On this day

Edward IV’s Southern Progress, 1461

On 23 August 1461, King Edward IV visited Lewes and East Meon in Hampshire as part of a determined effort to be seen in public. He listened to complaints and recommended raising some issues as petitions to Parliament.

Securing the Crown

Winning the Battle of Towton may have made Edward king, but it did not mean that his position was secure. The Lancastrian leadership had moved to the North East where they were fending off assaults from the Neville brothers, and resistance was met in Wales, where Jasper Tudor had held many lordships.

Threat from France

In the south, there had been a threat of intervention from France. The French threat waned somewhat following the death of King Charles in July of 1461. The south, though, needed to be secured and thanked for its support for the Yorkist cause. With that in mind, Edward made a tour of the south in August of 1461.

Southern Progress

He made initially for the port of Sandwich, stopping at Sittingbourne and Canterbury on the way. From Sandwich, he moved to Ashford, which he departed on the 20th. By the 22 August, he had reached Battle, where he attended a service at the Abbey.

On 23 August, Edward was in Lewes. Here he listened to the concerns of the people. In some instances, he gave advice and advised some to petition Parliament about specific situations. This charm offensive was especially important. It had been the South where uprisings had begun against Henry and his council. The south that faced the possible invasion from France, and the south where Yorkists had gained support in 1460 and 1461.

Westminster and the Campaign in Wales

From Lewes, Edward returned to Westminster via Arundel. He was soon on the move again, travelling to South Wales to discuss the Welsh campaign with William Herbert.

Links and related content

Edward IV in Bristol – this was en route to Wales from Westminster in the weeks following the above events.

History of Parliament: ‘Make good your ways and your habits’: Edward IV’s first Parliament of 1461-2

David Santiuste – Edward IV in the weeks and months following Towton. Chapter from David’s book, via erenow.

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