Grand Procession in London. 3 December 1450.

On 3 December 1450 a grand Royal Procession took place in London including many of the leading nobles. It came at a period of great tension, with large armed retinues accompanying lords.

Men from the Dukes of Norfolk and York households had attacked the Duke of Somerset on 1 December 1450. The Duke of Norfolk removed Somerset from the affray, and, ‘for his safety‘, placed him in the Tower of London. The attack also triggered looting in the Blackfriar’s region.

The events surrounding the attack on the Duke of Somerset appear to have been well coordinated. The Duke was arrested and sent to the Tower. The Duke of York and his followers looked like the enforcers of the King’s peace.

There followed a large military procession; no doubt intended to warn off any who contemplated further riots. Benet’s Chronicle describes the events:

“The following afternoon, almost 1000 well-armed men attacked the Duke of Somerset without warning, and would have slain him, had not the Earl of Devon, at the Duke of York’s request, pacified them and discreetly arrested Somerset, brought him from Blackfriars to the Thames, and thence to the Tower of London, leaving the rioters in Blackfriars to pillage… On Thursday 3rd December the King, accompanied by his dukes, earls, barons, knights and squires and others, all in full armour and about 10000 in number, marched in solemn procession through London. The Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Devon, with 3000 men, provided the vanguard; the King, the Duke of York, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Arundel, the Earl of Oxford, the Earl of Wiltshire, the Earl of Worcester and others, with 4000 men, followed; and the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Warwick and others, with 3000 men, brought up the rear…”

Note: at this stage the Earls of Salusbury and Warwick were not close allies of the Duke of York. They became close following later disputes that they had with Edmund Beaufort. The list of nobles in Benets Chronicle is not particularly partisan in that respect, its just very clear that the Dukes of York and Norfolk wanted the Duke of Somerset out of the way so that they could dominate politically at this point in time.

Read about the breakdown of the relationship between the Beaufort family and Neville’s of Middleham in my book. Betrayal in the Wars of the Roses. Volume One.

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