Earl of Warwick

(Richard Neville, Warwick the Kingmaker)


Earl of Warwick
Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, is probably the central character involved in the War of the Roses. He was the mastermind of the elevation of the York clan to the throne of England, and the de facto ruler for the early years of Edward IV's reign. Already the richest man in England before instigating the ruinous war, Warwick was seemingly never satisfied. Even after he had place the Yorks in power over the Lancasters, at a tremendous cost to all of England, he could not tolerate anything less than full submission to his will. Edward IV was a passive king, but he took direction from wife's family, sometimes in opposition ot the counsel of Warwick. For this reason, Warwick plotted with Edward's brother the Duke of Clarence to overthrow Edward, only eight years after he had placed him on the throne.

At the Battle of Edgecote, fought in 1469, the king's army was defeated and Edward IV himself, was captured. Warwick's victory was short lived however—the tide soon turned again in favor of Edward when his faithful brother Richard came to the rescue, and most of the nobles stayed loyal to the king. Warwick and Clarence were declared traitors and driven out of England. At this point Warwick sought to make amends with his old enemy Margaret Anjou, who was living in exile in France with her disinherited Lancaster son, Prince Edward. Warwick proposed a marriage between his daughter and Prince Edward in return for a promise that he would raise an army to depose Edward VI, and place her son on the throne. This she agreed to after some reluctance, but lived to regret it. Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet and her son, Prince Edward was captured and executed soon afterward, leaving Edward IV to rule in peace.

Key events during the life of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick:

Birth of Richard Neville
Inherited the Warwick estate through his wife.
  Warwick the "king-maker" arranges succession of the Duke of York on the death of Henry VI.
Birth of Prince Edward, Lancaster heir precipitates succession crisis.
Battle of Bloore Heath, War of the Rose Breaks out
Duke of York killed at the Battle of Wakefield.
Edward IV crowned king of England. Henry VI imprisoned.
Marriage of Edward IV to Elizabeth Woodville.
Raised a rebellion against Edward, with his brother Duke of Clarence. Captured Edward IV.
Edward rescued by Richard III. Warwick is exiled. Warwick makes alliance with Margaret of Anjou.
Killed in the Battle of Barnet.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Anxiety and Trouble in  Margaret of Anjou  by  Jacob Abbott
Reconciliation with Warwick in  Margaret of Anjou  by  Jacob Abbott
Accession of Edward IV, Richard's Elder Brother in  Richard III  by  Jacob Abbott
Two Roses (continued)  in  Stories From English History, Part Second  by  Alfred J. Church
End of the King-Maker  in  Stories From English History, Part Second  by  Alfred J. Church
Warwick the Kingmaker  in  Famous Men of the Middle Ages  by  John H. Haaren
Wars of the Roses (1455-1485)  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Edward IV—The Story of the Kingmaker  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall

Image Links

The Burying of the Earl of Warwick
 in The Chantry Priest of Barnet
Warwick, the King-maker
Warwick, the King-maker
 in Back Matter
York and Landcaster - The White and Red Roses
York and Landcaster - The White and Red Roses
 in Back Matter

Warwick Castle
 in Historical Tales: English

Short Biography
Duke of York Aspirant to the throne in the early years of War of the Roses. Killed in action with eldest son.
Edward IV Son of the Duke of York. Became king of England when other aspirants were dead or deposed.
Margaret of Anjou Ruled in stead of her weak husband, Henry VI. Led armies against Yorks. Deposed after the York victory at Hexham.
Duke of Clarence Brother of Edward IV and Richard III, who allied with Warwick against them.
Richard III On death of his brother Edward IV, he killed his nephews and usurped the throne.