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CHAPTER VIII WARWICK IN EXILE
The adventures of Warwick after the army of York broke up have luckily been preserved to us in some detail. He and his father, together with the Duke and his two sons Edward and Edmund, fled southwards together with a few score of horse, hotly pursued by Sir Andrew Trollope and his men. So close was the chase that John and Thomas Neville, who lingered behind their brother and father—both having been wounded at Blore Heath—were taken prisoners. Presently the party was forced to break up by the imminence of their peril. The Duke of York and his second son Edmund turned off into Wales, with the design of taking ship for Ireland. Salisbury, Warwick, and Edward Plantagenet, the young Earl of March, York's eldest son and Salisbury's god-child and nephew, accompanied by Sir John Dynham and only two persons more, fled across Herefordshire by cross-roads, avoiding the towns, and then by a hazardous journey through Gloucestershire and Somersetshire reached the coast of Devon, apparently somewhere near Barnstaple. There the fugitives turned into a fishing village, where Sir John Dynham bought for two hundred and twenty-two nobles—the sum of the[Pg 80] party's resources—a one-masted fishing-smack. He gave out that he was bound for Bristol, and hired a master and four hands to navigate the little vessel.

When they had got well out from land Warwick asked the master if he knew the seas of Cornwall and the English Channel. The man answered that he was quite ignorant of them, and had never rounded the Land's End. "Then all that company was much cast down: but the Earl seeing that his father and the rest were sad, said to them that by the favour of God and St. George he would himself steer them to a safe port. And he stripped to his doublet, and took the helm himself, and had the sail hoisted, and turned the ship's bows westward," much to the disgust, we doubt not, of the master and his four hands, who had not counted on such a voyage when they hired themselves to sail to Bristol town.

It was not for nothing that Warwick had ranged the Channel for two years. He now proved that he was a competent seaman, by navigating the little vessel down the Bristol Channel, round the Land's End, and across to Guernsey. Here they were eight days wind-bound, but putting forth on the ninth ran safely up the Channel and came ashore at Calais on November 3rd, just twenty days after the rout of Ludford. Counting the crew, they had been eleven souls in the vessel.

Warwick found Calais still safe in the hands of his uncle Fauconbridge, whom he had left in charge of the town and of his own wife and daughters when he went to England two months before. Overjoyed at the news, Fauconbridge came to meet him on the quay, and fell on his neck. "Then all those lords went together in pilgrimage to Notre Dame de St. Pierre, and gave thanks[Pg 81] for their safety. And when they came into Calais, the Mayor and the aldermen and the merchants of the Staple came out to meet them, and made them good cheer. And that night they were merry enough, when they thought they might have found Calais already in the hands of their enemies."

Such indeed might well have been their fortune, for the Duke of Somerset was already at Sandwich, with some hundreds of men-at-arms. The King had appointed him Captain of Calais, and he was on his way to remove Fauconbridge and get the town into his own keeping. But the south-west wind which blew Warwick up from Guernsey had kept Somerset on shore.

That very evening the wind shifted, and late at night Somerset's herald appeared before the water-gate to warn the garrison that his master would arrive to take command next day. "Then the guard answered the herald that they would give his news to the Earl of Warwick, who was their sole and only captain, and that he should have Warwick's answer in a few minutes. The herald was much abashed, and got him away, and went back that same night to his master."

No one in England knew what had become of Warwick or Salisbury, and Somerset's surprise was as great as his wrath when he found that they had anticipated him at Calais. Next morning he set sail with his forces, of which the greater part were comprised of Sir Andrew Trollope's soldiers, making for Guisnes, with the intention of attacking Calais from the land side. But a tempest rose up while he was at sea, and though he and most of his men came ashore at Guisnes, the vessels that contained their horses and stores and armour were[Pg 82] driven into Calais harbour for safety, and compelled to surrender to Warwick. The Earl "thanked Providence for the present, and not the Duke of Somerset," and was much pleased at the chance, for his men were greatly in want of arms. He had the prisoners forth, and went down their ranks; then he picked out those that had been officers under him and had sworn the oath to him as Captain of Calais and threw them into prison, but the rest he sent away in safety, saying that they had but served their King to the best of their knowledge; only Lord Audley, Somerset's second in command, son to the peer whom Salisbury had slain at Blore Heath, was not permitted to depart, and was consigned to the castle. But the men who had broken their oath to Warwick were brought out into the market-place next day, and beheaded before a great concourse of the citizens.

Somerset and Sir Andrew Trollope had been received into Guisnes, and made it their headquarters. But for some time they could do nothing against Calais, because they were in want of arms and horses. It was not till they had got themselves refitted by help of the French of Boulogne that they were able to harm Warwick. Meanwhile they were practically cut off from England, for Warwick's ships held the straits, and neither news nor men came across to them. Presently Somerset set to work to intercept Warwick's supply of provisions, which was drawn mainly from Flanders, and the Earl had to arrange that every market-day parties of the garrison should ride out to escort the Flemings and their waggons. It might have gone hard with Calais if this source of supply had been cut off, but Warwick had concluded a[Pg 83] secret agreement with Duke Philip, by which the introduction of food into the town was to be winked at by the Flemish officials, notwithstanding any treaties with England that might exist. Neither Somerset nor Warwick got much profit out of the continual skirmishes that resulted from the attempts of the Lancastrians to cut off the waggon-trains from Dunkirk and Gravelines.

So passed the months of November and December 1459, with no stirring incidents but plenty of bickering. But Christmastide brought with it abundant excitement: the Queen had at last taken measures to reinforce Somerset, and Lord Rivers with his son Sir Antony Woodville had come down to Sandwich with a few hundred men to take the first safe opportunity of crossing to Guisnes. But the time was stormy and the troops mutinous; they got little or no pay, and scattered themselves over the neighbourhood to live at free quarters, so that Rivers lay in Sandwich almost unattended.

"So at Christmastide the Earl called together his men-at-arms, and asked whether it was not possible to get back his great ship that he had used when he was admiral, for it lay at Sandwich in Lord Rivers' hands with several ships more. And Sir John Dynham answered 'yea,' and swore to take it back with God's aid if the Earl would give him four hundred men to sail with him. So the Earl bade his men arm, and fitted out his vessels, and he gave the charge of the business to Sir John Dynham, and Sir John Wenlock that wise knight, who had done many feats of arms in his day." They set out at night, and arrived off Sandwich before dawn. Waiting for the tide to rise, they ran into the[Pg 84] harbour at five in the morning. No one paid any attention to them, for the men of Sandwich thought they were but timber-ships from the Baltic, as all the men-at-arms were kept below hatches.

There was no stir in the town, and Wenlock was able to seize the ships and fit them out in haste, while Dynham swept the streets and caught Lord Rivers' men-at-arms as they turned out to see what was the matter. Sir Antony Woodville was captured one hour later, as he rode into the town from London, whither he had gone to ask the Queen for a supply of money. Lord Rivers himself was found, still asleep, in his bed at the Black Friars, and carried on board his own ship before he could realise what was happening.

The men of Sandwich, like the rest of the Kentishmen, had no desire to harm the Yorkists, so that there was no fighting, and Dynham and Wenlock sailed home at their ease, without striking a single blow, with their prisoners and all the war-ships in the port save the Grace Dieu alone, which was found quite unready for the sea.

That evening they were again in Calais, and landed in triumph to deliver their spoils to Warwick. A quaint and undignified scene followed when the prisoners were brought out. "So that evening Lord Rivers and his son were taken before the three Earls, accompanied by a hundred and sixty torches. And first the Earl of Salisbury rated Lord Rivers, calling him a knave's son, that he should have been so rude as to call him and these other lords traitors, for they should be found the King's true lieges when he should be found a traitor indeed. And then my Lord of Warwick rated him,[Pg 85] and said that his father was but a squire, and that he had made himself by his marriage, and was but a made lord, so that it was not his part to hold such language of lords of the King's blood. And then my Lord of March rated him in like wise. Lastly Sir Antony was rated for his language of all three lords in the same manner."

If Rivers had any sense of humour, he must have felt the absurdity of being rated by the Nevilles—who more than any other race in England had risen by a series of wealthy alliances—for having "made himself by his marriage." But probably anger and fear were sufficient to keep him from any such reflections. We could wish that Warwick had been less undignified in the hour of his triumph; but if his words were rough his actions were not: Rivers and his son were sent to join Lord Audley in the castle, but they were well treated in their captivity and came to no harm. Before many months were out they joined their captor's cause.

It would have been hard for the actors in the scene to foresee the changes that ten years were to make in their relations to each other. By 1470 Rivers was destined to find himself the father-in-law of the young Earl of March, who was now exercising his tongue against him in imitation of the Nevilles, and to lose his life in the service of the house of York. Warwick, on the other hand, was to become the deadly enemy of the young Prince whom he was now harbouring and training to arms, and to adopt the Lancastrian cause which Rivers had deserted.

The months of January and February passed in continual skirmishing with Somerset and the garrison[Pg 86] of Guisnes, which led to no marked result; but about the beginning of Lent news arrived at Calais that the Duke of York, of whom nothing definite had been heard since October, was now in great force in Ireland, where he had got possession of Dublin, "and was greatly strengthened by the earls and homagers of that country." Warwick at once resolved to sail to Ireland to concert measures with his uncle, and to learn if it would be possible to invade England; for it was obvious that unless some vigorous offensive action were taken in the spring, the Lancastrians would finally succeed in bringing enough men across to form the siege of Calais, and then the town could not hold out for ever.

Accordingly, though the storms of March were at their highest, Warwick equipped his ten largest ships, manned them with one thousand five hundred sailors and men-at-arms, "the best stuff in Calais," and sailed down the Channel for Ireland. The voyage was undisturbed by the enemy, but terribly tempestuous and protracted. However, the Earl reached Waterford at last, and found there not only York and his son Rutland, but his own mother, the Countess of Salisbury, who had fled over to Ireland when she heard that her name was inserted among the list of persons attainted by the Lancastrian Parliament which met at Leicester in December 1459.

Warwick found the Duke in good spirits, and so hopeful that he was ready to engage to land in Wales in June with all the force that could be raised in Ireland, if Warwick would promise to head a descent on Kent at the same moment. This plan was agreed upon, and the Earl set sail to return about May 1st, taking[Pg 87] with him his mother, who was anxious to rejoin her husband whom she had not seen for nearly a year.

Meanwhile the news of Warwick's departure for Ireland had reached the Lancastrian government, and the Duke of Exeter, Warwick's successor in the office of admiral, had sworn to prevent him from returning to Calais. Accordingly Exeter "with the great ship called the Grace Dieu, and three great carracks, and ten other ships all well armed and ordered," was now besetting the Channel. When Warwick was off Start Point the vessel which sailed in advance of his squadron to reconnoitre the way returned in haste, with the news that a squadron was lying off Dartmouth and that some fishing-boats, with whom communication had been held, reported the Duke of Exeter to be in command.

Warwick was resolved to fight, though the enemy was considerably superior in force. He sent for his captains on board his carvel "and prayed that they would serve him loyally that day, for he had good hope that God would give him the victory," to which they answered that they were well disposed enough for a fight and that the men were in good heart. Accordingly the Earl's ten ships formed line and bore down on the Duke's fourteen. A fight appeared imminent, when suddenly the whole Lancastrian fleet went about, and fled in disorder into Dartmouth harbour, which lay just behind them. This unexpected action was caused by mutiny on board. When the Duke had given orders to prepare for action, his officers had come to him in dismay, to announce that the men would not arm to fight their old commander, and that if he came any nearer to the Earl, the crews would undoubtedly rise[Pg 88] and deliver them over to the enemy. Accordingly Exeter gave orders to retire into harbour.

Warwick, however, could not know of the cause of the enemy's retreat, and having a good west wind behind him and a great desire to get back to Calais, from which he had now been absent more than ten weeks, pursued his journey without attempting anything against Dartmouth. He reached Calais in safety on June 1st, and was proud to restore his mother, "who had suffered grievously from the sea during her voyage," to his father's arms. Salisbury and Fauconbridge had been much alarmed at the length of his absence, and the more faint-hearted of the garrison had begun to murmur that he had deserted them for good, and had fled to foreign parts to save his own person.

Now, however, all was stir and bustle in Calais, for Salisbury and Fauconbridge thoroughly approved of the plan of invasion which had been concerted at Dublin. The news from England indeed was all that could be desired. The reckless attainting of all the Yorkists by the Parliament of Leicester had met with grave disapproval. The retainers of the Lancastrian lords had been committing all sorts of misdoings, chief among which was the unprovoked sack of the town of Newbury by the followers of Ormond Earl of Wiltshire. London was murmuring savagely at the execution of seven citizens who, in company with a gentleman of the house of Neville, had been caught in the Thames on their way to Calais to join the Earls. The "unlearned preachers" whom the Government put up to preach against York at Paul's Cross were hooted down by the mob. The Commons of Kent were signifying in no[Pg 89] doubtful terms their willingness to join the Earls, the moment that the banner of the White Rose should be unfurled in England. A fragment of a ballad hung by an unknown hand on the gate of Canterbury in June is worth quoting as an expression of their feelings.

Send home, most gracious Jesu most benigne,
Send home the true blood to his proper vein,
Richard Duke of York thy servant insigne,
Whom Satan not ceaseth to set at disdain,
But by thee preserved he may not be slain.
Set him 'ut sedeat in principibus' as he did before,
And so to our new song Lord thyne ear incline,
Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit Christe redemptor!

Edward the Earl of March, whose fame the earth shall spread,
Richard Earl of Salisbury, named Prudence,
With that noble knight and flower of manhood
Richard Earl of Warwick, shield of our defence,
Also little Faulconbridge, a knight of grete reverence,
Jesu! restore them to the honour they had before!

Nor was it only the Commons that were ready to join in a new appeal to arms. The partisans of York among the great houses, who had not definitely committed themselves at the time of the rout of Ludford, and so had escaped arrest and attainder, let it be known at Calais that they were ready for action. Chief among them were the Duke of Norfolk and the two brothers Lord Bourchier and Bourchier Archbishop of Canterbury, who pledged themselves to put their retainers in motion the moment that Warwick should cross the sea.

It was in no spirit of recklessness then that Warwick resolved to cross into Kent in the last week of June, with every man that could be spared from Calais. As[Pg 90] a preliminary to his advance, he had resolved to clear away the only Lancastrian force that was watching him—a body of five hundred men-at-arms which had been sent down to Sandwich, to replace Lord Rivers' troops and to endeavour to communicate with Somerset at Guisnes. This body was commanded by Osbert Mundeford, one of the officers of the Calais garrison who had deserted Warwick in company with Sir Andrew Trollope.

Accordingly, on June 25th Sir John Dynham, the captor of Rivers, sailed over to Sandwich for the second time, and fell on Mundeford's force. There was a hot skirmish, for on this occasion the Lancastrians were not caught sleeping; but again the Yorkists won the day. Dynham indeed was wounded by a shot from a bombard, but his men stormed the town, routed the enemy, and took Mundeford prisoner. He was sent over to Calais, where he was tried for deserting his captain, as the prisoners of November 3rd had been, and beheaded next day outside the walls.

On the 27th Warwick himself, his father, the Earl of March, Lord Fauconbridge, Wenlock, and the rest of the leaders at Calais, crossed over to Sandwich with two thousand men in good array, leaving in the town the smallest garrison that could safely be trusted with the duty of keeping out Somerset. They had published before their landing a manifesto, which set out the stereotyped Yorkist grievances once more—the weak government, the crushing taxes, the exclusion of the King's relatives from his Council, the diversion of the revenue into the pockets of the courtiers, the misdoings of individual Lancastrian chiefs, the oppression of the King's lieges, and all the other customary complaints.

[Pg 91]

The three Earls had only been in Sandwich a few hours when, as had been agreed, the Archbishop of Canterbury came to join them with many of the tenants of the see arrayed in arms. They then moved forward, with numbers increasing at every step, for the Kentishmen came to meet them by thousands, and no one raised a hand against them.

The Lancastrians had been caught wholly unprepared. They seem to have been expecting raids from Warwick on the eastern coast, not on the southern, and except Mundeford's routed force there was no one in arms south of the Thames. The King and Queen were at Coventry, and most of the Lancastrian lords scattered each in their own lands. Lord Scales and Lord Hungerford were in command of London, where there were present a few other notables—Lord Vesey, Lord Lovell, and John de Foix titular Earl of Kendal. These leaders endeavoured to fortify the city, posting guns on London Bridge and placing their retainers in the Tower. But the aspect of the citizens was threatening, and Warwick was known to be coming on fast. The landing had taken place on the 27th, and on July 1st the three Earls and the Archbishop of Canterbury were already before the walls of London. They had marched over seventy miles in four days, taking the route of Canterbury, Rochester, and Dartford, and were at hand long before they were expected.

When the Archbishop's herald summoned the town there was some attempt made by the Lancastrian lords to offer resistance, but the mob rose and drove them into the Tower, while a deputation of aldermen went forth to offer a free entry to the Yorkist army.
 
On July 2nd the three Earls entered London in state, conducted by the Archbishop and a Papal Legate, a certain Bishop of Teramo who had been sent by Pius the Second to endeavour to reconcile the English factions and to get them to join in a crusade. He had allowed himself to be talked over by Warwick, and did all in his power to further the cause of York.

The Earls rode to St. Paul's and there before a great multitude, both clerical and lay, Warwick "recited the cause of their coming in to the land, how they had been put out from the King's presence with great violence, so that they might not come to his Highness to excuse themselves of the accusations laid against them. But now they were come again, by God's mercy, accompanied by their people, for to come into his presence, there to declare their innocence, or else to die upon the field. And there he made an oath upon the Cross of Canterbury, that they bore true faith and liegeance to the King's person, whereof he took Christ and His Holy Mother and all the Saints of Heaven to witness." We shall see that this last promise was not an entirely unmeaning formula in Warwick's mouth, and that his oath was not like the deliberate perjuries to which others of his contemporaries—notably Edward the Fourth—were prone.


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