Mowbray, John, Duke of Norfolk

   1) (1415–1461)
   Although intermittent in his adherence to the house of YORK in the 1450s, John Mowbray, third duke of Norfolk, gave vital support to EDWARD IV at the Battle of TOWTON in 1461. The duke is also a prominent figure in the PASTON LETTERS, the famous fifteenthcentury collection of correspondence belonging to the Paston family of Norfolk. Knighted by HENRY VI in 1426, Norfolk, who succeeded his father in the dukedom in 1432, served on various military and diplomatic missions in FRANCE during the 1430s and 1440s. In 1446, Norfolk went on pilgrimage to Rome, returning in 1447 to serve on an English embassy charged with negotiating the surrender of the French county of Maine. In the early 1450s, Norfolk supported Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, in his rivalry with Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset. Norfolk and York had several familial ties, York being married to Norfolk’s aunt, Cecily NEVILLE, and Norfolk being married to the sister of Henry BOURCHIER,York’s brother-in-law. However, by 1454, Norfolk’s influence with York was overshadowed by that of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, and his son Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and Norfolk held no office during York’s FIRST PROTECTORATE.
   By the late 1450s, Norfolk appeared to support the house of LANCASTER, having taken MOWBRAY, JOHN, DUKE OF NORFOLK 167 the oath to Henry VI administered at the 1459 COVENTRY PARLIAMENT, which attainted both York and the Nevilles (see Attainder, Act of). But after Warwick won control of the king and the government at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July 1460, Norfolk openly and firmly adhered to the Yorkist cause. After York’s death at the Battle of WAKEFIELD in December 1460, Norfolk, who had remained in LONDON, fought with Warwick at the Battle of ST.ALBANS in February 1461 and was one of the lords present at the 3 March meeting in London at which it was decided that York’s eldest son should claim the throne as Edward IV. Norfolk immediately set about raising support for the new king.The duke’s arrival with these forces at a critical moment during the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461 helped turn the tide in Edward’s favor. The king rewarded Norfolk with several important offices, including constable of Scarborough Castle, but refused to sanction his seizure of Caister Castle, which the duke was forced to restore to John Paston (see Caister Castle, Siege of). Norfolk died a few months later in November 1461. His title passed to his son, John MOWBRAY, fourth duke of Norfolk.
   Further Reading: Boardman, Andrew W., The Battle of Towton (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1996); Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Johnson, P. A., Duke Richard of York (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988).
   2) (1444–1476)
   An important adherent of the house of YORK, John Mowbray, fourth duke of Norfolk, used EDWARD IV’s ongoing need for noble support against the partisans of the house of LANCASTER to ignore the law and seize Caister Castle from the Paston family in 1469 (see Caister Castle, Siege of). Norfolk succeeded to his father’s title and Yorkist allegiance in 1461. In 1464, Edward IV sent Norfolk into WALES to suppress Lancastrian uprisings. In August 1469, only weeks after the king was taken prisoner by Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, Norfolk used the king’s confinement and the political turmoil that ensued to lay siege to Caister Castle, which Edward had forced the duke’s father to restore to Sir John Paston in 1461. After a fiveweek siege, during which Norfolk rejected all attempts at compromise, Caister fell to the duke on 26 September. Unable to act at the time because of his confinement and unwilling to alienate the support of Norfolk thereafter, Edward IV ignored Paston’s requests for assistance, and Caister remained in the duke’s hands until his death. Denied his rights by Edward IV, Sir John Paston supported the restoration of HENRY VI in 1470 and fought for Warwick at BARNET in 1471. When Warwick forced Edward to flee in October 1470, the READEPTION government of Henry VI arrested Norfolk, but soon released him and summoned him to PARLIAMENT (see Edward IV, Overthrow of). However, the duke’s continuing Yorkist sympathies caused his re-arrest in the spring of 1471, when Edward sought to land in East Anglia in hopes of support from Norfolk. After Edward’s victory at the Battle of TEWKESBURY in May 1471, Norfolk presided as marshal of England at the trial of Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset, and the other Lancastrians taken from SANCTUARY after the battle. Norfolk rode with Edward during the king’s triumphal reentry into LONDON on 21 May 1471, but he seems otherwise to have received few rewards and to have lacked the king’s confidence. He was not prominent at COURT in the 1470s and was never admitted to the royal COUNCIL. Norfolk died in January 1476, leaving a threeyearold daughter, Anne, whom Edward IV married to his son, Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, in 1478. Two years after Anne’s death in 1481, Edward pushed through Parliament a bill disinheriting John HOWARD, Norfolk’s next heir, and vesting the Norfolk dukedom and estates in the royal family.
   See also Mowbray, John, Duke of Norfolk (d. 1461); Paston Letters
   Further Reading: Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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