Intervention in the Neville-Percy feud was attempted several times. Each sought to bring about a peaceful resolution to tension in the north east. Some were via arbitration, others direct orders. On 8 October 1453 the King’s Council ordered the Neville and Percy families to bring an end to their warlike behaviour.
The conflict between the Neville and Percy families had been ongoing for some time. Matters had only got worse as both families built up a large base of retainers. Younger members of each family were eager to press home claims.
Acts of War by members of the Neville and Percy familues
Hostility was open and regular. Lord Egremont was recruiting and distributing Livery in May of 1453, an act usually only done in war. He then ignored royal summonses.
The Neville’s attacked Topcliffe, a Percy base, because of this. July saw clashes at Sandholme, Halton and Swinden. In August 1453, a servant of the Earl of Salisbury had been kidnapped and imprisoned by the Percy’s.
Intervention in the Neville-Percy feud
A house believed to be that of Lord Egremont was ransacked by Sir John Neville and his men. The King had already been ignored by the hot-headed Lord Egremont, and now Henry VI was unwell. Council intervened. A letter in the King’s name stated to the Earls of Salisbury and Northumberland that they were aware of the pairs:
‘…greatest assembly of liegemen, and thereto had appointed time and place, that ever was made within this land at any time that man can think…’
Consequences for the pair were also mentioned. The feuding needed to stop. It was not just Council that intervened to keep the peace. Extant letters show that the Earls were in contact with the Archbishop of York, who acted as a mediator. The feuding did not, however, come to an end.
- Fearured image. Photograph of Topcliffe. A Percy held manor. Source, Topcliffe.org.uk
Read about other examples of regional violence in the 15th century here.