House Of York - Encyclopedia

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YORK (HOUSE oF), a royal line in England, founded by Richard, duke of York, who claimed the crown in opposition to Henry VI. It may be said that his claim, at the time it was advanced, was rightly barred by prescription, the house of Lancaster having then occupied the throne for three generations, and that it was really owing to the misgovernment of Margaret of Anjou, and her favourites that it was advanced at all. Yet it was founded upon strict principles of lineal descent. For the duke was descended from Lionel, duke of Clarence, the third son of Edward III., while the house of Lancaster came of John of Gaunt, a younger brother of Lionel. One thing which might possibly have been considered an element of weakness in his claim was that it was derived (see the Table) through females - an objection actually brought against it by ChiefJustice Fortescue. But a succession through females could not reasonably have been objected to after Edward III.'s claim to the crown of France; and, apart from strict legality, the duke's claim was probably supported in the popular estimation by the fact that he was descended from Edward III. through his father no less than through his mother. For his father, Richard, earl of Cambridge, was the son of Edmund, duke of York, fifth son of Edward III.; and he himself was the direct lineal heir of this Edmund, just as much as he was of Lionel, duke of Clarence. His claim was also favoured by the accumulation of hereditary titles and estates. The earldom of Ulster, the old inheritance of the De Burghs, had descended to him from Lionel, duke of Clarence; the earldom of March came from the Mortimers, and the dukedom of York and the earldom of Cambridge from his paternal ancestry. Moreover, his own marriage with Cecily Neville, though she was but the youngest daughter of Ralph, 1st earl of Westmorland, allied him to a powerful family in the north of England, to whose support both he and his son were greatly indebted.

The reasons why the claims of the line of Clarence had been so long forborne are not difficult to explain. Roger Mortimer, 4th earl of March, was designated by Richard II. as his successor; but he died the year before Richard was dethroned, and his son Edmund, the 5th earl, was a child at Henry IV.'s usurpation. Henry took care to secure his person; but the claims of the family troubled the whole of his own and the beginning of his son's reign. It was an uncle of this Edmund who took part with Owen Glendower and the Percies; and for advocating the cause of Edmund Archbishop Scrope was put to death. And it was to put the crown on Edmund's head that his brother-inlaw Richard, earl of Cambridge, conspired against Henry V. soon after his accession. The plot was detected, being revealed, it is said, by the earl of March himself, who does not appear to have given it any encouragement; the earl of Cambridge was beheaded. The popularity gained by Henry V. in his French campaigns secured the weak title of the house of Lancaster against further attack for forty years.

Richard, duke of York, seems to have taken warning by his father's fate; but, after seeking for many years to correct by other means the weakness of Henry VI.'s government, he first took up arms against the ill advisers who were his own personal enemies, and at length claimed the crown in parliament as his right. The Lords, or such of them as did not purposely stay away from the House, admitted that his claim was unimpeachable, but suggested as a compromise that Henry should retain the crown for life, and the duke and his heirs succeed after his death. This was accepted by the duke, and an act to that effect received Henry's own assent. But the act was repudiated by Margaret of Anjou and her followers, and the duke was slain at Wakefield fighting against them. In little more than two months, however, his son was proclaimed king at London by the title of Edward IV., and the bloody victory of Towton immediately after drove his enemies into exile and paved the way for his coronation. After his recovery of the throne in 1471 he had little more to fear from the rivalry of the house of Lancaster. But the seeds of distrust had already been sown among the members of his own family, and in 1478 his brother Clarence was put to death - secretly, indeed, within the Tower, but still by his authority and that of parliament - as a traitor. In 1483 Edward himself died; and his eldest son, Edward V., after a nominal reign of two months and a half, was put aside by his uncle, the duke of Gloucester, who became Richard III., and then caused him and his brother Richard, duke of York, to be murdered. But in little more than two years Richard was slain at Bosworth by the earl of Richmond, who, being proclaimed king as Henry VII., shortly afterwards fulfilled his pledge to marry the eldest daughter of Edward IV. and so unite the houses of York and Lancaster.

Here the dynastic history of the house of York ends, for its claims were henceforth merged in those of the house of Tudor. But, although the union of the Roses ought to have extinguished controversy, a host of debatable questions and plausible pretexts for rebellion remained. The legitimacy of Edward IV.'s children had been denied by Richard III. and his parliament, and, though the act was denounced as scandalous, the slander might still be reasserted. The duke of Clarence had left two Genealogical Table Of The House Of York Edward III.

Edward, the William Lionel, = Elizabeth, d. of John of l Gaunt, William Black Prince.' of Hartfield duke of William de Burgh, duke of Lancaster. of Windsor I (died young). Clarence. earl of Ulster. I (died young) .

Richard II. Henry IV.

(dethroned '399). Edmund Mortimer, =Phi ippa. I third earl of March. I Henry V.

Roger Mortimer, =Eleanor Holland, Henry VI.

fourth earl of March. eldest daughter of I Thomas, second Edward, earl of Kent. prince of Wales.

Edmund Mortimer, fifth earl of March.

Anne Mortimer=Richard, earl of Cambridge I (executed 1415).

Cecily Neville, daughter of =Richard, duke of York Ralph, earl of Westmoreland. I (killed in battle 1460).

1 Edward IV. (d. 1483).

Edward V. Richard, (murdered 1483). duke of York (murdered 1483).

George, duke of Clarence (attainted 1478).

Richard III. (killed in battle 1485).

Edward, prince of Wales (d. 1484) I I Anne, married Henry Holland, duke of Elizabeth = John de la Pole, Exeter, and had no child by him. By duke of Suffolk her second husband, Sir Thomas St (d. 1491)Leger,she had a daughter married to Sir Geo. Manners, Lord Roos, and mother of the first earl of Rutland.

earl of Warwick (executed 1499).

Margaret, =Sir Richard Pole. countess of Salisbury

(executed 1541).

John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln

(d. 1487).

Edmund Humphrey and de la Pole Edward,

(d. ,513). churchmen.

Richard de la Pole

(d. 1525).


Henry Pole, Sir Geoffrey Pole, Arthur Pole. Reginald Pole, Lord Montague of Lordington, cardinal.

(executed 1539). Sussex.

Five sons and one daughter. Among the former were Arthur and Edmund, who were prisoners in the Tower.

children, a son and a daughter, and the attainder of their father could not be a greater bar to the crown than the attainder of Henry VII. himself. Seeing this, Henry had, immediately after his victory at Bosworth, secured the person of the son, Edward, earl of Warwick, and kept him a prisoner in the Tower of London. Yet a formidable rebellion was raised in his behalf by means of Lambert Simnel, who was defeated and taken prisoner at the battle of Stoke in 1487. The earl of Warwick lived for twelve years later in unjust confinement, and was ultimately put to death in 1499 because he had consented to a plot for his own liberation. As to his sister Margaret, she was married to one of Henry VII.'s Welsh followers, Sir Richard Pole (or Poole), and could give no trouble, so that, when Henry VIII. came to the throne, he thought it politic to treat her with kindness. He made her countess of Salisbury, reversed her brother's attainder, created her eldest son, Henry, Lord Montague, and caused one of her younger sons, Reginald, who displayed much taste for learning, to be carefully educated. This, however, was the very thing which involved the whole family in ruin. For Henry looked to the learning and abilities of Reginald Pole to vindicate before Europe the justice of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon; and, when Pole was conscientiously compelled to declare the very opposite, the king's indignation knew no bounds. Pole himself was safe, having secured some time before a retreat in Italy. He was even made a cardinal by the pope. But this only made matters worse for his family at home: his brother, Lord Montague, and even his mother, the aged countess of Salisbury, were beheaded as traitors because they had continued to correspond with him. Cardinal Pole, however, came back to his own country with great honour in the reign of Queen Mary, and was made archbishop of Canterbury on the deprivation of Cranmer.

Early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, two nephews of the cardinal, Arthur and Edmund Pole, being ardent young men, conspired to go over to the duke of Guise in France, hoping to return with an army into Wales and so promote the claims of Mary Queen of Scots to the crown of England, for which service the elder, Arthur, expected to be restored to the dukedom of Clarence. The result was that they were condemned to death, but were only imprisoned for the rest of their days in the Tower, where they both carved inscriptions on the walls of their dungeon, which are still visible in the Beauchamp tower.

Another branch of the house of York might have given trouble Ursula, married to Henry, Lord Stafford, son of Edward, duke of Buckingham.

to the Tudors if they had not been narrowly watched and ultimately extinguished. Of the sisters of Edward IV., the eldest, Anne, who married the duke of Exeter, left only one daughter by her second husband, Sir Thomas St Leger; but the second, Elizabeth, married John de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, and had several children. Their eldest son was created earl of Lincoln during his father's life, and Richard III., after the death of his own son, had designated him as his successor. Disappointed of a kingdom by the success of Henry VII., he joined in Simnel's rebellion and was killed at the battle of Stoke. His brother Edmund thus became heir to his father; but in the reduced circumstances of the family he agreed to forbear the title of duke and take that of earl of Suffolk. He continued for some years in favour with the king, who made him a knight of the Garter; but, having killed a man in a passion, he fled abroad and was entertained at the court of the emperor Maximilian, and afterwards at that of Philip, king of Castile, when resident in the Low Countries before his departure for Spain. Philip, having been driven on the English coast when going to take possession of his Spanish kingdom, was entertained at Windsor by Henry VII., to whom he promised to deliver up the fugitive on condition that his life should be spared. Edmund de la Pole accordingly was brought back to England and lodged in the Tower. Though the promise to spare his life was kept by the king who gave it, his son Henry VIII. caused him to be executed in 1513, when war broke out with France, apparently for treasonable correspondence with his brother Richard, then in the French service. After his death Richard de la Pole, remaining in exile, called himself earl of Suffolk, and was flattered occasionally by Francis I. with faint hopes of the crown of England. He was killed at the battle of Pavia. in 1525. There were no more De la Poles who could advance even the most shadowy pretensions to disturb the Tudor dynasty. (J.

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