Thomas Rotherham

Death of Thomas Rotherham, 29th May 1500

Thomas Rotherham was an important figure during the reign of Edward IV. He had been Edward’s chaplain before progressing through ecclesiastical ranks to hold first the bishopric of Rochester before, in 1480, being translated to the see of York.

As well has his significant church role, Rotherham held important administrative positions. In May 1474 he was appointed as Chancellor of England. When King Edward died, Rotherham took a leading part in the funeral.

Thomas Rotherham and succession of Richard III

However, when the young King Edward V was taken to the Tower, it appears that Rotherham was suspicious of Richard’s intentions. Thomas More wrote that he handed the Great Seal to Elizabeth Woodville for safekeeping, though no other source corroborates this claim.

True or not, it was clear that Richard III viewed Rotherham with suspicion. He was removed from his office as Chancellor on 13th May 1483, very soon after Richard had been appointed as Protector.

On 10th June he was arrested and sent to the Tower, leading to protests from some quarters. He was released and played a role in Richard IIIs administration, though Russell retained the Chancellorship.

Thomas Rotherham Image Credit

By Rudolph Ackermann – National Portrait Gallery: NPG D24035, Public Domain

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