27th September 1470 saw Edward IV depart from England for the safety of Burgundy. His brother Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, and a small band joined him in seeking Burgundian aid. It was a desperate flight to the continent in the wake of the invasion of the Duke of Clarence and Earl of Warwick.
Revolts of 1469 and 1470
The events of 1469 and 1470 were tumultuous. Many of the great lords changed allegiances as first the Robin of Redesdale revolt, and then that of the Duke of Clarence and Earl of Warwick shook the country.
Clarence and Warwick
King Edward had already suffered the humiliation of being kept as a puppet leader under house arrest. On his resumption of control, he faced problems. His brother, George Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick remained disgruntled.
Montagu and the Percies
In restoring the Percy family to their title, he gained an ally. However, in taking that title from John Neville, he created animosity. Instead of halting the army of the Duke of Clarence, Neville (Lord Montagu) joined it.
Edward IV’s flight to Burgundy
The Warkworth Chronicle describes the events as:
But Montagu… declared to the people there gathered with him, how the King had first given him the earldom of Northumberland, and how he took it from him and gave it to Harry Percy made him Marquis Montagu and gave him a magpies nest to maintain his estate with… King Edward was not strong enough to give battle to Marquis Montagu, so sailed over the sea to Flanders.
Edward IV in exile
Edward had found himself outwitted and outnumbered. He fled to the east where he and his loyal supporters set sail to Burgundy, where his sister Margaret was Duchess. His welcome there was not initially as warm as he would have hoped Duke Charles not greeting him or meeting him until Burgundian politics made an English (Yorkist) alliance favourable.