Gruthuyse, Louis de, Seigneur de la Gruthuyse, Earl of Winchester
- (c. 1427–1492)In late 1470, the Burgundian nobleman, Louis de Gruthuyse, Lord of Gruthuyse, provided the newly exiled EDWARD IV with vital material and political support.Louis succeeded his father as Lord of Gruthuyse in 1438, and became cupbearer to Duke PHILIP of BURGUNDY by 1449. The duke appointed him captain of Bruges in 1452 and knighted him at the Battle of Gavre in July 1453. By 1461, Gruthuyse was the duke’s chamberlain and a member of his COUNCIL. As Burgundian ambassador to both SCOTLAND and England in 1460, Gruthuyse displayed his friendship for the house of YORK by persuading the Scottish regent, Queen MARY OF GUELDRES, to refrain from aiding Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU until after the death of Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, at the Battle of WAKEFIELD in December. In 1466–1467, while again serving as ambassador to England, Gruthuyse became familiar with the Yorkist COURT and personally known to Edward IV.On 2 October 1470, after being isolated and outmaneuvered by Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, Edward and a small band of followers fled England and landed on the Dutch coast (see Edward IV, Overthrow of). As governor of Holland since 1463, Gruthuyse welcomed the weary and destitute exiles to Burgundy. After escorting the Englishmen to his house in The Hague, Gruthuyse supplied them with food, clothes, and money, and worked to secure Edward an interview with Duke CHARLES, whose Lancastrian inclinations made him unwilling to receive the ex-king. Edward had to rely on the unfailing hospitality of Gruthuyse until January, when the friendship that HENRY VI’s READEPTION government displayed for FRANCE forced the duke to meet with Edward and begin quietly assisting him. As a consequence, Edward sailed for England in March, defeated and killed Warwick at the Battle of BARNET in April, and secured his Crown after the Battle of TEWKESBURY in May (see Edward IV, Restoration of).In October 1472, Duke Charles sent Gruthuyse to England to discuss an Anglo-Burgundian alliance.To express his gratitude for the ambassador’s assistance in 1470, Edward gave Gruthuyse a lavish welcome to the English court, creating him earl of Winchester, granting him an annuity of £200, and presenting him with such gifts as a bejeweled cup, a fine crossbow, and one of the royal horses. Edward also employed Winchester as a negotiator for England with the HANSEATIC LEAGUE, a powerful association of German merchants, and granted the earl special trading rights in English ports.Winchester spent most of the rest of his life in service to the dukes of Burgundy, dying at Bruges in November 1492. A noted bibliophile, with one of the largest private libraries in Europe, Winchester is often credited by historians with encouraging Edward IV to begin collecting manuscripts, a pursuit that the king began only after his return from Burgundy in 1471.Further Reading: Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998); Vaughan, Richard, Valois Burgundy (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1975).
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.