In the Ascendency: The Earl of Warwick, 1461

Following the Yorkist success at the Battle of Towton, the political position of the Earl of Warwick and his kin rapidly improved. As the senior backers of the young King Edward IV, the rewards were quick to come, and of great importance. Whilst the Earl remained engaged in attempting to crush the remnants of the Lancastrian military machine in the north, a task that would take several years, Warwick’s family reaped the benefits of the victory, giving them a level of political power that was rarely matched by a non royal family affinity at any point in the late middle ages. 

In the Ascendency: The Earl of Warwick, 1461

The Milanese State Papers provide many insights into the political arena within England at the time. This Newsletter, written on 31 July 1461, very briefly summarises the situation:

“…they say that every day favours the Earl of Warwick, who seems to me to be everything in this kingdom, and as if anything lacks he has made a brother of his (George) lord chancellor of England.”

The Neville family did gain much favour following Edward IV taking the crown. It was only to be expected. The Neville’s had committed the most manpower and resources into the campaigns of 1459-61.

George Neville became lord chancellor in 1461. Already the Bishop of Exeter, he was promoted to the role of Archbishop of York in 1464. John Neville, another of the Earl of Warwick’s brothers, was created Lord Montagu and acted as Yorkist commander in the north, completing victories at Hexham and Hedgely Moor, which saw him elevated to Earl of Northumberland. Warwick’s uncle, William Neville Lord Fauconberg, was created Earl of Kent.

These appointments came with grants of land, enhancing the strength of the Neville household. It led to later marriages of the Earls daughters into the royal family, with Anne marrying first Prince Edward of Westminster and following his death, the future King Richard III. Isabel Neville married George Duke of Clarence, in controversial circumstances.

As the Milanese newsletter suggests, the Neville family were in the ascendancy.

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick from the Rous Roll
Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick from the Rous Roll

Links and References

“Milan: 1461.” Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in the Archives and Collections of Milan 1385-1618. Ed. Allen B Hinds. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1912. 37-106. British History Online. Web. 30 July 2022. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/milan/1385-1618/pp37-106.

History of War – George Neville, archbishop of York, 1432-1476

The History Jar – Getting rid of the Archbishop of York – the demise of George Neville

SchoolsHistory – John Neville, Lord Montagu

Detailed biography of the Earl of Warwick on another of my websites – Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [Warwick the Kingmaker]

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