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CHAPTER XII THE PACIFICATION OF THE NORTH
Whatever the partisans of peace may have hoped in the winter of 1461-62, there was in reality no prospect of a general pacification so long as the indomitable Margaret of Anjou was still at liberty and free to plot against the quiet of England. The defeats of her Scotch allies in the summer of 1461 had only spurred her to fresh exertions. In the winter, while Edward's Parliament was sitting at Westminster, she was busy hatching a new scheme for simultaneous risings in various parts of England, accompanied by descents from France and Brittany aided by a Castilian fleet. Somerset and Hungerford had got some countenance from the King of France, and Margaret's own hopeful heart built on this small foundation a great scheme for the invasion of England. A Scotch raid, a rising in Wales, a descent of Bretons upon Guernsey and Jersey, and a great French landing at Sandwich, were to synchronise: "if weather and wind had served them, they should have had one hundred and twenty thousand men on foot in England upon Candlemass Day." But weather and wind were unpropitious, and the only tangible result of the plan was to cost the life of the Earl of Oxford, who had been told[Pg 138] off to head the insurgents of the Eastern Counties. He had been taken into favour by King Edward, and we need have small pity for him when he was detected in correspondence with the Queen at the very time that he was experiencing the clemency of her rival. But it was an evil sign of the times that he and his son were executed, not after a regular trial before their peers, but by a special and unconstitutional court held by the Earl of Worcester as Constable of England. For this evil precedent Warwick must take the blame no less than Edward.

But Margaret of Anjou had not yet exhausted her energy. So soon as the storms of winter were over and Somerset returned from France without the promised succours, she resolved to set out in person to stimulate the zeal of Louis the Eleventh, and to gather help from her various relatives on the Continent. Escaping from Scotland by the Irish Sea, she rounded the Land's End and came ashore with her young son in Brittany. The Duke gave her twelve thousand crowns, and passed her on to her father Réné in Anjou. From his Court she went on to King Louis, who lay at Rouen. With him she had more success than might have been expected, though far less of course than she had hoped. Louis was able to show that he had already got together a fleet, reinforced by some Breton and Castilian vessels, in the mouth of the Seine. In return for an agreement by which Margaret promised the cession of Calais, and perhaps that of the Channel Isles, he undertook to engage frankly in the war, and to put at Margaret's disposition a force for the invasion of England. The way in which Louis chose a leader for this army was very characteristic of the man.[Pg 139] He had in close confinement at the time a favourite of his father and an enemy of his own, Peter de Brézé, Count of Maulévrier and Seneschal of Normandy. De Brézé was a gallant knight and a skilled leader; only a few years before he had distinguished himself in the English war, and among other achievements had taken and sacked Sandwich. The King now offered him the choice of staying in prison or of taking charge of an expedition to Scotland in aid of Margaret. De Brézé accepted with alacrity the latter alternative, as much, we are told, from chivalrous desire to assist a distressed Queen as from dislike for the inside of the dungeons of Loches. Quite satisfied, apparently, at getting an enemy out of the country on a dangerous quest, Louis gave him twenty thousand livres in money, forty small vessels, and about two thousand men, and bade him take the Queen whither she would go.

While Louis and Margaret were negotiating, their English enemies had been acting with their accustomed vigour. When May came round Warwick again resumed command of the Northern Border, and marched out to finish the work that had been begun in the previous year. He was already on Scottish ground, and had taken at least one castle north of the Border, when he received a herald from the Scotch regents offering to treat for peace. By his commission, drawn up in the last year, Warwick was authorised to act as plenipotentiary in any such matter. Accordingly he sent back his army and went himself to Dumfries, where he met Mary, the Dowager Queen of Scotland, and the majority of the regents. They concluded an armistice to last till St. Bartholomew's Day, and then set[Pg 140] to work to discuss terms of peace. The common report ran that the Scots were ready not only to give up the Lancastrian cause, but even to deliver over the person of King Henry. Moreover, there was talk of an alliance by marriage between the English King and a Scotch Princess. This new departure, mainly brought about by the Queen-Dowager's influence,[6] was not without its effect on the Lancastrian partisans, who found themselves left unsupported to resist Warwick's army, which was, during the negotiations, put under the command of his brother Montagu and set to reduce the Northumbrian fortresses. King Henry fled from the Scotch Court and took refuge in one of the castles of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the chief member of the regency who opposed peace with England. Lord Dacre, brother of the peer who fell at Towton, surrendered himself to Montagu, and was sent to London, where King Edward received him into grace. Even Somerset himself, the chief of the party, lost heart, and began to send secret letters to Warwick to ascertain whether there was any hope of pardon for him. Meanwhile Naworth Castle was surrendered to Montagu, and the more important stronghold of Alnwick yielded itself to Lord Hastings, who had been detached to form its siege. Bamborough was given up by Sir William Tunstal, and of all the Northern fortresses only Dunstanburgh remained in Lancastrian hands, and it seemed that this place must fall ere the year was out.

Believing that the war was practically at an end, Warwick now turned south, and rode up to London to[Pg 141] lay the Scotch proposal before the King. But he had not long left the Border when the whole aspect of affairs was once more transformed by the reappearance of Queen Margaret on the scene.

While Montagu and Warwick had been in the North, King Edward had been sorely vexed by rumours of French invasion. Seventy French and Spanish ships were roaming the Channel, and Fauconbridge, who had set out to find them with a hastily-raised fleet, came home without success. A French force had mustered in Picardy, and Queen Margaret lay all the summer at Boulogne, tampering with the garrison of Calais, who had fallen into mutiny on account of long arrears of pay. But Calais failed to revolt, Louis made no serious attempt on England, and the Queen at last grew impatient and determined to start herself for England, though she could only rely on the assistance of Peter de Brézé and his two thousand men. Setting sail early in October, she passed up the eastern coast, and landed in Northumberland, expecting that all the North Country would rise to her aid. No general insurrection followed, but Margaret's arrival was not without effect. Both Alnwick and Bamborough fell into her hands—the former by famine, for it was wholly unvictualled and could not hold out a week; the latter betrayed by the governor's brother. Nor was this all; the presence of the Queen moved the Scotch regents to break off their negotiations with England, and denounce the truce which they had so recently concluded. All that the statesmanship of Warwick and the sword of Montagu had done for England in the year 1462 was lost in the space of a week.
 
The moment that the unwelcome news of Margaret's advent reached London, Warwick flew to repair the disaster. Only eight days after the fall of Bamborough he was already at the head of twenty thousand men, and hastening north by forced marches. The King, ill-informed as to the exact force that had landed in Northumberland, had sent out in haste for every man that could be gathered, and followed himself with the full levy of the Southern Counties.

The nearer the Yorkists approached to the scene of action the less formidable did their task appear. The approach of winter had prevented the Scots from putting an army into the field, and the Lancastrians and their French allies had made no attempt to push out from their castles. All that they had done was to strengthen the three strongholds and fill them with provisions. In Alnwick lay Peter de Brézé's son and some of the Frenchmen, together with Lord Hungerford. Somerset, who had dropped his secret negotiations with Warwick when his mistress returned from France, held Bamborough; with him were Lord Roos and Jasper Earl of Pembroke. Sir Ralph Percy, the fighting-man of the Percy clan—for his nephew the heir of Northumberland was a minor—had made himself strong in Dunstanburgh. Meanwhile the Queen, on the approach of Warwick, had quitted her adherents and set sail for Scotland with her son and her treasure, under convoy of de Brézé and the main body of the French mercenaries. But the month was now November, the seas were rough, and off Bamborough she was caught in a storm; her vessel, with three others, was driven against the iron-bound coast, and she herself barely escaped with her life in a fishing-[Pg 143]boat which took her into Berwick. Her treasures went to the bottom; and of her French followers four hundred were cast ashore on Holy Island, where they were forced to surrender next day to a force sent against them by Montagu.

Warwick had now arrived at Newcastle, and King Edward was but a few days' march behind him. Though the month was November, and winter campaigns, especially in the bleak and thinly-populated North, were in the fifteenth century as unusual as they were miserable, Warwick had determined to make an end of the new Lancastrian invasion before the Scots should have time to move. Luckily we have a full account of his dispositions for the simultaneous siege of the three Percy castles, from the pen of one who served on the spot.

The army was arranged as follows. King Edward with the reserve lay at Durham, in full touch with York and the South. The Duke of Norfolk held Newcastle, having as his main charge the duty of forwarding convoys of victuals and ammunition to the front, and of furnishing them with strong escorts on their way, to guard against any attempts made by roving bands of Scots or Percy retainers to break the line of communications, thirty miles long, which connected Newcastle with the army in the field. The force under Warwick's immediate command, charged with the reduction of the fortresses, was divided into four fractions. The castles lie at considerable intervals from each other: first, Bamborough to the north on a bold headland projecting into the sea, a Norman keep surrounded with later outworks; next Dunstanburgh, nine miles[Pg 144] farther south, and also on the coast; lastly, Alnwick, five miles south-west of Dunstanburgh, on a hill, three miles from the sea-coast, overlooking the river Alne. Dunstanburgh and Bamborough, if not relieved from the sea, could be surrounded and blockaded with comparative ease; Alnwick, the largest and strongest of the three castles, required to be shut in on all sides, and was likely to prove by far the hardest task. Luckily for Warwick the Roman road known as the Devil's Causeway was available for the connection of his outlying forces, as it runs almost by the walls of Alnwick and within easy distance of both Dunstanburgh and Bamborough. To each castle its own blockading force was attached. Opposite Bamborough, the one of the three which was nearest to Scotland and most exposed to attack by a relieving army, lay Montagu and Sir Robert Ogle, both of whom knew every inch of the Border. Dunstanburgh was beleaguered by Tiptoft Earl of Worcester and Sir Ralph Grey. Alnwick was observed by Fauconbridge and Lord Scales. Warwick himself, with the general reserve, lay at Warkworth, three miles from Alnwick, ready to transfer himself to any point where his aid might be needed.

The forces employed were not less than thirty thousand men, without counting the troops on the lines of communication at Newcastle and Durham. To feed such a body in the depth of winter, in a sparsely-peopled and hostile country and with only one road open, was no mean task. Nevertheless the arrangements of Warwick worked with perfect smoothness and accuracy,—good witness to the fact that his talent for organisation was as great as his talent for the use of[Pg 145] troops in the field. Every morning, we are told, the Earl rode out and visited all the three sieges "for to oversee; and if they wanted victuals or any other thing he was ready to purvey it to them with all his power." His day's ride was not less than thirty miles in all. The army was in good spirits and sure of success. "We have people enow here," wrote John Paston, whose duty it was to escort Norfolk's convoys to and fro, "so make as merry as ye can at home, for there is no jeopardie toward."

A siege at Christmastide was the last thing that the Lancastrians had expected at the moment of their rising; they had counted on having the whole winter to strengthen their position. No hope of immediate aid from Scotland was forthcoming, and after three weeks' blockade the spirits of the defenders of Bamborough and Dunstanburgh sank so low that they commenced to think of surrender. Somerset, as we have already mentioned, had been in treaty with Warwick six months before, with the object of obtaining grace from King Edward. He now renewed his offer to Warwick, pledging himself to surrender Bamborough in return for a free pardon. Ralph Percy, the commander of Dunstanburgh, professed himself ready to make similar terms.

It is somewhat surprising to find that Warwick supported, and Edward granted, the petitions of Somerset and Percy. But it was now two years since the tragedy of Wakefield, both the King and his cousin were sincerely anxious to bring about a pacification, and they had resolved to forget their blood feud with the Beauforts. On Christmas Eve 1462, therefore, Bam[Pg 146]borough and Dunstanburgh threw open their gates, such of their garrisons as chose to swear allegiance to King Edward being admitted to pardon, while the rest, headed by Jasper of Pembroke and Lord Roos, were allowed to retire to Scotland unarmed and with white staves in their hands. Somerset and Percy went on to Durham, where they swore allegiance to the King. Edward took them into favour and "gave them his own livery and great rewards," to Somerset in especial a grant of twenty marks a week for his personal expenses, and the promise of a pension of a thousand marks a year. As a token of his loyalty Somerset offered to take the field under Warwick against the Scots, and he was accordingly sent up to assist at the siege of Alnwick. Percy was shown equal favour; as a mark of confidence the King made him Governor of Bamborough which Somerset had just surrendered.

After the yielding of his chief adversary, King Edward thought that there was no further need for his presence in the North. Accordingly he returned home with the bulk of the army, leaving Warwick with ten thousand men, commanded by Norfolk and the Earl of Worcester, to finish the siege of Alnwick. Somerset lay with them, neither overmuch trusted nor overmuch contemned by his late enemies. Warwick's last siege, however, was not destined to come to such an uneventful close as those of Bamborough and Dunstanburgh. Lord Hungerford and the younger de Brézé made no signs of surrender, and protracted their defence till January 6th 1463.

On that day, at five o'clock in the dusk of the winter morning, a relieving army suddenly appeared in front of[Pg 147] Warwick's entrenchments. Though it was mid-winter, Queen Margaret had succeeded in stirring up the Earl of Angus—the most powerful noble in Scotland and at that moment practical head of the Douglases—to lead a raid into England. Fired by the promise of an English dukedom, to be given when King Henry should come to his own again, Angus got together twenty thousand men, and slipping through the Central Marches, and taking to the Watling Street, presented himself most unexpectedly before the English camp. With him was Peter de Brézé, anxious to save his beleaguered son, and the Queen's French mercenaries.

For once in his life Warwick was taken by surprise. The Scots showed in such force that he thought himself unable to maintain the whole of his lines, and concentrated his forces on a front facing north-west between the castle hill and the river. Here he awaited attack, but nothing followed save insignificant skirmishing; Angus had come not to fight, but only to save the garrison. When the English blockading force was withdrawn, a party of Scotch horse rode up to the postern-gate of the castle and invited the besieged to escape; accordingly Lord Hungerford, the younger de Brézé, Sir Richard Tunstal, and the great majority of the garrison, hastily issued forth and joined the relieving force. Then Angus, to the surprise of the English, drew off his men, and fell back hastily over the Border.

Warwick had been quite out-generalled; but the whole of his fault seems to have been the neglect to keep a sufficient force of scouts on the Border. If he had known of Angus's approach, he would have been able to take proper measures for protecting the siege. But the main feeling in the English army was rather relief at the departure of the Scots than disgust at the escape of the garrison. "If on that day the Scots had but been bold as they were cunning, they might have destroyed the English lords, for they had double their numbers," writes the chronicler. The thing which attracted most notice was the fact that the renegade Somerset showed no signs of treachery, and bore himself bravely in the skirmish, "proving manfully that he was a true liegeman to King Edward." Henceforth he was trusted by his colleagues.

Some of the Alnwick garrison had been either unwilling or unable to escape with Angus. These protracted the defence for three weeks longer, but on January 30th they offered to surrender, and were allowed to depart unharmed to Scotland. The castle was garrisoned for the King, and entrusted to Sir John Ashley, to the great displeasure of Sir Ralph Grey to whom it had been promised. We shall see ere long what evils came from this displeasure.

It seemed now as if the war could not be far from its end. No single place now held out for Lancaster save the castle of Harlech in North Wales, where an obscure rebellion had been smouldering ever since 1461. We must not therefore blame Warwick for want of energy, when we find that in March he left the indefatigable Montagu in command, and came up to London to attend the Parliament which King Edward had summoned to meet in April. Nevertheless, as we shall see, his absence had the most unhappy results on the Border.

We have no definite information as to Warwick's doings in the spring of 1463, but we cannot doubt that it was by his counsel and consent that in April his brother the Chancellor and his friend Lord Wenlock, in company with Bourchier Earl of Essex, went over-sea to Flanders, and contracted with Philip Duke of Burgundy a treaty of commercial intercourse and a political alliance. Philip then conveyed the English ambassadors to the Court of Louis of France, who was lying at Hesdin, and with him they negotiated a truce to last from October 1st till the new year. This was to be preliminary to a definite peace with France, a plan always forward in Warwick's thoughts, for he was convinced that the last hope of Lancaster lay in the support of Louis, and that peace between Edward and the French King would finally ruin Queen Margaret's plans.

But while George Neville and the Burgundians were negotiating, a new and curious development of this period of lingering troubles had commenced. Once more the Lancastrians were up in arms, and again the evil began in Northumberland. Sir Ralph Grey had been promised, as we mentioned above, the governorship of Alnwick, and had failed to receive it when the castle fell. This so rankled in his mind that he determined to risk his fortunes on an attempt to seize the place by force and deliver it up again to the Queen. In the end of May he mastered the castle by treachery, and sent for the Lancastrians from over the Border. Lord Hungerford came up, and once more received command of the castle which he had evacuated five months before. The news of this exploit of Grey's was too much for the loyalty of Sir Ralph Percy, the renegade governor of Bamborough. When de Brézé and Hungerford came before his gates he deliberately surrendered the castle to them without resistance.

The exasperating news that the North was once more aflame reached Warwick as he banqueted with King Edward at Westminster on May 31st. With his customary energy the Earl set himself to repair the mischief before it should spread farther. On June 2nd he was once more marching up the Great North Road, with a new commission to act as the King's lieutenant in the North, while his brother Montagu was named under him Lord Warden of the Marches. Warwick's plan of campaign this time was not to reduce the castles at once, but to cut off the Lancastrians from their base by forcing the Scots to conclude peace. Accordingly he left the strongholds on his right and made straight for the Border. His first exploit was to relieve Norham Castle, on the English side of the Tweed, which was beset by four thousand Scotch borderers, aided by Peter de Brézé and his mercenaries. Queen Margaret herself was in their camp, and had dragged her unfortunate consort down to the seat of war. When the English appeared, the Scots and French raised the siege and retired behind the Tweed, where they set themselves to guard the ford called the Holybank. But Warwick was determined to cross; he won the passage by force of arms, and drove off its defenders. A few miles across the Border he found de Brézé's Frenchmen resting in an abbey, and fell on them with such vehemence that several hundreds were taken prisoners, including the Lord of Graville and Raoul d'Araines, de Brézé's chief lieutenants.

One chronicler records a curious incident at this fight.[Pg 151] "At the departing of Sir Piers de Bressy and his fellowship, there was one manly man among them, that purposed to meet with the Earl of Warwick; he was a taberette (drummer) and he stood upon a little hill with his tabor and his pipe, tabering and piping as merrily as any man might. There he stood by himself; till my lord Earl came unto him he would not leave his ground." Warwick was much pleased with the Frenchman's pluck, bade him be taken gently and well treated, "and there he became my lord's man, and yet is with him, a full good servant to his lord."

The moment that Warwick was actually across the Tweed, the Scotch regents offered him terms of peace. To prove their sincerity they agreed to send off Queen Margaret. Such pressure was accordingly put upon her that "she with all her Council, and Sir Peter with the Frenchmen, fled away by water in four balyngarys, and they landed at Sluis in Flanders, leaving all their horses and harness behind them, so sorely were they hasted by the Earl and his brother the Lord Montagu."[7] With the horses and harness was left poor King Henry, who for the next two years wandered about in an aimless way on both sides of the Border, a mere meaningless shadow now that he was separated from his vehement consort.

Now at last the Civil War seemed at an end. With Margaret over-sea, Somerset a liegeman of York, the Northumbrian castles cut off from any hope of succour,[Pg 152] and the Scots suing humbly for peace, Warwick might hope that his three years' toil had at last come to an end. That, after all, the struggle was to be protracted for twelve months more, was a fact that not even the best of prophets could have predicted.

After the raid which drove Queen Margaret away, and turned the hearts of the Scots toward peace, we lose sight of Warwick for some months. We only know that, for reasons to us unknown, he did not finish his exploits by the capture of the Northumbrian castles, but came home in the autumn, leaving them still unsubdued. Perhaps after the winter campaign of 1462-63 he wished to spend Christmas for once in his own fair castle of Warwick. His estates indeed in Wales and the West Midlands can hardly have seen him since the Civil War recommenced in 1459, and must have required the master's eye in every quarter. His wife and his daughters too, now girls growing towards a marriageable age as ages were reckoned in the fifteenth century, must long have been without a sight of him.

While Warwick was for once at home, and King Edward was making a progress round his kingdom with much pomp and expense, it would seem that Queen Margaret, from the retreat in Lorraine to which she had betaken herself, was once more exerting her influence to trouble England. At any rate a new Lancastrian conspiracy was hatched in the winter of 1463-64, with branches extending from Wales to Yorkshire. The outbreak commenced at Christmas by the wholly unexpected rebellion of the Duke of Somerset. Henry of Beaufort had been so well treated by King Edward that his conduct appears most extraordinary. He[Pg 153] had supped at the King's board, slept in the King's chamber, served as captain of the King's guard, and jousted with the King's favour on his helm; yet at mid-winter he broke away for the North, with a very small following, and made for the garrison at Alnwick. Probably Somerset's conscience and his enemies had united to make his position unbearable. The Yorkists were always taunting him behind his back, and when he appeared in public in the King's company a noisy mob rose up to stone him, and Edward had much ado to save his life. But whether urged by remorse for his desertion of Lancaster, or by resentment for his treatment by the Yorkists, Somerset set himself to join the sinking cause at one of its darkest hours.

His arrival in the North, where he came almost alone, for his followers were wellnigh all cut off at Durham, was the signal for the new Lancastrian outbreak. Simultaneously Jasper of Pembroke endeavoured to stir up Wales. A rising took place in South Lancashire and Cheshire, in which at one moment ten thousand men are said to have been in the field: a band set out from Alnwick, pushed by the Yorkist garrison at Newcastle, and seized the Castle of Skipton in Craven, hard by Warwick's ancestral estates in the North Riding; and Norham on the Border was taken by treachery.

In March Warwick set out once more to regain the twice-subdued North. The rising in Cheshire collapsed without needing his arms to put it down, and he was able to reach York without molestation. From thence he sent to Scotland to summon the regency to carry out the terms of pacification which they had promised in the previous year. The Scots made no objection, and[Pg 154] offered to send their ambassadors to York if safe escort was given them past the Lancastrian fortresses. Accordingly Montagu started from Durham to pick up his troops at Newcastle, where Lord Scrope was already arrayed with the levies of the Northern Counties. This journey was near being Montagu's last, for a few miles outside Newcastle he was beset by his cousin Sir Humphrey Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland's nephew, who fell on his escort with eighty spears as he passed through a wood. Montagu, however, escaped by a detour and came safely into Newcastle, where he took charge of Scrope's force and marched for the Scotch Border.

At Hedgeley Moor he found Somerset with all the Lancastrian refugees barring the way. There had mustered all the survivors of the campaigns of 1461-2-3, Roos and Hungerford, and Tailboys Lord of Kyme, and the two traitors Ralph Grey and Ralph Percy. On April 15th their five thousand men fell on Montagu, whose forces were probably about equal. The shock was sharp but short; and when Ralph Percy, who led their van, was struck down, the Lancastrians dispersed. Percy, if the tale be true, refused to fly with the rest, and died crying, "I have saved the bird in my bosom," meaning his loyalty to Henry. He should have remembered his faith a year before, when he swore fealty to Edward at Durham.

Montagu was now able to reach Scotland unmolested. He brought the Scots Commissioners back to York, and a fifteen years' peace was safely concluded, the Scots promising to give no further shelter to the Lancastrians, and the English to disavow the Earls of Ross and Douglas whom they had armed against the Scotch regency.[Pg 155] "An the Scots be true, the treaty may continue fifteen years," said the chronicler, "but it is hard to trust Scots: they be ever full of guile and deceit."

Somerset and his followers were now without hope. Their refuge in Scotland was cut off and their Northumbrian strongholds doomed to a speedy fall, for King Edward had been casting all the winter a train of great ordnance such as England had never seen before, and the pieces were already on their way north. Nevertheless the desperate adherents of Lancaster hardened their hearts, gathered their broken bands, and made one last desperate stand for the mastery of the North. On the Linhills, by the town of Hexham, they arrayed themselves against Montagu on May 13th. But when the Yorkists came in sight the hearts of the followers of Somerset failed them. All save five hundred melted away from their banners, and the small band that stayed to fight was broken, beaten, surrounded, and captured by Montagu's four thousand men with perfect ease.

The Lancastrian lords had fought their last field; one and all were slain or captured on the hill a mile outside Hexham town, where they had made their stand. Montagu marked his triumph by the most bloody executions that had been seen throughout the whole war. At Hexham, next day, he beheaded Somerset, Sir Edmond Fitzhugh, a moss-trooping captain called Black Jack, and three more. On the next day but one he slew at Newcastle Lord Roos, Lord Hungerford, and three others. Next day he moved south to his brother's ancestral seat of Middleham, and executed Sir Philip Wentworth and six squires. Finally, he conducted to York and beheaded there Sir Thomas Hussey and thir[Pg 156]teen more, the remainder of the prisoners of rank who had come into his hands.

For these sweeping executions Warwick must take part of the blame. But there is this to be said in defence of Montagu's stern justice, that Somerset and three or four others of the victims were men who had claimed and abused Edward's pardon, and that Roos and several more had been spared at the surrender of Bamborough in 1462. The whole body had shown that they could never be trusted, even if they professed to submit to York; and the practical justification of their death lies in the fact that with their execution ceased all attempts to raise the North in favour of the house of Lancaster. Public opinion among the Yorkists had nothing but praise for Montagu. "Lo, so manly a man is this good Lord Montagu," wrote a London chronicler, "he spared not their malice, nor their falseness, nor their guile, nor their treason, but slew many, and took many, and let smite off their heads"!

Even before the battle of Hedgeley Moor King Edward had set out to reinforce Warwick and Montagu. The news of their victories reached him on the way, but he continued to advance, bringing with him the great train of artillery destined for the siege of the Northumbrian fortresses. This journey was important to King Edward in more ways than one. How he spent one day of it, May 1st, when he lay at Stony Stratford, we shall presently see. If Warwick had but known of his master's doings on that morning, we may doubt if he would have been so joyous over his brother's victories or so remorseless with his captured enemies.

The King came up to York in the end of May, "and[Pg 157] kept his estate there solemnly in the palace, and there he created John Lord Montagu Earl of Northumberland," in memory of his good service during the last few months, handing over to him, together with the Percy title, the greater part of the great Percy estates—Alnwick and Warkworth and Langley and Prudhoe, and many more fiefs between Tyne and Tweed.

Warwick now advanced northward to complete the work which his brother had begun in the previous month, while the King remained behind in Yorkshire and occupied himself in the capture of Skipton Castle in Craven. On June 23rd the Earl appeared before Alnwick and summoned the place. The Lancastrians had lost their leaders at Hexham, there was no more fight in them, and they surrendered at once on promise of their lives. Dunstanburgh and Norham followed the example of Alnwick. Only Bamborough held out, for there Sir Ralph Grey had taken refuge. He knew that his treachery at Alnwick in the last year could never be pardoned, and utterly refused to surrender. With him was Sir Humphrey Neville, who had so nearly destroyed Montagu two months before.

We happen to have an account of the siege of Bamborough which is not without its interest. When the army appeared before the castle Warwick's herald summoned it in form—

    Offering free pardon, grace, body, and livelihood to all, reserving two persons, Sir Ralph Grey and Sir Humphrey Neville. Then Sir Ralph clearly determined within himself to live or die within the place, though the herald charged him with all inconvenience and shedding of blood that might befall: saying in this wise: "My Lord ensureth you upon his honour to sustain this siege before you these seven years[Pg 158] so that he win you: and if ye deliver not this jewel, which the King our dread Sovereign Lord hath greatly in favour, seeing it marches so nigh unto his enemies of Scotland, whole and unbroken with ordnance, and if ye suffer any great guns to be laid against it, it shall cost you a head for every gun shot, from the head of the chief man to the head of the least person within." But Sir Ralph departed from the herald, and put him in endeavour to make defence.

Warwick was therefore compelled to have recourse to his battering train, the first that had been used to effect in an English siege.

    So all the King's guns that were charged began to shoot upon the said castle. "Newcastle," the King's greatest gun, and "London," the second gun of iron, so betide the place that the stones of the walls flew into the sea. "Dijon," a brass gun of the King's, smote through Sir Ralph Grey's chamber oftentimes, and "Edward" and "Richard," the bombardels, and other ordnance, were busied on the place. Presently the wall was breached, and my lord of Warwick, with his men-at-arms and archers, won the castle by assault, maugre Sir Ralph Grey, and took him alive, and brought him to the King at Doncaster. And there the Earl of Worcester, Constable of England, sat in judgment on him.

Tiptoft was a judge who never spared, and Grey a renegade who could expect no mercy. The prisoner was sentenced to be beheaded, and only spared degradation from his knighthood "because of his noble ancestor, who suffered at Southampton for the sake of the King's grandfather, Richard Earl of Cambridge." His head was sent to join the ghastly collection standing over the gate on London Bridge.

With the fall of Bamborough the first act of King Edward's reign was at an end.


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