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Portrait of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, 'The Kingmaker', from the Rous Roll, 15th century.
Signature of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 'The King-Maker' (1428-1471)
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, 'The King-Maker' (1428-1471)

RICHARD NEVILLE, EARL OF WARWICK, called "the king-maker," was the eldest son of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, by Alice, only daughter and heiress of Thomas, the last Montacute Earl of Salisbury. He was born on the 22nd of November 1428, and whilst still a boy betrothed to Anne, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. When her brother's daughter died in 1449, Anne, as only sister of the whole blood, brought her husband the title and chief share of the Warwick estates. Richard Neville thus became the premier earl, and both in power and position excelled his father.

Richard, Duke of York, was his uncle, so when York became Protector in 1453, and Salisbury was made Chancellor, it was natural that Warwick should be one of the council. After the King's [Henry VI] recovery in 1455 Warwick and his father took up arms in York's support. Their victory at St Albans on the 22nd of May was due to the fierce energy with which Warwick assaulted and broke the Lancastrian centre. He was rewarded with the important office of captain of Calais; to his position there he owed his strength during the next five years. Even when York was displaced at home, Warwick retained his post, and in 1457 was also made admiral. He was present in February 1458 at the professed reconciliation of the two parties at St Paul's, London.

During the previous year he had done some good fighting on the march of Calais by land, and kept the sea with vigour; now on his return he distinguished himself in a great fight with Spanish ships off Calais on the 28th of May, and in the autumn by capturing a German salt-fleet on its way to Lubeck. These exploits brought him a prestige and popularity that were distasteful to the home government. Moreover, England was at war neither with Castile nor with the Hanse. Warwick's action may possibly have formed part of some Yorkist design for frustrating the foreign policy of their rivals. At all events there was pretext enough for recalling him to make his defence.

Whilst he was at the court at Westminster a brawl occurred between his retainers and some of the royal household. Warwick himself escaped with difficulty, and went back to Calais, alleging that his life had been deliberately attempted. When in the following year a renewal of the war was imminent, Warwick crossed over to England with his trained soldiers from Calais under Sir Andrew Trollope. But at Ludlow, on the 12th of October, Trollope and his men deserted, and left the Yorkists helpless [cf. Rout of Ludford]. Warwick, with his father, his cousin the young Edward of York, and only three followers, made his way to Barnstaple. There they hired a little fishing vessel. The master pleaded that he did not know the Channel, but Warwick resourcefully took command and himself steered a successful course to Calais. He arrived just in time to anticipate the Duke of Somerset, whom the Lancastrians had sent to supersede him. During the winter Warwick held Calais against Somerset, and sent out a fleet which seized Sandwich and captured Lord Rivers. In the spring he went to Ireland to concert plans with Richard of York. On his return voyage he encountered a superior Lancastrian fleet in the Channel. But Exeter, the rival commander, could not trust his crews and dared not fight.

The bear and ragged staff -- Heraldic badges of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
Bear and Ragged Staff —
Badges of Richard Neville
From Calais Warwick, Salisbury and Edward of York crossed to Sandwich on the 26th of June. A few days later they entered London, whence Warwick at once marched north. On the 10th of July he routed the Lancastrians at Northampton, and took the King prisoner. For the order to spare the commons and slay the lords, Warwick was responsible, as also for some later executions at London. Yet when Richard of York was disposed to claim the crown, it was, according to Waurin, Warwick who decided the discussion in favour of a compromise, perhaps from loyalty to Henry, or perhaps from the wish not to change a weak sovereign for a strong. Warwick was in charge of London at the time when Richard and Salisbury were defeated and slain at Wakefield. The Lancastrians won a second victory at St Albans on the 17th of February 1461, possibly through lack of generalship on Warwick's part. But in his plans to retrieve the disaster Warwick showed skill and decision. He met Edward of York in Oxfordshire, brought him in triumph to London, had him proclaimed king [as Edward IV], and within a month of his defeat at St Albans was marching north in pursuit of the Lancastrians. The good generalship which won the victory of Towton may have been due to Edward rather than to Warwick, but the new king was of the creation of the powerful earl, who now had his reward.

For four years the government was centred undisputedly in the hands of Warwick and his friends. The energy of his brother John, Lord Montagu, frustrated the various attempts of the Lancastrians in the north. In another sphere Warwick himself was determining the lines of English policy on the basis of an alliance with France. The power of the Nevilles seemed to be completed by the promotion of George, the third brother, to be Archbishop of York. The first check came with the announcement in September 1464 of the king's secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. This was particularly distasteful to Warwick, who had but just pledged Edward to a French match. For the time, however, there was no open breach. The trouble began in 1466, when Edward first made Rivers, the Queen's father, treasurer, and afterwards threw obstacles in the way of an intended marriage between Warwick's daughter Isabel and George of Clarence, the King's own next brother. Still in May 1467 Warwick went again with the king's assent to conclude a treaty with France. He returned to find that in his absence Edward, under Woodville's influence, had committed himself definitely to the Burgundian alliance.

Warwick retired in dudgeon to his estates, and began to plot in secret for his revenge. In the summer of 1469 he went over to Calais, where Isabel and Clarence were married without the king's knowledge. Meantime he had stirred up the rebellion of Robin of Redesdale in Yorkshire; and when Edward was drawn north, Warwick invaded England in arms. The King, outmarched and outnumbered, had to yield himself prisoner, whilst Rivers and his son John were executed. Warwick was apparently content with the overthrow of the Woodvilles, and believed that he had secured Edward's submission. In March 1470, a rebellion in Lincolnshire gave Edward an opportunity to gather an army of his own. When the King alleged that he had found proof of Warwick's complicity, the earl, taken by surprise, fled with Clarence to France. There, through the instrumentality of Louis XI, he was with some difficulty reconciled to Margaret of Anjou, and agreed to marry his second daughter to her son.

Earl of Warwich slain at the Battle of BarnetIn September Warwick and Clarence, with the Lancastrian lords, landed at Dartmouth. Edward in his turn had to fly overseas, and for six months Warwick ruled England as Lieutenant for Henry VI, who was restored from his prison in the Tower to a nominal throne. But the Lancastrian restoration was unwelcome to Clarence, who began to intrigue with his brother. When in March 1471 Edward landed at Ravenspur, Clarence found an opportunity to join him. Warwick was completely outgeneralled, and at Barnet on the 14th of April was defeated and slain.

Warwick has been made famous by Lytton as "The Last of the Barons." The title suits him as a great feudal lord, who was a good fighter but a poor general, who had more sympathy with the old order than with the new culture. But he was more than this. He had some of the qualities of a strong ruler, and the power to command popularity. He was a skilled diplomatist and an adroit politician. These qualities, with his position as the head of a great family, the chief representative of Beauchamp, Despenser, Montacute and Neville, made him during ten years "the king-maker." Warwick's only children were his two daughters. Anne, the younger, was married after his death to Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III.

      Excerpted from:

      Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol XVIII.
      Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 340.

Other Local Resources:

Books for further study:

Hicks, Michael. Warwick the Kingmaker.
           Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1998.

Pollard, A. J. Warwick the Kingmaker: Politics, Power and Fame.
           London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007.

Richardson, Geoffrey. The Lordly Ones: A History of the Neville Family and
           Their Part in the Wars of the Roses.
           Baildon Books, 1998.

Swallow, Henry J. De Nova Villa: or, The House of Nevill in Sunshine and Shade.
           Newcastle-on-Tyne: Andrew Reid, 1885.

Warwick, Frances Evelyn Greville, Countess of.
           Warwick Castle and its Earls. Vol 1.
           (Reprint of the 1903 Hutchinson & Co. edition)
           Adamant Media Corporation, 2000.
           <Available for free at Google Books>.

Weir, Alison. The Wars of the Roses.
           Ballantine Books, 1996.

Earl of Warwick on the Web:

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Medieval Cosmology
Prices of Items in Medieval England

Edward II
Isabella of France, Queen of England
Piers Gaveston
Thomas of Brotherton, E. of Norfolk
Edmund of Woodstock, E. of Kent
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster
Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster
Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster
Roger Mortimer, Earl of March
Hugh le Despenser the Younger
Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh, elder

Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)

Edward III
Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England
Edward, Black Prince of Wales
John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall
The Battle of Crécy, 1346
The Siege of Calais, 1346-7
The Battle of Poitiers, 1356
Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
Thomas of Woodstock, Gloucester
Richard of York, E. of Cambridge
Richard Fitzalan, 3. Earl of Arundel
Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March
The Good Parliament, 1376
Richard II
The Peasants' Revolt, 1381
Lords Appellant, 1388
Richard Fitzalan, 4. Earl of Arundel
Archbishop Thomas Arundel
Thomas de Beauchamp, E. Warwick
Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford
Ralph Neville, E. of Westmorland
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk
Edmund Mortimer, 3. Earl of March
Roger Mortimer, 4. Earl of March
John Holland, Duke of Exeter
Michael de la Pole, E. Suffolk
Hugh de Stafford, 2. E. Stafford
Henry IV
Edward, Duke of York
Edmund Mortimer, 5. Earl of March
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
Sir Henry Percy, "Harry Hotspur"
Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester
Owen Glendower
The Battle of Shrewsbury, 1403
Archbishop Richard Scrope
Thomas Mowbray, 3. E. Nottingham
John Mowbray, 2. Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Fitzalan, 5. Earl of Arundel
Henry V
Thomas, Duke of Clarence
John, Duke of Bedford
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury
Richard, Earl of Cambridge
Henry, Baron Scrope of Masham
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Montacute, E. Salisbury
Richard Beauchamp, E. of Warwick
Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter
Cardinal Henry Beaufort
John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset
Sir John Fastolf
John Holland, 2. Duke of Exeter
Archbishop John Stafford
Archbishop John Kemp
Catherine of Valois
Owen Tudor
John Fitzalan, 7. Earl of Arundel
John, Lord Tiptoft

Charles VII, King of France
Joan of Arc
Louis XI, King of France
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
The Battle of Agincourt, 1415
The Battle of Castillon, 1453

The Wars of the Roses 1455-1485
Causes of the Wars of the Roses
The House of Lancaster
The House of York
The House of Beaufort
The House of Neville

The First Battle of St. Albans, 1455
The Battle of Blore Heath, 1459
The Rout of Ludford, 1459
The Battle of Northampton, 1460
The Battle of Wakefield, 1460
The Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461
The 2nd Battle of St. Albans, 1461
The Battle of Towton, 1461
The Battle of Hedgeley Moor, 1464
The Battle of Hexham, 1464
The Battle of Edgecote, 1469
The Battle of Losecoat Field, 1470
The Battle of Barnet, 1471
The Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471
The Treaty of Pecquigny, 1475
The Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485
The Battle of Stoke Field, 1487

Henry VI
Margaret of Anjou
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York
Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville
Richard Woodville, 1. Earl Rivers
Anthony Woodville, 2. Earl Rivers
Jane Shore
Edward V
Richard III
George, Duke of Clarence

Ralph Neville, 2. Earl of Westmorland
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
Edward Neville, Baron Bergavenny
William Neville, Lord Fauconberg
Robert Neville, Bishop of Salisbury
John Neville, Marquis of Montagu
George Neville, Archbishop of York
John Beaufort, 1. Duke Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 2. Duke Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3. Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 4. Duke Somerset
Margaret Beaufort
Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond
Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke
Humphrey Stafford, D. Buckingham
Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Humphrey Stafford, E. of Devon
Thomas, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby
Sir William Stanley
Archbishop Thomas Bourchier
Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
John Mowbray, 3. Duke of Norfolk
John Mowbray, 4. Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Henry Percy, 2. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 3. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 4. E. Northumberland
William, Lord Hastings
Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter
William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford
Thomas de Clifford, 8. Baron Clifford
John de Clifford, 9. Baron Clifford
John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester
Thomas Grey, 1. Marquis Dorset
Sir Andrew Trollop
Archbishop John Morton
Edward Plantagenet, E. of Warwick
John Talbot, 2. E. Shrewsbury
John Talbot, 3. E. Shrewsbury
John de la Pole, 2. Duke of Suffolk
John de la Pole, E. of Lincoln
Edmund de la Pole, E. of Suffolk
Richard de la Pole
John Sutton, Baron Dudley
James Butler, 5. Earl of Ormonde
Sir James Tyrell
Edmund Grey, first Earl of Kent
George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent
John, 5th Baron Scrope of Bolton
James Touchet, 7th Baron Audley
Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoy
Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns
Thomas, Lord Scales
John, Lord Lovel and Holand
Francis Lovell, Viscount Lovell
Sir Richard Ratcliffe
William Catesby
Ralph, 4th Lord Cromwell
Jack Cade's Rebellion, 1450

Tudor Period

King Henry VII
Queen Elizabeth of York
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Lambert Simnel
Perkin Warbeck
The Battle of Blackheath, 1497

King Ferdinand II of Aragon
Queen Isabella of Castile
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

King Henry VIII
Queen Catherine of Aragon
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Jane Seymour
Queen Anne of Cleves
Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Katherine Parr

King Edward VI
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland
James IV, King of Scotland
The Battle of Flodden Field, 1513
James V, King of Scotland
Mary of Guise, Queen of Scotland

Mary Tudor, Queen of France
Louis XII, King of France
Francis I, King of France
The Battle of the Spurs, 1513
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador
The Siege of Boulogne, 1544

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Thomas, Lord Audley
Thomas Wriothesley, E. Southampton
Sir Richard Rich

Edward Stafford, D. of Buckingham
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford
John Russell, Earl of Bedford
Thomas Grey, 2. Marquis of Dorset
Henry Grey, D. of Suffolk
Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester
George Talbot, 4. E. Shrewsbury
Francis Talbot, 5. E. Shrewsbury
Henry Algernon Percy,
     5th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Algernon Percy,
     6th Earl of Northumberland
Ralph Neville, 4. E. Westmorland
Henry Neville, 5. E. Westmorland
William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester
Sir Francis Bryan
Sir Nicholas Carew
John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral
Edward Seymour, Protector Somerset
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Henry Pole, Lord Montague
Sir Geoffrey Pole
Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Bourchier, 2. Earl of Essex
Robert Radcliffe, 1. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 2. Earl of Sussex
George Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon
Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
George Neville, Baron Bergavenny
Sir Edward Neville
William, Lord Paget
William Sandys, Baron Sandys
William Fitzwilliam, E. Southampton
Sir Anthony Browne
Sir Thomas Wriothesley
Sir William Kingston
George Brooke, Lord Cobham
Sir Richard Southwell
Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre
Sir Francis Weston
Henry Norris
Lady Jane Grey
Sir Thomas Arundel
Sir Richard Sackville
Sir William Petre
Sir John Cheke
Walter Haddon, L.L.D
Sir Peter Carew
Sir John Mason
Nicholas Wotton
John Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Younger

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Cardinal Reginald Pole
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London
Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London
John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester
John Aylmer, Bishop of London
Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
Archbishop William Warham
Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham
Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester
Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford

Pope Julius II
Pope Leo X
Pope Clement VII
Pope Paul III
Pope Pius V

Pico della Mirandola
Desiderius Erasmus
Martin Bucer
Richard Pace
Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Tallis
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
Hans Holbein, the Younger
The Sweating Sickness

Dissolution of the Monasteries
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
Robert Aske
Anne Askew
Lord Thomas Darcy
Sir Robert Constable

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555
The Act of Supremacy, 1559
Articles Touching Preachers, 1583

Queen Elizabeth I
William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Sir Francis Walsingham
Sir Nicholas Bacon
Sir Thomas Bromley

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon
Sir Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley
Sir Francis Knollys
Katherine "Kat" Ashley
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester
George Talbot, 6. E. of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7. E. of Shrewsbury
Sir Henry Sidney
Sir Robert Sidney
Archbishop Matthew Parker
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich
Sir Christopher Hatton
Edward Courtenay, E. Devonshire
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Thomas Radcliffe, 3. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 4. Earl of Sussex
Robert Radcliffe, 5. Earl of Sussex
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton
Henry Wriothesley, 2. Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3. Southampton
Charles Neville, 6. E. Westmorland
Thomas Percy, 7. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 8. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9. E. Nothumberland
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard, 1. Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard, 1. Earl of Suffolk
Henry Hastings, 3. E. of Huntingdon
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
Henry FitzAlan, 12. Earl of Arundel
Thomas, Earl Arundell of Wardour
Edward Somerset, E. of Worcester
William Davison
Sir Walter Mildmay
Sir Ralph Sadler
Sir Amyas Paulet
Gilbert Gifford
Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague
François, Duke of Alençon & Anjou

Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot
John Knox

Philip II of Spain
The Spanish Armada, 1588
Sir Francis Drake
Sir John Hawkins

William Camden
Archbishop Whitgift
Martin Marprelate Controversy
John Penry (Martin Marprelate)
Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
John Dee, Alchemist

Philip Henslowe
Edward Alleyn
The Blackfriars Theatre
The Fortune Theatre
The Rose Theatre
The Swan Theatre
Children's Companies
The Admiral's Men
The Lord Chamberlain's Men
Citizen Comedy
The Isle of Dogs, 1597

Common Law
Court of Common Pleas
Court of King's Bench
Court of Star Chamber
Council of the North
Fleet Prison
First Fruits & Tenths
Livery and Maintenance
Oyer and terminer

The Stuarts

King James I of England
Anne of Denmark
Henry, Prince of Wales
The Gunpowder Plot, 1605
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
Arabella Stuart, Lady Lennox

William Alabaster
Bishop Hall
Bishop Thomas Morton
Archbishop William Laud
John Selden
Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford
Henry Lawes

King Charles I
Queen Henrietta Maria

Long Parliament
Rump Parliament
Kentish Petition, 1642

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford
John Digby, Earl of Bristol
George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax
Robert Devereux, 3rd E. of Essex
Robert Sidney, 2. E. of Leicester
Algernon Percy, E. of Northumberland
Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester
Edward Montagu, 2. Earl of Manchester

The Restoration

King Charles II
King James II
Test Acts

Greenwich Palace
Hatfield House
Richmond Palace
Windsor Palace
Woodstock Manor

The Cinque Ports
Mermaid Tavern
Malmsey Wine
Great Fire of London, 1666
Merchant Taylors' School
Westminster School
The Sanctuary at Westminster


Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
London in late 16th century
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's View of London, 1616
Larger Visscher's View in Sections
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London

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