1458: Postponing the Inevitable


You can catch up on 1457 here, but otherwise we’re continuing on with our coverage of the Wars of the Roses’ first half.


On January 3, Margaret Beaufort, Dowager Countess of Richmond marries the Duke of Buckingham’s son, Henry Stafford.

Henry VI sends words to all of England’s magnates that he intends to hold a peace conference at Westminster to help bring the warring sides together.


Lord Clifford, the Earl of Northumberland and the Duke of Somerset, all of whom lot their fathers during the First Battle of St Albans, arrive at Temple Bar demanding compensation from York for his crimes. Intimidated, Henry orders the Duke of York and the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick to say masses for the loss of the three Lancastrian lords and pay fines to their families.


The peace conference ends. On the 24th, there is a formal reconciliation ceremony on the Feast of the Annunciation. Henry and Marguerite of Anjou walk hand-in-hand, while leading Lancastrian and Yorkist lords process behind them. Three days later, Henry and Marguerite make a state entrance into London and the Yorkist lords scatter.

April – June

Warwick begins courting Philip, Duke of Burgundy for friendship and engaging in piracy on the Channel, even going so far as to attack a German merchant ship.


Marguerite summons Warwick to London in the hopes of using his piracy crimes to oust him as Captain of Calais. He arrives at court with 600 armed retainers. On the 31st, Council begins a formal inquiry, but Warwick states that Marguerite has been acting insincerely since the peace conference and has no regard for England’s international standing.


On the 1st, Warwick’s men start a riot by demonstrating against Marguerite. In the midst of this, the Attorney General is murdered. Marguerite deploys guards to suppress the violence and participants are arrested.


While walking through Westminster, one of Henry’s servants attacks Warwick with a spit and nearly murders him. The servant claims it was an accident, but Warwick believes the man was acting on Marguerite’s orders. Warwick’s guards and the royal guard get into a brawl and the servant is dragged before the Queen. She orders his execution, but then allows him to escape into Yorkshire.

Marguerite then convinces Council that Warwick is responsible for the fight between the guards and orders his arrest. When Warwick learns he hastily departs London for Warwick Castle, and then sneaks out of England to Calais.


Marguerite orders that Warwick give up his post as Captain of Calais for Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (Edmund Beaufort’s son). Warwick responds by traveling to London and standing before Council to argue that since Parliament gave him the post, only they can revoke it. On his way out the door, Somerset and Wiltshire’s men attack him, nearly killing him. He again escapes for Calais, but returns to piracy.

Warwick’s behavior is enough to prompt Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, previously neutral, to side with Henry and Marguerite.


Five-year-old Prince Edward is awarded his own personal badge featuring a swan. Reportedly, Marguerite asks Henry to abdicate in favor of their son, but he refuses.

We’ll return soon with 1459.

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