Sir William Oldhall’s plot

On 6 March 1450 A group of plotters in Bury St Edmunds planned to kill King Henry VI and replace him with Richard Duke of York.

From the Kings Bench Ancient Indictments

“[William Oldhall amongst others], proposing to depose the King and put the Duke of York on the throne and realising they could not do this while he remained powerful with his lords about him, plotted his death and destruction at Bury St. Edmunds on 6th March… [Bills were posted] on men’s doors and windows that the King following counsel of the late Duke of Suffolk, the Bishops of Salisbury and Chichester, Lord Saye and others , had sold the kingdoms of England and France…

England was a tinderbox of discontent in 1450.

The economic problems coupled with high taxes and the losses in Normandy and France were incredibly damaging to morale. Anger had been directed mostly at the Duke of Suffolk. To a lesser extent at the Bishops of Salisbury and Chichester, the latter had been murdered earlier in the year.

Now the ire was aimed at the King’s person. The solution proposed by rebels was the deposition of Henry VI and the crowning of the Duke of York. This had political implications for the Duke of York. He was now being touted as a potential King, which was when large parts of the country were in revolt, caused by things that the Duke himself was complaining about.

Oldhall was executed for his role in the plot. The Duke of York was in no way implicated, but the calls from the commons for him to lead was one that would reappear at several points over the coming ten years.


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