Tension in London, July 1455

Parliament had formally absolved the Yorkist Lords of any blame for the First Battle of St. Albans on 18 July 1455. This was not the end of the matter though. For the Yorkists, having Parliament accept your innocence and honesty was politically important. Making the most of the situation was an entirely different matter. So, despite being acquitted and the main Lords of the Queen’s Party condemned in the opening addresses of Parliament, there was still an advantage to press home. To this end, the Earl of Warwick is said to have openly accused Lord Cromwell of being the instigator of the fighting at St. Albans.

So too, was there a perceived threat. The Lancastrians were understandably angry. One outbreak of violence could easily be followed by another. There are accounts of the Yorkist lords attending matters of state dressed in armour. That may have been precautionary; it may have been to send a chilling message to their foes.

The situation was summarised by Henry Windsor in a letter written on 19 July 1455:


Unto my moost faitfull brethern, John Bokkyng and William Worcestre, and to eyther of theym.

19 July 1455

WORSHIPFULL Sir, and my most hertely and best be loved brother, I recommaund me unto you in more loly wise than I can other thenk or write; and with al my service and trewe herte thank you of your gentill lettres, full brotherly written unto me at mony tymes of old, and especiall of late tyme passed. And trwly, brother, I thank Almyghty God of your welfare, of the which the berer of this my pour lettre certified me of, &c.

And, Sir, as touchyng al maner of newe tithinges, I knoo well ye are averous; truly the day of makyng of this letter, ther were nonn newe, but suche I herd of, ye shalbe served with all.

As for the first, the Kyng our souverain Lord, and all his trwe Lordes stand in hele of there bodies, but not all at 44hertes ees as we. Amonges other mervell, ij. dayes afore the writyng of this letter, there was langage betwene my Lordes of Warrewikke and Cromwell afore the Kyng, in somuch as the Lord Cromwell wold have excused hym self of all the steryng or moevyng of the male journey of Seynt Albones; of the whiche excuse makyng, my Lord Warrewikke had knolege, and in hast wasse with the Kyng, and sware by his othe that the Lord Cromwell said not trouth, but that he was begynner of all that journey at Seynt Albones; and so betwene my said ij. Lords of Warrewikke and Cromwell ther is at this day grete grugyng, in somoch as the Erle of Shrouesbury hath loged hym at the hospitall of Seynt James, beside the Mewes, be the Lord Cromwells desire, for his sauf gard.

And also all my Lord of Warrewikke men, my Lord of York men, and also my Lord of Salesbury men goo with harnes, and in harnes with strang wepons, and have stuffed their Lordes barges full of wepon dayly unto Westminster. And the day of makyng of this letter, ther was a proclamacion made in the Chauncerie, on the Kyngs behalf, that noman shuld nether bere wepon, ner were harnes defensible, &c.

Also, the day afore the makyng of this letter, ther passed a bill fn.2 both by the Kyng, Lords, and Comens, puttyng Thorp, Josep, and my Lord of Somerset in all the defaute; be the which bill all maner of actions that shuld growe to any person or persones for any offenses at that journey doon, in any maner of wise shuld be extynt and voide, affermyng all thing doon there well doon, and nothing doon there never after this tyme to be spoken of; to the which bill mony a man groged full sore nowe it is passed.

And if I myght be recommaunded unto my speciall maister and youres, with all loliness and trewe service I beseech you hertely as I can.

And also to my brethern Th. Upton,fn.3 Lodowick of Pole, William Lynd Calyn [Lincoln ?], and John Merchall. 45No more, but our Lorde have you both in his perpetuell kepyng.

Writen at London, on Seynt Margarete Even,fn.4 in hast; and after this is rede and understonden, I pray you bren or breke it, for I am loth to write any thing of any Lord. But I moost neds; ther is no thing elles to write. Amen.Your awn,H. Wyndesore.


1 [From Fenn, i. 108.] As this letter refers to the disputes which arose after the battle of St. Albans as to who should bear the blame of that occurrence, the date is certain.

2 See Rolls of Parl. v. 280.

Upon in Fenn, but Upton in the modern version on the opposite side of the page.

4 St. Margaret’s day is the 20th July, the eve the 19th.

From the Paston Letters collection. Henry Windsor to John Bocking and William Worcester. 19 July 1455.

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