Lovell-Stafford Uprising

   The Lovell-Stafford uprising of 1486 was the first significant Yorkist rebellion against the new regime of HENRY VII and the house of TUDOR.
   In April 1486, eight months after the defeat and death of RICHARD III at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD, three Yorkist survivors of the battle, Francis LOVELL, Viscount Lovell, and the brothers Sir Thomas and Sir Humphrey Stafford, left SANCTUARY at Colchester Abbey and began inciting rebellion against Richard’s supplanter. Lovell focused his efforts on the area of Yorkshire around Middleham Castle, a former stronghold of Richard III, while the Staffords based themselves in Worcestershire. Henry VII received news of the uprisings in Lincoln, while traveling north with a large retinue on the first royal progress of his reign. Fearing that Lovell would inspire a strong response in traditionally Yorkist areas, Henry hurried northward to deal with the Yorkshire phase of the rebellion, reaching the city of York by 23 April. However, the rebels, lacking any member of the house of YORK around whom to rally, had difficulty recruiting supporters. The king sent his uncle, Jasper TUDOR, duke of Bedford, into Yorkshire to offer pardons to everyone but Lovell, an action that effectively ended the northern part of the uprising and forced Lovell into hiding.
   In Worcestershire, the Staffords, having no better success than Lovell, tried to keep their adherents together with rumors that Lovell had captured Henry VII. When these tales were replaced with definite news of Lovell’s flight and the king’s imminent arrival with an armed retinue, the uprising collapsed, and the Staffords fled again to sanctuary at Culham Abbey. Henry had the Staffords dragged from the abbey and tried for treason before the Court of King’s Bench, the justices finally concluding that sanctuary was unavailable in cases of treason. Although both brothers were convicted, only Sir Humphrey was executed. After finding temporary refuge with several Yorkist gentlemen in the north, Lovell fled to BURGUNDY and the court of Duchess MARGARET OFYORK, the sister of EDWARD IV.
   In the following year, he involved himself in the LAMBERT SIMNEL plot, a larger and betterorganized Yorkist attempt to overthrow Henry VII. Inspired by the Lovell-Stafford uprising, several smaller Yorkist rebellions broke out in England in 1486. Although these were all quickly suppressed, many centered on the former lands and followers of the NEVILLE FAMILY and thereby confirmed for Henry the wisdom of his decision to imprison Edward PLANTAGENET, earl of Warwick, the grandson of Richard NEVILLE, the late earl of Warwick, and the last direct male descendent of the house of York.
   Further Reading: Bennett, Michael J., Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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