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CHAPTER XVI THE RETURN OF KING EDWARD
The expulsion of King Edward had been marvellously sudden. Within eleven days after his landing at Dartmouth Warwick was master of all England. Not a blow had been struck for the exiled King. From Calais to Berwick every man mounted the Red Rose or the Ragged Staff with real or simulated manifestations of joy. On October 6th the Earl reached London, which opened its gates with its accustomed readiness. It had only delayed its surrender in fear of a riotous band of Kentishmen, whom Sir Geoffrey Gate had gathered in the Earl's name. They had wrought such mischief in Southwark that the Londoners refused to let them in, and waited for the arrival of Warwick himself before they would formally acknowledge King Henry. Meanwhile all the partisans of York had either fled from the city or taken sanctuary. Queen Elizabeth sought refuge in the precincts of Westminster, where she was soon after delivered of a son, the first male child that had been born to King Edward.

Riding through the city Warwick came to the Tower, and found King Henry in his keeper's hands, "not worshipfully arrayed as a prince, and not so cleanly kept as[Pg 209] should beseem his state." The Earl led him forth from the fortress,—whither he had himself conducted him, a prisoner in bonds, five years before,—arrayed him in royal robes, and brought him in state to St. Paul's, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, with all the Common Council, walking before him, "while all the people to right and left rejoiced with clapping of hands, and cried 'God save King Henry!'" Then the King, after returning thanks for his deliverance in the Cathedral, rode down Cheapside and took up his residence in the palace of the Bishop of London.

Henry was much broken and enfeebled by his captivity. "He sat on his throne as limp and helpless as a sack of wool," says one unfriendly chronicler. "He was a mere shadow and pretence, and what was done in his name was done without his will and knowledge." All that remained unbroken in him was his piety and his imperturbable long-suffering patience. But his weakness only made him the more fit for Warwick's purpose. His deliverance took place on the 6th, and on October 9th we find him beginning to sign a long series of documents which reconstituted the government of the realm. It was made clear from the first that Warwick and his friends were to have charge of the King rather than the Lancastrian peers. In the first batch of appointments Warwick became the King's Lieutenant, and resumed his old posts of Captain of Calais and Admiral. George Neville was restored to the Chancellorship, and Sir John Langstrother, Prior of the Hospitallers, received again the Treasury, which Warwick had bestowed on him in 1469. The Duke of Clarence was made Lieutenant of Ireland, a post he had[Pg 210] enjoyed under his brother till his exile in 1470. Among the Lancastrians, Oxford was made Constable, and Pembroke joint-Lieutenant under Warwick. The rest received back their confiscated lands, but got no official preferment.

Oxford's first exercise of his power as Constable was to try Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, one of the few of King Edward's adherents whom no one could pardon. Oxford had to avenge on him his father and brother, whom the Earl had sentenced to be drawn and quartered in 1462, while Warwick remembered his adherents impaled in the previous April. The Butcher of England got no mercy, as might be expected, and was beheaded on October 18th.

A few days before summonses had been sent out in the King's name for a Parliament to meet on November 26th, for Warwick was eager to set himself right with the nation at the earliest opportunity. Every care was taken to show that the new rule was to be one of tolerance and amnesty. The whole of the surviving peers who had sat in Edward's last Parliament were invited to present themselves to meet King Henry—however bitter their Yorkist partizanship had been—save six only, and of these four had fled over-sea—Gloucester, Scales, Hastings, and Say.

The Parliament met and was greeted by George Neville the Chancellor with a sermon adapted to the times, on the text from Jeremiah, "Turn, O ye back-sliding children." The proceedings of the session are lost, but we know that they were mainly formal, confirming the King's appointments to offices, ratifying the agreement made between Queen Margaret and[Pg 211] Clarence, that the latter should be declared heir to the throne failing issue to the Prince of Wales, and reversing the attainder of Somerset and Exeter and the other Lancastrian lords, who were thus able to take their seats in the Upper House.

The most important political event of the restoration, however, was the conclusion of the treaty with France, which Warwick had had so close to his heart ever since the first abortive negotiations in 1464. An embassy, headed by the Bishop of Bayeux, titular Patriarch of Jerusalem, appeared in London when Warwick's power was firmly established, and a peace for twelve years and treaty of alliance was duly concluded. Its most important feature was that it bound England to take the French King's side in the struggle with Burgundy. When he heard that Edward had been expelled and could no longer aid Charles the Bold, Louis had at once attacked the towns on the Somme, and taken Amiens and several other important places. Next spring his contest with the Duke would begin in earnest, and he was overjoyed to know that the English power would be used for his aid, by one who had a strong personal dislike to the Burgundian. Warwick at once took steps to strengthen the garrison of Calais, which was at this time entirely surrounded by the Duke's territory, and began to make preparations for a campaign in the next spring.

It is rather difficult to gauge with accuracy the feeling with which England received the restoration of King Henry. The nation, however, seems on the whole to have accepted the new government with great equanimity if with no very marked enthusiasm. The Lancas[Pg 212]trians were of course contented, though they would have preferred to have won back their position by their own arms. Of the Yorkists it was supposed that most of the important sections held by the Earl and not by King Edward. This was certainly the case, as later events showed, with the Commons in most parts of the country, and notably in Yorkshire and Kent, which had up to this time been so strongly attached to the cause of York. There were, however, classes in which the restoration was not so well received. It was disliked by such of the Yorkist nobility as were not Nevilles. The Duke of Norfolk and all the Bourchier clan—Essex, the Archbishop, Cromwell, and Berners—had not been displeased when Warwick chastened the Queen's relatives, but had not wished to see Edward entirely deposed. Other peers, such as Grey Earl of Kent, and the Earl of Arundel, had committed themselves even more deeply to Edward's side, by allying themselves by marriage with the Woodvilles. It was gall and bitterness to all those heads of great houses to have to seek for pardon and favour from their late enemies. What, for example, must have been Norfolk's feelings when he was compelled, as the Paston records describe, to sue as humbly to the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford as his own dependents had been wont to sue to himself?

Another quarter where the restoration was taken ill was to be found among the merchants of London. The late King had been a great spender of money, and was at the moment of his exile deep in the books of many wealthy purveyors of the luxuries in which he delighted. All these debts had now become hopeless, and the[Pg 213] unfortunate creditors were sulky and depressed. Moreover, Edward's courteous and affable manners and comely person had won him favour in the eyes of the Londoners in whose midst he habitually dwelt, and still more so, unless tradition errs, in the eyes of their wives. Few persons in the city, except declared Lancastrians, looked upon the new government with any approach to enthusiasm.

There was one individual, too, whose feelings as to the new government were likely to be of no mean importance. George of Clarence, though he had followed Warwick to London and taken a prominent part in all the incidents of the restoration, was profoundly dissatisfied with his position. Even when he had been made Lieutenant of Ireland—an office which he chose to discharge by deputy—and presented with many scores of manors, he was in no wise conciliated. He was farther from the throne as the Prince of Wales' ultimate heir than he had been in the days of his own brother's reign. Had the chance been given him, it seems likely that he would have betrayed Warwick and joined King Edward after his return to England. But events had marched too rapidly, and he had found no opportunity to strike a blow for York. During the winter of 1470-71, however, he put himself once more in communication with his brother. The correspondence was carried on through their sisters—the Duchess of Exeter on the English side of the Channel and the Duchess of Burgundy over-sea. By this means Clarence renewed his promises of help to Edward, and swore to join him, with every man that he could raise, the moment that he set foot again in England. Meanwhile Warwick had no suspicion of his son-[Pg 214]in-law's treachery. He trusted him to the uttermost, heaped favours upon him, and even got his name joined with his own and Pembroke's as Lieutenants for King Henry in all the realm of England.

For five months the Earl's reign was undisturbed. There was no one in the country who dared dispute his will. Queen Margaret, whose presence would have been his greatest difficulty, had not yet crossed the seas. Her delay was strange. Perhaps she still dreaded putting herself in the hands of her old enemy; perhaps the King of France detained her till Warwick should have made his power in England too firm to be troubled by her intrigues. But the Earl himself actually desired her presence. He several times invited her to hasten her arrival, and at last sent over Langstrother, the Treasurer of England, to urge his suit and escort Margaret and her son across the Channel. It was not till March that she could be induced to move; and by March the time was overdue.

Meanwhile King Edward had received but a luke-warm reception at the Court of Burgundy. Duke Charles, saddled with his French war, would have preferred to keep at peace with England. His sympathies were divided between Lancaster and York. If his wife was Edward's sister, he himself had Lancastrian blood in his veins, and had long maintained Somerset, Exeter, and other Lancastrian exiles at his Court. But he was driven into taking a decided line in favour of Edward by the fact that Warwick, his personal enemy, was supreme in the counsels of England. If the Earl allied himself to Louis of France, it became absolutely necessary for Duke Charles to lend his support to his exiled brother-[Pg 215]in-law, with the object of upsetting Warwick's domination.

Edward himself had found again his ancient restless energy in the day of adversity. He knew that in the last autumn he could have made a good defence if it had not been for Montagu's sudden treachery, and was determined not to consider his cause lost till it had been fairly tried by the arbitrament of the sword. He was in full communication with England, and had learnt that many more beside Clarence were eager to see him land. The adventure would be perilous, for he would have to fight not only, as of old, the Lancastrian party, but the vast masses of the Commons whose trust had always been in the great Earl. But peril seems to have been rather an incentive than a deterrent to Edward, when the reckless mood was on him. He took the aid that Charles of Burgundy promised, though it was given in secret and with a grudging heart. After a final interview with the Duke at Aire, he moved off in February to Flushing, where a few ships had been collected for him in the haven among the marshes of Walcheren. About fifteen hundred English refugees accompanied him, including his brother of Gloucester and Lords Hastings, Say, and Scales. The Duke had hired for him three hundred German hand-gun men, and presented him with fifty thousand florins in gold. With such slender resources the exiled King did not scruple to attempt the reconquest of his kingdom. On March 11th he and his men set sail. They were convoyed across the German Ocean by a fleet of fourteen armed Hanseatic vessels, which the Duke had sent for their protection. Yet the moment that Charles heard they were safely departed, he published,[Pg 216] for Warwick's benefit, a proclamation warning any of his subjects against aiding or abetting Edward of York in any enterprise against the realm of England.

However secretly Edward's preparations were concerted, they had not entirely escaped his enemy's notice. Warwick had made dispositions for resisting a landing to the best of his ability. A fleet stationed at Calais, under the Bastard of Fauconbridge, watched the straits and protected the Kentish coast. The Earl himself lay at London to overawe the discontented and guard King Henry. Oxford held command in the Eastern Counties—the most dangerous district, for Norfolk and the Bourchiers were rightly suspected of keeping up communication with Edward. In the North Montagu and the Earl of Northumberland were in charge from Hull to Berwick with divided authority.

As Warwick had expected, the invaders aimed at landing in East Anglia. On March 12th Edward and his fleet lay off Cromer. He sent two knights ashore to rouse the country ere he himself set foot on land. But in a few hours the messengers returned. They bade him hoist sail again, for Oxford was keeping strict watch over all those parts, and Edward's friends were all in prison or bound over to good behaviour. On receiving this disappointing intelligence, Edward determined on one of those bold strokes which were so often his salvation. If the friendly districts were so well watched, it was likely that the counties where Warwick's interest was supreme would be less carefully secured. The King bade his pilot steer north and make for the Humber mouth, though Yorkshire was known to be devoted to the great Earl.

That night a gale from the south swept over the[Pg 217] Wash and scattered Edward's ships far and wide. On March 15th it abated, and the vessels came to land at various points on the coast of Holderness. The King and Hastings, with five hundred men, disembarked at Ravenspur—a good omen, for this was the same spot at which Henry of Bolingbroke had commenced his victorious march on London in 1399. The other ships landed their men at neighbouring points on the coast, and by the next morning all Edward's two thousand men were safely concentrated. Their reception by the country-side was most discouraging. The people deserted their villages and drew together in great bands, as if minded to oppose the invaders. Indeed, they only needed leaders to induce them to take the offensive; but no man of mark chanced to be in Holderness. Montagu lay in the West-Riding and Northumberland in the North. A squire named Delamere, and a priest named Westerdale, the only leaders whom the men of Holderness could find, contented themselves with following the King at a distance, and with sending news of his approach to York.

A less resolute adventurer than Edward Plantagenet would probably have taken to his ships again when he found neither help nor sympathy in Yorkshire. But Edward was resolved to play out his game; the sight of the hostile country-side only made him determine to eke out the lion's hide with the fox's skin. Calling to mind the stratagem which Henry of Bolingbroke had practised in that same land seventy-two years ago, he sent messengers everywhere to announce that he came in arms not to dispossess King Henry, but only to claim his ancestral duchy of York. When he passed through[Pg 218] towns and villages he bade his men shout for King Henry, and he himself mounted the Lancastrian badge of the ostrich feathers. In these borrowed plumes he came before the walls of York, still unmolested, but without having drawn a man to his banners. Hull, the largest town that he had approached, had resolutely closed its gates against him.

The fate of Edward's enterprise was settled before the gates of York on the morning of March 18th. He found the walls manned by the citizens in arms; but they parleyed instead of firing upon him, and when he declared that he came in peace, aspiring only to his father's dignity and possessions, he himself with sixteen persons only in his train was admitted within the gate. Then upon the cross of the high altar in the Minster he swore "that he never would again take upon himself to be King of England, nor would have done before that time, but for the exciting and stirring of the Earl of Warwick," "and thereto before all the people he cried, 'King Harry! King Harry and Prince Edward!'" Satisfied by these protestations, the men of York admitted the invaders within their walls. Edward, however, only stayed for twelve hours in York, and next morning he marched on Tadcaster.

This day was almost as critical as the last. It was five days since the landing at Ravenspur, and the news had now had time to spread. If Montagu and Northumberland were bent on loyal service to King Henry, they must now be close at hand. But the star of York was in the ascendant. Northumberland remembered at this moment rather his ancient enmity for the Nevilles than his grandfather's loyalty to Lancaster. He gathered[Pg 219] troops indeed, but he made no attempt to march south or to intercept the invaders. It is probable that he was actually in treasonable communication with Edward, as the Lancastrian chroniclers declare. Montagu, on the other hand, collected two or three thousand men and threw himself into Pontefract, to guard the Great North Road. But Edward, instead of approaching Pontefract, moved his army on to cross-roads, which enabled him to perform a flank march round his adversary; he slept that evening at Sendal Castle, the spot where his father had spent the night before the disastrous battle of Wakefield. How Montagu came to let Edward get past him is one of the problems whose explanation will never be forthcoming. It may have been that his scouts lost sight of the enemy and missed the line of his flank march. It may equally well have been that Montagu overvalued the King's army, which was really no larger than his own, and would not fight till he should be joined by his colleague Northumberland. Some contemporary writers assert that the Marquis, remembering his old favour with the King, was loath that his hand should be the one to crush his former master. Others say that it was no scruple of ancient loyalty that moved Montagu, but that he had actually determined to desert his brother and join Edward's party. But his later behaviour renders this most unlikely.

Montagu's fatal inaction was the salvation of Edward. At Sendal he received the first encouragement which he had met since his landing. He was there in the midst of the estates of the duchy of York, and a considerable body of men joined him from among his ancestral retainers. Encouraged by this accession, he pushed on[Pg 220] rapidly southward, and by marches of some twenty miles a day reached Doncaster on the 21st and Nottingham on the 23rd. On the way recruits began to flock in, and at Nottingham a compact body of six hundred men-at-arms, under Sir James Harrington and Sir William Parr, swelled the Yorkist ranks. Then Edward, for the first time since his landing, paused for a moment to take stock of the position of his friends and his enemies.

Meanwhile the news of his march had run like wild-fire all over England, and in every quarter men were arming for his aid or his destruction. Warwick had hoped at first that Montagu and Northumberland would stay the invader, but when he heard that Edward had slipped past, he saw that he himself must take the field. Accordingly he left London on the 22nd, and rode hastily to Warwick to call out his Midland retainers. The guard of the city and the person of King Henry was left to his brother the Archbishop. Simultaneously Somerset departed to levy troops in the South-West, and Clarence set forth to raise Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Oxford had already taken the field, and on the 22nd lay at Lynn with four thousand men, the force that the not very numerous Lancastrians of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge could put in arms. From thence he directed his march on Newark, hoping to fall on Edward's flank somewhere near Nottingham.

At that very moment the invader had thrown off the mask he had hitherto worn. Finding himself well received and strongly reinforced, he laid aside his pretence of asking only for the duchy of York, and had himself proclaimed as King. But his position was perilous still: Warwick was gathering head in his front;[Pg 221] Montagu was following cautiously in his rear; Oxford was about to assail his flank. The enemies must be kept apart at all hazards; so Edward, neglecting the others for the moment, turned fiercely on Oxford. He marched rapidly on Newark with some five or six thousand men. This decision and show of force frightened the Earl, who, though joined by the Duke of Exeter and Lord Bardolph, felt himself too weak to fight. When the vanguard of the Yorkists appeared, he hastily left Newark and fell back on to Stamford in much disorder.

Having thus cleared his flank, Edward turned back on Nottingham and then made for Leicester. Here he was joined by the Yorkists of the East Midlands in great numbers; of the retainers of Lord Hastings alone no less than three thousand came to him in one body.

Warwick, who lay only two short marches from the invader, was straining every nerve to get together an army. His missives ran east and west to call in all the knights of the Midlands who had ever mounted the Ragged Staff or the Red Rose. One of these letters was found in 1889, among other treasures, in the lumber room of Belvoir Castle. It was addressed to Henry Vernon, a great Derbyshire landholder. The first part, written in a secretary's hand, runs as follows:

    Right Trusty and Wellbeloved—I grete you well, and desire and heartily pray you that, inasmuch as yonder man Edward, the King our soverain lord's great enemy, rebel, and traitor, is now arrived in the north parts of this land, and coming fast on south, accompanied with Flemings, Easterlings, and Danes, not exceeding the number of two thousand persons, nor the country as he cometh not falling to him, ye will therefore, incontinent and forthwith after the sight hereof,[Pg 222] dispose you to make toward me to Coventry with as many people defensibly arranged as ye can readily make, and that ye be with me in all haste possible, as my veray singular heart is in you, and as I may do thing [sic] to your weal or worship hereafter. And may God keep you.—Written at Warwick on March 25th.

Then in the Earl's own hand was written the post-script, appealing to Vernon's personal friendship: "Henry, I pray you ffayle me not now, as ever I may do for you."

Sad to say, this urgent appeal, wellnigh the only autograph of the great Earl that we possess, seems to have failed in its purpose. Vernon preferred to watch the game, and as late as April 2nd had made no preparation to take arms for either side.

On March 28th Warwick with six thousand men advanced to Coventry, a strongly-fortified town facing Edward's line of advance. On the same day his adversary, whose forces must now have amounted to nearly ten thousand, marched southward from Leicester. Next morning Warwick and the King were in sight of each other, and a battle was expected. But the Earl was determined to wait for his reinforcements before fighting. He calculated that Montagu must soon arrive from the north, Oxford from the east, Clarence from the south-west. Accordingly he shut himself up in Coventry, and refused to risk an engagement. Edward, whose movements all through this campaign evince the most consummate generalship, promptly marched past his enemy and seized Warwick, where he made his headquarters. He then placed his army across the high road from Coventry to London, cutting off the Earl's direct[Pg 223] communication with the capital, and waited. Like the Earl he was expecting his reinforcements.

The first force that drew near was Clarence's levy from the south-west. With seven thousand men in his ranks the Duke reached Burford on April 2nd. Next day he marched for Banbury. On the 4th Warwick received the hideous news that his son-in-law had mounted the White Rose and joined King Edward. The treason had been long meditated, and was carried out with perfect deliberation and great success. A few miles beyond Banbury Clarence's array found itself facing that of the Yorkists. Clarence bade his men shout for King Edward, and fall into the ranks of the army that confronted them. Betrayed by their leader, the men made no resistance, and allowed themselves to be enrolled in the Yorkist army.

Clarence, for very shame we must suppose, offered to obtain terms for his father-in-law. "He sent to Coventry," says a Yorkist chronicler, "offering certain good and profitable conditions to the Earl, if he would accept them. But the Earl, whether he despaired of any durable continuance of good accord betwixt the King and himself, or else willing to maintain the great oaths, pacts, and promises sworn to Queen Margaret, or else because he thought he should still have the upperhand of the King, or else led by certain persons with him, as the Earl of Oxford, who bore great malice against the King, would not suffer any manner of appointment, were it reasonable or unreasonable." He drove Clarence's messengers away, "crying that he thanked God he was himself and not that traitor Duke."

Although Oxford had joined him with four thousand[Pg 224] men, and Montagu was approaching, Warwick still felt himself not strong enough to accept battle when Edward and Clarence drew out their army before the gates of Coventry on the morning of April 5th. He then saw them fall into column of march, and retire along the London road. Edward, having now some eighteen thousand men at his back, thought himself strong enough to strike at the capital, where his friends had been busily astir in his behalf for the last fortnight. Leaving a strong rear-guard behind, with orders to detain Warwick at all hazards, he hurried his main body along the Watling Street, and in five days covered the seventy-five miles which separated him from London.

Meanwhile Warwick had been joined by Montagu as well as by Oxford, and also received news that Somerset, with seven or eight thousand men more, was only fifty miles away. This put him in good spirits, for he counted on London holding out for a few days, and on the men of Kent rallying to his standard when he approached the Thames. He wrote in haste to his brother the Archbishop, who was guarding King Henry, that if he would maintain the city but forty-eight hours, they would crush the invading army between them. Then he left Coventry and hurried after the King, who for the next five days was always twenty miles in front of him.

But all was confusion in London. The Archbishop was not a man of war, and no soldier of repute was at his side. The Lancastrian party in the city had never been strong, and the Yorkists were now organising an insurrection. There were more than two thousand of them in the sanctuaries at Westminster and elsewhere,[Pg 225] of whom three hundred were knights and squires. All were prepared to rise at the first signal. When news came that Edward had reached St. Albans, the Archbishop mounted King Henry on horseback and rode with him about London, adjuring the citizens to be true to him and arm in the good cause. But the sight of the frail shadow of a king, with bowed back and lack-lustre eyes, passing before them, was not likely to stir the people to enthusiasm. Only six or seven hundred armed men mustered in St. Paul's Churchyard beneath the royal banner.[19]

Such a force was obviously unequal to defending a disaffected city. Next day, when the army of Edward appeared before the walls, Urswick the Recorder of London, and certain aldermen with him, dismissed the guard at Aldersgate and let Edward in, no man withstanding them. The Archbishop of York and King Henry took refuge in the Bishop of London's palace; they were seized and sent to the Tower. George Neville obtained his pardon so easily that many accused him of treason. It seems quite possible that, when he found at the last moment that he could not raise the Londoners, he sent secretly to Edward and asked for pardon, promising to make no resistance.

The capture of London rendered King Edward's position comparatively secure. He had now the base of operations which he had up to this moment lacked, and had established himself in the midst of a population[Pg 226] favourable to the Yorkist cause. Next day he received a great accession of strength. Bourchier Earl of Essex, his brother Archbishop Bourchier, Lord Berners, and many other consistent partisans of York, joined him with seven thousand men levied in the Eastern Counties. His army was now so strong that he might face any force which Warwick could bring up, unless the Earl should wait for the levies of the extreme North and West to join him.

On Maundy Thursday London had fallen; on Good Friday the King lay in London; on Saturday afternoon he moved out again with his army greatly strengthened and refreshed, and marched north to meet the pursuing enemy. Warwick, much retarded on his way by the rear-guard which the King had left to detain him and by the necessity of waiting for Somerset's force, had reached Dunstable on the Friday, only to learn in the evening that London was lost and his brother and King Henry captured. He pushed on, however, and swerving from the Watling Street at St. Albans threw himself eastward, with the intention, we cannot doubt, of cutting Edward's communication with the Eastern Midlands, where York was strong, by placing himself across the line of the Ermine Street. On Saturday evening his army encamped on a rising ground near Monken Hadley Church, overlooking the little town of Barnet which lay below him in the hollow. The whole force lay down in order of battle, ranged behind a line of hedges; in front of them was the heathy plateau, four hundred feet above the sea, which slopes down into the plain of Middlesex.

An hour or two after Warwick's footsore troops had taken post for the night, and long after the dusk had[Pg 227] fallen, the alarm was raised that the Yorkists were at hand. On hearing of the Earl's approach the King had marched out of London with every man that he could raise. His vanguard beat Warwick's scouts out of the town of Barnet, and chased them back on to the main position. Having found the enemy, Edward pushed on through Barnet, climbed the slope, and ranged his men in the dark facing the hedges behind which the Earl's army lay,

    much nearer than he had supposed, for he took not his ground so even in the front as he should have done, if he might better have seen them. And there they kept them still without any manner of noise or language. Both sides had guns and ordinance, but the Earl, meaning to have greatly annoyed the King, shot guns almost all the night. But it fortuned that they always overshot the King's host, and hurt them little or nought, for the King lay much nearer to them than they deemed. But the King suffered no guns to be shot on his side, or else right few, which was of great advantage to him, for thereby the Earl should have found the ground that he lay in, and levelled guns thereat.

So, with the cannon booming all night above them, the two hosts lay down in their armour to spend that miserable Easter even. Next day it was obvious that a decisive battle must occur; for the King, whose interest it was to fight at once, before Warwick could draw in his reinforcements from Kent and from the North and West, had placed himself so close to the Earl that there was no possibility of the Lancastrian host withdrawing without being observed. The morrow would settle, once for all, if the name of Richard Neville or that of Edward Plantagenet was to be all-powerful in England.


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