde Richard, duk of York, shalle haue by auctoryte [authority] of thys present parlement, castelles, maners, londes and tenementes, wythe the wardes, manages, releues, seruices, fynes, amerciamentes, offyces, avousons [avowsons], fees and other appurtenaunces to thaym belongyng what soeuer they be, to the yerely valew of x. M1 marc, ouer alle charges and repryses ; whereof v. M1 marc. shalle be to his owen estate; iij. M1 vc. marc. to Edwarde hys furst begoten sone, earle of Marche, for his astate ; and M1 ti. to Edmond, erle of Rutlond, hys secund goten sone, for his yerly sustentacione, of suche consideraciones and suche entent as shal be declared by the lordes of the kynges counselle.
” Item, Yef any persone, or persones, ymagyne or compasse the dethe of the sayde duk, and therof prouably [proveably] be atteynt of open dede doone by folkes of other condicione, that yt be demed and adiuged [adjudged] hyghe tresone.
” Item, For the more estabylysshyng of the sayde accord, it ys appoynted and consented, that the lordes spirituelle and temporalle beyng in thys present parliament, shalle make othys to accept, take, worshyppe and repute, the sayde Richard duk of York, and hys sayde eyres, as aboue ys rehersed, and kepe and obserue and streynghte, in as moche as apparteynethe vn to thaym, alle the thynges abouesayde, and resyste to theyre power alle thaym that wold presume the contrary, accordyng to thayre astates and degrees.
” Item, The sayde Richard duk of York, erles of Marche and Rutland, shalle promyt and make othe to helpe, ayde and defend the sayde lordes and euery of theyme, ayens alle tho that wolle quarelle or any thyng attempt ayenst the sayde lordes, or any of thaym, by occasyone of aggrement or consenttyng to the sayde accorde, or assystence yeuyng to the duk and erles or any of thaym.
” Item, Hitys aggreed and appoynted that thys accorde, and euery article therof, be opened and notyfyed by the kynges letters patentes, or otherwyse, at suche tymes and places and in manner as hit shal be thoughte expedyent to the sayde Richard duk of York, with thavyse of the lordes of the kynges counseylle.
” The kyng vnderstandethe certaynly the sayde tytle of the sayde Richard duk of York, iust, lawfulle and sufficiant, by thauyse and assent of the lordes spiritualle and temporalle and commones, in this parliament assembled; and by auctoryte of the same parlement declarethe, approuethe, ratyfyethe, confermethe and acceptethe the sayde tytle, iust, good, lawfulle, and trew, and therevnto yeuethe his assent and aggrement of his fre wylle and liberte. And ouer that, by the sayde avyce and auctoryte, declarethe, entitlethe, callethe, stabylysshethe, affermethe and reputethe the sayde Richard duk of York, verray, trew and ryghtefulle heyre to the corones, royalle [Folio 211] astate and dygnyte, of the reames of Englond and of Fraunce and of the lordeshyppe of Yrlond aforesayde: and that accordyng to the worshyp and reuerence that therto belongethe, he be taken, accepted and reputed in worshyppe and reuerence, by alle the states of the sayd reame of Englond, and of alle hys subiectes therof; sauyng and ordeynyng, by the same auctoryte, the kyng to haue the sayde corones, reames, royalle estate, dignyte and preemynence of the same, and the sayde lordshyppe of Yrlond, duryng his lyf naturalle. And forthermore, by the same avyse and auctoryte, wylle, consentethe and aggreethe that after hys decease, or whan hit shalle please his hyghenesse to ley from hym the seyde corones, estat, dignyte and lordshyp, or therof ceasethe; The seyde Richard duke of York and his heyres shalle immediatly succede hym, in the seyde corones, royalle astate, dignyte and worshyppe, and thaym thanne haue and ioye, any acte of parlement, statute or ordenaunce or other thyng to the contrary maad, or interrupeion or dyscontynuance of possessyone natwythstandyng. And moreouer, by the sayde avyse and auctoryte, stabylysshethe, grauntethe, confermethe, approuethe, ratyfyethe and acceptethe the seyde accorde, and alle thyng therynne conteyned, and therevnto freely and absolutely assenteth and aggreeth.
And by the same avyse and auctoryte ordeynethe and estabylysshethe, that yef [if] any persone or persones ymagyne or compasse the dethe of the sayde duk, and prouably be atteynt of open dede done by folkes of that condicions, that it demed and adiuged hygh treason.
And forthermore ordeyneth, puttethe and stabylysshethe, by the sayde avyse and auctoryte, that alle statutys, ordenaunces and actes of parlement, made in the tyme of the sayde kyng Harry the iiijth [IV], by the whiche he and the heyres of his body commyng of Harry late kyng of Englond the Vth, the sone and heyre of the sayde kyng Harry the iiijth, and the heyres of the body of the same kyng Harry the vth comyng, were or be enherytable to the sayde corones and reames, or to the herytage or enherytament of the same, be annulled, repeled, reuoked, dampned, cancelled, voyde, and of no force or effect. And ouer thus, the kyng by the sayde aduyse, assent and auctoryte, wylle, ordeynethe and stabylysshethe, that alle other actes and statutes, maade afore thys tyme by auctoryte of parlement, nat repeled or adnulled by lyk auctoryte, or otherwyse voyde, be in suche foorce, effect and vertew as thay were afore the makyng of these ordenaunces, and that no letters patentes royal of record, nor actys iudycyalle [judicial], maade or done afore thys tyme, nat repeled, reuersed ne otherwyse voyde by the lawe, be preiudyced or hurt by thys present acte.”
Also it was ordeyned by the sayde parlement, that the sayde Rychard duk of York shold be called Prince of Wales, duke of Cornewayle, and erle of Chestre; and [he] was made also by the sayde parlement protectoure of Englond.