John Fortescue.

The works of Sir John Fortescue, Knight, Chief Justice of England and Lord Chancellor to King Henry the Sixth (Volume 1) online

. (page 3 of 87)
Online LibraryJohn FortescueThe works of Sir John Fortescue, Knight, Chief Justice of England and Lord Chancellor to King Henry the Sixth (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 87)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


his duties as Chief Judge with extraordinary ability, and feems to have been one of the moil:
learned and upright men who ever fat in the Court of ()j.:een's Bench;'"' and in another
place he calls him " one of the moll: illuftrious of the Chief Jurtices, for ever to he had in
remembrance for his judicial integrity ;"'^ and huller, in his " Worthies of England," joining
him with Chief Jui-lice Markham, his immediate fuccefTor, fays : ' " Thefe I may call two
Chief Juftices of the Chief Juftices, for their fignal integrity ; for though the one of them
favoured the Houfe of Lancafter, and the other the Ploufe of York, in tl e titles to tlie
Crown, both of them fivoured the Houfe of Juftice in matters betwixt party and part\ ."

The Chief Juftice was knighted upon his appointment or foon after. I find him \\.) led
" Miles " firft in June, 1443.^

We have to regret the almoft complete abfence of notices of his life during the ei^huen
or nineteen years of his Chief Jufticefliip. None of his correfpondence has come d( \vn
to us, and his name occurs but feldom in the fcanty memorials ot contemporary ever.ts not
purely military, v/hich have furvived the troublous times that enfued.

The firft reference to him that I can find is in the Pafton Letters the year after his
promotion, in a letter written at his defire to a brother Judge, Sir Williani Pafton :" —

" To my right worthy and worfliipfu! Lord, William Pafton, Juftice, in hafte.

" Pleafe it your good Lordftiip to weet, that the Chief Juftice of the King's Bench
recommendeth him to you, and is right forry of the matter that is caufe of your none cojming
hither, but he will do all that he can or may for you.

" He hath had a fciatica that hath letted him a great while to ride, and dare not yet come
on none horfe's back, and therefore he hath fpoken to the Lords of the Council, and informed
them of your ficknefs, and his alfo, that he may not ride at thefe next ailizes to Eaft Cirin-
ftead ; and though thofe afTizes difcontinue pur noun veno dez Jufticez, he hopeth 10 be
excufcd, and ye alfo.



' DuE^dale, Chron. Scries, p. 62. '^ Campbell, Lives of" Chancellors, vol. i. p. 376.

^ Campbell, Chief Juftices, vol. i. p. 141.

■* Fuller, Worthies, vol. ii. p. 571, article Markham (8vo. Edition).
^ Will of John Cheddar, of Cheddar, in Dodlworth MS.

' Pafton Letters; Letter VL vol. iii. p. 27 ; Sir William Pafton, born in 1378. made a Judge of the Common
Pleas in 1430, died in 1444 (fee Preface to Fenn's edition).



/>//!' of Sir John Fortejci/e. 9

"And as for the remanent of the allizes, he fliall purvey to be tliere by water; and
Almighty Jefu make you heyle and ftrong.

" Written right fimply, the Wednefday next tofore the Feafl; of the Purification of our
Lady, at London,

" By your moll fimple fervant,

" James Gresham.'
" London, Wednefday,
"30th of January, 144J. 22 Men. VL"

The ablence at that period of any carriage-road between London and the AHlze town
of one of the home counties is worthy ot remark. All who were unable to walk, or to
ride on horleback, could only reach tlie SulTex coaft by a fea voyage !

In this year we find him fitting as a Privy Councillor in " The Starred Chamber ' on
feveral occafions.'' And ferious tumults having occurred at Norwich on account of certain
ecclefiaftical exactions, a fpecial commillion was ilTued to him and others in the month of
March for the trial of the rioters. The event is thus noticed in the Minutes of the Privy
Council :'^ —

" The Commons arofe, and would have affiulted and fired the Priory, and have
deftroyed the Prior of the place, 6cc. Whereupon the King fent thither the Chief Juftice
John Fortefcue, the Earl of Stafford, and the Earl of Muntingdon ; and fitten tlien in Seffions,
at the which were many of the City there indited, and the Prior alfo, and alfo the City loft
their liberties, and franchifes, and freedoms that they had afore, and all the City feized into
the King's hand .... And the Chief Judge Fortefcue and Weftbury Judge, declarenden
all their demenyng at Norwich."

In the Parliament held at Weftminfter in 1444' (23 Men. VI.) on the 25th of February,
Fortefcue was named as one of the " Triers of Petitions," thus ; — •

" Ipfo domino Rege fede Regia in Camera depidla apud WelE-, refidente.

"Sent affignez Triours des Petitions d'Engleterre, Irland, Gales et Ecoce. 'I'he
Cardinal Archbifhop D'Everwyck, Duke of Gloucefter, Duke of Norfolk, Bifliops ot
London, Rochefter, Norwich, and Ely, the Marquis of Dorfet, E,arls of Arundel and
Oxford, the Prior of St. John of Jerufalem in England, the Abbots of St. Albon, of St.
Auftin of Canterbury, and of Gloucefter, Le Sire Grey de Ruthyn, Le Sire de Dudley.
Le Sire de Faulconberge, Le Sire John Fortefcu, and William Weftbury, et tiendront leui
place en la Chambre du Chambellain, pres la Chambre du Peinte."

Fie was re-appointed in each Parliament until that ot July, 1455, inclufive.

' He appears to have been Sir John Forttlcue's Secretary.

■^ Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, Nicholas, vol. v. c.\xiv.-cxxv. ^.c.
■' Rolls of Parliament, vol. v. p. GO, Jvic. A;c.
I. C



lo Life of Sir J oil n For tf cue.

His conducfl in the cafe of 'rhonias Kerver attraded notice' at the time, and deferves to
be mentioned to his credit. Kerver had been imprifoned for fome offence in WaUingford
Caftle, when the King pariloncd him, and wiilied him to be releafed ; but b'ortclliie, to
whom the King fent his commands to iflue his writ for the purpofe, confidered that he had
no right or legal power to Ao fo, and refufed to comply. Iientlcy conjec'tm-es that tliis
refufal arofe from his difapproval of the favour fliovvn to Kerver, or from doubts as to its
legality, and admires his bold and upright behaviour, lienry had recourfe to his Chan-
cellor, to whom he addrelTed this letter.

Lktter from Henry the Sixth to the Chancellor, commanding him to ijfiie his writ
to the Conftahlc of IValluigford Cafile, to deliver Tliomas Kerver from imprifonment.

By the King.

Right Revend fader in god. Right trufly and Right welbeloved We grete you wel.
And how be hit that we now late fent unto oure truily and welbeloved Knight fohn
ffortefcu oure chief- Juftice charging hym to deliver oute of oure Caftel of Walyngford in
our behalve Thomas Keruer, which by oure comaundement hath long tyme been in w: rd
in ye prifon of oure faid Caftel, yet nathelefs ye faid John ffortefcu hath do us to iiud :r-
flande, that he hath no pouair fo to do in any wife, Wherfore we wolling for certain raues
and confideracons elpecially moeving us, the forfaid Thomas to be in brief tyme delived c ut
o[ ye fiid prifon without any tirther delay, charge you yat ye do make oure writte in due
fourme direcfted unto the Couneftable of our faid Caftel or his depute comaunding h m
ftraitly to deliver ye forfaid Thomas out of ye forfaid prifon, and to fouffre hym to goo at
large. And yat ye faille not herof as we trufte you. Lating you wite yat it is ou e 'ul
wille yat ye ilial fo do. And we wol theefe our Ires to be unto you fouffifant warrant &
difcharge in yat behalve. Yeven under our fignet at Pottern the XXV day of Aouft the
yere of our Regne XXV.

To the Right Reverend fader in god our Right trufty and Right welbelAved
tharchbisHiop of Cant' our Chauncellier of Englande."

There is a letter in the Pafton correfpondence,'' written between I450 and 1434 by one
T. Bocking to William Wayte, containing the following curious fentence : —

"The Chief JulVice hath waited' to have been aflaulted all this fev'night nightly in his
houfe, but nothing come as yet, the more pity, &c. &c. An oyer and deter niner goeth
into Kent, and commillioners my Lord the Duke of York, Bourchier, my mal e'-, that will



' Bcntley.Excerpta Hiftorica, folio 390. - Milci llancous Records in ilic Tower.

^ Piiflon Letters, vol. iii. p. 135. ' -• W.iileJ " here nieaiib •' cvpecled."



Liife of Sir yohn Fo?'tefcuc.



I r



not come then de proditionibiis, &c. &c., but Kent prayeth them to hang no man when
they come."'

It would fecm that the writer was, like his mafter, a follower of the York party, which
may account for his Hivagc language about Kortefcue the Lancaftrian. The editor of tlie
Pafton Letters furmifes that the Commillion may have been to try fome of the perfons
implicated in Cade's rebellion.

In the year 1457, Sir John purchafed from Sir Robert Corbet the reverfion, after the
deceafe of " Joyes, or ' Jocofa," late the wife of John Grevyle, Efquier," of the manor and
appurtenances ot Ebiangton, or Kbberton, near Campden, in Gloucellerfliire, for the fum of
one hundred and fifty-one pounds."' This eftate, forfeited by his attainder, was granted to
Sir John Brug, who died feized of it in the iith year of Edward IV,'^ 147' or 1472, a
fliort time before its rcftoration to the Chancellor, in whole family it has ever fince coi.tinued,
and is now the property of Earl Kortefcue.

A copy of the releafeofthe Manor of Ebrington will be interefting, and is therefore
given in full : —

Releaje of Manor of Ebri>i?^to>i:^

To aile men to whom this wrytyng flial come, Rob' Corbet Knyght feiide gretyng in oure Lord.
For afmuch as I have iblde to Sir John Fortefcu Kn)'ght in fee lymple the reverfion of the Manour of
Ebryghton in the Counte of Glouceftre with the apptenaunces, to be had after the decefl'e of Joyes
late the \\'\i of John (jrevyle Efquier for cli. pounds to be p.iyed to me in certayn fourme betwene us,
accorded by reafon ot which fale I have by my dede enrolled and fubfcribed with mync owne hande
granted the fame rcueriion to the laid Sir John and other named with hym, tcj his vfe in fee by vertu
of which the laid Joyes hath attourned to the faiii Sir John ; and alfo I have delyuered to the i'jme Sir
John alle the euidences v/hich ever come to myne handes concernyng the faid Manour ; I woll and
defire as well the forelaid Joyes, the Abbot of Wyncecombe, and alle other perfonnes in whos handes
the (iiid Sir John or his heyres can wete or afpye any of the forfaid evydences to be kepte, to delyuer
the fame evydences to ham, for the riii;ht and title of the reuerfion of die faid Manour is nowe clerel)',
trewly, and lawefully in the laid Sir (ohn, his co-feoftees and theyre heyres, and from me and myne
heyres for euer moore, and the laid Manour nor the reuerfion thereof, was neuer tayled to me nor
none of myne aunceifres, but alway in us bathe be polfelfed in fee lymple, a;, far as euer I coude
knowe by any evydence or by any manner, fayyng by my trouthe. Wherfor I charge Rob' my lone,
and myne heyre, his iliue, and alle thos that flial be myne heyeres herafter, vpon my blelTyng, that
they neuer vexe, implede, ne greve the forfaid Sir John, his faid cofeoflees, theyre heyres, nor
aflignees, for the forfaid Manour ; and if they do, knowyng this my prohibicion I note wel they flial
haue the curfe of God, for theyre wronge and owr trouthe, and alfo they flial haue my curfe,
Witnyfyng this my wrytyng vnder my feale, and lubfcribed with myne owne hande, Wreten the \ day
of December, the yere ot the reigiie ot Kyng Henry VI'" after the conquelle X.XXV'.

(L.S.) Sir Robekd Corbet Kn'vtu.

' See the Rclcale. '^ Rudder's Glouctfterfhire, p. 434. ■< Campbell, Lives of Chancellors, vol. i. p. 376.



1 2 ^'f^ ^f ^^'' 'Joh/i Fortejciic.

xVn Inquifition' into Fortefcue's property, taken atter the Ad of Attainder, lliovvs that he
liad acquired, befides Ebruigton, eftates in VViltfliiie at Kingilon-Devercll, Ironbridge, and
Chippenham, at ionie period of his legal career. To thefe iiiuft be adued a portion of his
father's ei'late in South Devon, wliich he inherited at his death, between 14J5 and 1437,
deitribed in the Inquifition as Combe in i lolbeton, Overcombe, Nethercombe, Efi-ord, and
Alftone.

The falary attached to his Chief Juftice's place was granted to him by Patent,'^ bearing
the fame date with his appointment, that is to fay, January i5th, ao Men. VI. (i44'2). It
was 180 marks, equal to .t'150 per annum, together with 106 lliiliings, and I'l pence
farthing, and one-eighth of a halfpenny, for a robe with tin- trinuning at Chrilfmas, and
fixty-fix fliillings and fixpence for a robe and its lining at Whitfuntide.

Not many days later, namely, on the 6th of February, the King grants hii 1 by patent
a Tun (dolium) of Wine aiuiually for his life, to be given to him by the Chi;f Ikitler of
England from the port of Brillol."'

And a iecond yearly Tun was added by a New Patent of the 'ijrd of May, 1443, alio
for his life, in confideration " of the good fervice which the faid John b'ortelcue performs
and may hereafter perform for US."

Thefe two Tuns'* are fpecially exempted in the Aft of Refumption of Grants, palled m
the 34th Henry VI. (1455), by the following claufe : "Provided alio that this Atl of
Refumption be not prejudicial, nor extend to the Grant which we have made by our Letters
Patentes to John Fortefcu Knight, of two Tun of Wine to be taken yearly in the Port of
London for the term of his life."

An addition to his lalary of forty marks per annum^ was made in the year 1447 by a
patent of the 22nd of March, which recites that this grant fhall he for his lite, and that its
objeift is to enable him to keep up his ftate more becomingly, and to meet his expenditure
while in his office of Chief Julfice, and alio that expenditure which it will be fitting that fie
iViould make when he fliall have ceafed to hold the faid office — a thoughtful precaution. I

I fhall here give in full the text of thofe three out of the four above-named Patents,
which have come down to us : — • 1

Patent Rolli 20 Hcnyici J'l. Annuity for John Fortefcuf. ' '

Pro Johe Fortefcue,

Rex omnibus ad quos, etc. Saiuteni. Sciatis quod gracia noftra Ipeciali et ut dilect is et tidelis
norter Johannes Ffortefcu Capitalis Juftieiarius noller Statuin luum decentiui niaiiutciiere et expeiilas



' Sol Inquilltion at Anulbur^, 7 Ed. IV, among Ini]. I'oft-mortcm, P.rit. Mu»., and Appendix.

'' PatL-nt Rolls. JO Hen. VI. Membrane 10.

^ Rymer, v. p.irt i. [i. 120, A Tun of wine eoniains 63 g.illons or 84 dozen oi quart bottles.

■* Rolls of Parliament, vol. v. p. 317. ' Patent Roll, J5th Hen. VI.



Z>//I' oj Si)' "Jului Furtcjcice.



quas iplum in olncio pra-dii!;to tacere opurtcbit (ullincrc valcat, coiiccffinuis ci centum et (|uatu(>r viginti
niarcas pcrcipiendas iingulib aiinis per niaiuis clerici five cuitoJis h.uiapciii luilfri aut pur manus
cullumariurum in portiibus LomJoiii,, Hnlloil, ct viihe de Ivingelton fupei I lull pru tun. pi ire exillenlujiii
ad tcrminos Palchx- ct Sandti Miehaelis [ler equalcs portioncs juxta formani cujulJani a^li in ultinu>
parlianicnto nolho inde editi, necnon cenluni ct (ex folidos undecim denaricis ununi quadranteiii et
(cxtani partem uniub ohuli percipiendos lingulis annis ad fellum Natalis Domini pro una roba et furrina
pro eadem erga idem fellum, et lexaginta et (ex (olidos et lex denarios percipiendos iinguiis annis ad
fellum Pentecoftes pro una roba et livura pro eadem erga idem tellum per manus pr.vdicli Clerici liv,e
Cullodis aut pr.tdiiilorum Cullumariorum juxta tormam a^li l\ipradi(tli. In cujus, etc. Telle Rege
apud Wellminfter xxv" die Januarn.

I'er breve de jjrivato Sigillo et de data pr;edie:l:a auitoritate parliamenti.

Pdlcnt Rolls. 21 Ihnry rJ.,{J.D. \4^j^). Pro Jol.uinnc Fortefcu.
Rkx omnibus ad quos, etc. etc. Salutem. . :

Sciatis quod,

Cum nujjcr per literas noftras patentes quarum Data eft apud Weftmonafterium Sexto Die
Februarii Anno Regni Noftri Vicefimo confeflerimus dilefto et fideli Nollro Johanni Fortefcu Militi,
per nomen, Johannis Fortefcu, unum Doliuni vini Percipiendum annuatim pro termino vita; Iu2t in
Portu Vill.e noftrs Brillollia;, per manus principalis Pincernae noftroe, et Ha;redum noftrorum,
vel ejus deputati ibidem, qui pro tempore luerit, prout in eildem Literis patentibus plenius
continetur.

Nos tamen de uberiori gratia nollra et ex mero motu nollro, ac pro bono lervitio quod idem
Johannis Fortelcu Nobis impendit, et inipendet in futurum, concefTimus idem Johanni unum aliuin
Dolium vini, Percipiendum annuatim, a Felto San<!:U Miehaelis Archangcli ultimo pra;terito, pro I'er-
miiio vitx- lux- in portu pra;di£to per manus capitalis Pincernae noftr.t, et Hreredum nollrorui.i, vel
ejus Deputati ibidem qui pro tempore fuerit, fmiul cum pra-didto Dolio vini annuo quod ei, ut prx-mit-
titur, concelFinius ; eo, quod exprefla mentio de aliis donis, et conccffionibus, per Nos eidem Johanni
ante hx-c tempora faitis, hie faiila non exiftit non obllante.

In cujus, etc. etc.

1 efte Rege apud \'V cftmonallerium vicelimo tertio die Mail.

Per iplum Regem, et de data prxdidla, auctoritate Parliamenti.'

Patent Rolls. 25 Htn. VI. {March 22, 1447).
Rex omnibus ad quos etc. Salutem, Sciatis quod de gratia noftra fpeciali et ex certa Iciencia et
mero motu noftris et ut dileilus et hdelis nofter Johannes Fortefcue miles capitatis Julliciarius noll-'r
ad placita coram nobis, teneat llatum fuum decencius manutenere et exi)enfas quas qilum in olfic o
fuo predido et poftquam ab eodem officio cellavit conlideracione ejufdem officii facere oportcbit fulti-
nere valcat, conceffimus eidem Johanni pro regardo (uo racione fervicii fui quod nobis in oflicio predidi o
impcndct et indies impendere non defiftet, quadraginta libras ultra omne id quod ei quod per aliquas



Rymer, Focdera, vol. v. part i. p. 120. (Ed. Ilagffi Comilis).



:i. / iiiv'l



14 '^''f^ ^f ^^^' yohii Fortefciie.

literas noftras patentes ante hec tempora coiiccflimus, percipiendas cal'dcm quadragiiita libras a fefto
Sci Alichaelis arch! ultimo prctcrito, fuigulis aiiiiis ad tclta pafche ct ScT Michl> per cquales portioiicb
df cxitibiis ct prohciii hanaperii imftri per inanus clerici five cuRodis e^uldciii hanaperii pro tenijiore
exiilentis aut de cullumis nollris in portubus London, Brilloll ct viUe de Kynj^elloii (uper Hull at.t in
aliquo eorunideni per manus cuftuinariorum in eifdem portubus aut in aliquis eorunidcni pro tempore
exillentium juxta formam cujufdam a£li in parliamento noftro, anno regni iiollri decimo oila/o
editi pro termino vite prediiSli JohTs eo quod expreffa mencio de aliis donis et concefTioiubus
per iios eidem Jobanni ante bee tempora taelis bic facia non exiltit et quocunque ftatuto aut
a£la in ctJiilrariuni tadto non obftantc. In cujus rei telt., etc. Teite Rege apud W'eftni. xxij. die
Marcii.

Per breve de private figillo.

I''ortefcue continued to aft as Chief Juftice until the dethronement 'if Henry, and the
fuccefs of Edward made it impoflihle tor him to do fo longer. He rem lined long enough'
to have Yorkift partiGins indided before liim, and was not aftually fuperleded until Sir John
Markham was created by Edward IV. his Chief Juftice on the 13th of M;:y, 1461,'^
niore than two months after the Battle of I'owton, and after lidward's acceflion to the
throne.

He cannot, however, have fat at Weftminfter later than the firlT: half of 14(0, for
the lafl record of his appearance in the Year-Books is as having prefided in the Court of
Kinp-'s Bench in Eafter Term, 1460 (38th of Henry VI.),'' although there vve/c :wo or
three cafes reported in the King's Bench or Exchequer Chamber in the three following
Terms.'

His legal career was now over for ever — not through the weight of his years, al hough
thefe were little fliort of feventy, nor, as he foon proved, from any lols of vigour 01 mind
or body, but becaufe he had determined to follow the fhattered fortunes of his Royal mafler,
and had taken his part as a Lancaftrian adherent. |

Henry, fet free from captivity by the defeat of the Yorkills at St. Alban's on the 17th
of February, 146 1, had rejoined his Qiieen and her forces, and retu-eii with t'lc army
towards the Northern Counties where the flrength of his party la)'. Here I'ortelcue accom-
panied them, and not long after he had exchanged the dignified calm ot a Judge's life for
the tumult of the camp, he was found bravely fighting for the falling caufe on tlie 29th of
March in the bloody Battle of Palm-Sunday' between the villages of Towton and Saxton
in Yorkfhire. Here, lays Holingfhed, " in a fair plain field,"" Edward with 60,000 followers
approached Henry with 48,000, " about nine of the clock in the morniig. When each
perceived the other they made a great fliout, and at the fame inftant there fell a fmall fleet or

' Campbell's Chief Juftice-s, i. 141. ' Si Iden, Prcf ice tu De I.Liudibus, folio xlvi. note.

'^ Dugdale, Orig. Chronica Series, p. 66. claus. i., Ed. IV. ^ Rolls of I'.nliament, \ol, v. p. 479.
3 Fofs, Lives of Judges. ' Hoi. iii. 278.



'Life of Sir yoh?i Fortefcue. 15

fiiow, which, by the violence ot the wind whicli blew againft them, was driven into the faces of
King Henrie's armies, fo that their fight was fomcwhat dimmed, and they fhot their ilieafe-
arrows all to lofs, for they came iliort of the Southern men by threefcore v;.rds." In Ipite
of this bad beginning "the deadlie conflid continued ten liours in doubtful ilate of viilone,
uncertainlie heaving and fetting on both fides. The battle was fore foughten, for hope of
life was fet afide on either part, and taking of prifoners proclaimed a great offenfe, fo every
man determined to vanquifli or die in the field ; but in the end King Edward fo courageouflv
comforted his men, that the other part was difcomfited and overcome, and fled to Tadcaller
bridge to five themfelves; in the mid-way whither is a little brook called Cocke, not very
broad but of a great deepeneiTe, in which, what for hafte to efcape, and what for fear of their
followers, a great number was drowned. It was even reported that men alive palTeci the
river upon dead carcalTes, and that the great river of Wharfe whereinto that brook dodi run,
and all the water coming from Towton was coloured with blood. The chafe lafted a 1 night
and the next day, the Northern men often turning upon their purliiers to the great lofs of
both fides, whofe total lois is fet down at upwards of 36,000 flaine."

From this great blow the Lancaftriaiis never recovered ; Meniy with (^leen Margaret
and the Prince fled to Berwick-upon- I'vveed, and Fortefcue with them, as we learn from
Leland, who writes that " King Henry, the Prince, the Queen, the Duke of Somerfet, Menry
Duke of Excellre, the Lord Roos, Sir John Fortefcue Chief Judge of England, and Tailboys
Erie of Kyme, being at York and hearing of this, fled firfl; to Newcallle and then :o
Berwick delivering it to the Scots.'"

We find Fortefcue i1:ill on the Englifli fide of the border in the end of June, wlicn, in
attendance on King Henry, he was engaged in an encounter with the Yorkills at Biaunce-
peth near Durham, and at Ryton near Newcaflle. Soon al"ter rhefe events he retired with
Henry to Edinburgh.

At this period of Fortefcue's career in which his appointment as Lord Chancellor to
Henry the Sixth mull in one fenfe or another have -taken place, we may Ifop to confider
what claims he has to be enrolled amongft thofe wlio de fadio- filled the office of Chancellor
of England. That he was Chancellor to Henry during his exile is a fadl which has not been
difputed, but it is held by moft writers that he never was Chancellor within the realm of
•England — we fliall fee how far this flatement is accurately true. It'mufl, I think, be at
once admitted that if Henry's legal power to appoint a high officer of State ceaied upon the
proclamation of Edward as King of •England,'it 'is highly impr.obable that'he ever received
a valid appointment, for Henry was in the power of hiS' enemies until the Battle oi St.
Alban's on the 17th of February 146 1, and certainly could not until that day have fuj^erl' ded
George Neville who was up to that time nominally his Chancellor, although really under the

" ' ■ ■ i| Leland's Collc'otaiifa, vol. ii. p. 499.



(.(('
.:j\



SVI



1 6 hiifc oj Sir 'John Fo7'tcJcuc.

Hoiife of York, by the appointment of another perfon. There remained then only the
fhort fpace of 15 days to the 4th of March, palled iii tunudt and confiifion, in whicii
Fortefcue could have had the Seals before Menry's reign is generally held to have ceafed.
There is no entry on the records concerning the Great Seal between Neville's creation on the
25th of July, 1460, and the 10th of March, 146 1, when he took the oaths to the new
King.'

There was, however, a period of above four months from the Battle of St. Alban's,
during which Henry was iVill in l^ngland and in poffeirion of lome, thouL!;h luit a fmall part,
of his dominions; for he is charged in the Aft of his Attaimlcr with levying war in his own



Online LibraryJohn FortescueThe works of Sir John Fortescue, Knight, Chief Justice of England and Lord Chancellor to King Henry the Sixth (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 87)