Milanese opinion on the situation following the death of the Earl of Warwick

Milanese State Paper, dated 7th May 1471. A curious assessment of the unity within the Lancastrian camp at the time of the two-pronged assault on Edward IV’s reinstated regime,

The outcome of the Battle of Barnet was well known by this date. That was not the case of Tewkesbury, though.

Warwick’s defeat and death a positive for the Lancastrian cause

This led to a discussion about the consequence of the death of the Earl of Warwick. Having been powerful but quite unpopular amongst sections of the nobility, it was believed by some that his death may improve the standing of Queen Margaret’s army.

Death of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick at the Battle of Barnet
The Battle of Barnet, England in 1471, the death of the Kingmaker. Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, 1428 – 1471, aka Warwick the Kingmaker. English nobleman, administrator and military commander. From The Century Edition of Cassell’s History of England, published 1901. 

Milanese letter about the death of the Earl of Warwick

It was in this context that a letter was sent from the Milanese ambassador in Bruges to Milan on this date in 1471:

“the Earl of Warwick and his brother have been slain by King Edward. A Spaniard, who left London on 24th April, relates that King Edward has set out with his power to look for the Queen and the Prince… We have heard nothing since… There are many who consider the queens prospects favourable… because it is reckoned, she ought to have many lords in her favour, who intended to resist her because they were enemies of Warwick…”

The letter is curious. The Milanese seemed to be reliant on hearsay from merchants at this time. This does bring into question the reliability of their sources of information.

Nonetheless, it is quite telling. It shows that the planning surrounding the Angers Agreement may well have been flawed from the start: would the nobility have rallied around a Government out of deference to King Henry and Queen Margaret if they knew Warwick would be in real control?


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