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 The Warwick Inheritance

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PostSubject: The Warwick Inheritance   Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:44 pm

I recently read a novel (historical fiction) that had a conversation between Edward IV and Richard at the time of his marriage to Anne. Edward told Richard that he (Edward) added a clause in the final Warwick inheritance settlement that tied both Richard and Anne's inheritance to the male heirs of John Neville. If "that line failed", the title would revert to "life interest" only.

Does anyone know if this is actually true and what exactly does it mean?

Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: The Warwick Inheritance   Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:17 pm

dbleleo wrote:
I recently read a novel (historical fiction) that had a conversation between Edward IV and Richard at the time of his marriage to Anne.  Edward told Richard that he (Edward) added a clause in the final Warwick inheritance settlement that tied both Richard and Anne's inheritance to the male heirs of John Neville.  If "that line failed", the title would revert to "life interest" only.  

Does anyone know if this is actually true and what exactly does it mean?  

The basic facts as laid out in the novel you read are historical and correct, but it wasn't in the final Warwick inheritance settlement. Someone else may be able to explain it better, but this is how I understand it.

1. Richard Neville (Warwick the Kingmaker; Anne's father) and John Neville (Anne's uncle) died in the Battle of Barnet. Neither one was ever attainted for having committed treason against Edward IV.

2. John's son, George Neville (born 1465), was six when his father died in 1471. His engagement to Elizabeth of York was broken after Barnet, and Edward IV gave George's mother custody of him.  

3. Warwick's inheritance had been "entailed in the male line", This means that because Warwick had no male heirs, upon his death everything was supposed to go to his brother John. (Anne and Isabel inherited nothing.) Since John died at Barnet with Warwick and neither of them were attainted, the inheritance was supposed to go to John's son, George.

4. George Neville's inheritance included Penrith, Middleham and Sheriff Hutton.

5. After Barnet, Edward IV gave George's inheritance to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was done in 1475 by Parliament bypassing the laws of inheritance (something nobles were terrified of). This is the act that declared that Richard would possess the Warwick lands as long as John Neville had any living male heir. What the act actually said:

The king our sovereign lord, considering the great and heinous treasons and other offences committed against his highness by John Neville, late Marquis Montagu, intended by authority of this present parliament to have attainted and disabled the said late marquis and his heirs forever, as he deserved, but our sovereign lord, at the humble request and prayer of his most dear brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, and other lords of his blood, as well as of his other lords, now refrains from so doing and intends to proceed no further in that matter: nevertheless our same sovereign lord, recalling the great and laudable service that his said most dear brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, has done on various occasions to his highness, by the advice and assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons assembled in this present parliament, and by authority of the same, ordains, decrees and enacts on this present 23 February that his said brother shall have, hold, possess and enjoy to him and his heirs lawfully begotten of his body, as long as there is any male heir begotten of the body of the said marquis, the honours, castles, lordships and manors of Middleham and Sheriff Hutton, with all their members and appurtenances, the lordships and manors of East Lilling, Elvington, Skirpenbeck, Easthorpe, Raskelf, Hook, Scoreby, Wilberfoss, Stamford Bridge, Humburton, Knapton, Rise in Holderness, Sutton upon Derwent, Sherburn in Hertfordlythe, Appleton in Ryedale, Sutton on the Forest and Tholthorpe, Carleton with Coverdale in Coverdale, West Witton, Woodhall, Kettlewell in Craven, Newbegin, Thoralby with Bishopdale, [West] Burton, Bainbridge with the vale of Wensleydale, Braithwaite, Aysgarth, Crakehall, Busby, Faceby, Carleton in Cleveland, Little Crakehall, Bowes, New Forest, Arkengarthdale, Hope otherwise called Easthope, Westhope, Moulton, Forcett, Gilling, Salkeld, Sowerby, Langwathby, Scotby and Carleton, with all the appurtenances; the barony of Worton, free chase in Wensleydale, £10 of rent issuing each year from the castle and manor of Wilton, the toll of Bowes, Leeming, Dishforth and Smeaton; the wapentakes or bailiwicks of Langbargh, Hang, Halikeld and Gilling; the advowsons of the churches of Moor Monkton, Walkington and Elvington, and of a chantry in Appleton church, a mill in Richmond, and the issues and profits of a farm called Litfarm, half of the land and wood of Snape, called the West Wood, all homages, rents called castleward, knights' fees, the rents and services of the free tenants belonging, pertaining or which ought to pertain to the castle, honour and lordship of Richmond, or to any part of it; which honours, castles, lordships, manors, lands, tenements and all the other things stated were formerly of Richard Neville, late earl of Warwick, or of any other persons or person to the use of the same earl.

Source: Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, ed. by C. Given-Wilson, P. Brand, A. Curry, R. E. Horrox, G. Martin, W. M. Omrod, and J. R. S. Phillips

6. George's mother died in 1476, when George was 11. He inherited her estate and obtained an annual income from it of ~400 pounds.

7. In 1478 and through Parliament, Edward IV stripped George of his ducal title:

Where previously the king our sovereign lord, for the great zeal and love he bore to John Neville, the late Marquis Montague, and for other considerations influencing him, elevated and made George Neville, the eldest son of the said marquis, duke of Bedford; and at that time, for the great love his said highness bore to the said John Neville, planned and intended to have given the said George adequate livelihood to support the same dignity: but for the great offences, wickedness and misbehaviour that the said John Neville did and committed against his said highness, as is commonly known, he had no reason to grant any livelihood to the said George. And because it is public knowledge that the same George does not have and may not have by inheritance any livelihood to support the said name, estate and dignity, or any name of estate; and it is frequently seen that when a lord is called to high estate and does not have adequate livelihood to support the same dignity it leads to great poverty and indigence, and often causes resort to great extortion, corruption and maintenance, to the great trouble of all the areas where such a figure happens to live. Wherefore the king, by the advice and assent of his lords spiritual and temporal and the commons assembled in this present parliament, and by authority of the same, ordains, decrees and enacts that the same elevation and making of duke, and all the dignities given to the said George or to the said John Neville, his father, shall henceforth be void and of no effect: and that henceforth the same George and his heirs shall not be dukes or marquesses, earls or barons, or be held or taken for dukes or marquesses, earls or barons because of any previous elevation or creation; but that name of duke and marquess, earl and baron shall cease in him and his heirs and be void and of no effect; notwithstanding the said elevation or creation.

Source: the Parliament Rolls

8. Critics of Richard point out that if George had remained a peer, he might have used his standing to get Parliament to reverse the 1475 act that gave Richard the use of George's lands, but it's my understanding that Edward IV himself had made George the 1st Duke of Bedford upon George's becoming betrothed to Elizabeth of York in 1470. What the king grants, the king can take away. Also, the King himself controlled Parliament, and the king would have had to agree to repeal this act. Which means that, at this point in history, no peer could have talked Parliament into anything?

9. Edward gave Richard wardship over George in 1480 (when George was 15). With the wardship came the right to marry off George to whoever Richard chose. Critics point out that whoever obtained someone's wardship could use the revenues of the ward's estate, and that Richard profited from obtaining wardship over Geroge. But Richard was already supporting part of his retinue through the Warwick lands (and carrying out his duties in the North at the express order of his brother the King); I've not seen any specifics as to how Richard might have taken advantage of the income from the land George inherited from his mother. But again, it is Edward who assigned Richard his duties, and Richard had to have income to retain the men and estates necessary, and to defray the cost of carrying out those duties.

10. From 1480 to 1483, Richard did not arrange a marriage for George. I remember reading that Richard did, however, attempt to purchase Middleham, et. al. from George's family, but they refused to sell.

11. George died, childless, on 4 May 1483 -- between Edward IV's death and Richard's taking the throne. He was buried at Sheriff Hutton. His death without a male heir meant that Richard's interest in/control of the Warwick inheritance dissolved, and the lands reverted to the next Warwick heir -- whom I think was another George Neville, the Archbishop of York?

12. George's death meant that with the immediate loss of Penrith, Middleham and Sheriff Hutton, Richard now had a severely weakened northern power base. He also had less of an inheritance to pass on to his son.

Critics of Richard point out that, at this time, Richard's hold upon the north was loosened and his income curtailed just when he needed them both. They argue that by becoming king, Richard resolved the question of his title to the northern estates once and for all. But what they fail to acknowledge is that Richard-as-king did not force George's relations to sell or trade Penrith, Middleham, or Sheriff Hutton to the crown.

I remember reading that Richard continued negotiations for Middleham's purchase, with the remaining Nevilles refusing to sell. We know he continued using Sheriff Hutton, and he didn't immediately vacate Middleham; but neither did he take any of it over by act of Parliament. I also remember reading that he left off negotiating to purchase Middleham once Anne died.

Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong in any of this?

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PostSubject: Re: The Warwick Inheritance   Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:22 pm

Thank you so much -- your response was very helpful!
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PostSubject: Re: The Warwick Inheritance   Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:30 pm

I'm as confused as you are, especially as to why George Neville or his heirs had to be alive for Richard to "hold and possess" Warwick's lands. And I don't understand why George would be living in poverty (and therefore couldn't afford a dukedom) if all those lands were really his. Some people suspect that Richard's enemies poisoned George, who died at a most awkward time.

At any rate, I do know of one factual error. George Neville, Archbishop of York, had died in 1476 (after ill treatment by Edward that Richard had tried to remedy, if I recall correctly. It was also shabby of Edward to take away George Neville's dukedom, but since his father had committed treason, I suppose it was inevitable.)

Does anyone know what lands Richard had left after George Neville's death? And who would the heir have been? Surely, it would be Isabel Neville and George of Clarence's son, Edward, who was by this time Richard's ward given that Dorset had absconded.

At any rate, Richard certainly continued to use Sheriff Hutton.

Who are these Neville relatives who refused to sell Middleham? No one was left except Richard's mother-in-law, Anne Beauchamp, whose own lands had, I thought been divvied up between Richard and his brother George as if she were dead, thanks to Parliament and Edward. I don't think that Warwick's half-brothers (if any were still alive) had any claim to those lands.

I'm so confused!
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