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Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick

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Portrait of the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, by an unknown artist of the 17th century

Portrait of the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, by an unknown artist of the 17th century

Public Domain

This profile of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was also known as:

the Kingmaker

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was known for:

playing a key role in putting two kings of England on the throne during the Wars of the Roses.

Occupations:

Military Leader
Nobility

Places of Residence and Influence:

Great Britain
France

Important Dates:

Born: Nov. 22, 1428
Victorious at first Battle of St. Albans: May 22, 1455
Victorious at Northampton: July 10, 1460
Defeated at second Battle of St. Albans: Feb. 17, 1461
Enters London: March 4, 1461
Victorious at Towton: March 29, 1461
Died: April 14, 1471

About Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick:

 

Richard Neville was the son of the first Earl of Salisbury (who was also named Richard Neville), and he became the Earl of Warwick through marriage to Lady Anne de Beauchamp in 1449. His new title came with large estates throughout the country, which helped make him one of the most powerful men in England. Through Neville's manipulations, Edward IV achieved the throne in 1461, and the deposed Henry VI regained it, briefly, in 1470. For his significant political influence, Neville became known as "Warwick the Kingmaker" (or King-Maker or King Maker).

In 1453 Warwick and his father joined with Richard, Duke of York (whose wife, Cecily Neville, was young Richard's aunt), in a power struggle against Henry VI's chief minister, the Duke of Somerset. The duke was supported by one of the Yorkists' greatest rivals, Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou. The conflict turned violent, and in May 1455 Warwick distinguished himself with a striking victory for the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans. For this he was appointed captain of Calais, France.

In 1460 Warwick crossed to England from Calais; in July he defeated the Lancastrian forces at Northampton and captured the king. Warwick may have had some influence on York and Parliament, who decided to allow Henry to keep his crown, for the idea of an easily-manipulated king appealed to him. However, after York and Salisbury died in an ambush by Lancastrian forces at Wakefield in December, a second battle took place at St. Albans at which Warwick was defeated, and Henry was recaptured by his supporters.

But Warwick was not down for long; he joined with York's son Edward and proceeded to London, where Edward proclaimed himself king. To validate his claim, Edward and Warwick won a decisive battle at Towton. For the next three years, Warwick wielded power through Edward. He attempted to negotiate a marriage for Edward to a French noblewoman in hopes of creating an alliance with France, but Edward thwarted the plan by marrying Elizabeth Woodville in 1464. When Edward began to bestow important state offices on Woodville relatives, the relationship between him and Warwick grew strained.

Warwick then cultivated a relationship with Edward's brother George, the Duke of Clarence, and in 1469 the two joined forces to seize Edward, temporarily, and execute Elizabeth's father and one of her brothers. A year later they engineered a revolt in northern England and Edward, after dealing with the incident, went after Warwick and Clarence, who both fled to France.

In France, Warwick and his long-time enemy Margaret of Anjou were reconciled, and he returned to England allied with the Lancastrians. In September of 1470 he drove Edward into exile and put Henry VI back on the throne. Once again he had "made" a king and controlled England through his figurehead.

But Warwick's power was short-lived. Six months later Edward returned to England, and in April his troops engaged Warwick at the Battle of Barnet, where the Kingmaker was killed.

More Resources for Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick:

Portrait of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick

Richard Neville on the Web

Richard Neville (1428-1471
Introductory overview edited from Emery Walker's "Historical Portraits" at David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History site.

Warwick, Richard Neville, earl of
Four-page overview at Infoplease.


Medieval Britain
Wars of the Roses
 

Guide Note: This Who's Who Profile of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was originally posted in October of 2003, and was updated in February of 2012. Content is copyright ©2003-2012 Melissa Snell.


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