Howell Thomas Evans.

Wales and the wars of the Roses online

. (page 12 of 22)
Online LibraryHowell Thomas EvansWales and the wars of the Roses → online text (page 12 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


reported that Pembroke was taken near Nottingham. Brief Notes, in
Three F. C. C. 155. Itinerarium.



vi] MORTIMER'S CROSS 127

Owen Tudor was among the prisoners who were taken
Death of to Hereford and there put to death. It is

Owen Tudor. g^ fa^ h e was brought to the place of execu-
tion by his countryman Sir Roger Vaughan 1 . " And he
was beheaded in the market-place, and his head set upon
the highest grise of the market cross ; and a mad woman
combed his hair and washed away the blood of his face.
And she got candles and set about him burning, more than
a hundred. This Owen Tudor was the father unto the
earl of Pembroke and had wedded Queen Catherine, King
Henry VI's mother, weening and trusting all the time that
he should not be beheaded, till he saw the axe and the block ;
and when that he was in his doublet he trusted on pardon
and grace till the collar of his red velvet doublet was ripped
off. Then he said, — That head shall lie on the stock that
was wont to lie on Queen Catherine's lap ; and put his heart
and mind wholly unto God, and full meekly took his death."
He was buried in the chapel of the Grey Friars in Hereford 2 .

Owen Tudor typifies that spirit of adventure and chivalry
which in the fifteenth century sent Welshmen abroad to
win fame on the battlefields of Europe or in the courts of
princes. He carried to the grave that intrepidity and
dignified bearing which had characterised him in life. But
he mistook the age, not indeed in which he had lived, but
in which he was to die. The age of chivalry was passing by
and giving way to the ungovernable passions and truculent
savagery of meaner days. Owen Tudor bridges the two ; he
lived in the one, and died in the other.



1 That is, if we may identify him with the Sir Richard Vaughan of
Stow, 377, quoted in Proceedings, v. Intro, xix.

2 Gregory, 211. Stow. The bard Robin Ddu makes a touching allusion
to the death of Owen and then turns his hopes to Jasper, whom he styles
Owen, and refers to as :

Draig wen ddibarch yn gwarchae,
A draig goch a dyr y cae.

Ceinion Llenyddiaith Gymreig, 219.
" The dishonourable white dragon has triumphed,
But the red dragon will yet win the field."
It is interesting once more to note the play on " red " and " white."



128 MORTIMER'S CROSS [ch.

It has been supposed that eight other captains were
put to death at Hereford with Owen Tudor 1 . It can be
shown, however, that the lists of the chroniclers are in-
accurate in many respects. It is certain that there escaped
several of those whose names are given as having been either
beheaded or captured. For instance, Phillip Mansel, Hopkyn
ap Rhys of Gower, and Lewis ap Rhys of Strata Florida
were in the field again a few years after these events ;
Sir John Skydmore subsequently held Pembroke castle
against Sir William Herbert, and must have made good his
escape ; the two sons of Griffith ap Nicholas also found
safety in flight 2 .

The battle aroused even less interest in Wales than in
England. There are but few references to it in the poets.
In one of his odes Howel Swrdwal alludes to an important
fight in Herefordshire, in which Watcyn Vaughan of Bred-
wardine was slain. He may have Mortimer's Cross in mind,

1 William of Worcester, Annates, 776. " Ac Owenus Tedere et Johan-
nes Throgmertone, armiger, cum aliis captaneis decollati sunt apud
Herforde." In the Itinerarium, 327, the same chronicler gives the following
list of captured :

Owen Tudor, about fifty age years of, beheaded.

Reginaldus Gwyneth, camerarius Gwynneth landes jacente prope
castrum Harlegh, beheaded.

Master Lewis Powes, armiger, de Powesland, beheaded.

Hopkyn Davy, Carmarthenshire, arm. cum comite Pembroke, be-
headed.

Philip Mansell, armiger, v mark annui valoris de Gowerland,
beheaded.

Lewis ap Rhys, armiger of Carmarthenshire, beheaded.

Thomas Fitzharry, jurisperitus.

Hopkyn ap Rhys of Gowerland comitatu, de Carmarthen, beheaded.

James Skydmore, occisus, son of Sir John Skydmore.

Sir Harry Skydmore of Herefordshire, son of the same Sir John
Skydmore, beheaded.

Sir William Skydmore, brother of John Skydmore, militis, obiit in . . .

Sir John Skydmore, chevalier.
Stow, 413, gives the following as having been taken and beheaded.
David Lloyd, Morgan ap Rhydderch, Sir John Skydmore and two sons,
Thomas Griffith (? Thomas ap Griffith ap Nicholas), John Throgmorton,
Thomas Fitzharry, and another. Both lists are somewhat inaccurate.
See text.

2 Hall, 252, copying Stow, says that David Lloyd and Morgan ap
Rhydderch were put to death. David Lloyd was probably the same who,
for his services in the French wars, was made a royal official in the Forest
of Glyn Cothi, Carmarthenshire ; March 20, 1444. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 259.



vi] MORTIMER'S CROSS 129

but there is nothing to prove it 1 . But the very paucity
of allusions to the fight shows how little the country generally
was moved so far by the quarrel between the factions.

A spurious tale gained currency in later years with regard
Griffith to Griffith ap Nicholas and his son Owen, which

ap Nicholas. it wou \^ be aDSU rd to notice but that responsible
writers have given credence to it. It has been stated that
Griffith brought to Mortimer's Cross a force of seven or eight
hundred followers to assist the Yorkists, men " well-armed,
goodly of stature, and hearts answerable thereto." When he
received a mortal wound his second son Owen stood at the
head of his troops and pursued Jasper. When he returned
to acquaint his father of the victory the latter exclaimed
" Welcome death, since honour and victory make for us 2 ."
As has already been said a vein of unreality runs through
the whole biography ; and its details cannot stand the
limelight of historical criticism 3 . Griffith is not mentioned
by any contemporary chronicler, though many Welshmen of
far less distinction are named. His sons are recorded, but
on the Lancastrian side. If the family had accomplished
the deeds attributed to them they would probably have found
their reward on the accession of Edward IV, as did, for
instance, their neighbours, the Dwnns of Carmarthenshire 4 .

1 A diwedd braint, a dydd brawd

Yn Henffordd, mawr yw'n hanffawd. Howel Swrdwal.
" The day of judgment and the end came in Herefordshire.
Great is our distress." Ode to Watcyn Vaughan.
Watcyn Vaughan was the son of Roger Vaughan and Gwladys.
Swrdwal has been published by the Bangor Welsh MSS. Society.

2 Life of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, in the Cambrian Register.

3 Lewis Glyn Cothi refers to Griffith at an earlier period as one of the
" party of the lily," an allusion to the fleur de lis of Margaret. Deio ap
Ieuan Hen also has a reference to the lily in a poem to Sion ap Rhys of
Glyn Neath :

Tri fflowr de Us gedwis gwart,
Maes hyder grymus Edwart.
This is the poem which contains the Welsh motto :

Y ddraig goch ddyry gychwyn.
The poem of Gwilym ap Ieuan Hen entitled " Cywydd i ddau Gar-
charor," may possibly refer to the retreat of Owen and Henry ap Gwilym
to Harlech at this time. Gorchestion Beirdd Cymru, 156, 170—2.

4 The Dwnns are generally known as the Dwnns of Kidwely, where
they obtained an official status later.



130 MORTIMER'S CROSS [ch.

As a matter of fact Griffith had probably been dead a couple
of years. There is no mention of him in authentic records,
local or general, after 1456. Moreover, though his two sons,
Owen and Thomas, were mentioned in 1459 as assisting
the Tudors against the Dwnns, Griffith himself is not men-
tioned 1 .

Soon after his victory Edward was given a commission
by the Privy Council to raise fresh levies in

Edward and ■* J

Warwick Bristol and the border counties 2 , he having

meet. . . °

in the meantime moved on to Gloucester 3 . It
was on the day on which Edward received his commission that
Warwick moved from London to St Albans, accompanied
by the king, to meet the hosts of Margaret which were then
advancing on the city. As already stated, the earl was defeated
by the Lancastrians on February 17, and, having escaped
westwards with the remnants of his army, met Edward
five days later at Chipping Norton 4 , or at Burford 5 , in
Oxfordshire. Edward was now accompanied by William
Hastings and John Wenlok, who must have joined him
after the battle at Mortimer's Cross ; for they are not
reported to have been present at that action.

Margaret apparently had begun her southward march

before news of Tasper's defeat had reached her.

Why Edward u r

delayed in Warwick may have received information of her

the J^cirches

approach on January 28, the day on which
commissions were issued in the king's name to noblemen
and sheriffs to raise troops 6 . She was at St Albans before
Edward had left the Marches. Edward, who was at the
head of a more amenable following than the queen's in-
toxicated host, must have surmised that the Lancastrians,

1 A Griffith Nicholas appears as farmer of Dynevor, 1 485-1 490, but
he cannot be the same person. Ministers' Accounts. See West Wales
Historical Society's Transactions.

2 Rymer, xi. 471, February 12, 1461. Three Fifteenth Century Chro-
nicles, 77. " And forthwith he made again ready in the march."

8 William of Worcester, Annales, 777.

* Ibid.

6 Gregory, 215.

6 Proceedings, vi. 307-310. English Chronicle, edit. Davies, 107.



vi] MORTIMER'S CROSS 131

in the flush of their brilliant triumph at Wakefield, would
advance on the capital. And he was not a man who lacked
courage in a crisis. Why then did he not strike directly
for the seat of government which was still in the hands of
his friends, and where his party was strong, so as to endeavour
to be in time to assist Warwick ? Instead of doing so he
tarried on the borders of Wales. From Hereford he moved
to Gloucester, where he was on February 12. These ten
days (February 2-12) would have enabled him to cover the
distance between Gloucester and London with comparative
ease. Yet he delayed another week, received intimation
of Warwick's defeat about the 19th February, and three days
later had only reached the confines of Oxfordshire, meeting
Warwick on February 22.

His movements leave an uncanny suspicion that he
was anxious neither to assist nor even to meet Warwick.
Warwick's voice had been raised with success against the
usurpation of the throne by Richard, duke of York ; Edward
had no reason to hope that he would adopt a different attitude
towards himself. The only circumstance that would render
Warwick less dictatorial would be a defeat, and Edward
astutely let him run the risk. If Warwick were victorious,
Edward too had a victory in hand — a valuable asset when he
claimed the throne. Fortune, by giving victory to Edward
and withholding it from Warwick, made Edward doubly
independent 1 .

Mortimer's Cross was sufficient to retrieve the double
disaster at Wakefield and St Albans, and Edward did
not fail to appreciate it at its true value. It is significant

1 Oman (Warwick, 108) loosely states that " the moment that he had
crushed the Welsh Lancastrians and settled the affairs of the March,
Edward had set out for London. He had hoped to arrive in time to aid
Warwick ; he could not achieve the impossible." There is no evidence
whatever that Edward made any attempt to settle the affairs of the March.
He did not even go in pursuit. If that had been his aim, Edward could
have reached London in a week after Mortimer's Cross, the time he actually
took after hearing the news of the second battle of St Albans. Ten years
later he covered forty miles a day ; on this occasion he had covered less
than forty miles in three weeks.

9—2



132 MORTIMER'S CROSS [ch.

of the importance which he attached to it that he
afterwards assumed as his peculiar war-badge

Importance * °

ofMortimer-s " the rising sun," in allusion to the portent on
the day of battle 1 . The measure of its impor-
tance was nothing less than the accession of Edward. He
could not fail to compare his own success with the failure
of Warwick ; and it is certain that he afterwards commented
upon the earl's want of resource at St Albans. From that
moment Warwick ceased to conjure up terrors for either
Edward or his associates from the Marches.

On February 26 the combined armies reached London.
Edward pro- Margaret had already gone north. On March 1
claimed king. ^he citizens joined Edward's Welsh army in
St John's Fields, Clerkenwell, and, under the guidance of
the Chancellor, George Neville, proclaimed Edward king.
Two days later the Yorkist leaders met at Baynard's Castle
and formally offered Edward the crown 2 . There were
present the Chancellor, Archbishop Bourchier, the bishop
of Salisbury, the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Warwick,
Lord Fitz- Walter (Sir John Ratcliffe), Lord Ferrers of
Chartley (Walter Devereux), and Sir William Herbert. It
is noticeable that special reference is made to Herbert as
one of the " chosen and faithful " of Edward 3 . The political
and military storms of the winter had swept him to the
highest council in the realm. Edward had already hinted
broadly at his appreciation of the services of his friends from
the Marches ; for on meeting with Warwick in Oxfordshire
he had referred to them as men who had come at their own
cost 4 .

Warwick raised no objection to Edward's accession.

1 Gregory, 211.

2 Three Fifteenth Century Chronicles, 77, 155, 173. Chronicle, edit.
Davies, 108, no. Gregory, 215.

3 Rymer, XI. 473, " dilectis et fidelibus." The above list of those
present at the Council is that given by William of Worcester, 775. Rymer
gives the archbishops, the bishops of Salisbury and Norwich, Grey of
Ruthin, Viscount Bourchier, William Herbert, John Wenlok, and William
Falconbridge.

* Gregory, 215.



vi] MORTIMER'S CROSS 133

Edward's father owed much to Warwick ; Edward himself
little, at any rate before his accession. The earl presumed
upon his victory at Northampton to resist Richard, duke of
York, when he claimed the throne. His defeat at St Albans
gave him no alternative but to concede to the son the
acquiescence which he had withheld from the father.

Edward was now king. As such he hurried northwards
after Margaret. Victorious at a skirmish near Ferrybridge,
he completely overwhelmed the Lancastrians at Towton
(March 29, 1461). Edward had won a throne at Mortimer's
Cross ; Towton made his throne secure.



CHAPTER VII

THE WAR IN WALES

It is unnecessary to enter into a minute description
The weish °f Edward's campaign in the north of England,
at Towton. jj e was accompanied by Sir William Herbert ;
and the Welsh foot-soldiers, the force that had triumphed
at Mortimer's Cross, reinforced by the levies of Kent, con-
stituted the nucleus of the army which completed the
annihilation of the Lancastrians at Towton 1 . It has been
freely assumed, presumably on the authority of Wavrin,
not a very faithful chronicler of English affairs, that the
Lancastrian army comprised a large body of Welshmen who,
led by Andrew Trollope, displayed magnificent dash in the
teeth of a blinding snowstorm. Flattering though it be to
national pride, it lacks corroboration. Indeed, there could
have been but few Welshmen under the banner of Lancaster
at that battle. Only a few weeks had passed since Jasper had
brought the flower of Lancastrian Wales to Mortimer's Cross ;
and in spite of his steadfast and insistent zeal he could
not possibly have recovered in so short a space. Even now,

1 Hearne's Fragment — " The lunges footemen (were assembled) in a
grete numbre of which the moost parte were Wallshmen and Kentishmen."
Wavrin, 340. It is generally supposed that David Mathew of I.landaff
was Edward's standard-bearer at Towton. I find no authority for it.
In fact, according to Rot. Pari. vi. 93, the king's standard-bearer on that
occasion was Ralph Vestynden who got an annuity of /io for his services.
An old political song refers to some important Yorkist personage from
Wales, as follows :

The Dolfyn cam from Walys
Three carpis be his syde.

Political Songs, Archaeologia, 1842, 346.



ch. vii] THE WAR IN WALES 135

when the clash of battle resounded in the north, he was
quietly engaged in the task of reorganising and encouraging
his adherents in Wales. If any Welshmen were arrayed
against Edward at Towton, it seems that they must have
been raised either by Margaret when she sought refuge in
Wales after Northampton, or by Exeter and others as they
passed along the borders of Wales towards Wakefield.
But there is no peg on which such an assumption can hang.
After his victory at Towton Edward, leaving to the earl
of Warwick the task of reducing the Lancastrian

Grant to °

sir wiliiam strongholds of the north, returned to the Welsh
border, and threw upon Sir William Herbert
the responsibility of bringing Wales to obedience. With
this object in view he began to invest him and his brothers
with considerable power. When at York, on his way to
the south, he made William Herbert chief justice and
chamberlain of South Wales, and steward and chief forester
of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire 1 . On the following
day (May 9) a commission was given to him and his two
brothers Thomas Herbert 2 and John Herbert 3 , and Hugh
Huntley, " to take into the king's hands the county and
lordship of Pembroke, with all members in England and

3 Cal. Pat. Rolls (1461-1467), May 8, 1461. Ibid. 7, 30.

2 This Herbert is also known as Thomas Herbert of Troy. A Thomas
Herbert the elder was constable of Gloucester in 1461 (June 23). They
are apparently the same ; for on July 10, 1461, he was given an annuity
of 50 marks from Gloucester, being designated as Thomas Herbert, esquire
of the body ; while on July 12, 1462, a grant was made to the king's
servant, Thomas Herbert the elder, esquire of the body, of certain manors
in Gloucestershire, and of the lands of Sir William Mulle in Herefordshire,
lands which Sir William Herbert was empowered to seize. In 1462 and
1464, he was on a commission of array in Gloucestershire. December 13,
1461, he was given a messuage (Garlik) in Middlesex. May 27, 1465, he
received a pardon for the escape of one William Glover from Gloucester.
In August, 1467, " Thomas Herbert the elder " was made chancellor of
the earldom of March, receiving the profits of Usk. On February 12, 1470,
the reversion of the office of constable of Gloucester was given to Richard
Beauchamp. Thomas Herbert died before June, 1471. On his death
the lands of William Mulle were given to his son who died without male
heir. Cal. Pat. Rolls, passim.

3 He was a younger brother of Sir William, and was made king's
attorney in the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan. Cal. Pat. Rolls,
August 12, 1461, 69.



136 THE WAR IN WALES [ch.

Wales and the Marches of Wales, late of Jasper, earl of
Pembroke ; the castle of Dunster, county Somerset, and other
possessions late of James Luttrell, knight ; and the castles
and lordships of Gooderich and Archenfield in the county
of Hereford and the Marches of Wales adjacent to the county
of Gloucester, and all advowsons late of John, earl of Shrews-
bury, rebels, with power to appoint stewards and all other
officers." Herbert was also to take possession of the lands
of Sir William Mulle ; and two days later, May n, authority
was given to him and Thomas Herbert and John Dwnn
" to take into the king's hands and demise at farm the
castles and lordships of Laugharne and Walwyn's Castle,
late of James, earl of Wiltshire, in South Wales 1 ." Moreover,
Thomas Herbert became constable of Gloucester, while
a half-brother William Herbert was made constable of
Cardigan.

These offices and honours were conferred on Sir William

Herbert while the king was at York. Shortly

raised to afterwards both returned to London, passing

the peerage. . , _,, _, _ 1 n .

through Chester on May 28, and making a
circuit of the Welsh border. A month later Edward was
crowned with more than usual pomp and splendour. In
honour of the occasion the most prominent of his friends
from the Marches were raised to the peerage. Sir William
Herbert became Lord Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow, and
Gower ; Sir Walter Devereux was formally recognised as
Lord Ferrers of Chartley 2 ; Sir William Hastings and

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls (1461-1467) 30, at York. Also ibid, sub dat. This
John Dwnn was one of the Dwnns of Carmarthenshire, who took part
at Mortimer's Cross and became prominent later. On March 11, 1461,
a John Dwnn, usher of the chamber, was made Serjeant of the Armoury
in the Tower of London. Cal. Pat. Rolls, 9. He was on many com-
missions with the Herberts, and is not to be confounded with the Dwnns
of Cheshire. He is sometimes referred to as John Dwnn of Kidwely, but
it does not appear that he was given official interest there till 1463-4.
See later. He was constable of Kidwely in 1485. Laugharne is in Car-
marthenshire, and Walwyn's Castle in Pembrokeshire.

2 In July 1461, Devereux received a grant of the king's brewhouse
called " le Walsheman," without Ludgate in the ward of Faryndon. Cal.
Pat. Rolls, 126.



vii] THE WAR IN WALES 137

Sir John Wenlok became Lord Hastings and Lord Wenlok
respectively. Richard, earl of Warwick, was not made a
duke as had been confidently anticipated in some quarters.
This disappointment was the first drop of the torrent which
engulfed the Nevilles.

Immediately after the coronation a considerable re-
distribution of power took place in Wales. Lord Hastings
was made chamberlain of North Wales 1 ; Richard Grey,
Lord Powys, became steward of Ceri, Cede wain, and Mont-
gomery 2 ; John, earl of Worcester, became justice of North
Wales 3 ; John Dwnn was made constable of Aberystwyth
and Carmarthen, and sheriff of Carmarthenshire and Car-
diganshire, "with all profits of pasture of Aberystwyth,"
and the custom called " prysemayse 4 ."

Preparations now sped onwards for the immediate
invasion invasion of Wales. On July 8 Lords Herbert

of waies. an( j p errers were empowered to array all able-

bodied men in the counties of Hereford, Gloucester, and
Salop 5 . Early in August they were appointed to inquire
into all treasons, insurrections, and rebellions in South Wales,
and to pardon all who submitted, except Jasper Tudor,
John Skydmore, Thomas Cornwall, and Thomas Fitzhenry 6 .

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, July 31, 1461, 26.

2 Ibid. July 1, 1461, 17. It thus reversed the decree of a few months
earlier.

3 Ibid. November 25, 1461, 62. Hastings, Audley, and William
Stanley were given possession of Hope and Hopedale in the Marches, and
of Manorbier and Pennaly in Pembrokeshire. Ibid. 9. July 16.

4 In the same manner as Sir John Griffith, Edmund Beaufort, duke
of Somerset, late severally held Aberystwyth. Cal. Pat. Rolls, Sept. 9,
1461, 40. Among other grants in Wales were the following : Rees
Vaughan was made provost of Raydirgey ,' Richard Croft the younger,
receiver of the possessions of John, earl of Shrewsbury ; Roger Eyton,
constable of Shrewsbury ; Thomas Sandeland, cannoneer and master-
plumber in the royal castles of North Wales ; John Moyle of Denbigh,
an annuity of ten marks for his good services to the king's father ; and also
letters of denizenship. Cal. Pat. Rolls, passim.

5 Ibid, sub ann. 36.

6 With the two lords on this commission were Lord Herbert's brother,
Thomas Herbert ; a half-brother named William Herbert, and John Dwnn.
This William Herbert was made constable of Cardigan on August 2, 1461.
On August 27, 1464, the king's servitor, William Herbert, esquire, one of
the clerks of the signet, was appointed escheator within the county of



138 THE WAR IN WALES [ch.

On August 12 Roger Kynaston and a number of others were
commissioned to urge the king's subjects of Shropshire to
array a force at their own expense for the defence of the
county and the adjoining parts of Wales. On that day,
also, separate commissions were issued to Thomas, John,
and Richard Herbert, to act against Jasper Tudor. The
general muster was to be at Hereford 1 .

Parliament was not to meet till November, and Edward
decided to spend a considerable portion of the interval in
the Marches so as to keep in close touch with the progress
of events in Wales ; and his movements appear to have
attracted considerable attention 2 . He had reached the
borders before the end of August. On September 4 he was
at Bristol, where he was " most royallv received." Four
days later he left for Gloucester, whence he moved to Ross,
Hereford, and Ludlow. He remained at Ludlow for nearly
a week, till September 26 s . Meanwhile Herbert and Ferrers
had gone into Wales to extinguish the few flickering Lancas-
trian lights, with every prospect of success. " As for any


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryHowell Thomas EvansWales and the wars of the Roses → online text (page 12 of 22)