Lovell, Francis, Viscount Lovell

(c. 1456–c. 1487)
   A friend and loyal adherent of RICHARD III, Francis Lovell,Viscount Lovell,was a committed opponent of HENRY VII and a leader of Yorkist efforts to continue the dynastic struggle after 1485.
   The son of a Yorkshire nobleman who abandoned his Lancastrian allegiance after EDWARD IV’s victory in 1461, Lovell became a ward of the NEVILLE FAMILY at his father’s death in 1465. Knighted by the duke of Gloucester while on campaign in SCOTLAND in 1480, Lovell was ennobled as Viscount Lovell by Edward IV in January 1483.Within a month of Edward’s death in April 1483, Gloucester granted Lovell the estates of executed or exiled Woodville supporters in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, counties where the Lovell family already held lands. Lovell took a prominent part in Gloucester’s coronation as Richard III in July 1483, and was soon thereafter appointed lord chamberlain in succession to the late William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings. An influential figure at Richard’s COURT, Lovell was the frequent recipient of gifts from persons anxious to gain access to the king. Richard attempted to create a power base for Lovell around his family estates in the Thames Valley, giving Lovell various regional lands and offices, including the important constableship of Wallingford Castle. The effort was only partially successful. Because of his northern associations, Lovell was still considered an outsider by local landholders in 1485, and the viscount focused his own activities during the reign on the court and his close association with the king (see Richard III, Northern Affinity of). Along with William CATESBY and Sir Richard RATCLIFFE, Lovell became widely known as a member of Richard’s inner circle of advisors. A popular satirical couplet of the time declared,“The cat [Catesby], the rat [Ratcliffe], and Lovell our dog [Lovell’s emblem] / rule all England under a hog [referring to Richard III’s white boar emblem].”
   In August 1485, Lovell fought for Richard III at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD, escaping to Yorkshire after the king was killed. He remained in hiding until the spring of 1486, when he emerged to lead an unsuccessful attempt to capture Henry VII during a visit to York (see Lovell-Stafford Uprising). Fleeing to BURGUNDY, Lovell was welcomed by Duchess MARGARET OF YORK, sister of Richard III; the duchess dispatched Lovell to IRELAND to assist in the effort to replace Henry VII with Lambert SIMNEL, who was claiming to be Edward PLANTAGENET, earl of Warwick, Margaret’s nephew. Landing in England with Simnel’s force in May 1487, Lovell was probably killed at the Battle of STOKE on 16 June 1487. Although his body was not found on the field after the Yorkist defeat, there is no further record of him after the battle.
   See also Usurpation of 1483; Woodville Family; Yorkist Heirs (after 1485)
   Further Reading: Bennett, Michael J., Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987); Horrox, Rosemary, Richard III: A Study in Service (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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